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Study identifies 158 individual whale sharks in south Cebu town


CEBU CITY, Sept. 19 (PNA) -- A recent population study of whale sharks in southern Cebu town of Oslob has identified 158 individual sharks in the town.

The number is about 24 percent of the 650 individual sharks identified in the “Wildbook for Whale Sharks” in the Philippines.

The paper, published on the peer-reviewed academic journal, also highlights the need for further studies to be able to come up with proper management and more effective protection of the species.

Researchers, who are also working with the Large Marine Vertebrates (Lamave) Research Institute Philippines, said that 158 whale sharks were sighted and identified in Barangay Tan-awan, Oslob from March 2012 to December 2013.

Of the total, 47 percent or more than 70 have propeller scars caused by small outrigger boats and commercial fishing vessels.

Propeller scars were observed on 51 percent of fed sharks.

The local and international researchers also found signs showing possible changes in the migratory behavior of the whale sharks, as indicated by the length of time that provisioned or fed whale sharks stay in the area.

Out the 158 whale sharks, 54 individual whale sharks were fed.

They are also the same ones seen more often at the Barangay Tan-awan whale shark tourism interaction area.

Of the 54 sharks that are fed by tour guides, 49 are males and five are females.

Researchers said that based on their size, the sharks in Oslob are young, with the biggest at nine meters in length.

The study noted that some of the whale sharks sighted in Oslob were also observed in other areas in Cebu such as in Moalboal town and Malapascua off Daanbantayan in northern Cebu) and in Southern Leyte, Panglao in Bohol and Donsol in Sorsogon.

Cebuano netizens may now search on Google using Cebuano

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

CEBU CITY, Sept. 18 (PNA) – Cebuano netizens may not have noticed it yet, but “Bisdaks” (short for Bisayang dako or true-blooded Cebuano), wherever they are in the world, may now look something up on Google using Cebuano as search language.

Cebuano became part of Google’s search language since April last year, and the effort to do so was led by someone who is not a native Cebuano.

Jacqueline Siwala, who spearheaded Cebuano language advocates in the project, said it took nearly 10 years to succeed in making the language a part of the Internet search engine.

“The effort initially began in 2005, when Google asked volunteers to translate Google interface phrases into Cebuano,” Siwala said.

Siwala grew up speaking Filipino as a child. Her father is from Laguna and her mother is a native of Cabanatuan City.

She learned Hiligaynon when her parents, now retired police officials, were assigned in Iloilo in 1986.

She visited Cebu for the first time in 1997 during an art convention and became a permanent resident since 2012.

“I’m in love with Cebu,” she said.

Siwala said Vincent Isles, a lawyer and Children’s Legal Bureau member, responded to her project by translating around 600 text strings that Google wanted translated.

Text strings, in computer programming, are the commands containing programming texts.

A group of linguists and academicians in Cebu reviewed Isles’ work before it was submitted to Google on Oct. 20, 2005.

Siwala said they did not receive a response so a letter was sent to Google almost a year later to follow up on the project.

The group still failed to receive any reply and the project languished.

In late 2011, the project came back to life and the translation process ballooned from 600 to 7,760 text strings.

Siwala said lawyer Manuel Lino Faelnar approached Lubas sa Dagang Bisaya (Ludabi), a Cebu-based group of which Faelnar is a board member, to complete the project.

Ludabi, which focuses on the preservation of Cebuano arts and culture, pushed through with the translation, which was completed with the help of representatives from public service, academe, linguistics, law, education, technology, culture and broadcast industry.

Aside from Faelnar, Siwala and Isles, the other members of the Google Search Cebuano Team are Dr. Jess Tirol and Atty. Cesar Kilaton.

Their project became a reality when Cebuano was included in the release of the Google Search-Philippines in April last year.

Similar to that of Cebu, Mandaue socialized housing eyed for Talisay

By Garry B. Lao (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines – For Talisay City Councilor Doroteo Emit, chairman of the Committee on Housing and Urban Development, socialized medium-rise buildings could play a key role to lessen the number of landless constituents in the city.

In his proposed resolution, which was approved in yesterday's City Council session, Emit recommended the construction of a socialized medium-rise building for qualified beneficiaries.

