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Central Visayas gets P15.1B in investments

By Jeandie O. Galolo (With a report from PNA)

INVESTMENT pledges in Central Visayas reached P15.1 billion for the first half of 2015, data from the Board of Investments (BOI) Cebu showed.

The figure represents a 250 percent increase from last year’s records during the same period, which stood at P6.1 billion.

Official data from BOI Cebu extension office Investment Specialist Philip T. Torres obtained yesterday showed that the amount corresponds to 12 projects in the region.

These were invested in manufacturing (P519.1 million), tourism (P900 million), mass housing (P957 million), water transport infrastructure (P375 million), power (P65 million) and public private partnership project, the Mactan Cebu International Airport of GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. at P6.3 billion.

These projects are scattered in Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, Toledo City, Liloan, Carmen, Badian, Panglao in Bohol, and Sta. Catalina in Negros Oriental. When these projects become fully operational, these will generate 2,166 jobs in the region.

BOI, an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, grants incentives to BOI-registered businesses.

It offers companies fiscal incentives which include, among others, income tax holidays, reduction of the rates of duty on capital equipment, tax credits, and non-fiscal incentives like employment of foreign nationals, as well as simplification of customs procedures.

From 2014 to 2016, Torres said priority sectors of BOI, as identified by various government agencies, include manufacturing, agribusiness, fishery, services, economic and low-cost housing, hospitals, energy, public infrastructure and logistics and PPP projects.

In the whole year of 2014, BOI registered P9.3 billion worth of investments in Central Visayas, translating to 1,415 jobs.

For the rest of 2015, Torres said his office has received numerous applications from different companies, primarily in housing projects. This month, BOI Cebu approved two projects worth P177.6 million for mass housing. To date, four projects are under evaluation worth P3.4 billion.

Nationwide, investment approvals of the BOI in January to May 2015 has also increased.

Investment pledges for the period jumped by 20.2 percent to P78.68 billion from P65.46 billion the same period in 2014.

BOI’s investment approvals shared 56.3 percent to the total investment pledges under the two investment promotion agencies (IPAs) under DTI.

The other IPA, Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza), had approved investments worth P61.08 billion at the end of May.

Investment pledges in Peza decreased by 39.8 percent from last year’s same period amounting to P101.48 billion.

The slump in Peza-approved investments pulled DTI’s IPAs performance in January to May this year.

Combined investment approvals of BOI and Peza at the end of May fell by 16.3 percent to P139.76 billion, from P166.94 billion in the same period in 2014.

Business Month to last 3 months

By Mia A. Aznar

TO COMMEMORATE their 50th founding anniversary, the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) will be celebrating the annual Mandaue Business Month for much longer.

At the launching held Saturday, officials announced that the MBM could extend all the way to October, to pave the way for more activities and not overshadow the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation’s ministerial meetings that will be held in Cebu.

The chamber’s golden anniversary celebrates game-changers and some activities will be held in honor of companies and personalities in Mandaue that have managed to adjust to the changing times to become what they are today.

The celebrations start with the term of newly-elected president Donato Busa, owner of Busa Printers, who was elected last June 3.

Busa has been in business for 33 years and has long been a member of the MCCI. He left for three years to concentrate on his committee membership in the International Eucharistic Congress, keeping busy with plans to bring the business community closer to “the ultra poor” or those who earn P100 or less for a family of five.

On his return, he wants to continue that mission of bringing the business community closer to the needy. He also hopes to bring the MCCI membership to 300, adding 50 new members by next month.

Under Busa’s leadership, the chamber hopes to make Mandaue City require all businesses to “synergize” with the MCCI. Busa said they have already discussed with local government officials in Mandaue City and will ask them to craft an ordinance making this possible.

Busa noted that many European cities require businesses to be part of their local chambers so they can work together in developing their cities hand in hand with the government.

While he does not expect the local government to compel all businesses to become members of the MCCI, they are leaving it to the lawmakers to thresh out how businesses can coordinate with them in different areas of cooperation. He said businesses can cooperate with each other in ways that will benefit the entire city, such as in the disposal of hazardous wastes. He noted that currently, disposal is only limited to “malata ug dili malata (biodegradable and non-biodegradable).”

“But what about the hazardous material?” he pointed out.

He also hopes to establish a packaging design center so that Mandaue City-made products can be packaged better and made more competitive.

For the Mandaue Business Month (MBM), the 22 activities have been spread out over three months.

After Saturday’s kickoff with a human formation of the number 50, they will begin the month with a business seminar on applying laws on business human resources at the San Miguel Brewery.

