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Cebu City News March 2012

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Outpatient TB treatment coverage for PhilHealth members

By (mbcn/hfg/PIA-7 & Philhealth)


CEBU CITY, March 31 (PIA) --The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) reiterates that they cover outpatient anti-TB treatment or directly observed treatment short-course (DOTS) for new cases of pulmonary and extra-pulmonary TB.

New case means that the patient has never had treatment for TB or has taken anti-TB drugs but for less than a month.

The benefit package is worth P4,000 which covers diagnostic work-up, consultation services and anti-TB drugs. The amount is paid to the accredited TB-DOTS facility handling the treatment on an outpatient set-up.

The package will be paid to the DOTS facility in two separate payments. The first payment of P2,500 will be paid after the facility has completed the intensive phase of DOTS treatment for the patient, and the final payment of P1,500 will be paid after the end of the maintenance phase considered as the date of treatment.

The concerned DOTS facility will settle the payments to referral centers, physicians and other health workers. Additional services rendered or extensions of treatment are not covered under the benefit package.

PhilHealth also released Circular No. 18, series of 2011 in support of the United Nation’s Millenium Development Goals (MDG) to reduce the prevalence and mortality of TB by 50%. This circular provided the guidelines for the reimbursement of claims for TB in children nine years old and below.

Last year, PhilHealth-7 paid over 1.5 million pesos worth of coverage to accredited TB-DOTS facilities for a total of 785 new cases of TB. According to a data from the Department of Health (DOH) Central Visayas, there were 12,461 identified cases of TB in the region in 2011 and almost 97 percent of these were new cases.

As of February this year, there are 29 PhilHealth accredited TB-DOTS facilities in Cebu province, 35 in Bohol, 18 in Oriental Negros and one in Siquijor where members and qualified dependents can avail of the benefit package.

The nation recently commemorated World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24.





Cebu City tops region in number of crimes

By Elly T. Bolonos


THE report that Cebu City has the most number of crimes in Central Visayas didn’t sit well with the Police Coordinating and Advisory Council (Pcac).

According to the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7, there were 1,137 cases in the city in the past two months.

Pcac presiding officer Eugene Elizalde met with Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director Melvin Ramon Buenafe yesterday and asked for an explanation.

Lack of manpower

Buenafe said the city has long been in the top spot having the biggest population in the region and with a significant increase in economic activities.

It doesn’t help that the CCPO lacks manpower, he said. He said the CCPO has 944 police personnel now, compared to 1,200 personnel 10 years ago.

This was not an excuse, though, he said, adding that crimes may occur anywhere if intention, capability or instrumentation and opportunity are present at any given time.

Despite having the most numbers of crimes, Buenafe said among the police offices in the region, the CCPO reported the biggest drop in crime volume last year, compared to 2010.

“We have the biggest decrease in crime volume last year, especially in index crime, but it wasn’t given due recognition,” he said.

Clarification

Elizalde clarified, though, he is satisfied with the performance of the CCPO, and he still has full trust and confidence on Buenafe.

“I have nothing to complain about their performance, lain lang paminawon nga (it just doesn’t seem right that) we are at the top, so, I talked to Buenafe and asked him about it,” Elizalde said.

The Pcac chairman reminded Buenafe to intensify their campaign against criminality, to minimize if not eliminate it.

Buenafe said they need a comprehensive approach to deal with the problem and they need the cooperation of the community.

He said they’ve already implemented the Police Integrated Patrol System by conducting checkpoints, choke points and mobile patrols, among others.

He said they are focusing on street crimes and crimes committed with firearms and motorcycles.

For the first quarter of year, the CCPO has confiscated 60 assorted firearms, compared to the 250 it confiscated for the whole of 2011, Buenafe said.

Cebu City tops CV crimes list

By Kevin A. Lagunda


THE Police Regional Office (PRO) 7’s crime statistics showed that Cebu City posted the highest number of crimes in Central Visayas with 1,137 cases in the past two months.

Senior Supt. Mariano Natuel said yesterday the numbers showed a drop of 139 cases compared to the same period last year that had 1,276 cases.

Based on the current crime statistics, at least 18 crimes occurred in Cebu City every day.

Natuel, chief of the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division (RIDMD), said Cebu Province follows Cebu City with 960 cases. This is a drop of 222 cases from last year’s 1,182.

He said Cebu City has the highest number of crimes because it has a bigger population and has more economic activities.

Bohol occupies the third spot with 518 cases. The province’s criminality rose to 74 cases from last year’s 444.

Drop

Negros Oriental ranks fourth with 471 cases. The province’s number of crimes fell to 203 compared to last year’s 674.

Lapu-Lapu City comes next with 310. The city posted a decrease of 19 cases from last year’s 329.

The sixth spot belongs to Mandaue City, which has 290 cases. This is a decrease of 28 cases from last year’s 318.

Siquijor, the smallest province in the region, only posted 18 cases, which is a decrease of 24 incidents from last year’s 42.

The region recorded a total of 3,704 crimes in the last two months, 561 cases lower than last year’s 4,265.

Different crimes

Of the total cases, 2,525 incidents were considered index crimes and 1,179 were non-index.

Index crimes are those committed against persons and properties, while non-index crimes are violations of special laws, such as those on illegal drugs, gambling and loose firearms.

Theft, robbery, physical injuries, murder and carnapping remain the most commonly committed index crimes in the region.

From January to February this year, the region tallied the following index crimes: theft with 1,176 cases, robbery (608), physical injury (436), murder (106), and carnapping (91).

Last year, the following index crimes were recorded: theft with 1,344 cases, robbery (801), physical injury (604), murder cases (119), and carnapping (98).

There were 50 homicide cases compared to last year’s 58, and cattle rustling dropped to four cases from last year’s 12.

However, rape cases in the past two months rose to 50 cases, three incidents more than last year’s 47.





Pason collars 16-U title of Cebu City chess tilt

By CORRESPONDENT DALE G. ROSAL


CEBU CITY Chess Festival grand championAllan Pason of Lapu-Lapu City dominated the 16-under division of last weekend’s Cebu City Age-Group Chess Challenge at the Cebu City Sports Center. With the win, Pason, along with the winners in the other age group categories, will represent Cebu City in the upcoming National Group Elimination to be held in Aklan this April. Pason finished with 4.5 points to win the tournament. Joining Pason is Keithclaire Carisle Morala (girls 16-under), Junry Romero (20-under), Carmel Socorro (20-under girls), Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano and Camel Nadera (14-under), James Fernando Diloy and Cherry Mae Caballes (12-under), Vladimir James Robillos and Regina Catherine Quinanola (8-under), and Jeremy Pepito and Glesit Marie Tatoy (10-under). Team Cebu City will be headed by FIDE arbiter and University of San Carlos (USC) chess team coach Felix Poloyapoy.

Cebu City school board to handle distribution of scholars’ allowance

By (PNA)

LAP/FFC/EB/re


CEBU CITY, March 27 (PNA) – Cebu City’s Local School Board will remove from the Office of the Vice Mayor the responsibility of preparing the payrolls for the distribution of the P1,000 school supplies allowance for the city’s scholars.

This development came after the distribution of the allowance last Friday went messy because the estimated 3,500 scholars who trooped to City Hall had a hard time finding their names in the payrolls.

Ester Cubero, head of the Local School Board, said the Office of the Vice Mayor was the one who prepared the payrolls through a certain Charme Pepito and listed the names of the scholars based on the secondary schools where they graduated.

”It should have been easier if all of the students were just listed alphabetically regardless of the secondary schools were they graduated,” Cubero said.

Cebu City treasurer Ofelia Oliva said the chaos is attributed to the mistake in the making of payrolls.

Cubero said Cebu City’s Scholarship Committee was supposed to be the one to handle the payroll for the school supplies allowance.

The committee is composed of Cubero, Oliva, City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete and Assistant City Schools Division Superintendent Salustino Jimenez.

However, Cubero said the Office of the Vice Mayor asked that they just finish the school year 2010-2012.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama took from Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young the handling of the program shortly after he bolted from Bando Osmena Pundok Kauswagan.

DENR-7 receives IT equipment worth P6M

By Hazel F. Gloria


CEBU CITY, March 26 (PIA) -- Information technology equipment worth P6 million were distributed to various offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 7 including its 12 field units in Central Visayas.

DENR 7 Regional Executive Director Maximo Dichoso said the equipment will be used in the computerization efforts of the region, particularly land information pertaining to cadastral maps, approved land survey, public land applications, and titles.

DENR Undersecretaries Ernesto Adobo and Demetrio Ignacio Jr. led the turnover and delivery of the said equipment on March 23, 2012 at the DENR-7 Training Hall, Banilad, Mandaue City, in the presence of provincial environment and natural resources officers (PENROs) and community environment and natural resources officers (CENROs).

In his turnover speech, Undersecretary Ignacio pointed out the three-year improvement or upgrading of the IT infrastructure of DENR that will operationalize a national greening program (NGP) website to be managed by cenros, digitize land records, and establish connectivity among field offices.

“This is the initial deployment of IT equipment and by June this year we shall have used a voice over internet protocol (VOIP) all over the regions including its field offices so that we would be able to know the situation on the ground and respond to issues in real time,” Ignacio said.

He added that DENR Secretary Ramon JP Paje envisioned that after three years of IT upgrading program, which is considered the most electronically advanced, all permit applications would be received and released via computer or through the Internet.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary Adobo said the equipment will be used to eventually drumbeat the “big ticket” programs of DENR such as the NGP and the cadastral survey.

A total of 133 desktop computers, 5 units of laptop, 22 scanners, and 71 printers were deployed as part of the computerization programs of DENR worth P6,084,675.25.

The DENR central office in Manila procured said equipment and other regional offices also got their share.

To effectively carry out the dissemination of electronic land information to local government units and other users, 51 desktop computers or 38.35 percent out of 133, 29 printers, and 17 scanners were dedicated to the lands management services.

“This is the biggest IT turnover and deployment thus far and I am instructing to our field officers to ensure that these equipment are used to its specified purposes for better public services,” Dichoso added.

As to the distribution of 133 desktop computers with a three-year warranty, Cebu had the most number of units of 77, followed by Bohol and Negros Oriental with 24 units each, and Siquijor with eight. (rmn/PIA-7/HFG/DENR-7) Italic text

Cebu City mayor to build ties with Yokohama, Japan

By pna.gov.ph


CEBU CITY, March 25 (PNA) – Mayor Michael Rama will be flying to Japan on March 27 for a five-day official visit to establish “ties of cooperation” between Cebu City and the City of Yokohama.

Rama and some department heads will leave the country two weeks after the Japanese government gave a plaque of appreciation to the Cebu City government for helping the victims of the tsunami last year.

Cebu City is the only local government unit in the country that received the recognition.

Rama said he wants to establish cooperation with the City of Yokohama on the areas of environment and solid waste management, among others.

Rama has been advocating under his administration the need to protect the environment.

The City of Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan by population after Tokyo. It is considered to be a major commercial hub in Japan.

Rama also disclosed that the City of Yokohama may be donating a bus, an addition to the city’s fleet of Kaohsiung buses from its sister city in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

”They signified to give us a bus when they visited us here as an act of generosity but we will just have to wait for it until it comes,” he said.

Rama’s trip to Japan is sponsored by the City of Yokohama. The Cebu City government has no allocations under its P5.2-billion budget this year for foreign travels.

Rama will be back by April 1. (PNA) scs/EB/re

1st building in Amalfi Oasis at SRP done

By (PNA)

DCT/EB/bh


CEBU CITY, March 24 (PNA) -- The first building of Amalfi Oasis, the Italian-inspired retreat by the sea at the South Road Properties in Cebu City, is now 100 percent complete and is undergoing punch listing before delivery, an executive said.

”Our teams are meticulously inspecting every detail of the project to certify that the requirements unit buyers are met,” said Filinvest Land Inc.’s first vice president for Visayas-Mindanao Tristan Las Marias.

”Construction of utility lines for power, water, sewer treatment, and cables for telephone, TV and Internet is also underway. These will be available for the first batch of residents by June,” he said.

The Amalfi Oasis in the Citta di Mare in Cebu is a resort-style mid-rise residential community that conjures the charm of its namesake, the Costiera Amalfitana in Campania, Italy.

Famed for its dramatic cliffs and coastal scenery, it was a popular holiday destination among European upper class and aristocrats in the 1920s to 30s’.

Just like its namesake, Amalfi Oasis captivates the discerning tastes of home buyers who indulgences in grand vacations and lives for the sweet pleasures of life.

The first cluster to be developed on the 390,484 square-meter joint venture properties with the Cebu City Government, Amalfi Oasis is an “aspirational retreat by the sea.”

”Construction of the second Amalfi Oasis building is also underway. With 100 percent of the structural works completed, it had its topping off in October last year and is now undergoing architectural finishing works,” said Las Marias.

“It will be ready for turnover by the last quarter of 2012,” he said.

With 20-meter-wide landscaped walkways and bike lanes and car-free zones, Amalfi Oasis is a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood perfect for those who yearn for a carefree lifestyle.

