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Seaweed and oil sectors; Phl, Indonesia strengthens trade ties

By Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Philippines and Indonesia can further boost economic relations through developing their common potential in the seaweed and oil industries.

The two ASEAN countries recently signed a memorandum of understanding to expand their seaweed sectors.

Both nations have aimed to share good practices in seaweed farming and expand marketing practices, said First Secretary Erna Herlina of the Embassy of Indonesia at the sidelines of embassy’s business forum in Cebu yesterday.

This is one indication of the continued goal to expand trade relations and investment between the two nations amid the ASEAN economic integration, she told The FREEMAN.

The Philippines is known for vegetable oil production and is also deemed as the largest producer of carrageenan, a dry seaweed extract, around the globe followed by Indonesia and China. Indonesia is exporting raw seaweed.

“We’re also among the largest palm oil producer and we want to expand here,” Herlina said of the interest of Indonesian companies to build palm oil plants in the Philippines particularly in Mindanao.

She noted other potential and good quality plantation areas in the country like Cebu are also being considered.

“We need recommendations on what areas as we are going to communicate this to Indonesian companies also,” the official added.


Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines Johny Lumintang said both countries have been exploring cooperation in other areas to forge enhanced economic relations.

He said his country has been looking at various economic sectors where business collaboration can further be established.

Herlina also stated other areas of interest to the Muslim-dominant nation include retail, franchising, mining and energy industries.

Both are also considering other industries -- shipbuilding, geothermal and renewable energy, steel, chocolate and cacao production, infrastructure, machinery and pharmaceuticals -- for cooperation.

Connectivity and more awareness from both sides, the secretary noted, are important to realize the bilateral agreements with the abundance of opportunities to explore.


Total trade between the two as of end-2013 reached US$ 3.5 billion. Philippine-Indonesia trade from January to July this year totaled US$2.1 billion, with the balance of trade in favor of Indonesia having a surplus of US$ 1.2 billion.

Its major exports to the Philippines include coal, coffee, copper, processed food, cars and chemical fertilizers. Its imports from the Philippines are banana, coconut crude oil, machinery, vegetable extracts, medical instruments, electronic goods, etc.

From January to September this year, Philippine investments in Indonesia totaled US$ 11.5 million.

The country's investments in the Muslim country decreased in the last three years. In 2010, ventures from the Philippines reached US$ 49.6 million, the highest investment value so far.

Brgys take spotlight in tomorrow’s Garbo sa Lapu-Lapu

By Christell Fatima M. Tudtud (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines – At least 15 barangays will participate in the 14th Garbo sa Lapu-Lapu Festival tomorrow in line with the city's fiesta celebration.

The activity is one of the major projects of the city government that highlights the city's tourism industry by exhibiting each barangay's culture.

The Garbo sa Lapu-Lapu, according to organizers, gives opportunity for barangays to showcase their products such as guitars, beach resorts and some seafood delicacies.

Under the categories Pasahalad (Pasalamat, Pinaagi sa Pagsayaw ug Paghalad), street dancing and festival dance queen, the barangay contingents of Gun-ob, Buaya, Mactan and Tingo in Olango Island are expected to participate.

Barangays Gun-ob, Basak, Pusok, Ibo, Maribago, Mactan and Punta Engaño will participate in the float category, along with Barangay Suba-basbas, Babag, Calawisan and Tingo.

The festival was started in 2001 by the former congressman Arturo Radaza and has been sustained by the administration of Mayor Paz Radaza.

The event was made possible through the Association of the Barangay Councils led by ABC President Jose Dungog as the festival committee head and Raleigh Vilo as the event organizer.

Assembly will start around 10 in the morning on G.Y. Dela Cerna Street in Barangay Poblacion while the parade will start around 12 noon.

The grand stage is located at the Hoops Dome grounds in Barangay Gun-ob.

The best decorated and most symbolic floats, dancing contingents, pasahalad and festival dance queen who will give relevance to each barangay's festival will be awarded.

Cedf-IT takes on added role: Promote Cebu

By Mia A. Aznar (The Freeman)

ON its 13th year, the Cebu Educational Foundation for Information Technology (Cedf-IT) acquired an additional task—promote Cebu as a location for IT and business process management.

Although Cedf-IT managing director Wilfredo Sa-a Jr. acknowledged that it is not difficult to sell Cebu, this task was formerly undertaken by the Cebu Investment Promotions Center that ceased operations in December last year.