There are also medical and dental missions, mangrove planting, seminars, forums and evening celebrations from August until October.

One of the highlights of the MBM is the Mandaue Business Summit on Aug. 14 at the Oakridge Pavilion, featuring speakers like leadership guru Francis Kong, Singapore-based CEO Ho Sun Yee, ABS-CBN chief digital officer Donald Patrick Lim, and former 80’s actor turned businessman Chinkee Tan. Event co-chair Stanley Go said the summit is meant to be a day of learning and that entrepreneurs from neighboring cities in the Visayas will attend the event.

Another activity that has gained international recognition for its unconventional but effective setup is the Winners (Women in Need Now Entrepreneurs and Role models) Search. Now on its fifth year, the contest celebrates women entrepreneurs from each barangay by helping them with entrepreneurial skills and awarding the winner in the style of a beauty pageant.

Program chairperson Carmel de Pio Salvador said they placed second out of 79 entries in the World Chambers Competition held in Torino, Italy, losing the top spot to a Canadian program. Nevertheless, Salvador said they learned a lot from other projects and were proud they were even considered, as the Winners search is a young program.

To kick off the search, they will hold a Winners Fashion Walk at the Parkmall on Aug. 16 featuring women of all ages and professions wearing what they consider fashionable. The grand finals will be on Aug. 27.

The chamber has been tasked to manage the #iammandaue shop, a boutique at the City Time Square showcasing products that are made in Mandaue City. MCCI Executive Director Marlene Bedia said this is in partnership with the Mandaue City Government and will feature food, furniture, decor and souvenir items that were manufactured in the city. The store will open on Aug. 7.

They will also hold the Rediscover Mandaue Industrial Tour on Sept. 18, a project promoting Mandaue as a place to visit.

“Most people who are not from Cebu often ask, ‘Asa na ang Mandaue (Where is Mandaue)?’ Even Mayor Cortes has said he has had that experience. We want to show it as the industrial hub of Cebu,” Bedia said. Aside from the factories that feature state-of-the art technology, she said Mandaue has its share of entertainment centers and cultural heritage sites that need to be promoted.

The Expo Mandaue on Oct. 8 to 11 at the SM City North Wing will also showcase what Mandaue City has to offer, including services provided by the local government.

Other activities include a Commission on Elections off-site registration, Chamber Night dinner, SSS Pensioners Day, Glee for Gold show choir competition, Mandaue Mall Adventure, and the 50th Year Gala Night.

Summit aims to unify rescue standards

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

CEBU, Philippines - In line with its thrust to promote disaster preparedness and response, the Cebu Provincial Government will hold the first provincial Search and Rescue (SAR) Summit from July 29 until 31 this year.

Baltazar Tribunalo Jr., chief of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), explained that the three-day summit aims at promoting camaraderie among emergency responders and showcasing of best practices on emergency response.

It will also be an avenue for stakeholders to get insights on how to craft locally accepted guidelines in responding to emergency situations.

Tribunalo noted the absence of a unified standard in emergency response, considering that responders in the province have been exposed to different internationally accepted guidelines. He said that such absence may impinge on the operations of the emergency response groups and may further create gaps among them.

“Since lahi-lahi man ta og standards, i-adjust lang nato ang protocol,” he said in a press conference yesterday.

He said they are planning to institutionalize the SAR summit and hold it annually in conjunction with the national disaster consciousness month of July.

Dennis Cortes, PDRRMO operations unit head, said the activity will also equip local responders with competencies and skills in their pursuit.

“Each team man gud has its own protocol. Other groups may be misguided tungod sa approach nga gigamit pod sa laing team,” he explained.

More than 300 members of local government, non-government, regional and national response groups are expected to participate in the summit, which will be held in three different venues.

Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino also noted the need to enhance the capacity and skills of emergency responders considering that the province is vulnerable to natural calamities.

“We were exposed to maritime incident (ship collision off Lawis Ledge in August 2013), typhoon Yolanda, and earthquake (7.2 magnitude that jolted Bohol and Cebu in 2013)… That is why we have to expose our responders to a higher level of training,” he said.

Cebu foundation, LGUs restore Gabaldon school buildings in Cebu


CEBU CITY, July 24 (PNA) -- The Cebu-based Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi) has partnered with the Cebu provincial government and the local government units (LGUs) to restore more than 140 pre-war Gabaldon school buildings still standing in the province.

The school buildings were named after then congressman Isauro Gabaldon, who in 1907 authored Act 1801, which appropriated PHP1 million for the construction of school buildings in every town.