8 US firms to set up shop in Cebu

By Aileen Garcia-Yap

Cebu Daily News


Cebu is no longer just a call center haven. It’s maturing into higher value services. The boom in business process outsourcing (BPO) has actually shown a changed trend with non-voice services leading the way, according to an investment official. “There are more non-voice processes done here now,” said Joel Mari Yu, managing director of the Cebu Investment Promotion Center (CIPC), the marketing arm of Cebu City government. Yu said there are more employees working for knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) companies in Cebu doing higher level work like accounting, research, medical coding, medical billing, and computer programming than those working in call centers. “Based on our last data, we have 52 companies into KPO hiring 45,000 people out of the 75,000 direct employment in outsourcing companies. This leaves only 30,000 people working in call centers now,” said Yu. He added that at least eight American outsourcing companies have confirmed plans to set up offices in Cebu since January. This developed despite fears of the adverse effects to the Philippines of a pending anti-outsourcing bill pending in the United States Congress and supported by US President Barack Obama. Yu said that even with the US protectionist stance, Cebu is being visited by many BPO firms interested to open offices here. “In the past, we only got one to two visits every month. I have already met and got confirmations from eight companies within the first two months of this year,” Yu said. “This is what I have been saying. The bill will never slow down our outsourcing industry but will instead encourage more. Outsourcing is today’s reality if you want to be a globally competitive company,” he said. He said these companies will need 4,000 and 5,000 employees to man their offices. “Companies like EXL, HCCA, United Health Care, Promet and Talleco have already confirmed that they will open offices here. Ironically, most of these are American companies,” said Yu. “These are mostly higher-end outsourcing services that will help provide opportunities for our graduates especially the nurses who can work as medical coders because the company will need people who have knowledge in the medical science,” said Yu. The outsourcing industry has enjoyed a boom since 2004 in Cebu, starting with call centers that relied on a large pool of young, English-speaking college graduates. Yu said he expects more non-voice companies to come to Cebu this year because of the availability of capable manpower. “Cebu will continue to be an attractive destination for these companies. To ensure that we sustain that, we build capability by making sure the three critical areas are taken care of, he said. He said these are hardware or the infrastructure, software or the business environment, and the “peopleware” or a sustained supply of appropriate manpower. Cebu City was ranked the no. 1 “emerging global outsourcing destination” among 50 top sites worldwide in a 2009 2009 survey by Tholons, an international consultancy firm. It was the second year Cebu City received this rating based on criteria of scale and quality of workforce, infrastructure, business catalyst, risk profile, cost and quality of life. Following Cebu in second and third places were cities of Shanghai and Beijing. Several industry experts said the Philippines has already overtaken India as the BPO capital of the world. BPO and ICT (information and communication technology) companies are centered mostly in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao cities.

DTI to hold trade seminar in Cebu

By Fayette C. Ri�en


CEBU CITY, March 22 (PIA) -- Doors to more business opportunities are open to Cebu businessmen abroad as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) initiates a seminar on ‘Doing Business with Australia and New Zealand,’ which is slated tomorrow, March 23 at a posh hotel here in Cebu City.

The seminar aims to increase awareness of Cebu companies on how to effectively access the Australian and New Zealand markets.

Likewise, the activity will inform the participants on how to avail of the benefits from reduced or eliminated tariffs under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Foreign Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and the various procedures and documentary requirements on availing these benefits.

Trade Assistant Secretary Ramon Vicente Kabigting of the Bureau of International Trade Relations will lead the key resource persons from the DTI. Other speakers include Director Senen Perlada of the Bureau of Export Trade Promotion, Anthony Weymouth of the Australian Trade Commission, Hernando Banal of the NZ Trade and Enterprise and officers from the Bureau of Customs.

Such DTI undertaking is part of the agency’s business education drive to improve access of Philippine products and services to non-traditional markets such as Australia and New Zealand, and for Philippine companies to avail of the benefits from reduced or eliminated tariff barriers under the AANZFTA.

Target participants are exporters, importers and customs brokers particularly those who have trade engagements (both export & import) with Australia and New Zealand or those who intend to trade with these countries.

The AANZFTA is a highly comprehensive economic agreement participated in by the Philippines and it covers trade in goods, services, investments, intellectual property, e-commerce, entry of business people, and economic cooperation.

Entered into force in January 2010, the agreement is also the most comprehensive FTA that ASEAN has ever negotiated.

Under the AANZFTA, 96.4 percent and 84.7 percent of all products that may be imported by Australia and New Zealand, respectively, can already enter their markets at zero tariffs. As such, this reduces the cost of doing business for Philippine exporters.

Tomorrow’s activity is in cooperation with the Australian Trade Commission and the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. (PIA-Cebu with DTI 7)

MGB-7, industrial sand and gravel operators to put up mine rehab fund

By Hazel F. Gloria


CEBU CITY, March 21 (PIA) -- The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB-7) in Central Visayas and five industrial sand and gravel (ISAG) permit holders operating within the Sanpangdaku River in Toledo City, Cebu have signed a memorandum of agreement on March 20 to set up a Mine Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) of half a million pesos.

MGB-7 regional director Loreto Alburo explained that the Mine Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) was put up to cover expenses for the environmental monitoring and indemnification of damages caused by the project and to sustain rehabilitation of any adverse effect from mining operation or activity.

The P500,000 Mine Rehab fund was collected from the five industrial sand and gravel operators to be used for physical and social rehabilitation of areas and communities affected by the sand and gravel extraction and processing operations Each ISAG permit holder was required to contribute P100,000 for the MRF and it was maintained in a government depository bank, Alburo added.

Alburo identified these ISAG operators within the Sapangdaku River covering portions of seven barangays in Toledo City as Maria Celeste Dolino with13.5421hectares; Carino Obiso, 9.5304 hectares; Ophelio Dolino, 5.24 hectares; Humphrey Benitez, 8.3619 hectares; and Gina Besañes, 7.7640 hectares. As contained in the MOA, the permit holder shall establish and maintain an MRF as a reasonable environmental deposit to ensure availability of funds for its satisfactory compliance with its environmental commitments.

The MRF shall be in three forms: Monitoring Trust Fund (MRF), Rehabilitation Cash Fund (RCF), and the Final Mine Rehabilitation and Decommissioning Fund (FMRDF).

With the establishment of the MRF, a Mine Rehabilitation Fund Committee (MRFC) composed of MGB-7 regional director as chair with DENR-7 regional executive director as co-chair with Toledo City Mayor and the president of Toledo City Environmental Protection Assn.(TOCEPA) as members.

Relative to this the MGB-7 constituted a Multi-partite Monitoring Team (MMT) to conduct a periodic monitoring on the compliance of certain environmental provisions. (mbcn/hfg/PIA-7& DENR-7)

Mayor Rama asks council to allow sale of SRP lots

By (PNA)

RMA/EB/re


CEBU CITY, March 20 (PNA) – Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has challenged the Cebu City council, which is dominated by members of the Bando Osmena Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), to allow him to sell parts of the South Road Properties (SRP).

Rama said the challenge was to sell the SRP because there was no real estate that would postpone its marketing.

The advice, he said, came from Joel Mari Yu and Bo Varquez of the Cebu Investment Promotions Council (CIPC), the marketing arm of the SRP.

Varquez said he received instructions from the mayor to accept and evaluate any interest to buy or lease property at SRP.

Rama said that if the city government could sell SRP through its 2013 estimated price this year, then why not sell parcels of the SRP now?

Rama said CIPC has designated some lots that can be sold.

He earlier showed reporters a map of the SRP, bearing 12 parcels of lots with land area ranging from 2,300 to 3,000 square meters called “small cut lots.”

These are located beside the development of SM Prime Holdings Inc. These are the properties that Rama wants to sell.

Rep. Tomas Osmena has said the SRP should only be sold when SM and Filinvest Land Inc. have erected their buildings in the area because by then, the city can sell the property at about P40,000 per square meter.

Rama said he will only sell the SRP at no less than P30,000 square meters.

He said there were already a number of prospective buyers, including boxing champion and congressman, Manny Pacquiao.

Rama believes now is the best time to sell because 2013 is election period and the focus next year will be on the campaign.

“There is no urgency but the SRP is not there so that it will become a North Reclamation Area (NRA),” Rama said.

The NRA was reclaimed in the 1970s but was largely undeveloped by those who bought lands in the area.

Rama said he would also make sure that those who sell or lease the SRP would utilize the property for job generation.

‘Cebu mayor: Keep senior employees over 60

By ETB of Sun.Star Cebu


CEBU CITY -- Mayor Michael Rama wants the senior citizens working in the Cebu City Abattoir to stay, despite a department head’s recommendation to no longer renew their contracts.

At least 12 butchers, cleaners and helpers in the slaughterhouse -- with ages ranging from 60 to 75 -- stand to lose their jobs.

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Rama clarified his administration won’t discriminate against the elderly as long as they can perform their functions.

“Kay naa pa may mga edaran nga kusgan pa, pwede pa, kaya pa (Some of the elderly remain strong and capable of working). Maybe they can be assigned in other areas,” Rama said.

The mayor instructed City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete to handle the concerns of the elderly in the City’s abattoir.

City Veterinarian Alice Utlang earlier said she is only implementing City Ordinance 2189 or the Meat for Public Consumption Regulatory Ordinance.

That ordinance states that all workers at the abattoir should not be less than 18 years old or more than 60 years old.

Utlang recalled that one senior citizen worker figured in an accident last year when he slid on the slaughterhouse floor, and she wants to prevent similar events.

Poblete, in a separate interview, said he already met with the concerned workers last week and they asked for reconsideration.

The city administrator said the affected workers knew about the ordinance and understood what it was for.

“I already met these workers and I noticed that some of them are still strong and active and I think they are still capable of doing their job,” Poblete said.

He clarified, however, that the ordinance hasn’t been amended and the City can’t compromise on the safety of the workers in the slaughterhouse.

Poblete said one of their agreements was to let the senior citizens’ sons work at the abattoir as their replacements.

The city administrator has to meet again with the concerned butchers, cleaners and helpers to resolve the issue.

He said the senior citizen workers may be allowed to enter the slaughterhouse’s premises until the expiration of their permit or license.

‘BE ALERT FOR RH BILL’

By Ador Vincent Mayol and Fe Marie Dumaboc


Cebu Church, pro-life groups watch Congress


Be on guard. Pro-life advocates across the country are preparing for a tough week ahead to ensure the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill doesn't get passed in the House of Representatives before lawmakers go on a break for the Holy Week. Around 100 people yesterday rallied at the Plaza Sugbo across Cebu City Hall to counter plans to pass the bill within the week. “This is our quick response to the red alert in the House of Representatives. There is a move on Monday to March 23, which is the last day of Congress sessions to pass the RH Bill,” said Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer, Human Life International director. Pro-life advocates are set to rally at the Batasan complex tomorrow as proponents of the RH bill try to start votation on whether the bill will be enacted into law. “We are too confident that the bill won't be passed. We should not be complacent,” Bullecer told Cebu Daily News. “All pro-life advocates must be there (House of Representatives). We have to continue praying between now and next week.” Yesterday's activity dubbed “Lenten Walk for Life” gathered Cebu city government officials like Mayor Michael Rama, Councilor Edgardo Labella, Rep. Rachel Marguerite “Cutie” del Mar of the north district and her father Raul. “Don't worry if others failed to attend this activity as long as their principle in opposing the RH bill stays,” said Mayor Rama, who spoke after the Mass. “It is not the number that counts,” he added. As the ninth child of of 13 Rama siblings, the mayor said he would not have been born if there was an RH bill during his time. Rama said parents should be responsible in raising their children. “My parents have 13 children and all of us finished schooling. All of us have good manners,” he said. Rally participants wore white T-shirts and carried banners with the statements “Defend Life. No to RH Bill,” “Protect Life,” and “Sugpuon ang RH Bill (Counter the RH Bill).” They converged at the Plaza Independencia then walked to the Cebu City Hall plaza where a Mass was officiated by Msgr. Esteban Binghay. Bullecer said they learned by Rep. Pablo Garcia of Cebu's 2nd district about attempts of some congressmen to push the passage of the RH bill within the week as a “gift” timed for Women's Month as well as to President Benigno Aquino III. “We know that pro-RH advocates have the support of President Aquino as well as the president of the House of Representatives,” Bullecer said. In his homily, Msgr. Binghay urged the people to fight for Christian values that uphold the sanctity of life. “There are those who dictate to us what to do even if it is wrong. We should strive hard and stand up for the Lord,” said Binghay, episcopal vicar of the Archdiocese of Cebu. He invoked Blessed Pedro Calungsod, a Visayan youth martyr who is set to be canonized on Oct. 21. “Pedro shed his blood (for the faith). Can we also do the same? Maybe, we would not shed blood but sweat in fighting for the kingdom of God,” said Binghay. Representative Del Mar said she was optimistic that lawmakers will say a “big No” when they are asked to vote on whether or not to pass the RH bill. Out of 283 congressmen, Del Mar said 161 are against the RH bill. At least 144 votes are needed for the bill will be passed. “We are hopeful that the rest of congressmen will be enlightened and will go with our advocacy," she said. Del Mar said they have been visiting schools and universities to explain to student the ill effects of the RH bill on society. Her father and former congressman Raul urged pro-life advocates not to lose hope but continue to denounce the RH bill. Raul, who is a papal awardee, a recognition given during the term of Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, said authors of the of the bill has been working hard so it will be enacted into a law. Pro-life advocates will occupy the galleries of the House of Representatives to monitor the proceedings. The Del Mars made their speeches before the Mass started then left. Philippine bishops continue to lobby against the RH bill, whose provisions include public access to government-funded supplies of condoms and contraceptives. The RH Bill or the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011 is a consolidated bill authored by eighth members of the House of Representatives. The latest version of the RH bill was filed by House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman, Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, Muntinlupa City Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco Jr., Akbayan party-list Reps. Arlene Bag-ao and Walden Bello, and Gabriela party-list Reps. Luzviminda Ilagan and Emerenciana de Jesus.