"The construction of a socialized medium-rise building for the urban poor and landless is a positive strategy to lessen the number of landless constituents and alleviate the plight of the urban poor," Emit said.

Emit cited Cebu City and Mandaue City as models of medium-rise building construction for the poor.

One such property in Cebu City is the Lorega Cemetery, where a medium-rise building was erected for the city's urban poor in coordination with Gawad Kalinga, while in Mandaue City, a socialized housing project is also being offered to residents living near easement and danger zones.

Emit cited Section 2 of Republic Act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 which states that "it is the policy of the state to undertake, in cooperation with the private sector, a comprehensive and continuing Urban Development and Housing Program." Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

In Section 2 of Republic Act 7835 or Comprehensive and Integrated Shelter Finance Act of 1994, "it is a policy of the state to undertake in cooperation with the private sector, a continuing program of urban land reform and housing which will make available, at affordable cost, decent housing and basic services to underprivileged and homeless citizens in urban centers and resettlement areas."

Red Cross grants city P4M in aid

By Christell Fatima M. Tudtud (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines – The Philippine Red Cross has granted Lapu-Lapu City P4 million in financial assistance in time for the celebration of the World First Aid Day.

Mayor Paz Radaza and PRC officials led by their Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang signed the memorandum of agreement witnessed by the Red Cross volunteers and staff.

The agreement stipulates that blood station services and first aid trainings will be made available to the residents of the city.

"First aid can be done anytime, anywhere and is accessible to all," Pang said. "First aid can spell the difference between life and death."

Pang added that aside from the contract, three motorcycles and a vehicle will be given by the humanitarian organization for Lapu-Lapu's disaster management needs.

Radaza in response said that the city government is more than willing to partner with Red Cross in serving the people.

"Truth to be told, this organization has saved countless of lives," she said.

PRC's office is located in Barangay Poblacion and their blood station is near Hoops Dome in Barangay Gun-ob.

Vic Jay Gonzal, chapter administrator of PRC, said the contract allows them to pay one peso per day within the span of 25 years.

According to the research cited by Pang, five out of 10 die of heart disease which is the number one health problem and leading cause of death in the country.

First aid lectures and demonstrations will be given by licensed first aiders. Among these are shock positioning, bleeding control and bandaging, as well as adult, child and infant CPR.

The mayor emphasized that this measure will give every person a chance to be the rescuers on their own and need not to be experts.

"I believe we can contribute to lessen the number of casualties each year," Radaza said.

Architects paint mural urging love for planet

By Rebelander S. Basilan

A GROUP of architects set out to paint a 50-meter wall in Mandaue City with images of countryside life.

Richard Abella, president of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP)-Datu Lapu-Lapu Chapter, said the mural they are working on aims to convey the need to protect the environment.

“We only have one planet. We have to protect it,” he said in an interview with reporters yesterday.

Their mural on a concrete wall of the Ho Tien Soy factory is an added attraction in Barangay Subangdaku, where street art enthusiasts led by renowned mural artist Amado Guerrero “AG” Saño are also doing the country’s first flyover art project.

Subangdaku Barangay Captain Ernie Manatad said he suggested that the architects depict countryside life in their mural painting to evoke the barangay’s past as an agricultural area.

“Subangdaku has become a concrete jungle from being a place of ricefields,” he said.

Manatad said the paintings are part of his effort to beautify street walls in the barangays.

“We’ve chosen walls that are frequently vandalized for the paintings. So far, nobody has vandalized the walls again,” he said.


The UAP, which has about 120 members, started their project on the 50-meter wall last Aug. 31. The wall has a height of five meters.

“This is part of our community service,” Abella said.

Some members brought their family members yesterday to the site. Among those present were the chapter’s immediate past president Jensen Racho, its vice president Philip Lim and one of its board members Clemente Guanzon.


Joseph Judilla, a member, made the outline on the wall. He drew images of a rice field with a farmer and a carabao, as well as environmental symbolisms.

Judilla is also the chair of the project of the Cebu Kabanay Lions Club to paint concrete walls in Mandaue with images conveying the importance of protecting the environment.