Rafi launched the Gabaladon school buildings restoration project in 2011.

Among those restored was the Gabaldon building in the Jampang Elementary School in Argao town in southern Cebu.

The Gabaldon school building, built in 1939, was destroyed by typhoon Nitang in the 1980s and was restored after 20 years of neglect.

Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III has signed a memorandum of agreement with Rafi president Roberto Aboitiz and Mayors Verna Magallon of Alegria, Ian Christopher Escario of Bantayan, Salvador Dela Fuente of Madridejos, Dan Jusay of Catmon and Glenn Baricuatro of Pinamungajan for the restoration of Gabaldon schoolbuldings in their respective towns.

Rafi plans to start the restoration of Gabaldon school buildings in Inghoy Elementary School and Lepanto Elementary School in Alegria, Bantayan Central School in Bantayan, Madridejos Central School in Madridejos, Elpidio de Dios Elementary School and Luyang Elementary School in Carmen, Catmon Integrated School in Catmon and Pinamungajan Central School in Pinamungajan.

The undertaking is projected to cost PHP24.7 million and will make availabe 42 classrooms.

Forty percent of the project cost will be shouldered by Rafi, 40 percent by the provincial government and 20 percent by the LGU.

Aboitiz said Rafi hopes to help provide better places of learning for students through the project.

DTI-7 holds first accelerated anti-poverty program in Dalaguete, Cebu

By Juju M. Empuerto (rmn/jsme/PIA7-Cebu/with DTI-7 report)

CEBU CITY, July 23 (PIA) – Thirty-five underprivileged constituents of Dalaguete, Cebu benefited from the Retail Trade Management Training initiated by the DTI Cebu Provincial Office in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) last July 8 to 9, 2015.

The local residents were trained on fundamental competencies of entrepreneurship such as financial management, bookkeeping, record keeping, costing & pricing, and standard operating procedures in running a retail store under the mentorship of Prof. Joseph Emerson Subong, a DTI accredited speaker who is also a business economics professor in the University of Cebu.

“Ang katakus, kakugi, ug kaisog maoy kontra sa kawad-on!”, said DTI Cebu Business Development Chief Elias Tecson during his speech by way of encouraging the participants to fight against illiteracy and poverty.

Aside from capacitating the local constituents to become good business managers, a starter kit worth P20,000 was given to each beneficiaries. The kits received are in-kind such as goods and commodities enough to start their own enterprise.

“Bisag grade 1 ra akung nahuman, natagaan gihapon kog higayon nga maharuhay akung kahimtang pinaagi aning training ug assistance gikan sa DTI ug DSWD”, a teary-eyed beneficiary said during an interview with the media.

Retail Trade Management in Dalaguete is the first program implemented in the province of Cebu under the Accelerated and Sustainable Anti-Poverty Program (ASAPP) of the government that aims to accelerate poverty reduction and boost economic growth in municipalities with high poverty incidence levels by providing employment and business opportunities, including self-employment for the poor.

The same management training will be organized next week from July 29 to August 1 in Santa Fe and on August 13 to 15 in Tuburan. These two municipalities are also under ASAPP intervention.

Belgian ambassador visits Cebu, wants local products exported to his country

By Flornisa M. Gitgano

BELGIAN Ambassador Roland van Remoortele said he likes Cebu’s mango products, and there is a possibility that these can be exported to Belgium.

Remoortele visited Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III yesterday for a courtesy call as part of his three-day visit in the province. This is the second time that he came to Cebu and paid a visit to the governor since last year.

Davide and Remoortele discussed the developments in Cebu and Belgium as well as the things that the two officials can work on together.

Remoortele said he already tasted fruit juices in Cebu, which he cannot find in other areas like Manila.

He said he also found out last year that Cebu has produced chocolate-coated dried mangoes. He said that whenever he is in the country, he buys several boxes of this product and takes these back to Belgium.

The ambassador, however, said there are times that chocolate-coated dried mangoes are not available in Manila.

“There is something wrong with the distribution, marketing. I don’t know. So there are things to be done to improve the availability of products and produce because you should be proud of what you produced. I love fruits and so every time I come here I have to go back with mangoes and other things produced in the province,” Remoortele said.

He said the Philippines is now a beneficiary of the European Union’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences (EU-GSP). This means that most products from the Philippines can now be exported to the countries under EU without levy or taxes.

“There is room for products in the Philippines to enter the European Union and Belgium, in particular,” he said.