Bus driver yields to police another bus mishap in south

By www.cdn.ph


A day after fleeing his overturned bus following a road accident that injured 28 passengers in Naga City, bus driver Marcial Vasquez turned himself over to the Naga City police at 10:45 a.m yesterday. Vasquez, 31, told police that he just took time to have his wounds treated. He denied allegations that he abandoned his passengers of the Benet Calvo Transport bus. The driver’s surrender came as another bus accident injured 10 persons in barangay Pitalo, San Fernando town in southern Cebu at past 6 a.m yesterday. “He did not give a lot of reasons for his conduct. He just said that he took time to have his wounds treated,” PO2 Gilmer Noval said. Police said the driver had scratches on his face and hands. Vasquez, a resident of barangay Talavera, Toledo City didn't tell [police where he went after the accident. “Some drivers involved in vehicular accidents flee because they are scared of getting mauled,” said Noval. SPO2 Ian Quitayin said Vasques's surrender wasn't voluntary since over 24 hours had passed after the accident when he turned himself in. “It is an aggravating circumstance that can be used in court upon filing of the case,” Quitayin said. But so far, none of the bus passengers have come forward to file a complaint. Police said the driver may have “miscalculated” manuevering a sharp curve in the highway in barangay Mainit, Naga. They are also checking reports that Vasquez was over-speeding or tried to overtake a vehicle that caused him to lose control of the bus. Survivors interviewed by Cebu Daily News at the hospital said the bus increased its speed upon nearing the curve, and tried to overtake a dumptruck. The bus reportedly swerved to the oppositte lane when it got sideswiped by an oncoming 10-wheeler dumptruck and overturned in a ditch. The bus turned on its side on a canal at the side of the road. Quitayin said the owner of the Calvo bus, Jovita Calvo, is paying the hospital bills of injured passengers. “But the bus owner is accountable to the passengers. They need to face this,” Quitayin said. Buslines are supposed to have “insurance” to cover their passengers , a requirement for securing a franchise from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). Quitayin said the injured bus passengers s have until 10 a.m next Tuesday to file charges otherwise they will release Vasquez. Vasquez drove a Calvo bus bearing plate GWH-253. The 29-year-old driver of the dump truck that hit the bus is still detained in the Naga police precinct. In barangay Pitalo, San Fernando town, a yellow green Isuzu Alvios mini-bus bearing plate number GWJ-748 driven by Danilo Navares crashed into an open drainage canal, injuring 10 people. The victims were identified as Alexander Navarro, 54; Angelisa Soronio, 39; Conrada Dazo, 53; Ruel Antipolo, 34; Elma Aljales, 26; Loren Laude, 32; Lilian Cabelino, 41; Corazon Zamante, 62; Nimfa Duropan, 56; and Lucresio Lucido, 73. All were brought by ambulance to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center . Navares, 41, surrendered to the Naga police. He was slightly wound on his right foot. The vehicle is owned by Robert Alcantara of Camella Homes, barangay Lawaan Talisay City. The minibus was headed to Carcar City before the accident at 6 a.m. When the vehicle reached barangay Pitalo at 6 a.m., Navares said the mechanism connected to the wheels was damaged. He said he lost control and the mini-bus rammed an open drainage at the roadside and overturned. Navares said he was driving at low speed. There were less than 20 passengers in the bus. “It was an accident,” Navares told Cebu Daily News. He said he’s been driving the Alvios mini-bus for five years and yesterday was the first time he had an accident. Police said a complaint of reckless imprudence resulting to multiple physical injuries may be filed if complainants come forward. /Rhea Ruth V. Rosell and Jhunnex Napallacan, Correspondents






Pag-IBIG declares over P8.4B dividends for 2011

By (rmn/PIA-7/HFG/Pag-IBIG)


CEBU CITY, March 16 (PIA) --- The Pag-IBIG Fund Board of Trustees approved 8.491 billion-worth of dividends for 2011. This was announced by Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, who is concurrently chairman of the Pag-IBIG Board.

Binay said the amount of dividends is equivalent to 71 percent of the Pag-IBIG’s net income for 2011. This shall be divided among the Fund’s 10.2 million members.

“In effect, individual members’ savings have earned around 4.13 percent for the year. This is definitely higher than what any bank grants to their clients,” Binay added.

Pag-IBIG Chief Executive Officer Atty. Darlene Marie Berberabe explained that based on the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9679 or the HDMF Law of 2009, the Board of Trustees is required to set aside an amount not less than 70 percent of Pag-IBIG’s annual net income to be paid to members in the form of dividends.

“The dividend earnings are proportionately credited to the member’s total savings. We wish to clarify, however, that unlike dividends provided by other financing institution, Pag-IBIG dividends may be withdrawn only at time of membership maturity, together with the member’s personal contributions and the employer share,” Berberabe said.

The dividend earnings are tax-free, she added.

Pag-IBIG members may withdraw their total savings which include all annual dividend earnings under any of the following reasons: membership maturity after 20 years and after giving 240 monthly contributions; retirement; separation from service due to health reasons; permanent departure from the country; total disability or insanity; or upon the death of the member where his legal heirs shall receive his total savings plus an additional death benefit of P6,000 or an amount equivalent to his total savings, whichever is lower.

“We take pride in the fact that the Pag-IBIG Fund has continued to sustain its financial growth through the years, making it one of the strongest and most stable financial institutions in the country today,” Berberabe continued.

“With the efforts of the management and staff of Pag-IBIG, we were able to register a gross income of P24.8 billion in 2011, 11 percent higher than our gross income level in 2010 and the biggest in 31 years. Our net income is at P11.959 billion, while our total asset level is now over P302 billion,” she said.

“But the Pag-IBIG Fund’s growth is not restricted to its finances. The past year was a year of changes, growth, and action. Our efforts to provide quality service to our members have been recognized when Pag-IBIG became ISO 9001-2008 Certified in 2011, the first among key shelter agencies,” she concluded.

Pag-IBIG Fund reassures their members that they will continue to safeguard and ensure the growth of the savings that they have entrusted to the institution.

The members—the Filipino workers – are the direct beneficiaries of all the efforts of the Fund. Every increase in its income means higher dividend rates and bigger savings for the members.






Cebu’s transport groups not joining today’s nationwide transport strike

By Fayette C. Ri�en


CEBU CITY, March 15 (PIA) -- Cebu’s transport groups voiced their support to today’s nationwide transport strike but opted not to participate. Instead, they would rather wait for the result of their petition for a P1.50 fare increase.

Ryan Yu, chairman of the Cebu Integrated Transport Services Cooperative (Citrasco) said they will file their petition for a P1.50 fare hike to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 today.

Today’s nationwide transport strike has been called by militant groups Piston and Bayan in protest to the incessant oil price hikes. Since January this year, fuel costs have spiked eight times due to the rising costs of oil per barrel in the world market.

Asteria Caberte, regional director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 explained some factors that caused the spiraling hikes of petroleum products. “Syria is in political turmoil and it is a major oil player while the US is stockpiling on its oil inventory for production in anticipation of the summer months while its economy is improving. We have a strict supply and a growing demand in the country,” which is heavily dependent on imported fuel, said Caberte.

Yu said their fare hike petition will increase minimum fare of public utility jeepneys (PUJs) from the current P7.50 to P9 for the first five kilometers and an additional P.75 for every succeeding kilometer.

Citrasco, Yu said, is supported by PUJ and taxi operators in the province.

Meanwhile, Caberte said the proposal of Sen. Ralph Recto to reduce the value-added tax on oil from the current 12 percent to 10 percent will definitely help the consumers amid concerns that the frequent oil price hikes will have a big impact on prices of basic goods and commodities.

“But there must be a balance since the VAT is a major revenue-generation source of the government. And this might affect the funding for social services,” Caberte bared. (PIA-Cebu)

Chinese firm explores for oil in southern Cebu town

By (PNA)

LDV/EB/bh


CEBU CITY, March 14 (PNA) – Officials of an oil exploration firm from China said their company is willing to spend millions to explore for oil and natural gas in the hinterlands of the southwestern town of Alegria, some 118 kilometers from Cebu City, at no cost to the local government.

They also said they can find oil or natural gas in commercial quantity, the company is willing for a sharing scheme of 60 percent to the local government and 40 percent to the contractor.

Alan Stawicki, chief operating officer of China International Mining Petroleum Company Limited, said if their study reveals the site can produce 100 barrels of oil per day, which is considered commercial quantity, they will proceed with the production phase and bring in extraction equipment.

Department of Energy (DOE)-Visayas Director Antonio Labios said the company’s contract in Alegria covers 25 years.

Of the 60 percent share for the local government, 20 percent goes to the provincial government, 45 percent to the municipality and 35 percent to the barangay, said Engr. Eduardo Amante of the DOE Energy Research Development and Utilization Division.

The firm has already conducted a site survey. Once it gets Cebu Capitol approval, it will start drilling and conduct an underground study.

It was reported earlier that residents in the town’s hinterlands are using liquid from the mountain and using this as fuel to light up their homes or to cook food.

Stawicki said they need to know if there is a source, if there is a reservoir rock and if there is enough pressure to extract the oil.

”For sure we know that the local population uses that oil, but we still don’t know the adequate reservoir rock,” he said.

Stawicki said the firm will have to spend USD25 million before it can see its first drop of oil, so there must be enough supply for it to recoup its investment and make a profit.

Cebu City Hall still to identify P5-M aid source

By Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters


CEBU City officials still have to determine where to source the P5-million cash advance for the fire victims of barangay Pardo as of yesterday. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said some fire victims of barangay Pardo slept on top of tombs at the Pardo Cemetery since last Friday. He said some of them even came to him to complain about their conditions. “I want the P10,000 individual cash assistance released ASAP,” said Rama during his noontime press conference yesterday. The cash aid is on top of the food, clothing and building materials allocated to the affected residents. “We will have to determine later where to charge the expense. The important thing is that we already have a cash advance for the purpose,” Rama said. The cash assistance will also be allocated to the fire victims in barangay Suba. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWS) would be asked to come up with a guideline for the release of the financial assistance, the mayor said. Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young said the council needs to determine where to source the appropriation for the P5-million cash advance. He said finding funds for cash aid would test Rama’s ability to identify fund sources for city expenses. “The mayor should know better if there is enough money or not. But these are problems that can be solved later. And for as long as we could afford it, we (at the city council) are willing to give it,” he said. Rama said the city government is already spending a lot on food, relief goods and building materials for the fire victims. He met with City Fire Marshal Anderson Comar to discuss a campaign to raise public consciousness on avoiding fires. Rama asked for a Mass to be celebrated at the basilica at 5:30 p.m. yesterday to ask for divine intervention. “The situation (occurrence of fires in the city) is no longer a joke,” he said. The mayor also ordered for a speedy reblocking of the fire affected areas in Suba and Pardo. Reblocking would open an access road of about 10 meters wide in urban poor communities affected by fire. What remains of the fire site would be equally divided among the occupants for them to rebuilt their shanties in the area. Rama said he would consider reblocking in thickly populated areas if the occupants themselves requested to make an access road available in their area.

Poverty and women's social issues linked, says Cebu prof

By (PIA-Cebu)


CEBU CITY, March 12 (PIA) -- Filipino women are prone to prostitution and human trafficking syndicates of poverty, thus there is a need for education campaigns and passing of legislation such as the local ordinance on cyber pornography.

This was the assessment of University of the Philippines-Cebu College associate professor Dr. Rhodora Bucoy who said that there is a definite link between poverty and these social ills. Thus, she information and education campaigns are needed to help address such social issues.

“Though much have been achieved by Filipino women today compared to before, there is still a lot to be done to attain total women empowerment,” Bucoy stressed during a recent PIA forum that tackled the celebration of March as Women’s Month. She expressed hope that the ordinance on cyber pornography will be finalized this month.

Bucoy is also the coordinator of Sidlak–Gender Resource Center 7, a non-government organization that fights for the magna carta for women particularly on gender and development and women empowerment.

The pro-women advocate also hailed the active involvement of the Cebu City Government on passing measures and initiating programs that promote the overall welfare of women.

Among the pro-women legislative ordinances passed in the Cebu City Council included on anti-trafficking, kasambahay and the Gender and Development (GAD) Code of Cebu City.