The mural painting on the Subangdaku flyover is part of the project.

Manatad said the murals on the flyover are almost done. The flyover art project is set to be inaugurated next month.

Talisay, Naga models of DSWD program for youth

By Garry B. Lao (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of Social Welfare and Development-7 named Talisay City and the City of Naga as successful implementers of the Unlad Kabataan Program for the out-of-school youth.

Eppie Partosa, the youth focal person of the DSWD-7, said the two cities are concrete models of the program because they implemented the project well and discovered the talents and skills of the youth.

In a forum held during the seventh year anniversary of the UKP, Partosa explained that Unlad Kabataan Program for youth is geared towards the total development of the disadvantaged youth who have special needs.

Lowella Vestil, focal person on youth program in Talisay City, told The FREEMAN that the city government and DSWD are ready to provide technical assistance and capability building to the various youth service providers for them to enhance their understanding and effectiveness in taking action to help the out-of-school youth express what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain the services they need.

There are 2,127 combined out-of-school youth in the city but 528 of them are inactive, Vestil said.

In the City of Naga, there are 724 members.

Vestil added that the program is a holistic approach organized in Talisay's 22 barangays.

"Ang atong mga out of school youth sa Talisay active man gyud. In fact, naa na gani nila nagtrabaho ug maayo na og pagkabutang kay nagkapamilya naman pud (Talisay City out-of-school youth are actually active. Some of them already have jobs while others have settled down with their families)," Vestil said.

She added that the out-of-school youth also undergo skills trainings for free through the continuity of a manpower development program on technical and vocational skills trainings.

UKP is a program of the DSWD, together with the Social Welfare and Development Office, which aims to help the out-of-school youth and other disadvantaged youth to become self-reliant, economically productive and socially responsible citizens able to contribute to the development of their family and community.

Cebu power firm urges consumers to use solar energy


CEBU CITY, Sept. 13 (PNA) -- The Visayan Electric Company (Veco), Metro Cebu’s lone power utility, has urged its customers to install solar panels in their individual homes or companies.

"We are encouraging our customers to avail on this. They can save on their electricity bill and help the environment as well," Sebastian Lacson, Veco chief operating officer, said.

Lacson said about 200 customers have so far manifested their intent to put up solar panels in their respective households, but only four have been installed.

A solar panel that can generate one kilowatt hour (1kWh) costs around Php150,000 including the installation.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, in his message on the New Metering Reference Guide said the country can harness the sun's power as its radiation across the country has a power generation of 4.5 to 5.5 kWh per square meter per day.

He said that on every grid, a household or company can utilize the power of the sun with solar panels on their own roofs, which paves the way to the introduction of the net-metering scheme.

The scheme, Petilla said, represents the first step of a paradigm shift from the traditional generation-transmission-distribution scheme towards individual and community-based distributed on-site power generation.

Net-metering is the first non-fiscal incentive mechanism fully implemented under the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

Through the installation of solar photovoltaic panels up to 100kW, house owners and commercial establishments can now partly satisfy their electricity demand by themselves.

Petilla said the end users can also help mitigate the effects of climate change through the use of clean energy technologies and contribute in lessening the country's dependence on costly imported fossil fuels.

Cebu provincial hospital in Carcar City starts performing major surgeries


CARCAR CITY, Cebu, Sept. 12 (PNA) -- The 50-bed Cebu provincial hospital in Carcar City in southern Cebu has started performing major surgical procedures Thursday after its status was upgraded to level one.

The major operations include, among others, appendectomy, myomectomy for fibroids in the uterus, thyroidectomy for thyroid gland, modified radical mastectomy, cholecystectomy for the gallbladder, hernia surgery and caesarian section birth.

The Department of Health (DOH) granted in April this year the level one status to CPH-Carcar along with nine other provincial and district hospitals.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III said the status upgrade will help indigents living in far-flung towns who now need not go to Cebu City for major surgical procedures.

"We are happy to announce that finally, our provincial hospitals, beginning with Carcar City, now have surgical capability. In our own little way, lesser patients from neighboring towns will be brought to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City," Davide said.