For his part, Davide said Belgium is looking at the possibility of a partnership with Cebu for the products it is producing. This is one aspect that the governor would discuss further with the ambassador.

Remoortele also saw the potential of furniture designs in Cebu.

He said the Belgian designers and Philippine producers may work together to make furniture products that are adaptive to the European market.

Remoortele said that the next time Belgium sends a business delegation to the Philippines, he will make sure that the delegates will come to Cebu and find out the opportunities they may work together.

“They should come to other places in the Philippines and especially Cebu, which is close to my heart because every time I come to Cebu I feel very much at home, I feel relaxed. I would even suggest that we move the capital from Manila to Cebu. And I would love to stay here rather than in congested Manila,” Remoortele said.

All set for Apec Summit

By Elias O. Baquero

THE Interagency Maritime Security Task Unit, which has been mandated to secure the venue and delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit, will deploy more than 400 personnel and floating assets.

Commodore Enrico Evangelista, commander of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) 7, will head the unit.

Evangelista said the security group is composed of units and personnel from the PCG 7, Naval Forces Central (Navforcen), PNP-Maritime Group, Cebu Port Authority (CPA), Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), PCG Auxiliary and the Federation of Volunteers through Radio Communication (FVRC) Inc. to address maritime security matters related to the summit in Cebu.

Evangelista said the group will employ and deploy more than 600 personnel from Aug. 19 to Sept. 14.

He said the PCG 7 alone will deploy and employ more than 400 personnel, five CG vessels and more than 20 small boats.

Restricted access

“These will be further strengthened by vessels, small craft and several fast boats from the Philippine Navy, PNP-Maritime Group and CPA. Volunteers, personnel, assets and equipment from PCGA and FVRC will support the operations,” Evangelista said.

He said they will implement a “no sail” zone off the beach at the Shangri-La’s Mactan and Resort Spa, one of the summit venues.

“There are other sea areas, which will be restricted and will be on tight security watch. Unauthorized vessels will not be allowed to pass through or enter those areas,” Evangelista said.

He said CG K9 (working dogs) will also be deployed to sniff for bombs and other threats.

Commander Weniel Azcuna of PCG said that while they will focus on the security at Shangri-La, they will also deploy personnel and vessels to areas of possible entry and exit of criminals and terrorists.

Senior Supt. Marvin de Paz of PNP-Maritime 7 said they will deploy all their assets to secure port terminals.

“We are on covert security operation. Our main task is to monitor lawless elements,” he said.

Azcuna said that based on their workshops on security, the possible threats during the summit are sea mishaps, rallies at sea, terrorist attacks and bad weather condition.

“While we will exercise maximum tolerance on people who will conduct rallies at the sea, we will prevent them from going near to the Apec summit venue,” he said.

Marine Specialist Jess Quino of Marina 7 said Director Nanette Villamor-Dinopol said they have already submitted to the task unit the list of registered motor bancas that will be accredited by the Department of Tourism.

Azcuna said only accredited motor bancas can be hired by Apec delegates if they want to go island hopping.

Lt. Ernie Nasayao of Navforcen said the media can play a vital role in securing the summit venues.

CPA Police Chief Insp. Felix Quiamson, for his part, said departing vessel passengers must be at the departure area on time to avoid terminal overcrowding.

P1.5B worth of road projects in province get DPWH nod

By Earl Jon M. Rallos

THE Department of Budget Management (DBM) Central Office has approved the P1.5-billion budget for provincial roads, Gov. Hilario Davide III confirmed yesterday.

Davide said that during an appointment in Manila last Thursday, he went to the DBM office to discuss the matter with officials.

The governor was in Manila last week to accept awards from the National Competitiveness Council for Cebu being the third most competitive province nationwide.

Cebu City was also chosen the third most competitive highly-urbanized city.


He said he received a text message from Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson, saying the P1.5B budget will be given by the Department of Budget Management to the DPWH 7.

He said the Capitol had asked for funding support for provincial roads that lead to tourism projects in the province.

“Hopefully, makab-ot nato nga duna tay mga (we will be able to implement) projects worth P1.5 billion),” he said

Radio dyAB reported that part of the budget will be used to rehabilitate some provincial roads leading to tourism sites and to develop farm-to-market roads for easier transport of goods.

DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas said their office has yet to receive an official report on the matter.

He said the agency has already submitted several proposals for road construction and rehabilitation and its funding.

According to the official list of infrastructure projects funded by the Capitol from 2014-15, construction and development of roads was allotted P206 million.