According to Camila Santina of the Cebu City Women’s and Family Affairs Commission, “Cebu City Councilor Leah Japson is working hard to ensure that the rights of women are always recognized which is why she made sure that local legislations for women are instituted.”

“There will also be a public hearing on the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance on March 14,” Santina said.

Among the activities that were organized for the observance of Women’s Month in Cebu City included a forum and information sharing on the ‘Rights of Migrant Workers’ last March 9 and another forum on March 21 on Climate Change as the theme this year centers on ‘Women Weathering Climate Change: Governance and Accountability, Everyone’s Responsibility.’





Cebu fire kills 3 people

By Davinci S. Maru


CEBU CITY (Updated) -- Although weak and suffering from arthritis, 75-year-old Esperanza Aberion braved the flames in an attempt to save her sleeping nephew.

The effort killed her.

Aberion was among the three persons who died when a blaze broke out in Upper Lusimba, Barangay Poblacion-Pardo, Cebu City Saturday morning.

The two others were identified as Rosalie Tagacanao, 36, and her nephew Raphael James, 6.

It was the eighth fire to strike in the last six days, making for a fiery start to Fire Prevention Month.

Tagacanao and her nephew were trapped inside what used to be a rattan factory owned by their family. Fire department officials believe the fire started there, but have yet to confirm this theory.

Three more members of the family suffered from burn wounds while trying to get out of their house. They are Rosalie’s father Husto, 65, and nephews Raymond Wane, 7, and Ralph Laurence, 10.

About 22 houses were gutted while three others were damaged in the fire.

Three parked passenger multicabs were also not spared inside the Tagacanaos’ compound, which stood near a public cemetery.

Cebu City Fire Marshal Aderson Comar said they received the fire alarm at 9:58 a.m. but the blaze was declared under control after eight minutes.

Damage to property was pegged at P300,000. It is not yet clear what cause the fire.

Narrow roads made it hard for firefighters to penetrate the area, Comar said.

Mini-fire trucks managed to get in, but were hampered by the lack of water. They could only carry enough supply for five minutes of firefighting.

Another problem surfaced: a fire truck lost its brakes and had to be smashed onto a wall to avoid bigger trouble, Comar said.

“Naa gyu’y mga kakulian nga dili kapugngan (There are some misfortunes we can’t prevent),” he said.

Ignored?

Five of the eight fires that have struck so far this month were labeled as working fires while three were non-working, meaning these weren’t able to do much damage.

The biggest yet was in Barangay Suba, which displaced 464 families or 2,204 individuals.

“I will always remind the public that every day is fire prevention day,” Comar added.

A 17-year-old college student, who asked not to be named, told Sun.Star Cebu that she immediately dashed to the fire sub-station near the area but was disappointed.

She recalled how she informed a fireman about the incident, but was allegedly told the fire truck wasn’t available.

“Na-shock ko. Naboang siya? Unsa’y iyang gusto? Pahuwaton ang kayo? Wa gyu’y kapuslanan (I was shocked. Was he crazy? Did he want the flames to wait? It was useless),” the student said.

Comar, on the other hand, rose to the station’s defense by explaining the truck was used for an assessment meeting.

A fire truck from Barangay Quiot-Pardo was already on standby in case something cropped up, he said.

Survivors

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Tagacanao, 40, explained that no one was inside the factory during the incident. He said his sister Rosalie and nephew probably wandered inside the factory because of the smoke.

Jeffrey, who lives in Barangay Lagtang, Talisay City, rushed to the scene when he heard the news.

The factory, which was converted into an auto shop, was closed in the 1990s. Only some finished products such as chairs were stored inside.

His mother Genobeba, 65, was sewing inside the house when she heard someone shouting of a fire.

Esperanza’s nephew, the one she was trying to save, got out safely from a two-storey house.

Her husband Dominic, 65, a lay minister, was in the Pardo Parish Church taking a break from cleaning when he was informed about the news.

Dominic, who also worked before as a correspondent for a local radio station, went home to the sight of his wife’s charred body.

He lamented he wasn’t able to say anything to Esperanza that morning as he left early for work. They didn’t have a child in 47 years of marriage. (Sun.Star Cebu)






Cebu Council of Administrative and Personnel Officers Inc. elects its 2012 officials

By Hazel F. Gloria


CEBU CITY, March 10 (PIA) -- The Cebu Council of Administrative and Personnel Officers (CCAPO), Inc. recently convened and elected its new set of officers for 2012 at the Civil Service Commission (CSC)-7 Regional Office, Cebu City.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau-7 Administrative Officer Atty. Gerry Mahinay was elected president of the organization. The CCAPO is a creation of the CSC which is composed of personnel and administrative officers of the various government offices. The council is authorized to elect such other officers from among its members and to fix its own rules of procedures concerning attendance at meetings, approval of policy declarations, and other business matters.

The council functions as an adviser in developing constructive policies, standards, procedures, and programs as well as on matters relating to the improvement of personnel methods and to the solution of personnel problems confronting the various departments and agencies of the government.

Atty. Mahinay said they will try to revive the membership of the association and to familiarize themselves with the procedures, ways and laws since most of the elected officers are new in the association. (MBCN/HFG-PIA 7)

DENR urge public to protect, conserve caves

By Hazel F. Gloria


CEBU CITY, March 9 (PIA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-7 Regional Executive Director Maximo Dichoso recently urged the public to support the campaign for the protection and conservation of caves.

Dichoso made the call as caves are non-renewable natural resources with important scientific, economic, educational, cultural, historical, and aesthetic values.

Caves are any naturally occurring void, cavity, recess or system of interconnected passages beneath the surface of the earth or within a cliff or ledge located either in private or public land. It is large enough to permit an individual to enter and is either naturally-formed or man-made.

Caves are also home to specialized mineral formations with unique and diverse flora and fauna, he said.

Cave protection and conservation is one of the priority programs of DENR Secretary Ramon JP Paje.

The protection and conservation of caves is mandated under Republic Act 9072 otherwise known as the “National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act” which was passed on April 8, 2001.

Under this Act, DENR is tasked to formulate, develop and implement a national program for the management, protection and conservation of caves and cave resources with agencies such as the National Museum, National Historical Institute, Department of Tourism, and local government units concerned.

The law considers as prohibited acts the following: destroying, disturbing, defacing, marring, altering, removing or harming the speleogen or speleothem of any cave or altering the free movement of any animal or plant in or out of any cave.


Dichoso also cited the gathering, collecting, possessing, consuming, selling, bartering or exchanging or offering for sale of any cave resource without authority as violations of said law.

Data from the Protected Areas, Wildlife and Coastal Zone and Management Services (PAWCZMS) revealed that 352 caves have been recorded, discovered and mapped since the start of the implementation of the Caves Management and Conservation Program in 1994 in Central Visayas.

Bohol has the most number of caves in Central Visayas with 190 or 53.98%, followed by Cebu with 146 caves or 41.48%, Siquijor with 10 or 2.84% ,and Negros Oriental with six or 1.70%.

Caves may be open for public view only after the result of the Rapid and Detailed Cave Assessment conducted by the DENR Regional Cave Assessment and Classification Team (RCAST) has been issued.

“Open caves do serve special purposes such as sites for educational tour, exploration, survey, and mapping, scientific research and venues for cultural and religious practices,” he said.(rmn/PIA-7/hfg/DENR-7)

Cebu City Council approves City Hall consultants

By (PNA)

LAP/FFC/EB/re


CEBU CITY, March 8 (PNA) – Four former Cebu City councilors retained their post as consultants of the Office of the Mayor and Office of the vice mayor, while another former councilor returns to City Hall as consultant on barangay affairs.

The Cebu City Council has authorized Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young to sign the renewal of the contracts of former councilors Procopio Fernandez, Manuel Legaspi, Arsenio Pacana and Rengelle Pelayo, former Cebu City Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation chairperson.

Former city councilor Edwin Jagmoc was also tapped as consultant for barangay affairs under the Office of the Mayor, with P18,000 monthly compensation.

Procopio Fernandez, a lawyer, will serve as the mayor’s consultant on cooperative and livelihood concerns, while Legaspi, also a lawyer, will serve as consultant for legal and administrative concerns.

Pacana will serve as consultant on tourism and heritage concerns and religious affairs, while Pelayo will be the consultant of the Office of the Chairman, Committee on Youth and Sports commission under the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

The council also approved the consultancy contracts of Crispin Torres, a geodetic engineer, as consultant of the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) and the Squatters Prevention, Elimination and Encroachment Division (Speed); former Ombudsman director Edgardo Canton as consultant of the Office of Committee on Laws, Ordinances, Public Accountability and Good Government; lawyer Rico Tautho as legal consultant under the Office of the Vice Mayor; lawyer Llewelyn Menchavez-Porta as consultant on legislative matters under the Office of the Vice Mayor; and Jose Ma. Eugenio Elizalde as consultant on property management and organizational review and management under the Office of the Mayor.

AFP Central Command remains loyal to chain of command, spokesperson says

By (PNA)

LAP/EB/re


CEBU CITY, March 7 (PNA) – The officers and personnel of the Cebu-based Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command (Centcom) remain loyal to the chain of command, a spokesperson said.

Lt. Col. Christopher Tampus, Centcom spokesperson, also said there have been no reports of recruitment for a destabilization effort against the government among their men throughout Visayas.

The Centcom, based in Camp Lapu-Lapu in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City, is the biggest among all area commands in the country.

It encompasses all the three regions in the Visayas, namely, Regions 6, 7 and 8.

Tampus said that the morale of their men and women are high and if ever some people would try to recruit them for destabilization efforts, the soldiers would not be lured as their needs are well taken care of.

Tampus said they conduct daily and weekly assemblies to hear the concerns of their men with the promise of a resolution to ensure loyalty and support from their troops.

Tampus said Lt. Gen. Ralph Villanueva, Centcom Commander, have been visiting all detachments in the Visayas to know first hand the problems of their troops.

DA 7 urged metro residents to do urban gardening

By Fayette C. Ri�en


CEBU CITY, March 6 (PIA) -- Agriculture officials here urged metro residents to do urban gardening and plant vegetables in their backyard or in plain pots to address the insufficient supply of high-value crops in the region.

Jorge Paculba, chief of the crops division of the Department of Agriculture (DA) 7 said the region is only about 56 percent sufficient in vegetables or high-value crops and that most of our supply is imported from other regions.

“A rising population sparking greater demand for vegetables and the existing 89 hotels plus pension houses and 116 restaurants in Cebu make it hard to achieve self-sufficiency in high-value crops,” Paculba declared.

“Last year, our production went down compared to in 2010 especially on eggplants, broccoli and onions,” Paculba declared.

The DA 7 official said that in order to increase our supply of vegetables, we need to do urban gardening so that the vegetable plants we produce in our own homes are just what we consume for our needs.

Paculba cited Cebu which only has three percent of its lands categorized as agricultural. “Cebu’s population is always on the rise while only three percent of its total lands are classified as agricultural lands. Thus, the province depends largely on imports for its veggie needs,” the DA 7 official added.

Under the Agricultural Roadmap in Response to Increasing Demand and Climate Change 2011-2016, the DA 7 aims to increase the vegetable sufficiency level of the region from 56.26 percent in 2011 to 66.32 percent in 2016 by providing production, post-harvest, and processing equipment and facilities.

The DA 7 is also partnering with the Dep Ed in the National Greening Program where vegetable seedlings are given to schools to be planted by students in their school gardens.

Paculba also advised farmers to utilize even sloping lands for vegetable planting known as contour farming.

The High Value Crops Development Program of the DA is one of its priority programs aimed at helping address food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable growth. (PIA-Cebu)






2013 polls will test waters for presidential wannabes, Sen. Marcos says

By (PNA)

DCT/LAP/EB/re


CEBU CITY, March 5 (PNA) -– The 2013 mid-term elections can be a gauge for anyone who wants to run for President in the 2016 elections, especially the performance of their political parties, said Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Marcos, son of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, has been consistently rumored to run for President in 2016 under the Nacionalista Party (NP).

However, he said in a press conference at Radisson Blue Sunday that it’s too early to talk about politics, and anybody who wants to lead the country after President Benigno Aquino III must observe the 2013 election and study its outcome.

He said that most political leaders are interested in knowing how the Liberal Party, the administration party, will perform in next year’s elections considering that some of them are not real party members, but joined LP as a result of Aquino’s popularity during the May 10, 2010 elections.

”We must see how strong the LP candidates are. How much will they do. We must see their performance,” Marcos said.

As an example of how important it is to observe the election next year, he said that a political party will become strong or stronger after the 2013 elections if many of its candidates for senators, congressmen and local officials will win.

He said he doesn’t think any politician with presidential ambition will decide to run for president now without waiting for the result of the 2013 election.

Marcos said another factor to consider are the local officials -- municipal mayors, city mayors and governors who are under the supervision of the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG), which is under Secretary Jesse Robredo, a close friend of Aquino.

In the same press conference, Marcos said they will be inviting Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to join the NP ticket if she decides to run for senator.