Davide said the province will hire more permanent surgeons to man the hospitals especially those which have already been upgraded to level one.

Other hospitals whose status were upgraded are the provincial hospitals in the cities of Bogo and Danao, and the district hospitals in Bantayan, Barili, Badian, Tuburan, San Francisco, Argao and Sogod.

Davide said this is part of the province's pursuit to improve provincial government-run hospitals to at least level one status since some are still in the primary care level.

There are 16 government-run hospitals in the province.

Dr. Olivia Dandan, chief of hospital of the Carcar provincial hospital, said the hospital also has diplomate surgeons and more than 50 nurses.

Dandan hopes that the current status of the facility will be sustained and eventually be elevated to level two by next year if it can establish an intensive care unit with the necessary equipment.

Capitol to help flood-prone LGUs

By Oscar C. Pineda

THE Cebu Provincial Development Council (PDC) yesterday approved the proposed realignment of some P62.2 million to be used for various projects in Cebu Province.

In a meeting yesterday, the PDC also approved the Bantayan Island Management Plan and the Disaster Risk Vulnerability Report for endorsement to the Regional Development Council (RDC) 7.

The proposed realignment, on the other hand, will have to be approved by the Provincial Board.


It will involve some P50 million, intended for the construction and rehabilitation of buildings and other structures, that will be used instead to construct and rehabilitate provincial and barangay roads. This project will cost some P49 million; the remaining P1 million will be for the Malapascua development program.

Some P9.17 million intended for the planning of the trans-axial highway will also be realigned to serve as Capitol’s counterpart fund in the implementation of the Philippine Rural Development Program.

Gov. Hilario Davide III said they money can be realigned since a private firm is willing to finance the feasibility study of the trans-axial highway at no cost to the Province.


Also to be realigned is the P1 million intended for the repair and rehabilitation of Cebu International Convention Center (CICC). This will instead be used for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the Cebu Cultural Center in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City.

The P2-million allocation for Museo sa Sugbu will also be realigned for museum, heritage sites and structures in Cebu.

Also during yesterday’s meeting, the PDC passed Resolution No. 8 endorsing to the RDC the Capitol’s Disaster Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Report, as mandated by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The vulnerability report will be the point of reference for local government units to prepare their own disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation plans.

The PDC also approved Resolution No. 7 or the Bantayan Island General Management Plan, prepared by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DNER), “as a document tool to de-establish the declaration as a wilderness area.”

Davide said the DENR and NEDA require the passage of the resolution to reclassify the lands in the island, from wilderness to alienable and disposable, so it can be titled.

Once the land is titled, construction for housing projects for Yolanda victims to be funded by the government will no longer have problems with the Commission on Audit.

NHA 7 says P2.2B released for construction of houses for Yolanda survivors in north Cebu


CEBU CITY, Sept. 10 (PNA) -- The National Housing Authority (NHA) 7 said an initial P2.2 billion of the P6.5 billion allocated for the construction of houses for super typhoon Yolanda survivors in northern Cebu has been released.

NHA 7 Manager Gavino Figuracion said that in the rehabilitation plan, the government will build 22,423 houses for Yolanda survivors in northern Cebu at P290,000 per unit or a total of P6.5 billion.

He said that based on the released funds, the NHA can build 391 houses in San Remegio, 74 in Daanbantayan and 220 in Tabuelan or 685 houses with the combined cost P198,650,000.

Other local government units (LGUs) are preparing the sites for their relocation sites of typhoon Yolanda survivors.

He said interested developers are given until Sept. 30 to submit their project proposals, which should include the housing sites.

The proposals will have to be submitted to the NHA central office.

Figuracion said rehabilitation projects are exempted from Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Act, so the NHA will shortlist developers and contractors.

For the purpose of shortlisting, the NHA is now accrediting private contractors and land developers who can undertake housing projects including the 685 houses which will be initially built in the three towns.

Figuracion said that to qualify, contractors and developers must first submit their letter of intent for pre-qualification.

Other documents that must be attached to the letter of intent are company profile, track record, list of equipment owned or rented, organizational structure, financial statement duly received by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and list of manpower.