From just 15 members when it first started in 2001, Cedf-IT now has about 120 members from the academe, industry, civil society, government, media and support group.

Sa-a said Cebu is very much on the radar of top companies in the industry that they do not consider the added task of promoting Cebu as a difficulty. He said that at the International IT-BPM Summit in Metro Manila last month, a survey conducted among stakeholders showed that Cebu still ranks the highest among cities outside Metro Manila as the preferred location.

Sa-a said it is easy to sell Cebu because it has enough office space, the right bandwidth requirements and enough talent to supply the needs of the industry. He added that they have also established linkages with colleges and universities to serve companies that are expanding and new ones that are about to open.

He admitted that having enough talent remains a concern for them but they are constantly working with the academe to produce the talent required of the industry.

Although he believes Cebu is an established enough location to attract the best companies in the industry, Sa-a said Cebu cannot rest on its laurels, as other cities like Bacolod, Davao and Iloilo are also developing their own industries while many are looking at Cebu as their model.

As of October, global outsourcing consultancy firm Tholons estimates Cebu has 120,000 employees directly working for IT and BPM firms.

As for following the roadmap that was prepared by Tholons, Sa-a said the academe has managed to follow the recommendation of developing talent for a higher level of activities beyond voice operations. “It is happening now. We are seeing non-voice operations coming in. We have a lot of healthcare, insurance, management operations that are of higher value,” he said.

Cedf-IT also moved to another location within the Cebu IT Park at the STP Compound along Jose Ma. del Mar St. They have been equipped with high-speed Internet by PLDT.

Cedf-IT celebrated its anniversary Friday at the Lexmark Plaza 1 multi-purpose hall.

At the celebration, Sa-a gave updates on what the organization accomplished the past year, including the postponement of the previous year’s anniversary to give way to relief work for victims of typhoon Yolanda.

Cedf-IT chairman Francis Monera swore in new trustees and new member companies while memoranda of agreement were signed with different organizations that have partnered with Cedf-IT for various projects. These include the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s commitment to fund Phil IT GCE certifications for selected IT graduates in Cebu.

Cebu inventor's feat to inspire more youth

By Jose P. Sollano (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu Fifth District Provincial Board Member Miguel Antonio Magpale said the success of Cebuano inventor Brian Yuson in coming up with a self-contained renewable vehicle will encourage youths to show their talents.

Magpale sponsored a resolution approved by the members of the board commending Yuson for his invention.

Yuson was invited by the Provincial Board to attend the board regular session to receive copy of the said resolution.

According to Magpale, the Province of Cebu recognized him (Yuson) for his valuable contribution to Filipinos' sustainable development and for his craftsmanship and talent for bringing pride and inspiration to Cebuanos.

The Office of the President scheduled the awarding ceremony on November 27, 2014 at Kalayaan Hall, Malacañang Palace which also coincides with the launching of the Bayanihan sa Daan Awards.

Yuson, a resident of Compostela town and the president and chief executive officer of Saint James Academy of Skills, Inc., is the designer fabricator of the first-ever solar and wind-powered railway car.

The said self-contained renewable vehicle is a semi-train, which is pedal-wind and solar powered and runs using a bank of batteries that convert heat and kinetic energy into electrical energy.

Magpale said the Office of the President acknowledged Yuson as "the modern-day example of what happens when we unleash the native genius of the human heart."

Yuson teamed up with environment lawyer Antonio Oposa Jr. in coming up with the self-contained renewable energy vehicle.

Under the invention of Yuson, the batteries are charged from three renewable energy sources – a solar panel, pedal, and wind.

Unlike other electric vehicles which are charged by plugging batteries to an external source of electricity, this one he called the Transport Secret.

The energy comes from the vehicle itself and does not need to be plugged into an electric socket that is usually powered by fossil fuel, the coal or bunker oil.

The said invention shows that renewable energy in the form of solar and human-power is the way of the future, Yuson said.

He also said tat the invention could be a solution to much of the transport problems of the world without burning global-warming fossil fuels.

As city kicks off fiesta activities Carcar to show off heritage, growth

By Garry B. Lao (The Freeman)

­­CEBU, Philippines - Carcar City Mayor Nicepuro Apura will lead the opening of the city's fiesta today starting with a street parade, as well as daily and nightly activities.

This year's fiesta theme is "Carcar: Sabakan sa kabilin, larawan sa kalambuan."