Separate shootings claim 2 lives

By Davinci S. Maru and Justin K. Vestil


A MAN tagged as a notorious burglar was killed in Barangay Tisa, Cebu City at dawn yesterday. The victim was identified as 30-year-old Larry Morria. An unidentified gunman shot him four times in the torso. Homicide investigator Geoffrey Gutual told Sun.Star Cebu the victim was in and out of prison. “Notado gyud ni siya. Mangunay kuno ni ug silingan (He was known as a criminal. He would even victimize his neighbors),” he said. The sound of gunshots woke some residents, including PO2 Omar Cordova, at 4:50 a.m. Cordova, who is assigned in the Cebu City Police Office’s Investigation and Detective Management Branch, immediately called the Punta Princesa Police Station for backup. Morria’s body was found in a grassy lot in Sitio Mohon Dos. Caught Some keys and a hammer were recovered from his possession, which police believe to be the tools of his trade. In a separate incident, Wilson Alvez and Jason Sabares were arrested at the North Reclamation Area after they allegedly dismantled and ran away with a policeman’s motorcycle. The incident happened around 3 a.m. Ginido Gilbuena parked his motorcycle on Junquera Ext., Barangay Sta. Cruz for an operation. When he left, the suspects dismantled his motorcycle and then loaded it into a public utility jeepney. However, the incident was witnessed by barangay officials, who immediately alerted the police. They caught up with Alvez and Sabares, who were headed for Danao City. At 3:40 a.m., Harold Pasiculan, 31, was shot dead in Lapu-Lapu City. No motive yet Pasiculan, a resident of Sitio Datag, Barangay Maribago, was walking in Barangay Ibo when two men on a motorcycle approached him. A witness said the man in the back pulled out a gun and fired at Pasiculan twice. The victim was able to run a few meters, but he fell. The gunman shot him again before fleeing. PO3 Winston Ybañez of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office Crimes against Persons Desk said yesterday they have yet to determine the motive for the shooting. Ybañez said Pasiculan was reportedly drinking with a friend in the barangay before the incident.

DSWD-7 solicits public's support for vigilance against Text scam

By Hazel F. Gloria


CEBU CITY, March 2 (PIA) --- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-7) warned the public against text scams especially those which target Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries.

In a press statement, DSWD-7 said that the text scams target also Pantawid Pamilya implementers and other stakeholders, including media partners. DSWD-7 information officer Aileen Lariba noted that these scammers identify themselves with the Office of the President.

“Text scams is one of the dirtiest and most shameful source of livelihood. Those practicing this act are swindlers capitalizing on man’s needs and destroying whatever trust individuals built on society they are in, creating an atmosphere of mistrust, false accusations and false hopes,” Lariba stated.

These scammers want to make their texts look legal by citing DTI permit numbers, promo title and unbelievable winning amounts making the recipients believe that they are going to be instant millionaires, DSWD-7 press release read.

However, unwitting victims are asked to deposit certain amount as miscellaneous fees or pre-paid loads prior to the release of the winning amount, Lariba said.

According to the release, most text scams would look like this: “Congratulations! From: PRESIDENT NOY-NOY AQUINO FOUNDATION. 4PS-PANTAWID PAMILYANG PILIPINO PROGRAM. Your SIM# won! PHP950,000.00 2nd prize winner, “Handog pang-kabuhayan” raffle promo! DTI 0154s’11. CALL ME NOW LEA RAMOS #09152655877.”

DSWD-7 asks the public to immediately report to Pantawid Pamilya’s Grievance Redress Hotline at tel. no. 0918-912-2813 any similar text/SMS received.

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is a poverty alleviation strategy of the national government that gives conditional cash grants to poor households with children 0-14 years old for their health and education.

Pre-set conditions for health include pre and post natal check-up for pregnant women, immunization, weighing and attendance to family development sessions in order to receive the P500/month grant. (mbcn/hfg/PIA-7 & DSWD-7)






Quake victims get lower-priced goods

By Fayette C. Ri�en


CEBU CITY, February 28 (PIA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 recently provided quake victims access basic goods at lower prices through a two-day Diskwento Caravan in quake-hit towns of La Libertad and Jimalalud in Negros Oriental.

DTI 7 Regional Director Asteria Caberte said they invited selected distributors to sell directly to the consumers at distributor’s price.


Items sold during the Diskwento Caravan last February 21 and 22 included coffee, milk, beverages, breakfast meal, detergent bar and powder, bath soap, toiletries, canned meat and sardines, batteries with free flashlight, among others.


But the most saleable items were the laundry detergent bar and powder, bath soap and shampoo, milk, coffee, and batteries, this is said.

The said caravan in both towns attracted around 1,566 consumers and garnered total sales of P242,782.30, the DTI 7 disclosed.

La Libertad and Jimalalud towns incurred the heaviest damage along with Gihulngan City in Negros Oriental after the province was hit by a 6.9 magnitude quake that totally and partially damaged some roads, bridges, ports, residential and business establishments.

A few days after the quake, the DTI 7 immediately organized the Diskwento Caravan in Gihulngan City.

The participating distributors in the caravan were Island Merchants Corp. selling Nestle products, Macro Distributors Inc., Unilever, Chiara & Hannah’s Marketing and Consuelo Supermart. The National Food Authority also retailed rice.

The caravans boosted the supply situation in the calamity stricken areas, according to the DTI 7.

Distributors in Negros Oriental on the other hand, have started supplying their accounts up to Guihulngan since two weeks ago. Some stores in Gihulngan City are already opened and sold basic and prime commodities at no price increase.

Caberte, together with the DTI Negros Oriental team, recently conducted a random price monitoring of basic and prime commodities sold within the calamity-stricken areas.

In Jimalalud, however, the team found that some products were above the Suggested Retail Prices (SRPs). The DTI 7 at once instructed the concerned store owners to change their prices based on the DTI SRPs.

Caberte instructed DTI NegOr Provincial Director Javier Fortunato Jr. to conduct weekly supply and price monitoring of basic commodities to assure maximum protection of local consumers.

The DTI 7 chief underscored that violations of RA 7581 or the Price Act will be dealt with according to the law. RA 7581 is a law which provides protection to consumers by prescribing measures against undue price increases during emergency situations and the like occasions.

Caberte said the DTI will continue the conduct of the Diskwento Caravans in various municipalities and cities throughout the country following its success last year.

The Diskwento Caravan is a priority project of President Benigno S. Aquino III to help ease the burden of Filipino consumers from the rising prices of basic and prime commodities. (PIA-Cebu with DTI 7 PR)

Ex-solon says 'mega shabu lab 11' conviction warning vs merchants of death

By (PNA)

FFC/EB/re


CEBU CITY, Feb. 27 (PNA) – Former congressman Antonio Cuenco said he is happy that the 11 accused in the Mandaue City mega shabu laboratory, which was raided in 2004, were finally convicted in a decision penned by Justice Marilyn Lagura Yap last week.

”May this serve as a warning to the merchants of death that the wheels of justice grind slowly but surely,” Cuenco said at this house after offering a mass Sunday officiated by Msgr. Roberto Alesna of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral for the shabu laboratory verdict.

Cuenco said he heard lawyer Gloria Lastimosa Dalawampu, counsel for Calvin Tan, the one tagged as financier of the shabu laboratory, will file an appeal before the Court of Appeals (CA) and even to the Supreme Court because the state witness Simon Lao, who pointed to Calvin Tan as the mastermind, is the most guilty.

”I am confident that Justice Yap’s decision will be sustained by the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court because based on records, Tan is the most guilty being the financier, while Lao was only under him in their illegal drugs operations. Besides, the verdict is a landmark decision and very well-written,” Cuenco said.

Cuenco said that Tan has a P100-million deposit in a bank in Hong Kong, which was forfeited by the Hong Kong court in favor of the government of China.

”This time, I call on the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to facilitate the recovery of the reported P50 million bank deposits of Calvin Tan in the Philippines so it can be forfeited in favor of the government and can be used for the anti-illegal drug campaign,” Cuenco said.

Cuenco, who used to represent the city’s south district in the House of Representatives, also thanked all the people who contributed something for the conviction of the 11 accused especially the officials and personnel of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DOJ), lawyer Paul Oaminal, the local police, the witnesses and the ordinary people who provide additional information.

”This is a case that I focused on in the past years. I went to Hong Kong with Congressman Roque Ablan and Atty. Oaminal and DOJ officials to secure the extradition of Calvin Tan who was imprisoned there for another drug case,” Cuenco said.

Cuenco said that it is just unfortunate that the local contacts of Calvin Tan and his group in Cebu were not identified and jailed.

He said that Joseph Yu, a Chinese national and one of the 11 convicts, who can speak Tagalog, offered to reveal the identities of their local contacts in their illegal drug operations in Cebu, provided he will be dropped from the case as a state witness.

However, Cuenco said the DOJ officials opposed it, because Lao was already accepted as state witness.

”Whether or not the owners of the bodega called Caps R Us knew the operations of the mega shabu laboratory, they were acquitted in the case due to lack of witnesses,” Cuenco said.

These Cebu contacts of Calvin Tan must be included in the continuing campaign against illegal drugs, he said.

”Almost always, heinous crimes in the country are committed by drug-crazed addicts. That’s why the government, local or national, must address this resolutely. We should increase the budget for the anti-drug campaign,” Cuenco said.

Cuenco said he sponsored Republic Act 9165, which has a provision for the creation of the Barangay Anti-Drug Action Committee (Badac). However, this has not been done by the local government units concerned.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who later joined Cuenco’s press conference, said he will review the City Government’s anti-illegal drug campaign and will encourage barangays to create the Badac in their respective areas.

New CA associate justice assumes office

By (PNA)

scs/EB/gb


CEBU CITY, Feb. 26 (PNA) – Newly-appointed Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justice Marilyn Lagura-Yap took her oath of office Friday before CA Associate Justice Gabriel Ingles, a day after she convicted nine Chinese nationals and two Filipinos for manufacturing illegal drugs in a “mega shabu laboratory” in Mandaue City.

She will serve as an associate justice of the Court of Appeals (CA) 23rd Division in Cagayan de Oro City.

Yap said she had mixed emotions over her appointment, considering that she had been the presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch 28 in Mandaue City for about 12 years.

”It’s like being at a crossroads,” Yap told reporters after her oath-taking.

The appointment of Yap, who used to handle environment and drugs cases in Mandaue City, was announced by Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda recently.

Yap graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines Cebu College, then earned her law degree from the University of San Carlos in Cebu City.

She served as a prosecutor in Mandaue City for 10 years, then became the presiding judge of the RTC Branch 28 in Mandaue City in 2000.

Yap’s court was also designated as an environment court by the Supreme Court.

Yap’s children, relatives, former court staffers and Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes attended her oath-taking in her sala.

Cortes congratulated Yap on her appointment, saying he is confident she will help expedite cases pending before the CA in Cagayan de Oro.

Cardinal Vidal urges faithful to continue guarding freedom

By Eddie O. Barrita


CEBU CITY, Feb. 25 (PNA) -– Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal has said the freedom gained 26 years ago after the People Power Revolution should continue to be guarded.

”What was gained should be protected. Or else we would lose this unused grace,” said Vidal.

”Now you are freely asking questions. We pray to god that we remain firm,” he told reporters Friday.

The four-day protest was a peaceful upheaval at the Epifanio del los Santos Ave. (Edsa) in Manila that occurred after series of events, including the declaration of Filipino bishops condemning the fraud committed during the snap elections.

In 1986, Cardinal Vidal was the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

The CBCP issued the exhortation, “We must obey God rather than men.”

The bishops said the election was “unparalleled in fraudulence” and accused then president Ferdinand Marcos as “criminally using power to thwart the people’s sovereign will.”

”That (the Edsa Revolution) was the only time the Church was involved in a socio-political event,” said Vidal.

Vidal recalled that it was on Feb. 23, 1986 that he called the bishops to a meeting and suggested that they pray before they sign the pastoral statement.

”We had a holy hour to be strengthened,” he said.

”I told the bishops here is the choice between life and death, choose life. That was the topic for our meditation at that time,” he added.

Vidal also called on the people to pray over the current socio-political issue, the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.

”Let them (legislators) do their job. We are asking for prayers for successful ending to the proceedings,” said Vidal.

”We hope the truth comes out, justice is achieved and the common good of the people be served,” he added. (PNA) DCT/EB/gb )

E-trikes to reduce fuel import, address climate change

By Fayette C. Ri�en


CEBU CITY, February 24 (PIA) -- Apart from reducing the country’s dependence on imported petroleum, the E-Trike Project of the Department of Energy (DOE) is also an initiative of the national government to mitigate the effects of climate change.

DOE-Visayas Field Office Regional Director Antonio Labios bared that the government, through the DOE, is promoting the use of e-trikes because fuel consumption is much less and no smoke emissions that cause air pollution are emitted.

“Instead of buying fuel which is quite expensive, e-trike drivers only spend for the recharging of the battery which is less than P100,” Labios said.

Labios cited the case of Mandaluyong City, the pilot site of the first e-trikes operating in the country where e-trike drivers only spend P50 per day for recharging their battery.

“Imagine the savings e-trike drivers earn because they no longer buy fuel. And if you translate that to the adoption of e-trikes nationwide, then the country will have significant savings on fuel importation,” Labios said.