Cebuanos to mark 136th birth anniversary of Pres. Osmena with a holiday on Sept. 9


CEBU CITY, Sept. 8 (PNA) -- Cebuanos will mark the 136th birth anniversary of the late President Sergio Osmena Sr. on Sept. 9, Tuesday, with a special non-working holiday.

Republic Act (RA) 6953, which was signed into law by then-President Corazon Aquino on May 1990, declared President Osmena’s birth anniversary a non-working holiday throughout Cebu Province and in Cebu City.

Born in 1878, Osmena was the first Visayan to ascend to the presidency and served briefly from 1944 to 1946 after the sudden death of President Manuel Quezon.

Prior to his brief tenure as president, the Osmena patriarch served as a provincial governor, House speaker, senator, and vice president.

His four-decade long political career ended when he was defeated by then-Senate President Manuel Roxas in the 1946 presidential elections.

While Roxas died just two years into his term, Osmena lived until 1961.

Several members of the Osmena clan have occupied positions at the national and local levels, among them his son, Sergio Jr., and grandson John Henry Osmena who were elected senators and another grandson, Lito Osmena, who was elected Cebu governor.

Sergio Jr. unsuccessfully ran against then president Ferdinand Marcos in 1969 while Lito Osmena failed in his vice presidential and presidential bids in 1992 and 1998, respectively.

His grandson, Sergio Osmena III, is serving his third non-consecutive term in the Senate and is up for reelection in 2016.

The brother of Sergio III, Tomas, a former congressman, last year lost his bid to return as the mayor of Cebu City.

Town eyes projects to benefit children

By Jose P. Sollano (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines – Consolacion town officials are now beginning to give due attention to the issues concerning children.

Mayor Teresa Alegado called a meeting with the members of the Municipal Council for the Welfare of Children, department heads and members of the municipal council who are chairing committees concerning children.

During the meeting, they agreed to closely coordinate and implement programs mean to uplift the welfare of children in their town.

Earlier, Mayor Alegado said one of the priorities of her administration is to implement programs to benefit the children.

Child pornography and children used by criminals to commit crimes, especially illegal drugs, have alarmed town officials, they said.

Alegado was the one who aired her concerns on the problem of child pornography after the arrest of some of them in Cordova town.

Police also reported that children were used by suspected drug pushers in their illegal activities.

Barangay officials have also been tapped by the police in the campaign against illegal drugs in Consolacion.

Comelec eyeing Cebu as pilot area for touch screen voting

By Michael Vencynth H. Braga/RHM (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Commission on Elections is looking at using touch screen voting in the 2016 national elections, and Cebu is one of the possible pilot areas.

Lawyer Rafael Olaño, the new Comelec-7 director, said the Comelec Central Office advisory council recommended an automated election system for the next elections.

This includes the use of direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines which have touch screen features.

Olaño said that unlike the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) technology currently used by the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, voters no longer have to shade their ballots under this voting system innovation, speeding up the casting and canvassing of votes.

Olaño, though, said that considering its cost and compatibility to the Filipino culture, the Comelec en banc is still studying the possibility of using DRE as replacement for PCOS.

In a Rappler report, Comelec Chairman Calixto Brillantes Jr. noted that DRE machines would be very costly if it would completely replace PCOS machines.

He said five to 10 DRE machines would be needed in each precinct, or around 800,000 units, costing the country an estimated P55 billion for the 80,000 polling precincts.

Olaño said there would also be voters who would believe that a voting system that provide ballots as more credible.

“Naghahanap pa rin tayo ng paper trail eh, yong balota na makikita. Wala pa tayong masyadong bilib doon sa hindi nakikita (We still look for a paper trail. We do not yet trust a system where we cannot see our vote),” he said during the Comelec Cebu general assembly at the Capitol Social Hall yesterday.

Lawyer Lionel Marco Castillano, Cebu provincial election supervisor, said there would still be a need for voters’ education and the conduct of trainings for teachers before the new system could be applied.

The DRE voting system was first used during the 2008 elections at the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Castillano said that based on that experience, the Comelec has seen the negative side of the DRE system.

“After you voted you go to somebody who paid you, present the receipt and say I voted for you,” he added.