City information officer Candice Acuña said the city, which is known as the Heritage City of Cebu, boasts of the presence of old structures, grandiose church and rich historical background.

"We came up with the theme 'Carcar: Sabakan sa kabilin, larawan sa kalambuan' because we are the seat of heritage but progress is mirrored in the industries that rise in the city," Acuña said.

Carcar is 40 kilometers south of Cebu City.

After the opening at 3 p.m. today, the city will sponsor nightly activities such as fashion show and talents night of Ms. Carcar 2014, DepEd Students Night and Teachers Night, Carcar Academy Night and St. Catherine's College Night, as well as the first-ever Mayor Nice Apura Legal Drag Race.

On November 23, schools will be competing for Kabkaban Festival street dancing competition.

"Kabkaban" is a ritual dance that is believed to drive away bad spirits when performed.

This annual activity is one of the highlights of Carcar's fiesta in honor of its patroness St. Catherine of Alexandria.

Aside from the heritage and old structures, the city is also known for its shoes, bolo making and basket weaving, wooden furniture manufacturing and antique reproduction.

Carcar was established as a municipality 414 years ago.

Tourism spurs growth in inter-island shipping

(The Freeman)

­­CEBU, Philippines - Despite the presence of budget airlines, the local inter-island shipping industry has continuously shown a significant growth in seaport passengers.

This is mainly driven by the booming tourism industry in the region, said Angelito Salvio, general manager of SuperCat 2GO Travel, which is part of the 2GO Group, Inc. under the parent company, Negros Navigation Co.

Salvio said sea transportation remains to be one of the primary means of inter-island transport, buoyed by the increase of local and foreign travelers to nearby provinces.

“The tourist industry is really growing especially in Cebu. Cebu is attracting a lot of tourists,” he said at the sidelines of the firm’s inauguration of its ticketing office yesterday in Cebu’s Passenger Terminal 1.

The increase in tourist arrivals is good for the sea travel business as several travelers take fast craft ferries to arrive in several tourist destinations in the region.

Data from the Cebu Port Authority showed that in 2011, fast craft services ranked third in terms of both disembarking and embarking passenger traffic. Roll-on/roll-off ranked second and metro ferry ranked first.

While some shipping operators said the cheap fares offered by low-cost carriers are affecting ferry owners, Salvio pointed out the upgrading of ferry terminals increases the competitiveness of sea travel industry.

Despite the challenges the shipping sector is currently facing, sea travel operators believe passenger ferries will continue to serve the local market.

A growing passenger market segment for sea transport is seen to be still evident.

“We also have to commend the renovation of the terminal,” he said, noting that Cebu’s Terminal 1 has already modern port facilities compared to other terminals in the country. The new seaport passenger terminal was inaugurated last April this year.

The CPA said it renovated the terminal building to address the public’s clamor for better port facilities and help the growth of the local tourism sector.

In addition, 2GO Travel has currently six fast craft vessels operating routes in Cebu, Ormoc, Tagbilaran, Iloilo, Bacolod, Calapan and Batangas.

Naga to plant 2.9T seedlings to replace trees

By Elias O. Baquero and Justin K. Vestil

THE City Government of Naga will be planting 2,900 tree seedlings to replace the 58 trees that they cut down for the construction of a track oval inside the Naga City Central School.

The tree-planting was part of the agreement the City and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 forged before the tree-cutting permit was issued to the local government unit.

Dr. Eddie Llamedo, DENR 7 spokesperson, told reporters that the City of Naga is expected to replace the trees on Nov. 21, once a commitment will be signed to plant the replacement trees. The site of the tree-planting is in Barangay Lutac, one of the city’s mountain barangays.

The site has been identified as a reforestation area of the DENR’s National Greening Program, said Llamedo.

About 60 percent of the trees that the City will plant are narra trees.

Llamedo said that the DENR 7 only required the City of Naga to replace 50 seedlings for every felled tree as the primary project is not a road widening.

For a road widening project, an applicant for a tree-cutting permit is required to provide 100 tree seedlings per felled tree.

Llamedo said that aside from planting replacement trees, the DENR 7 required the City of Naga to organize a multi-partite team that will monitor the progress of the trees that will be planted in Lutac.

The City of Naga has been required to ensure that 85 percent of all planted trees must survive within the next three years.

Llamedo said he is inviting conservationists, particularly Fr. Robert Reyes and his colleagues, to join them in the tree replacement activities.

The cutting of 58 trees at the Naga Central School was done to make way for the construction of a P60-million sports oval.