These included the P19.8-million concreting of the Sangi-Bugho Road in San Fernando that traverses to Pinamungajan, cutting travel time by up to one hour; a P14.4-million vegetable highway; farm-to-market roads worth P30 million in Tuburan and Tudela; a P20.1-million provincial road; and a P3.34-million circumferential concreting of a tourism road in Malapascua.

Davide pointed out that he will divulge the full details during his State of the Province Address next month.

Capitol to boost midwest tourism

By Flornisa M. Gitgano

THE Provincial Government will develop eco-tourism sites in seven local government units (LGUs)to promote responsible tourism and help communities earn.

The seven LGUs are Aloguinsan, Pinamungajan, Balamban, Asturias, Tuburan, Tabuelan and Toledo City, all in the province’s midwest.

Through this project, the Province and the LGUs can develop tourism products, stimulate their economies and teach people about environmental conservation.

Joselito Costas, consultant on ecotourism projects in Capitol, said they chose to develop the ecotourism sites of these areas because they are located along Tañon Strait, the country’s largest marine protected area.

“This is to promote responsible tourism, to conserve natural sites and to promote well-being of the host communities,” Costas told reporters.

One can say that an area is an ecotourism site if a place there needs conservation and community sectors are involved, like fishermen, farmers and housewives.

Commerce, culture

Costas said the area can be an ecotourism site through commerce and culture.

The Capitol and Provincial Tourism Council partnered with the seven LGUs, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Tourism, people’s organizations and the private sector to make the project possible.

Costas said the northern towns receive help from the National Government and non-government organizations to revive their tourism industry while the southern towns have been making strides in tourism development.

Government officials think that this time, the midwest towns should be assisted.

Officials also plan to organize clustered destinations to be packaged for tourists.

In Aloguinsan, Costas said there’s dolphin watching that has been in existence since 2009. There’s the Bojo River cruise, too.

Visitors can see different kinds of dolphins like spinner, bottlenose and spotted dolphins and dwarf sperm whale.


Pinamungajan has the Campalabo sandbar and a marine sanctuary managed by the LGU while Balamban has a river and spring.

Costas said the area in Mt. Manunggal where the late president Ramon Magsaysay died in a plane crash can be developed into a museum.

Toledo City has Malubog Lake while Asturias has Buswang Lake.

Tuburan has Molobolo Spring, a river and a mangrove area.

Costas said they have already assessed the six towns except Tabuelan, which will be visited next week.

“While we are conserving resources in the tourism industry, we are also helping families earn supplemental income,” Costas said.

Lab for cloning forest tree seeds now in full operation

By Kristine B. Quintas / NSA (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Eyeing to boost the production of quality seedlings of premium and indigenous species, a clonal nursery facility in Minglanilla, Cebu is now in its full-blown operation.

The P4-million facility is expected to produce 30,000 clonelings and 60,000 seedlings from genetically superior trees to support the production and implementation of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ National Greening Program.

The clonal laboratory is equipped with rooting house, preparation shed, powerhouse, water tanks, and recovery and hardening beds with misting system, among others.

The 700-square meter facility, DENR-7 director Dr. Isabelo Montejo said will ensure food source while addressing the effects of climate change.

“Our intention is to produce high quality planting materials for the NGP requirements in the region as we set aggressive greening efforts purposely to reduce poverty while ensuring food security, biodiversity conservation and address climate change,” he said.

DENR-7, through the Biodiversity, Coastal, Wetlands and Ecotourism Research Center (BCWERC), recently inaugurated the planting nursery at the Experimental Forest Station in Minglanilla. Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

The inauguration was led by Montejo, acting director for Ecosystems Research Development Bureau (ERDB) Dr. Henry Adornado, BCWERC Center head Dr. Alicia Lustica and Minglanilla Mayor Elenito Peña, who expressed support for the greening program.

The officials signed a pledge of commitment to revitalize, strengthen, and sustain the management and protection of the experimental forest.

Two other clonal nurseries were turned over by the DENR-7 to the Bohol Island State University in Bilar, Bohol and to Negros Oriental State University in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental in 2013.


Forest trees have seeds that fall down and in a week’s time that nothing grows out from these seeds, it becomes difficult to propagate, so the only thing to do is cloning, said DENR-7 spokesperson Eddie Llamedo.

The collected seeds shall be used for mass propagation of seedlings to augment those needed by the different provincial and community Environment and Natural Resources Offices in the region for NGP and for disposal to public and private individuals.

In the nursery, trees are not allowed to grow big but only up to about three feet, said Llamedo.

