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DSWD culminates children’s month

By Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon/NSA (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - In line with this year’s 22nd National Children’s Month, the Department of Social Welfare and Development-7 culminated yesterday the month-long celebration with various competitions participated by daycare representatives in Central Visayas.

Grace Yana, DSWD-7 focal person-Children’s Sector said day care pupils, aged two to four years old, represented 14 cities and three provinces in the region in the singing, draw and tell, and folkdance contests.

“It is our aim to promote the rights of the children and showcase their skills and talents,” Yana said.

This year’s theme is “Bata Kasali ka, Ikaw ay Mahalaga,” with the aim to call on stakeholders in contributing to the promotion and protection of children’s rights and advocating for stronger and holistic actions, particularly addressing the gap in child participation and the importance of children’s role in decision-making.

The theme underscores that in every decision and undertaking for children, their opinions are important and their right to participate is encouraged.

Japanese firm launches environmental program

By Christell Fatima M. Tudtud (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Kanepackage Group of Companies, a Japanese paper-based and packaging firm, launched recently its Coastal Greenbelt Project and gave recognition to its partner groups and to the coastal communities in the Visayas region.

The Coastal Greenbelt Project aims to rehabilitate, protect and manage mangroves and beach forests in the Philippines. It complements the company's CSR program, Plant 5 Million Mangroves in Five Years which was launched in 2009.

According to Abner Barnuevo, Project Coordinator of the KP Company, the company has already planted around 5.8 million mangroves in four Visayan coastal communities covering a total of 162 hectares.

Different coastal communities have benefited the company's environmental advocacy, said Barnuevo. Among these coastal groups are the Olango Island Eco-Tours Association in Lapu-Lapu City, Manipis Fisherfolks Association in Tanjay, Negros Oriental, Banacon Fisherfolks and Mangroves Association and Banacon Growers of Seaweeds and Mangroves Association, both of Getafe, Bohol.

Aside from mangrove planting, the company has also built school buildings in Bohol and a day care center in Olango Island, Lapu-Lapu City.

Since the coastal community in Tanjay was only covered by the group last March, Barnuevo said that they are still thinking of possible projects that will positively affect the fisherfolks aside from mangrove planting. Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

"People organizations are the frontline in protecting the coastal areas", Barnuevo said.

That is why the company is giving cash incentives through monthly honorarium in exchange for their management and protection of the mangroves.

"We learn lesson from typhoon Haiyan," said Al Orolfo, Office-in-Charge and Regional Technical Director of Department of Environment Natural Resources- 7.

He said that the planting sites in the Visayas area served as green walls that protect the coastal residents from flood.

39-year old Stella Oral, a mother of two kids from Barangay Sabang, Olango Island said that planting mangroves is a big help for them.

"Gawas sa financial aspect, makatabang sad siya ilabi nag naay storm surge," she said.

Oral and the rest of the group does coastal clean-up twice a week.

Oral's group is one of the three coastal communities that received a plaque of appreciation from KG Company President Yoshizaku Kanesaka.

Sinulog foundation may receive P1.5M aid from Capitol

By Flornisa M. Gitgano

THE Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) has been re-accredited by the Cebu Provincial Government.

This means that the foundation can get its P1.5 million, which has been pending since 2013 from Capitol.

The Cebu Provincial Board (PB) approved the re-accreditation of SFI as a civil society organization yesterday.

The Province donated P500,000 to SFI in 2013 and P1 million this year for the annual Sinulog Grand Parade.

But the donations were not released because the foundation lacked accreditation.

Yesterday, the SFI board faced the PB for the second time in a bid to be re-accredited.


The PB denied the accreditation last week because the provincial ordinance on accreditation requires that at least half of the members of the organization's board will appear before the PB.

SFI again failed to meet this requirement yesterday with only three board members present—executive director Ricky Ballesteros, board of trustees secretary Renato Dychangco and treasurer Pericles Dakay.

But the officials brought with them a certification signed by the rest of the board members stating they are still active members of the organization.

SFI has 12 board members, including Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

During the discussion, Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale said that the appearance of the other members may be dispensed with as long the organization is in good standing.

PB Member Arleigh Jay Sitoy moved that SFI be exempted from meeting the required number of board members present for accreditation.

But PB Member Joven Mondigo Jr. said that the purpose of the appearance is to give the legislators opportunity to verify the identities of the members and the background of the organization.

The accreditation was approved anyway.

“We thanked them for trusting us. We also thanked them for seeing our track record. The fact that the board has successfully organized and managed the Sinulog for the past 35 years is a testament that we have a working board,” Dakay said.

Ballesteros said they tried to renew their accreditation in 2012 but failed.

In a separate interview, PB Member Sun Shimura said that the organizations may now renew their accreditation every three years instead of annually following a directive from the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Mandaue choir sets charity drive

(SunStar Cebu)

OVER a span of a decade, the Mandaue Children’s Choir under the direction of internationally acclaimed musical director, Maestro Dennis Gregory Sugarol, has earned accolades here and abroad.