Also yesterday, Comelec reminded voters of that biometrics submission is mandatory. Those with incomplete data would no longer be allowed to vote in 2016 elections.

Olaño said there are around 500,000 voters in Central Visayas who have incomplete biometrics data.

Cebu PB commends Cebuano inventor


CEBU CITY, Sept. 4 (PNA) -- The Cebu Provincial Board (PB) has passed two resolutions commending Cebuano innovator Pedro “Pete” Delantar Jr. for winning the “Tuklas Award” of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) during the 2014 National Invention Contest and Exhibition.

The two resolutions were authored by PB Members Arleigh Sitoy and Miguel Antonio Magpale.

The winning invention of Delantar was a molded coarse particle product with cast paper based reinforcement, a decorative fixture using castaway materials from a furniture factory.

The contest was held during the recently concluded National Science and Technology Week celebrations at the SMX Convention Center where 56 entries were judged.

The PB said the innovation contributes not just to Cebu’s economy, but also in promoting the best craftsmanship and the talents of Cebuanos.

Delantar, the resolutions state, is not only a pride of the people of Compostela but of Cebu province and the entire Filipino race.

Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale said the innovation of Delantar and his use of environment-friendly products will encourage other Cebuanos.

A separate resolution commending Delantar was also passed last week by the Municipal Council of Compostela, citing Delantar’s important role in the economic development of their town.

Delantar is a member of the Filipino Inventor Society and currently president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Compostela, Cebu Inc.

He is the chief executive officer of Nature’s Legacy Eximport, Inc. based in Barangay Cogon, Compostela.

Lapu-Lapu marks crime prevention

By Christell Fatima M. Tudtud (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines – The Lapu-Lapu City Police Office has joined with the National Police Commission in celebrating the 20th National Police Crime Prevention Week starting September 1 to 7.

Acting police director Senior Superintendent Armando Radoc emphasized the importance of crime prevention and utilizing all types of patrol units, such as bike patrol, car and foot patrol in busting law-breaking activities within the city.

He added that an all-out patrol in different areas should be conducted.

The police, according to Radoc, coordinate with the barangays as most of the crimes are believed to start within the grassroots level.

A geographic information system is then applied by the police to get data and determine the volume of the crimes that transpired within an area.

Radoc said with this method, the incident with most number of occurrences will be put on surveillance and security.

Jose Dungog, president of the Association of Barangay Councils, said yesterday he supports the crime prevention campaign of police authorities in the city since they help eliminate both serious and petty crimes.

"Tanan magsugod man gyud sa barangay," Dungog said.

In Lapu-Lapu City, Station 3 in Barangay Gun-ob recorded the most number of crimes, according to Radoc.

Aside from Gun-ob, there are six more barangays that the station aims to protect.

"I instructed Police Senior Inspector Wilbert Parilla of Police Station 3 to improve crime prevention," Radoc said.

Ilocos Norte aims to revive sisterhood links with Cebu

By Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman)

LAOAG, Ilocos Norte , Philippines — The provincial government of Ilocos Norte is going to intensify its existing sisterhood partnership with Cebu to further exchange mutual benefits in tourism and other industries.

In an interview with Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos, she said that Cebu and Ilocos Norte have complementary strengths and that she is looking forward to discuss further developments with Cebu Governor Hilario Davide, Jr.

Ilocos Norte signed a sisterhood agreement with Cebu in July 2011 with then Governor Gwendolyn Garcia. Both provinces have already implemented exchange programs such as tourism promotion, linkages with the business organizations like Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and industry.

However, the partnership has taken a backseat due to the transition in government leadership and also the province’s attention was focused on the rehabilitation of areas devastated by the twin disasters last year.

Marcos said the province is going to initiate the revival of the sisterhood agreement, while Ilocos Norte now gears up for tourism advancement and would like to complement Cebu's tourism advantage.

"Cebu and Ilocos are perfect fit. Cebu has good beaches, fashion accessory. Good shopping facilities. While we are also offering good attraction in culture and heritage, and the wind and sand sport activities," Marcos said.