Cuttings from these trees are then taken, soaked overnight in growth hormone, then put in a growth chamber. Roots come out after a week and are transferred to plastic bags.

“It will use a Molave or any native tree species cuttings without the use of hormones,” said Llamedo.

The seeds are packed with complete label such as common name, scientific name, seed source, seed count per kilogram and other vital information for record purposes.

The method produces tree seedlings that are genetically identical to their parent-tree on a year round basis, making it far more efficient and faster than the conventional method which makes use of seeds from fruits.

Cebu gov, Cebu City mayor elated over 3rd place ranking in competitiveness council


CEBU CITY, July 17 (PNA) -- Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama have expressed elation after the province and the city were named the third most competitive province in the country and third most competitive city for highly urbanized cities, respectively, by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC).

“Congratulations to us. We should be happy because I didn’t even know this whole competition has been ongoing. I am the most surprised. It is really shocking and stunning,” Mayor Rama said.

“We are extremely happy for this recognition given to the Province of Cebu. We thank God for this and we dedicate this award to the people of Cebu,” Governor Davide said.

Rama and Davide accepted the award given by the NCC during the ceremonies held Thursday at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila.

Cebu City ranked third in competitiveness among 142 highly-urbanized cities, next to Manila which ranked first and Makati City which ranked second.

Cebu City only made it to the 7th spot out of the 136 highly urbanized cities evaluated by the NCC in 2014 and 57th in 2013.

Cebu Province ranked third after Davao del Sur which ranked first and Misamis Oriental which ranked second.

Davide considered the award as a challenge for the province to do even better.

“We accept this recognition as a challenge to do more and be better,” Davide said.

Rama said it will be a “great challenge” for Cebu City to continue performing well in the NCC’s annual competitiveness ranking.

“We are not saying we will already be number two or number one next year but we have to maintain to be aggressive and be continuously competitive,” Rama said.

DILG awards seal of good governance to 8 Cebu municipalities

By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan [(PNA), RMA/CLTC]

MANILA, July 16 (PNA) -- The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has awarded eight municipalities in Cebu with the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG), a prestigious award that recognizes cities and municipalities for their transparency, honesty and diligence in their delivery of services to ordinary citizens.

Interior and Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas personally handed over the SGLG plaque and cash reward to the municipal mayors of Argao, Bantayan, Dalaguete, Dumanjug, Malabuyoc, Medellin, Oslob, and San Remigio in a ceremony held at the Norkis Park in Mandaue City, Cebu, on Tuesday.

The eight mayors were each given Php 3-million checks to fund local projects in their towns.

A Php 7-million check to be used for development projects was also given to the Cebu government after the province received the SGLG award for the provincial category.

“Kayo na nabigyan ng award ang nagpapatotoo sa salitang Daang Matuwid ng ating pamahalaan, hindi baluktot na pamamalakad kundi diretso sa pagbigay ng serbisyo sa tao,” Roxas told the local officials present at the ceremony.

“Ituloy natin ito sa kapakanan ng ating mga boss at huwag na tayong bumalik pa sa dating madilim at liko-likong nakaraan na puro kurakot at kurapsyon,” he added.

Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III praised the DILG for initiating the award, saying that it pays for local government units (LGUs) to be honest and transparent in giving services to the people. He reminded the public officials present that they were mandated to provide for their constituents and not to shortchange them of the services they deserved.

The awarding ceremony also coincided with the workshop-seminar initiated by the group Koalisyon ng Mamamayan Para sa Reporma (KOMPRe), which was attended by civil society organizations, Cebu women’s groups, vendors and transport groups, and other non-government organizations.

KOMPRe organizers gathered the peoples’ organizations in Cebu to know their needs and to address the problems hounding their sectors.

The SGLG award, also known as “Pagkilala sa Katapatan at Kahusayan ng Pamahalaang Lokal,” was launched in January 2014 to honor the LGUs that display good governance while providing better services to the people.

The award, which originated from the Seal of Good Housekeeping program introduced in 2010 by the late Secretary Jesse Robredo, aims to recognize the LGUs in their proper practice of transparency and diligence in compliance with the Anti-Red Tape Act.

This award also drives LGUs to encourage investment and employment through business-friendliness and competitiveness; protection of their constituents from threats to life and security; and safeguarding the integrity of the environment.

According to DILG Regional Director Rene Bordeos, an LGU first needs to pass all the three core assessment areas —Good Financial Housekeeping, Social Protection, and Disaster Preparedness—and at least one of the essential assessment areas—Business-Friendliness and Competitiveness, Peace and Order, or Environmental Management—in order to become an SGLG recipient.