City officials said that the cutting of the trees was done with permission from the DENR 7.

A group of environmentalists led by Fr. Reyes opposed the removal of trees, and filed a case against Mayor Valdemar Chiong and other local officials.


Meanwhile, Llamedo said there are five exemptions in granting permit to cut trees anywhere in the country.

These five exemptions are: renewable energy projects, construction of transmitter of power lines, widening of roads and other projects either by the national or local government units, trees that pose danger to public safety and other government priority projects as approved by the President.

Llamedo said that DENR granted permit to cut the trees at Naga City Central School because of the construction of a track oval similar to that of the Abellana National School in Cebu City.

The DENR allows the cutting of trees in favor of renewable energy projects, such as geothermal energy, solar energy and wind power because the government wants self-sufficient power supply with less pollution.

Permit to cut trees are also issued on areas where power transmission lines will pass because electricity is needed everywhere.

In 2011, Llamedo said President Benigno Aquino III has issued Executive Order 23 directing a moratorium on the cutting of trees to prevent floods and protect the environment. Cutting of trees on sustainable or protected forest or watershed areas is absolutely prohibited.

DENR will still issue cutting permit on planted trees on production forest.

Llamedo said that since Aug. 7, 2014, DENR Secretary Ramon Paje has allowed tree-cutting in connection with road widening provided it passed a review by DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson.

Once Singson will find out that the cutting of trees is necessary for any road widening and will submit a recommendation, DENR will then grant the permit to cut the trees.

Llamedo said DENR 7 has issued permit to cut the trees along the highways of the cities of Naga and Carcar, and San Fernando because of reports that it pose danger to motorists.

However, some permits were revoked on order of the DENR central office.

Cebu now ‘ready’ for 2015 APEC

By Michael Vencynth H. Braga, Jean Marvette A. Demecillo / RHM (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu is now prepared to host a series of ministerial meetings as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in the country next year.

Cebu Provincial Tourism Officer Grace Paulino said the province has already checked the hotels and resorts where the delegates will be billeted, as well as the venues of the ministerial meetings, and everything is found to be satisfactory.

The APEC member-countries’ finance ministers will have their meetings in September 2015, while the energy and transportation ministers will have theirs in October next year.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III said preliminary meetings with the private sector and concerned government agencies were already conducted.

Sixty Capitol, Cebu City, Mandaue City, and Lapu-Lapu City employees who would serve as guides of APEC delegates were also made to undergo training at the country’s Foreign Service Institute.

Davide said the province is also ready to serve as alternate venue for the heads of state meeting in December 2015 primarily set in Legazpi City, Albay.

It was earlier reported that Cebu has been chosen as alternate venue for the APEC senior officials meeting as the threat of Mayon Volcano erupting may disrupt the event.

Davide said international conferences also serve as avenues for the province to attract foreign investors, which is why Cebu is really preparing.

The Philippines, an APEC member for the past 25 years, last hosted an APEC summit in 1996.

Yesterday, a coordination meeting attended by the Department of Energy Undersecretary Loreta Ayson was held at the Capitol to prepare for the energy ministers meeting.

Ayson requested the concerned local government units to beef up security for the series of APEC meetings in Cebu, considering that there will be around 500 delegates of the international conference.

Senior Superintendent Conrado Capa, Police Regional Office-7 deputy director for operation, on the other hand, said a security plan has already been crafted based on the security template of the APEC national organizing committee and already took into consideration security at the airport, site and venue, convoy security, and crowd control.

Meanwhile, Cebu City Police Coordinating and Advisory Council Chairman and Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella yesterday urged the City Council to comply with the Department of Interior and Local Government directive on the provision of budget on intelligence funds next year.

Labella said the city government has to prepare in terms of peace and order since Cebu City is eyeing to host international events.

He said the DILG circular states that intelligence funds may be sourced from the 30 percent appropriations of peace and order program and three percent of the total annual appropriations.

The city government is preparing for the upcoming international events, particularly the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in 2015 and the 2016 International Eucharistic Congress.

Labella said the request was timely since the council is currently meeting to for the budgeting process.

“The PCAC is urging the City Council because peace and order is important in addition to police visibility, especially that we are in the preparation for the international events,” he said, adding that the events would draw thousands of people to Cebu City.

“We will always assume that the Pope is coming, so we have to be prepared; maong mohangyo ta nga ang atong budget is in accordance with the guidelines,” he said.

Cebu Province Archived News

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