Labios said the incessant rising prices of oil in the global market is making the country captive to costly fuel since as we are over 90 percent dependent on imported petroleum.

“We need to fast track measures to lessen the dependence of imported fuel and the adoption of e-trikes is one of them,” Labios declared.

Labios said promoting the use of e-trikes hopes to see the gradual phase-out of conventional tricycles although he did not disclose a timeline.

On top of reducing our dependence on fuel import, e-trikes is also environmentally-friendly because it does not discharge smoke so no carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere, Labios further said.

Carbon dioxide is one of the major greenhouse gases that destroy the earth’s ozone layer contributing to global warming and climate change, this is learned.

Unlike conventional tricycles with combustion engines that produces smoke, e-trikes produces no noise and zero emissions, Labios said. (PIA-Cebu)

MGB-7: Road cracks and cave-in caused by heavy rains, other factors

By Hazel F. Gloria


CEBU CITY, February 23 (PIA) -- An initial study made by a team of geologists from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) revealed that several factors including heavy rainfall led to cracks and caving in of portions of a road in a Cebu barangay.

The team went to Barangay Alpaco in Naga City in response to a request from the city government for MGB to immediately inspect a one (1) meter wide crack in, and partial cave-in of, a road in the hilly village.

The request was made in a letter dated February 20, 2012.

The said barangay was classified under “high landslide susceptibility” category in a geo-hazard assessment conducted by the MGB in August last year, according to MGB-7 regional rirector Loreto Alburo.

Results of the 2011 geologists’ assessment indicated that Barangay Alpaco had mostly limestone materials that are porous and with high capacity of water absorption.

Based on MGB’s initial assessment, the cracks and caving in of the road could be due to the combination of several factors such as heavy rainfall, the type of soil (mostly limestone), presence of ground cracks which became bigger due to the 6.9 magnitude earthquake and aftershocks last February 6 and thereafter.

Aside from Barangay Alpaco, five other barangays in Naga City identified under high landslides susceptibility classification are Tagjaguimit, Balirong, Mayana, Naalad, and Cogon.

Meanwhile, eight barangays with moderate to high landslide susceptibility include Cantao-an, Lutac, Lanas, Bairan, Patag, Jaguimit, Uling, and Tina-an.

Twenty barangays were classified under “moderate to high vulnerability to flooding,” namely, Lutac, Lanas, Bairan, Patag, Balirong, Uling, Tina-an, Inayagan, Poblacion North, Pangdan, Tangke, Colon, Mainit, Jaguimit, Tuyan, Naalad, East Poblacion, Central Poblacion, West Poblacion, and Langtad.

MGB-7 aims to reduce, if not totally mitigating the destructive effects and impacts of natural hazards on the people.

Alburo also encouraged people to observe for saturated ground or seeps and sunken or displaced road surfaces; develop early warning system; and install slope protection measure along creek embankments that are affected by scouring during heavy rains.

“Communities who are living near or at the foot of the mountain or riverbanks to be on guard and cautious at all times, we don’t know when heavy rains occur and many geo-hazards are rain-induced,” Alburo concluded. (mbcn/hfg/PIA-7 & DENR-7)

Witnesses identify suspect in drive-by shootings in Cebu City

By (PNA)

LAM/EB/re


CEBU CITY, Feb. 22 (PNA) –- Nine witnesses have “positively identified” Rhene “Intsik” Baclaan, 22, as the alleged assailant in the series of drive-by-shootings in Cebu City the past week.

Police stormed Baclaan’s suspected safehouse last Thursday dawn in the southern Cebu town of San Fernando, days after a 14-year-old boy was killed and two other teenagers were injured during separate drive-by shootings.

Cases of murder, frustrated murder and illegal possession of firearms were filed against Baclaan Tuesday, after investigators gathered all the witnesses’ testimonies.

Romeo Santander, chief of the City Intelligence Branch (CIB) of the Cebu City Police Office, said he was pleased with the number of witnesses who testified against Baclaan, saying it would strengthen the case against the suspect.

Baclaan, a self-confessed member of the “Bloods” gang, was allegedly responsible for shooting seven members of rival gang Crips.

One witness said he was able to identify Baclaan from the tattoo in his chest that read “Bloods.”

Police are also preparing two counts of murder against Arnel “Budlat” Gomez, 34, a suspected gun-for-hire who was tagged in the killing of two police assets last Friday.

Gomez was wounded in the leg when a Special Weapons and Tactics team arrested him Monday dawn.

His companion, identified only as “Opaw” eluded arrest.

Confiscated from Gomez’s possession were a high-powered KG9 machine pistol with 34 live ammunition, a .45 pistol with 14 live ammunition, two cameras, assorted drug paraphernalia, and a hand grenade.

He was tagged as the motorcycle-riding assailant of barangay intelligence network (BIN) member Catalino Entoma Jr. and police asset Michael Moralde last Feb. 16.

Two witnesses attested it was Gomez who pulled off the attack, Santander said.

Santander revealed that the suspect was arrested last July 19 for murder, but the case was dismissed. Gomez, he added, was in a watch list of crime suspects.

Santander said the police will check the seized cameras to look if there are pictures of Gomez’s targets.

City Hall to ask P600-M share from Filinvest

By Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac


CEBU City Hall will ask a developer to fast-track the release of P600 million as its share of the proceeds of the South Road Properties (SRP) lots. Emma Villarete, assistant city treasurer for administration, said City Treasurer Ofelia Oliva will write Filinvest to ask for the release of the city’s P600-million share during the first quarter of the year. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said in a separate interview that the P600-million joint venture share “is money that I’ve been asking for.” The amount is part of the P1.275 billion in SRP sales proceeds. Half of the amount or P675 million is payment for the land that Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) and SM Prime Holdings bought. The remaining P600 million is the city’s share from its joint venture with Filinvest. The company is developing condominium units in a portion of the SRP. “The amount is the city’s share in their preselling of condominium units,” said Villarete during a press briefing held at the mayor’s office conference room. The P600 million is a fresh source of funding that Mayor Rama intends to use to fund projects that were dropped from the city’s annual budget, Villarete said. Rama proposed an executive budget of P11.8 billion, but the council only authorized a P5.2-billion budget. Rama said available funds would make his administration implement more drainage projects and work on the capability enhancement of the police and the fire department. He said the funds will also go to improvements in the city’s traffic system, disaster response programs and to install security cameras to help keep the city’s peace and order. Villarete said the city government also released P270 million yesterday as payment for its amortization for the SRP. She told reporters that the release represents the city’s first-quarter payment for its SRP debt with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). Of the cash receivables, Villarete said only P675 million has been identified as fund source for the city’s P5.2-billion annual budget.

Cure of comatose woman to lead to Blessed Calungsod’s sainthood

By (PNA)

LAP/EB/re


CEBU CITY, Feb. 20 (PNA) – The miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Pedro Calungsod was the rapid recovery of a comatose woman who had a very slim chance of survival.

The Catholic Church officially recognized this medical case when Pope Benedict XVI promulgated a decree acknowledging the miraculous healing which was the last requirement for declaring the Visayan martyr a saint, to be known as San Pedro de Cebu.

The pope announced during the weekend that the canonization of Beatro Pedro and six other religious men and women will be on Oct. 21, 2012.

Msgr. Ildebrando Leyson, the postulator or lawyer for Calungsod, said before he left for Rome last week that the female patient was in a coma.

”Anyone can be in a coma, but this patient had the lowest level of EEG (electroencephalogram) reading,” he said.

The EEG is the recording of electrical activity in the brain.

”There are three levels of the comatose condition, which are measured through the degree of responsiveness of the patient’s eyes, speech and the state of the whole body,” said Leyson.

”The patient was in a Glassgow Coma scale 3, a very low level. The eyes were not responsive, she had no speech and no response from the rest of the body,” he added.

The EEG reading was interpreted by a technician, who said that based on his experience in similar cases, the patient was expected to die soon, he said.

The patient had suffered from hypoxic encephalopathy or lack of oxygen in the brain, which may be traced to cardiac arrest.

Leyson related that the patient was in this condition when Blessed Pedro Calungsod was invoked and after four hours, the patient regained consciousness.

”It was a miracle, because from that state, the patient recovered with no effects on the brain or motor functions,” he said.

”Usually, it takes a long time to recover from a coma. Some suffer from the effects of being in a coma. But this patient did not have motor and sensory deficits,” he said.

The patient never died, clarified Leyson, there was brain activity, but this was very low.

”The miracle was the rapid recovery of the patient,” he added.

Msgr. Leyson did not reveal the details of the identity of the patient, where she hails from or where she was confined.

”It is not so much about the patient but Blessed Pedro Calungsod,” he said.

”Canonization touches religion. It is God performing a miracle through the intercession of Calungsod. Pedro is only the intercessor, God did this miracle,” he added.

Earlier, Leyson told reporters that out of respect for the patient’s privacy, he was unable to reveal her identity.

He may do so only when the Vatican City releases the official text that would be written in Latin, which he would translate in English and possibly Cebuano.

Barangay execs back polls delay

By Doris C. Bongcac


MOST of Cebu City’s 80 barangay officials support a proposal to postpone the next synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to Oct. 2014. A manifesto was passed yesterday by the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) in Cebu City to back the proposal of Rep. Rachel del Mar of Cebu City’s north district. Most barangay captains feel that “they needed another year to especially finish the implementation of infrastructure projects,” said ABC president and T. Padilla barangay captain Michael Rallota. Rallota sponsored a similar resolution passed by the City Council during their Feb. 8 session. Two members disagreed. Kalubihan barangay captain Carmelo Millan said he would still prefer that the barangay elections be held next year. Millan and Basak San Nicolas barangay captain George Rama didn’t sign the ABC manifesto. “It’s better to have an election because there’s a challenge. If you lose, it means the people don’t believe in you,” Millan said. Rep. Del Mar in a separate interview said her bill is pending before the Lower House’s suffrage and electoral reforms committee. She said a group may later be created to look into her bill in tandem with another bill by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, which seeks a two-year extension in the terms of barangay and SK officials. “A lot of congressmen have approached me to express support for my bill. So far, it’s good,” said del Mar. Among the supporters of her are Rep. Benhur Salimbangon of Cebu’s 4th district.

Mayor Durano asked to spare Comelec officials from disbarment charges

By (PNA)

scs/EB/bh


CEBU CITY, Feb. 18 (PNA) – Cebu Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano has said that it is the right of Danao City Mayor Ramon Durano Jr. and his legal counsel Gloria Lastimosa Dalawampu to exhaust all legal remedies to stop the verification of signatures and thumb marks in the recall election against him.

Castillano, however, urged Dalawampu to spare him and Danao City Election Officer Dominic Ian Marigomen from threats of disbarment because they are just doing their duty in the recall process as ordered by the Office of the Deputy Executive Director for Operations (ODEDO).

ODEDO also based its order for Marigomen to proceed with the verification of signatures or thumb marks on the resolution of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc and the authority from the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to use the election paraphernalia in Danao in the recall election.

Castillano said that while he has supervisory jurisdiction over the Danao City election office, he has no direct control on the ongoing verification process.

He also maintained that an order from the Comelec en banc or a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the court can stop the ongoing verification of signatures and thumb marks of the more than 29,000 petitioners.

So far, Marigomen has not received any Comelec en banc order or a TRO stopping the ongoing signature verification, Castillano added.

”The City Comelec Office only follows procedures. We appeal to Atty. Dalawampu to stop filing disbarment case. Have pity on us; we are just doing our jobs,” Castillano said.

Castillano said Mayor Durano and Dalawampu still have remedy to appeal to the Comelec en banc of the findings and decision of the city election officer regarding the result of the verification process.

Cebu City to cut phone allowance for city execs

By (PNA)

scs/EB/re


CEBU CITY, Feb. 17 (PNA) – The Cebu City government will be forced to slash the mobile communication allowance granted to its officials, employees and other government officials after the City Council reduced the budget for this purpose to P4.3 million this year from over P6 million last year.

The executive department has created a committee to study the appropriate amount to be given to the recipients.

The five-man committee, composed of General Services Office chief Rolando Ardosa, Human Resource Development Office head Veronica Morelos, City Accountant Marietta Gumia, Internal Audit Services Officer Arlene Rentuza and mayor’s office representative Andrew Borres, came up with two proposals.

The first option is to have a 37 percent across-the-board ceiling amount reduction to all 213 city officials, employees and other government officials.

The mayor, vice mayor and city administrator had no limit on their mobile communication allowance in last year’s budget.

City councilors had P5,500 allowance per month; the secretary to the mayor, P5,000; department heads, P4,000; assistant department heads, P3,000; and division heads, P2,500.

The second option is to only allow the above-mentioned personnel and officials to receive the allowance with a new ceiling.

In the proposal, the mayor, vice mayor, city administrator will still have no limit, but for budgetary purposes, the mayor shall be given P35,000, while the vice mayor and the city administrator have P20,000 each, every month.

On the other hand, the city councilors’ communication allowance shall now be reduced to P4,000; secretary to the mayor, P4,000; department heads, P3,500; assistant department heads, P2,500; and division heads, P1,000.

Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young said he is not against the budget cut of their communication allowance but he added that the 37 percent across the board is unreasonable.

He doesn’t mind cuts to his own allowance, but he worries about councilors who handle different committees that need constant communication.

The City Council reduced the proposed budget for this year from P11.8 billion to P5.2 billion.

Illegal recruiter in Cebu nabbed; DOLE asks victims to come forward

By KG, GMA News


The long arm of the law has caught up with an illegal recruiter operating in Cebu City who has eluded arrest for half a year.

Philippine Overseas Employment Administration deputy administrator Ameurfina Reyes identified the illegal recruiter in her report as Ma. Ludina Ceniza.

"Ms. Ceniza successfully deployed some workers to Canada and continued charging them with fees for such deployment. Through her Center, she also recruited household service workers for Singapore. To facilitate deployment, she tied-up with Supersonic Manpower Services Corporation, a recruitment agency that has a valid license," Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said.

Ceniza, the subject of an arrest warrant in August 2011 but who has eluded arrest due to alleged connections with the Bureau of Immigration and the POEA, faces life imprisonment if proven guilty.

"Finally, the long arm of the law has caught up with a notorious scammer," Baldoz said.

Baldoz added Ceniza promised jobs to prospective overseas Filipino workers as direct-hire hotel workers in Canada, charging them exorbitant fees.

She would use as her front the Worldwide Academy of Tourism and Hospitality Training and Assessment Center, which she set up.

Her academy had accreditation from the Technical Education and Skilled Development Authority, but the TESDA has since revoked it.

Baldoz said the POEA has received complaints from Ceniza’s victims.

"The POEA regional center in Cebu reported that the number of complainants against Ceniza continues to mount after news of her arrest. Last Monday, 15 more complainants trooped to the POEA to lodge complaints against this alleged illegal recruiter," Baldoz said.

Mary Candice Aleta from Tagbilaran, Bohol, one of Ceniza’s victims, said Ceniza charged her P105,000, promising her a job as a singer in Singapore with a salary of S$1,400 a month.

The job, however, brought only S$30 for four hours of work per night.

Aleta also said Ceniza faked her papers and made it look like she graduated with a degree in hotel and restaurant management.

DOLE asks victims to file complaints

Meanwhile, Baldoz asked victims of illegal recruitment to file complaints against those who have duped them.

"You have to also help us in the DOLE prosecute the illegal recruiters until they are jailed," she said.

Baldoz also warned illegal recruiters, saying the government is determined to put them in jail.

"This year, we are reactivating our anti-illegal recruitment task forces under the regional coordinating committees headed by our DOLE regional directors. We are working with local chief executives, the police, the Department of Justice, and civil society towards the goal of making our barangays, towns, cities, and provinces as "illegal recruitment-free LGUs", Baldoz said.

Info services office to prioritize computerization of Cebu City Hall revenue offices

By (PNA)

LAP/EB/bh


CEBU CITY, Feb. 15 (PNA) – An official of the Management Information and Computer Services (MICS) said they will prioritize the computerization of revenue generating offices in Cebu City Hall after the City Council slashed their budget for this year.

MICS chief Conrado Ordesta III said they proposed a P45-million capital outlay, but the City Council only approved P4.5 million or 10 percent of their proposal.

Ordesta said they also asked for P2.3 million for training expenses but the City Council disapproved it and so with their furniture outlay.

He planned to install wifi connections for City Hall, rehabilitate the existing network cabling and buy new equipment, such as a private automatic business exchange (PABX), among others.

But because of the budget cut, Ordesta said they have to prioritize the most important projects and programs in their office.

He said they will look for ways and adopt the private-public partnership (PPP) concept of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to realize their projects and programs.

”It can be implemented but with some delay due to the budget cut. We will try to negotiate with some private entities to realize our program,” Ordesta said.

He said they will implement in a month or two the newly developed information systems, particularly for the City Treasurer’s Office (CTO).

Ordesta said even the issuance of the community tax certificate (cedula) in the CTO will soon be computerized.

Ordesta said they want the CTO’s tax collection to be more efficient this year especially in miscellaneous fees to help hit its target of P5.2 billion.

He said they also developed new systems for the Office of the Building Official (OBO) and General Services Offie (GSO).

It also enhanced the systems in the Office of the City Civil Registrar (OCCR), Human Resource Development Office (HRDO) and the accounting office to fast track their transactions and reports.

Ordesta said they also provided computer technical services, network management and administration to City Hall offices.

In the area of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Ordesta said they sell maps and give these to the barangays and other government offices upon requests.

MICS’ mainstream projects include the inventory of Cebu City streetlights and the delineation, tagging and mapping of structures affected by the Implementation of the city’s river three-meter easement restoration.

PhilPost Cebu offers affordable gift items on Valentine’s Day today

By Amor Saludar


CEBU CITY February 14 (PIA) -- In observance of Valentine’s Day today, offices of the Philippine Postal Corporation in Cebu are offering the public gift items to be given to loved ones on Hearts Day at very affordable prices.

The public can purchase fresh flowers, chocolates, teddy bears and other Valentines gift items at very affordable prices in any PhilPost offices in the province of Cebu.

On top of the affordable prices, the PhilPost also offers personal delivery of the gift items door-to-door and free of charge.

The Valentines-related services of the PhilPost is an annual undertaking of the agency every Hearts Day throughout the country as the public is urged to visit any of their office and avail of this one-day event from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00p.m.

“Every year, our number of clients is increasing and they order fresh flowers, chocolates and other gift items because our rates are much cheaper. They are also assured that the items will be received by the intended recipient because our postmen will deliver it door-to-door,” according to Cebu City Delivery Section Chief Jun Satiembre.

Satiembre added clients can also set a timeframe as to what exact time on Valentines Day they want their gifts to be delivered to the intended person.

“For instance, there are clients who want their gifts to be delivered at around 5: 30 pm because that will be the time when their loved one will be home. So we will really follow the time schedule as requested,” Satiembre revealed.

According to Satiembre, they have already received numerous orders of flowers, chocolates and other gift items days before and that finishing touches such as decorations and arrangements are just being done today which will be handled by their business counterpart.

A total of 30 postmen will be deployed to serve the public and its clients to ensure that all delivery services will come on time.

PhilPost offices in Cebu are located in Cebu Central, Mandaue City, Lapu-lapu City and other big PhilPost offices in the province. (FCR/AS/PIA-CEBU)

Cebu City has P2.3B in banks, almost P800M collectibles

By (PNA)

DCT/EB/gb


CEBU CITY, Feb. 13 (PNA) -– Cebu City Treasurer Ofelia Oliva has disclosed the City Government has over P2.3 billion in its depository banks as of Feb. 8, aside from almost P800 million collectibles from real property taxes.

But Oliva said the money in the banks includes the city’s continuing appropriations or financial obligations and this year’s collections.

Oliva said she cannot determine yet the surplus of last year’s budget as the accounting office has yet to close their books, but she assured that the city’s finances are in the pink of health.

She, however, disclosed that even if the city has financial obligations, taxes continue to pour into its coffers every day, apart from the payment of the sale of the South Road Properties (SRP) and the Internal Revenue allotment (IRA) share.

Oliva said the cash balance includes the General Fund, Special Education Fund and the Trust Fund intended for medical programs and certain infrastructure projects.

However, the City Government is operating on a P5.2 billion budget for this year as approved by the City Council last December.

Oliva is optimistic, though, that they can hit their target this year with the implementation of the tax mapping of business establishments and revalidation of real properties in the city.

”It can easily be achieved if our programs will be implemented and the support that we need will be granted,” Oliva said.

Cebu music school seeks international accreditation

By (PNA)

RMA/EB/gb


CEBU CITY, Feb. 12 (PNA) – Entrepreneur Pia Salonga-Chiong Quisido plans to have her music school, Salonga School of Rock, certified by the Rock School UK to position the facility as one of Cebu’s premier schools for pop and rock music. ”The accreditation would give more credibility to the school, although we have already proven to the industry our capability of producing good talents. This will also give us an edge over other rock music schools in the country,” Quisido said. Rock School is reportedly Europe’s No. 1 rock music exam board. Quisido also plans to have the school's music coaches certified. She hopes the accreditation will further help produce local talents in Cebu who can make a name for themselves not just in the local music industry but in the international arena. Quisido was once the lead singer of a popular Cebuano band in the 1990’s, Feminine Mode. Her interest in music, she said, stemmed from her family, who are all musically inclined. ”My grandfather Adolfo Salonga was a trumpet player back then,” she said. Quisido said her family’s ties to the music industry prompted her to build her own business, the Salonga School of Rock, in April 2011. The Salonga School of Rock is an affiliate of the Salonga School of Music and JB Music. ”This was also my dream for the longest time,” said Quisido. With roughly P500,000 invested, Quisido rented a 70-square meter facility along General Maxilom Ave., acquired equipment and employed music coaches to begin her first foray in the business. To date, her music school employs eight music coaches who are also band players themselves. According to Quisido, she now has at least 70 students enrolled in regular sessions. Her school offers courses like voice and stage performance, and drum, guitar and violin lessons at P4,800 per 12 sessions. ”What we do here is help our students explore and enhance their talents, after which we form them into a group, so they can play as a band,” she said. Quisido stressed there is a lot of difference in teaching the students to play as a group rather than be individually trained, as it helps develop the values such as discipline, cooperation and team work. Quisido said her music school does away with the traditional music teaching or theory before application and instead focuses on integrating both. ”In this way, we keep our students interested in mastering their craft,” Quisido said. Students also get to perform before a crowd during the school’s mall gigs. Aside from honing the music talents of their own students, Quisido said the School of Rock also teaches music lessons to campuses through their After School Music Education program. Quisido said they are partnering with PAREF Southcrest Cebu and the University of San Carlos Montessori for voice and stage performance. Quisido also sees growth in her music business despite the presence of online music tutorials on sites like YouTube. ”The learning experience is very different. What we do here is not only to help students learn how to play, but perform. Parents, on the other hand, also look forward to seeing their children perform on stage,” she said.

DSWD to cover more areas hit by killer quake

By (Hazel F. Gloria-PIA 7 & DSWD 7)


CEBU CITY, Feb 10 (PIA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office-7 in Central Visayas Relief Operations Team is expected to reach out to more survivors in La Libertad, Tayasan, Jimalalud, Guihulngan, and Ayungon, towns in Negros Oriental badly hit by the earthquake on February 6.

According to DSWD-7 information officer Jaybee Binghay, the relief goods contain cooking and eating utensils such as plastic plates and drinking glasses; packed foods; bottled water; and mats and blankets from the DSWD will be delivered today to the municipalities of La Libertad, Tayasan, Jimalalud, Guihulngan, and Ayungon.

Additional DSWD tents will also be put up in strategic areas especially in the identified evacuation centers. The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday used tents coming from DSWD for its temporary hospital and clinic in Guihulngan town.

If the weather cooperates today, DSWD -7 will deliver food and non-food items in the mountain village of Planas, Guihulngan which has not been reached due to the continuing aftershocks making the area difficult to reach for rescue, retrival, and relief operations.

DSWD-7 regional director Maria Evelyn Macapobre said, “Operation center in Cebu is standing by to accept more donations from the public both in cash and in kind." Their office had identified the following most needed supplies: food, water, mats, mosquito nets, blankets, tents, and flashlights with batteries.

DSWD-7 Help Desk hot-line numbers are 2321192 and 2330261; contact persons are Shalaine Lucero or Marshall Fernandez.

Anytime today, DSWD-7 is expecting an additional truck of relief supplies to augment available resources and expedite relief operations.

DSWD-7 sends relief to earthquake victims

By Hazel F. Gloria


CEBU CITY, February 9 (PIA) -- While search and rescue operations continue in earthquake devastated areas in Negros Oriental, Social Workers from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Central Visayas activated its Quick Response Teams.

The teams, which have been placed on “Red Alert” status, are tasked to prepare relief goods such as food packs, mats, blankets, mosquito nets, slippers and tents for evacuation centers in Guihulngan, La Libertad.

About 30 tents, 330 mats, 318 blankets, 275 mosquito nets , 2,000 bottles of mineral water and 2,000 family packs, 160 boxes of canned goods (sardines and beef loaf) were shipped to the affected areas yesterday.

These goods were initially distributed to the earthquake victims in Guihulngan, which is the hardest hit, La libertad, Bindoy and Tayasan. Delivery for the other areas follows.

As more reports are coming in, the DSWD is doubling its efforts to pack additional goods for the next round of shipment and relief distribution in the other affected municipalities in Negros Oriental.

DSWD secretary Dinky Soliman reported that so far, an estimated 12,231 families had been affected with 22 confirmed dead, 82 missing and 52 injured as of 3:00 pm today.

A magnitude 6.9 earthquake, the strongest recorded in Central Visayas in 90 years, struck the northern towns in NegrosOoriental at 11: 49 am February 6.

Social Workers both from the Local Government Units and the Social Welfare and Development Team Offices in Negros Oriental conducted initial defusing sessions to a few survivors in the various evacuation centers temporarily set up for the purpose.