With the introduction of the SGLG, DILG aims to create LGUs that not only sustain the practices of accountability and transparency (Good Financial Housekeeping), but are also able to prepare for the challenges posed by disasters (Disaster Preparedness), and are sensitive to the needs of vulnerable and marginalized sectors of the society (Social Protection).

CCCI to ink sisterhood ties in Asean

By Katlene O. Cacho

THE Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) is eyeing two sister-chamber agreements with Singapore and Vietnam before the end of this year.

Although CCCI is already a member of Confederation of Asia Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Cacci) which is already linked to the Asean chambers, CCCI president Ma. Teresa Chan, believes the sister-chamber agreement between CCCI and business chambers of Singapore and Vietnam will allow CCCI members to make personal connections with the business decision-makers, especially in the Asean countries.

CCCI has already officially inked a sisterhood deal with Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

“Connecting CCCI to its counterparts in Asean is vital towards the full implementation of the unified regional bloc this year,” said Chan. She said this will open them to mutual trade exchanges and strengthen “coopetition” instead of competition among the Asean member countries.

Having a sister-chamber agreement will pave the way for smooth trade facilitation should investors from two countries decide to pour in investments. “It’s really different when you have connections with people who really know about the complexities of the market,” said Chan.

The Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) said that the government should provide Filipino entrepreneurs market information on how to enter each country in the Asean for them to get a good slice of the 600 million Asean consumer base, citing different religions, traditions, and cultural affiliations as among the crucial factors in penetrating the multi-cultural consumer population.

The Philippines ranks sixth in foreign direct investments (FDI) among the 10 economies of Southeast Asia, according to the World Investment Report 2015 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The Philippines received $6.2 billion last year, a big jump from $3.7 billion in 2013.

Singapore recorded the highest FDI in Asean last year with a whopping $67.5 billion, up from $64.8 billion the preceding year. Indonesia came in second with $22.6 billion from $18.8 billion in 2013, follwed bye Thailand with $12.5 billion (down from $14 billion in 2013), Malaysia with $10.8 billion (from $12.1 billion previously), and Vietnam with $9.2 billion (from $8.9 billion).

Next to the Philippines is Cambodia with $1.7 billion from $1.9 billion from a year earlier, Myanmar with $946 million from $584 million, Laos with $721 million from $427 million, and Brunei with $568 million from $776.

In Asean FDI flows rose five percent to $133 billion in 2014 from $126 billion in 2013.

‘Eco-conscious living’ in Lawaan

By Mia A. Aznar

AN ‘eco-conscious’ development is set to rise in the hills of Lawaan, Talisay City.

Nexus Real Estate Corp. yesterday held the groundbreaking ceremony for Amandari, a 2.9-hectare development a few meters off of the main highway.

The project includes five mid-rise residential condominiums, a commercial strip and adventure park, which occupies a third of the property.

Nexus is marketing Amandari as an “eco-conscious” residential project, as it dedicates 70 percent of the property to green open spaces.

It considers the Amandari Adventure Park its biggest selling point. The park features a zipline, 1.5 km hiking and jogging trail, hanging bridge, outdoor paintball arena, wall climbing facility, mini-golf course and playground. The development also includes a full-service spa, meditation pavilion, yoga center and small garden plots for those who enjoy gardening.

Each unit comes with its own balcony and views of the city and ocean. They are sold in studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom models.

The first tower is scheduled for delivery in 2018.

P65 million road project for Daanbantayan OK’d

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

CEBU, Philippines- A P65-million farm-to-market road project in Daanbantayan town has been approved by the Regional Project Advisory Board-7 of the Philippine Rural Development Project.

The construction of the 6.5-kilometer road link from Barangay Agujo to Tapilon is expected to start before the year ends.

Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III said that infrastructure and countryside developments are among the six key agenda of his administration.

“Public funds must be returned to the public through the basic services,” he said.

He assured that the provincial government would propose more farm-to-market road projects for the province.

The Provincial Information Office reported that the province is proposing a total of 125 kilometers of farm-to-market road projects for 2016 and 2017, some 10 of which have already been validated by the PRDP team. The projects would need around P1.25 billion.

Once these proposed road links get approved, they will be implemented in Tuburan, Dalaguete, Argao, Alegria, Alcoy, Ronda, Alcantara, Moalboal, Pinamungajan, Toledo City, Sogod, San Francisco, Poro, and Tudela.