As tourism started to perk up in the province, the lady Governor is hoping to make stronger partnership with Cebu, including the tourism private sector players. The lack of hotel accommodation and over-booked airport are just few of the complementary exchanges that the two provinces can mutually benefit from.

Ilocos Norte has an international airport, situated in its capital Laoag City, wherein Marcos is actively inviting airlines to open international direct flights.

Known as the garlic basket in the Philippines, Ilocos Norte located at the northwest corner of Luzon Island, is also rich in other agricultural produce. About two or three years ago, Marcos said her province had been able to rescue the depleting supply of mangoes in Visayas and Mindanao, and aided to sustain the requirement of food manufacturing companies in Cebu like Profood International.

While rich in fertile agricultural lands, Marcos said Ilocanos are conservative in nature and naturally not enterprising like the Cebuanos.

"Cebu is good at wealth creation. This is something that we could learn from Cebu. The issue on inclusive. growth doesn’t apply here," she said.

Ilocos Norte's economy is largely driven by overseas remittances, as 61 percent of the total population is funded by Ilocanos who work, and reside in different countries around the world.

The sudden surge of tourism in the province, the Governor said is a "wake up call for us." She is also inviting investors to take advantage of the profitable tourism sector especially in hotel, and other support facilities.

Aside from the province’s well known heritage and cultural strength, Marcos said her government is constantly developing more attractions to boost repeat visitors.

Now Ilocos Norte boasts of its sprawling sand dunes for adventure sand dune ride, the new developments of multi-million-dollar windmills, improved Marcos trail, among others.

P52M worth of navigational buoys to be installed in Mactan Channel


CEBU CITY, Sept. 1 (PNA) -- The Cebu Port Authority (CPA) has set aside P52 million to buy and install 10 navigational buoys in the Mactan Channel to guide outgoing and incoming vessels to the Cebu port and avoid collision of vessels in the area, an official said.

Edmund Tan, CPA general manager, said the move is in response to the recommendation of the Board of Marine Inquiry (BMI) which looked into the collision of passenger ferry MV St. Thomas Aquinas and cargo vessel MV Sulpicio Express 7 on August 16 last year at the Lawis Ledge of the Mactan Channel.

The St. Aquinas sank, killing more than 100 passengers and crew and leaving more than a dozen others missing.

Tan said the BMI, chaired by Rear Admiral Luis Tuazon Jr., recommended the installation of buoys in Mactan Channel.

The BMI found that due to lack of guides, Sulpicio Express 7 skippered by Capt. Rolito Gilo was sailing in the inbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) instead of the outbound lane because it was going out of Cebu City port for Davao City.

On the other hand, the BMI also found that St. Thomas Aquinas under vessel master Capt. Reynan Bermejo was running at 16 knots while approaching the mouth of TSS, knowing that an outbound vessel was near.

St. Thomas Aquinas, which sank after it collided with Sulpicio Express 7, is still in Lawis Ledge, which is about 120 meters deep. Some of the missing passengers are believed to be still inside it.

The BMI, in its recommendation, stated that navigational buoys can prevent similar incidents.

Tan said the recommendation was for the CPA to install at least 42 buoys, but they only appropriated P52 million for 10 buoys in the meantime due to limited budget.

He pledged that more buoys will be installed in the coming years.

Tan said that of the 10 buoys, three will be installed in the north side of the TSS and another three in the south side.

All the six will be colored red, yellow and green.

The red buoy will be in the right side while the green one is in the left side.

“All voyagers or navigators or seamen know that if they are going to port, they should be at the right side where the red buoy is located. If they are outbound, they must be at the left side where the green buoy is installed. There will be no short cuts,” Tan said.

The other four navigational buoys will be installed by CPA at areas where several vessels ran aground in the past years.

“These will serve as shallow markers and warnings to passing or approaching ships to avoid these areas because these are shallow and they may run aground,” Tan said.

All the navigation buoys that CPA will acquire will be guided by Global Positioning System (GPS), Tan said.

Tan said the CPA also signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Philippine Coast Guard for the installation of Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS), which will monitor the movements of all vessels.

The VTMS project, which is targeted to be operational by 2016, is a grant from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Cebu Province Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.

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