DSWD regional director Ma. Evelyn Macapobre has instructed her staff to go on a 24/7 duty and had already fielded stress debriefers to conduct psycho-social intervention to the grieving families.

“We are now keeping in touch with all our local counterparts in Negros Oriental to generate updates for provision of augmentation support especially along relief works," she added.

A Donation Desk is now put up at the DSWD Field Office-7 along M.J. Cuenco Ave., Cebu City. One may call our Earthquake Hotline is 2321192.(mbcn/hfg/PIA-7 & DSWD-7)

Cebu City police chief says men who spread tsunami rumors identified

By (PNA)

LAP/EB/re


CEBU CITY, Feb. 8 (PNA) – Cebu City Police Office Director Melvin Ramon Buenafe Wednesday said they have identified the two motorcycle-riding men who spread false information on a tsunami, which triggered panic in parts of Cebu City after an earthquake struck at 11:49 a.m. last Monday.

Buenafe, in a press conference, said they have identified the suspected culprits and are only confirming their whereabouts.

He said the two, who were riding in tandem on a motorcycle, have no malicious motives but they face possible charges of tumults and other disturbance of public order under Article 153 of Revised Penal Code.

Witnesses told police the duo cruised the streets announcing that a tsunami already struck some coastal areas of Cebu City at 2 p.m. last Monday.

The tandem’s announcement contributed to the mass hysteria, even if authorities already lifted the tsunami alert by then.

Some residents from coastal areas of Barangay Pasil, Pardo, Inayawan, Mambaling and Labangon panicked and started evacuating to higher ground.

Students and office workers went out and ran for their lives. Roadside vendors abandoned their stalls.

In panic, some motorists left their vehicles on the road, contributing to a gridlock.

Groups volunteer to assist in rescue, retrieval efforts in quake-hit areas in NegOr

By Fayette C. Ri�en


CEBU CITY, February 7 (PIA) -- Rescue team from the Federation of Volunteers Through Radio Communication, Inc. (FVRC) from Cebu is on their way to Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental to extend assistance to victims of the recent quake that hit the province the hardest.

The Cebu team will augment their counterpart in NegOr that is on its way to La Libertad to likewise assist in the rescue and retrieval operations in the area.

The 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, 703rd CDC, 7th Regional Community Defense Group, ARESCOM are also helping in the rescue and retrieval operations in.

A 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the northern part of Negros Oriental at 11:49 a.m, yesterday which was also visibly felt in the provinces of Cebu, Siquijor and Bohol as well as in some areas in the Visayas.

The epicenter of the quake was found to be near Tayasan in NegOr.

Apart from Gihulngan City, some hard-hit areas were Ayongon, La Libertad, and Tayasan.

Members of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) 7 headed by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) are now in the quake-hit areas of Negros Oriental to personally check the situation and condition of the victims.

As of 9:29 p.m. last night, there are more than 40 injured patients being treated at the small district hospital in Gihulngan which has only a 50-bed capacity, according to the RDRRMC 7.

Gihulngan City is about four to five hours away from Dumaguete City.

Police personnel were deployed in the city to provide security against possible looting, this is learned.

Classes in all public schools in NegOr have been suspended. (mbcn/fcr/PIA-Cebu)

Emergency simulation boosts Phl disaster preparedness and response

By Elaine O. Ratunil and Charlene Tordesillas


CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Feb. 7 -- The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has hosted a large-scale simulation exercise, using the latest technology for recreating realistic scenarios, as part of its support for improving disaster preparedness and response in the Philippines.

The simulation, with funding support from the Government of Australia (AusAID), focused on how different levels of government interacted in an emergency situation, with particular emphasis on coordination, communication, information management, contingency planning, and standard operating procedures.

“The tremendous human tragedy caused by tropical storm Sendong has again highlighted how essential it is for us to work together to improve our disaster preparedness and response efforts,” said Undersecretary Benito T. Ramos, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director, who spoke at the simulation.

He said the exercise is an excellent tool to strengthen information flows as well as inter-agency communication and coordination. “It also raises awareness among participants, and I am confident that it helps improve emergency response in the country.”

More than 100 people took part including governors and mayors from highly disaster-prone provinces, representatives from various government departments such as the Office of Civil Defense, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Department of Health, as well as various humanitarian non-government organizations and United Nations agencies.

The simulation was based on a scenario in which two typhoons strike Luzon within five days of each other, recreating a complex humanitarian disaster situation. Those taking part in the simulation have to respond to a stream of information and take appropriate actions as if responding in a real-life situation.

“The Philippines is among the most disaster-prone countries in the world, as this week’s earthquake has again reminded us. That is why WFP strongly supports the government’s pro-active approach focusing on preparedness which is essential to reduce and mitigate disaster risks,” said Stephen L. Anderson, WFP Country Director and Representative.

He said lessons learned from this simulation exercise will help improve the government's emergency response and preparedness capacities.

The simulation exercise is part of a larger WFP Philippines Disaster Preparedness and Response project funded by the United States Agency for International Development/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA).

This was held in partnership with the NDRRMC in the Philippines. (WFP)

DepEd suspends classes in all levels in CV due to earthquake, tsunami alerts

By Juju Manubag-Empuerto


CEBU CITY, Feb. 6 (PIA) -- Students from kindergarten to high school in Central Visayas in both public and private schools were advised to go home because of the 6.9-magnitude earthquake that shook the region at 11:49 this morning.

Department of Education Assistant Regional Director Carmelita Dulangon issued the pronouncement due to the unpredictable nature of the earthquakes unlike the onset of storms wherein people have more time to prepare.

“It is better for the children to be in their homes and be with their families in such times. We cannot gamble lives,” Dulangon added.

Dulangon also advised schools to prepare just in case the barangays need to use their schools as evacuation centers.

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology issued tsunami warning alert level no. 2 and advised coastal residents of Negros Oriental and western Cebu to take precautionary measures just in case sea water level rises. (MBCN/JSME/PIA-Cebu)

Cebu province saves P90M from P2.95B earnings

By (PNA)

RMA/EB/gb


CEBU CITY, Feb. 5 (PNA) – The Cebu provincial government earned P2.95 billion in 2011 and spent only P2.86 billion, according to the province's Statement of Receipts and Expenditures (SRE) at the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

The SRE showed that Cebu Capitol had savings of almost P90 million in 2011.

The SRE also shows that Capitol’s non-tax revenues in 2011 reached P162.7 million, higher than its income from taxes at P157.57 million.

Non-tax revenues include permits, other regulatory fees and Capitol’s economic enterprises.

Tax revenues come from real property and other local taxes.

Capitol’s income-earning enterprises include the South Bus Terminal, Cebu International Convention Center, Museo sa Sugbu and Larsian. The province also earns from lot and building rentals.

Capitol earned P1.987 billion from external sources, which include its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), amounting to P1.6 billion this year.

On the other hand, Capitol’s expenditures under the SRE included general services, P844.3 million; economic services, P693.87 million; and social services P1.3 billion.

"Adoption Consciousness Week" advocacy for legal child adoption

By pia.gov.ph


CEBU CITY, February 4 (PIA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-7) in Central Visayas, in collaboration with other agencies, celebrates “Adoption Consciousness Week” on February 4 – 10, 2012 with the theme “Isulong LEGAL na PAG-AAMPON” as an advocacy event to raise awareness on legal adoption to give children the right to their identity.

DSWD-7 news release noted the increasing number of children coming to the attention of DSWD whose birth certificates are simulated and did not go through the legal adoption process.

According to DSWD-7, this annual observance advocates domestic adoption to preserve the child’s identity and culture.

It also recognizes the desirability of an inter-country adoption as the last resort for children who can no longer be placed for domestic adoption.

In Central Visayas, the DSWD leads the observance of this weeklong celebration based on Presidential Proclamation No. 72 dated February 3, 1999.

DSWD-7 data showed that 117 children were issued with Child Legally Available for Adoption (CLAA) certificates for 2010 and 79 of these children were matched to prospective adoptive applicants.

Among the licensed facilities in Central Visayas closely working with the placement of these children are the Children Shelter of Cebu; Asilo dela Milagrosa; Albert Sweitzer Familien Werk; Friendship Home Foundation; Rainbow Village Industries; NORFIL Foundation, Inc. and the Holy Trinity Angels.

Lined-up activities for the weeklong celebration start with a motorcade to mark the opening salvo on February 4 (Saturday) and a press briefing at the DSWD-7 Conference Room.

DSWD-7 will also set-up Adoption Help Desk at SM City Mall on February 11,2012; hanging of streamers in strategic places such as offices, streets and other avenues including barangay halls, among others; conduct of Adoption and Foster Care fora on February 9-10 and radio and television guesting. (mbcn/hfg/PIA-Cebu & DSWD-7)

DTI to hold seminar on doing business with UN on Feb. 22

By Fayette C. Ri�en


CEBU CITY, February 3 (PIA) -- The Bureau of Export Trade Promotion (BTEP) will hold a one-day seminar for Cebu exporters on doing business with the United Nations on February 22 at the Cebu Parklane International Hotel.

The BTEP is an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The seminar is being held in coordination with the United Nations Procurement Division (UNPD) and DTI–Cebu Provincial Office.

The UNDP oversees the contracts for the acquisition of a wide variety of goods, works and services for the UN Headquarters, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations HQs and peacekeeping missions, the Office Away from Headquarters, the UN Tribunals and commissions worldwide, and other organizations seeking procurement support services.

The seminar aims to brief Philippine companies on business opportunities in and the procurement activities of the UNPD. These include values, policies, process, buying profile, business opportunities among others. It also aims to register qualified vendors on-line by the close of the seminar.

The UNDP is the largest buying resource in the United Nations system.

Target participants are companies that are ready to cater to international requirements or undertake projects overseas in the following sectors: architecture, engineering & construction services; food and catering; motor vehicles, parts & transportation equipment; electronic data processing equipment & maintenance; computer & information technology services; furniture & furnishings; management consultancy services; and security and safety equipment & services.

United Nations Procurement Representatives Toshio Mikami Chief Logistics and Transportation Section and Procurement Assistant Ava Anterola will be among the speakers in the seminar.

There will also be dialogue between UN representatives and the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Phil-Export-Cebu.

Interested participants are required to make their reservation with the DTI-Cebu Office on or before February 10. One may contact Fely Pantulia or Tessie Emphasis at tel. nos. 253-2631 / 2557082 loc. 18; 412-1863, or email: dti.un.procurement@gmail.com. (PIA-Cebu with PR from DTI-Cebu)

Cebu Customs to intensify campaign against untaxed vehicles

By (PNA)

FFC/EB/bh


CEBU CITY, Feb. 1 (PNA) – An official of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) Port of Cebu has said the agency will intensify the apprehension of untaxed motor vehicles, some of which are believed to be running in Metro Cebu.

Cebu Customs District Collector Ronnie Silvestre said said Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon also ordered the strict monitoring of customs-bonded warehouses because of revenue leakages, such as diverting products to the local markets in violation of the Tariff and Customs Code.

Silvestre said Biazon also instructed them to confiscate fake AFTA (Asia Free Trade Agreement) accreditation used to get zero tariff and the fake invoices, which are illegally used to reduce taxes.

Silvestre said the Port of Cebu’s total 2011 collection was P8.094 billion or a surplus of P94 million, against the P8-billion target.

”For this year, we have to work harder because the target of the entire Bureau of Customs for 2012 is P365 billion, so we have to collect P1 billion a day. I am thankful to these top importers and exporters for paying huge taxes,” Silvestre said.

The top Cebu importers in 2011 are Seaoil Phils, Inc., Steel Asia Manufacturing Corp., Kepco-SPC Power Corp., Petron Corp., Ad-Ken Trading, Maxima Machineries Inc., Carmen Copper Corp., A.D. Gothong Manufacturing Corp., Ajinomoto Phils. Corp., and Petronas Energy Phils. Inc.

They have a combined tax payment of P3.145 billion.

The top exporters are Carmen Copper Corp., Profood International Corp., CP Kelco Phils. Inc., Shemberg Marketing Corp., Newtech Pulp Inc., FMC Marine Colloids Phils., PEBA Trading and Manufacturing Corp., Cenapro Chemical Corp., 7D Food International Corp. and Dedon Manufacturing Corp.

They paid a total amount of P238.559 million.

The other top exporters who are locators of Mactan Economic Zone (Mez) are Tsuneishi Heavy Industries (Cebu) Inc., Cebu Mitsumi Inc., Lexmark International, Lear Automotive, Muramoto, Yuen Thai, Metro Wear, Global Wear Manufacturing, Pantax Corp., l and Mactan Apparel.

They paid a combined amount of P1.845 billion.

Seaoil Phils. Inc. is number one top importer with P976.9 million total duties and taxes paid. Carmen Copper Corp. paid a total of P88.243 million.

Seaoil vice president Bernadette Raymundo said they will increase fuel importation by 30 percent this year, as they are going to construct 17 more gasoline stations in Cebu, 22 in Mindanao and 34 in other areas in the Visayas.

Carmen Copper said that since 2008, they have exported USD200 million worth of copper concentrate.

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