Davide believes that these road projects would increase farm productivity and reduce poverty. It will also provide local farmers easy transportation of their inputs and access to market.

Provincial Agriculturist Roldan Saragena explained farm-to-market roads should be built in agri-production areas.

Last April, at least P143-million worth of farm-to-market road projects for Bogo City and San Remigio were also approved by the advisory board.

The Capitol has earmarked P50 million in its Annual Investment Program this year representing the province’s 10-percent counterpart for the farm-to-market road projects under the PRDP.

RPAB is part of the PRDP’s implementation structure. It is composed of different regional directors of national government agencies and chaired by the regional executive director of Department of Agriculture-7.

PRDP is the P27.5-billion six-year program of DA that aims to reduce poverty and create livelihood opportunities. The project is funded through the loan proceeds from World Bank.

The total amount for the program included the P20.553 billion loan from the World Bank, the P3.5-billion counterpart of the national government, the P3 billion equity of the local government units, and the P287-million grant from the Global Environment Facility.

ICT project to boost Bogo’s disaster response capability

By Gregg M. Rubio/ FPL (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The City of Bogo is strengthening its disaster response and preparedness by integrating Information and Communication Technology capabilities and solutions.

The Bogo City-wide WiFi Project is a pioneering project of the city government that aims to deploy a full Internet Protocol network across the city.

The new ICT infrastructure will connect all government facilities in Bogo thereby creating an information highway that caters the city’s voice, video and data requirements.

Mayor Celestino “Junie” Martinez believes that integrating ICT capabilities and solutions through the implementation of WiFi project will greatly enhance the city’s productivity and efficiency in delivering public services.

City IT officer Roger Toñacao said giving free Internet in public places is just a fraction of what the project can do for Bogo and to the Bogohanon.

“The VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephony services will supplement the commercial Telco’s during disaster response and emergency situations. It can even run independently allowing responders and decision-makers to communicate via VOIP phones,” Toñacao said.

To date, the project has already connected nine government facilities across the city, including the New City Hall, Polambato Port, Bogo Sports Complex, Market Administration Building, Bus Terminal, City Health Office, Bogo Public Library and the City of Bogo Science and Arts Academy.

During the presentation last week, City Administrator Antonieto Suico, Human Resources Management Offi-cer Slavsky Ybanez, City Tourism Officer Joy Tan, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Ben Frederick Rodriguez and Councilor Jose Brainard Mayol participated in the demonstration of the voice, video and data capabilities of the project system.

Tan, who is also the designated City Information Officer, said they are working on a P4 million budget for the VOIP system through their IT Department.

To test the new VOIP Hotline service, the city officials encourage the public to call 032-2605183 for comments and suggestions.

DOE, power suppliers assure stable supply during APEC

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

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of Energy-7 and power distribution utilities serving Metro Cebu have guaranteed that power interruptions will not be an issue during the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference meetings in Cebu starting next month until October.

DOE-7 Director Antonio Labios, reported during a Kapistorya forum organized by the Provincial Information Office yesterday, that he asked the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to conduct pre-APEC preventive maintenance to its transmission system.

Labios said he instructed NGCP to take contingency measures and ensure there is sufficient power reserve during the APEC season.

He suggested excluding feeders in APEC venues should there be a need for a manual load dropping.

Over 3,000 delegates from different member-economies are expected to attend the meetings.

The delegates will be billeted in different hotels including Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, Cebu City Marriott Hotel, Radisson Blu Hotel-Cebu and Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa. These hotels, as well as the Grand Convention Center of Cebu, will also be the meeting venues. DOE-7 has also asked generation companies to schedule their preventive maintenance prior to the APEC meetings. Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

“Ang NGCP pod assured nga way maintenance mahitabo during Apec,” Labios added.

Labios further reported that the power situation in Visayas is currently normal, with sufficient power reserves at 282 megawatts. Visayas area has 1,700 megawatts power capacity while the average demand is pegged at 1,400 megawatts.

He attributed the low demand to the rainy season because consumers do not use air conditioning units often.

DOE-7 will meet generation companies next week to discuss their preparations for the APEC.

The Visayan Electric Company (VECO), for its part, committed to ensuring that power supply during the APEC season is continuous. VECO’s franchise area covers Metro Cebu, which is from Liloan in the north to San Fernando in the south.

Juan Miguel Exaltacion, manager of the systems operations department of VECO, said they have come up with contingency plan for unplanned outages.

“We can restore power in just a minimum amount of time. All plans are asset for APEC summit,” Exaltacion assured during the Kapistorya forum.

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