From their beginnings as the Mandaue City School for the Arts Children’s Choir, the group evolved into a community-based choir. Recognized by the national government as grand champion in the children’s choir category in the National Music Competitions for Young Artists in 2004, the group journeyed for the past 10 years through choir competitions in Indonesia, Korea and Hong Kong where they emerged as winners, and has been invited to Taiwan as special guest in the Taiwan International Music Festival.

Having served in the Archdiocesan Shrine of San Pedro Calungsod for several years, the group’s greatest reward was the privilege to sing in the canonization of the second Filipino saint, San Pedro Calungsod, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Italy in October 2012.

In the words of the children, it was the experience of a lifetime.

Unlike many children their age, this group of young boys and girls spend long, grueling hours rehearsing for their performances. They grew learning their math, grammar and history, alongside musical notes. With the excellent training that they received, they developed self-discipline, time management, value for hard work and passion for purpose.

As they celebrate their 10th anniversary this year, they are honored to have been invited by Adolf Fredriks Musikklasser in Stockholm, Sweden, as one of only six choirs in the world to perform in the “Let the Future Sing” International Children and Youth Choir Festival in May 2015.

They have also been accepted to compete in the choir festivals in Halle, Germany and Citta di Filadelfia, Italy in summer 2015. Support

The children have the full support of their families, however, with such a mammoth endeavor ahead of them, they need the help of the entire Cebuano community and all generous countrymen, to be able to rise with pride, the Philippine flag in Europe.

Help the 34-member choir fund their mission to serenade, inspire and give joy to Filipino families and make the children proud of their roots.

As part of their fundraising campaign, the Mandaue Children’s Choir Inc. will be hold a benefit dinner and pre-Christmas concert at the Cebu Provincial Capitol Social Hall on Nov. 29, 2014 at 7 p.m.

Join the children and be among the first to hear them sing their original song compositions, and interpret the heartwarming Christmas song composition of multi-awarded songwriter, Jude Gitamondoc.

Celebrate early Christmas with the Mandaue Children’s Choir and “Let the Filipino Kids Sing in Europe” in summer 2015.

For ticket inquiries and sponsorships, one may contact Jenny Antiquina at 0917-6286801 or Mayang Tariman at 0927-3083695.

DPWH, LGUs to coordinate on implementation

By Jose P. Sollano (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of Public Works and Highways assured officials in Metro Cebu that they will coordinate with local government units in the implementation of projects next year.

Officials of DPWH Sixth Engineering District, who visited Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, said they will closely monitor with the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, as well as the towns of Consolacion and Cordova.

During the meeting, they assured close coordination in the implementation of the projects.

"Dako gayud kaayo ang akong kalipay nga nakig-coordinate na nato ang mga opisyales sa DPWH kun duna sila'y projects nga ipatuman sa Mandaue," Mayor Cortes said.

Before, Cortes said the officials of DPWH implemented projects without his knowledge.

The city mayor said the city government has priority projects for implementation, and so does DPWH.

But at times, he added, they encountered problems if there was duplication of the projects.

According to Mayor Cortes, with close coordination with DPWH, they can utilize the funds available for local and national sources.

Cortes appealed to the public to be patient, citing that once the projects are completed, they would eventually benefit the city.

Earlier, Engineer Renult Ricardo of DPWH Sixth Engineering District office said 2015 is a good year for the department with a number of projects slated for implementation.

In Lapu-Lapu City, Mayor Paz Radaza maintained that DPWH should coordinate with the city government once they have projects for implementation.

Although the city is the one responsible for projects' implementation, once problems are encountered, Radaza said local officials take the public's blame.

Radaza cited the problems of traffic and other inconvenience of the riding public in her city.

Meanwhile, DPWH officials also visited the towns of Consolacion and Cordova and also assured better coordination next year.

Code creation to position Cebu as investment hub

By Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - With its promising economic potential, Cebu should be considered as a good investment partner in areas such as real estate, tourism and information and communications technology, said a business leader.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Teresa Chan touted the province’s economic gains in recent years.

With the creation of the 2014 Province of Cebu Investments and Incentives Code, Chan noted Cebu, one of the country’s highly developed cities, would become an important investment destination.

The code, being proposed by the Provincial Board, wants to encourage local and foreign investors to set up enterprises in the province and help grow the agricultural, services and industrial industries in the countryside.

The code will give fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to potential investments. It will also create its own regulating board and operations center.

Potential growth areas in the province aside from the central district should be identified to boost economic growth. The code's preferred investment areas include tourism, renewable energy, export activities, mining and clean water projects.

“Cebu is also known for shopping districts, pristine beaches and excellent resorts,” the CCCI official said. “It is also a hub for education, trade, business process outsourcing, commerce and industry aside from Manila.”

Chan shared the chamber is planning to do a trade mission in Indonesia to invite businessmen in the Muslim country to explore commercial opportunities especially in Cebu.

She said: “Cebu-based companies would also be challenged to do the same -- to explore opportunities there.”

Sustaining economic stability and making sure citizens benefit from the economic gains are also challenges that need to be considered.

She explained the two ASEAN nations have faced the same challenges such as vulnerability to natural disasters, inadequate infrastructures, high logistical systems and rigid labor system which has restricted the expansion of the manufacturing sector.

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.

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