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Garbage collections nightly in Mandaue

By Flor Z. Perolina (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Mandaue City government announced Wednesday that garbage collections in the city are now done during nighttime.

Mayor Jonas Cortes, during the launch of the night garbage collection scheme, said he asked the help of the Department of General Services chief Engineer Marivic Cabigas on how to go about the problem of garbage collection in the city.

Cortes said the garbage collections, which used to be done during daytime, added to the heavy traffic woes in the city.

"Akong giingnan si Marivic, mag-brainstorming kuno ta kay… gamay kaayo atong dalan sa siyudad unya pwerti kaayong dagko-a sa atong mga garbage trucks," Cortes said.

(I told Marivic that we brainstorm on the problem because our city roads are narrow for our huge garbage trucks.)

Previously, Cortes said, garbage collection would start at 8 a.m., but this did not prove to be a convenient hour since it is also the same time that students and workers go out to report for school and work.

Cortes added that it was during the brainstorming that he and Cabigas came up with the decision to do the garbage collection at night, around after dinner, when household members are already home, thus able to watch out for the coming of the garbage trucks.

"Ang tendency man gud kun buntag mangolekta, biyaan na lang ilang mga basura sa gawas kay magdali-dali padung sa ilang trabaho og eskwela," he said.

(During daytime, people have the tendency to just leave their trash for collection outside their houses because they are rushing for work and school.)

Aside from the loose traffic at night, Cortes also said the scheme will enhance garbage collectors' productivity without the scorching heat affecting them.

"Nahimo man gud ni sa Puerto Princesa ug sa ubang siyudad nga gabii mangolekta sa ilang basura busa mahimo sad ni sa siyudad," Cortes said.

(This scheme of collecting garbage at night was made possible in Puerto Princesa City [in Palawan] and other cities, so this can also be achieved in Mandaue.)

President Aquino graces Cebu job fair


CEBU CITY, May 1 (PNA) -- President Benigno C. Aquino III Friday graced a job fair in Mandaue City, one of the Labor Day job fairs held in Central Visayas which made available some 43,000 local and foreign jobs.

The President arrived at the JobStart job fair at the J Center Mall on A. S. Fortuna St. in Mandaue City at about 10:30 a.m. Friday.

He toured all the nine booths at the job fair.

The job fair was initiated by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) 7.

Labor officials earlier said some 43,000 local and foreign jobs were available in Labor Day job fairs regionwide.

President Aquino also graced the soft opening of the University of Cebu Medical Center (UCMed) at the Mandaue City reclamation area.

UCMed, owned by lawyer Augusto Go, is one of two big hospitals being built in Cebu which are expected to cash in on the medical tourism industry catering to foreign clients.

The President also inspected a new facility at the Cemex cement plant in the City of Naga in southern Cebu.

President Aquino left Cebu for Manila at past 2 p.m.

43,000 jobs up for grabs on Labor Day –- DOLE-7


CEBU CITY, April 30 (PNA) -- The Department of Labor and Employment in Region 7 (DOLE-7) said a total of 43,313 job openings will be made available during the region-wide job fair on May 1.

The six simultaneous job fairs on Labor Day will offer 11,663 local jobs and 31,650 overseas jobs, DOLE-7 added.

A total of 183 companies – 130 are domestic and 53 are overseas – are participating in the May 1 job fairs.

Labor Communications Officer Luchel Taniza said they are targeting to have 20 percent of applicants hired on the spot.

That is higher compared to the 15 percent recorded in 2014.

Among the jobs identified for local employment include call center agent, production worker, construction worker, cashier, janitor, account executive, bagger, market researcher, waiter or waitress, sales utility, checker, salon operator and store associate.

On the other hand, available jobs abroad include helper, assistant nurse, laborer, factory worker, restaurant crew, construction worker, carpenter, painter, supervisor, school bus assistant, electrician, welder, respiratory technician, radiologist and coordinator, among others.

DOLE-7 Director Exequiel Sarcauga said the agency is hoping that many will be hired on the spot on May 1, telling applicants to prepare their documents to get better chances of being hired.

“We encourage the job seekers to be ready with their bio-data, comprehensive resumes, transcript of records, certificates of employment if there’s any, clearance, photos and other necessary pre-employment requirements,” he said in a statement.

Applicants are advised to pre-register at their respective public service employment offices (PESOs) or on Phil-JobNet, the agency’s internet-based job and applicant matching system.

The six concurrent job fairs will take place in the following venues: Cebu Provincial Capitol Social Hall (local job fair); Robinson’s Place in Dumaguete City; Negros Oriental (local and overseas job fairs); Abellana Sports Complex (overseas job fair); Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City (local and overseas job fairs); SM City Cebu Trade Hall (local job fair); and SM Consolacion (local job fair).

The National Statistics Office said Central Visayas currently has 3,224,000 employed individuals, 220,000 unemployed and 609,000 underemployed people as of March 13 this year.

The DOLE claimed the youth comprises almost half – 49.1 percent – of the unemployed population of 2.4 million in the country.

The Philippines’ statistics agency noted the country’s jobless rate in January 2015 fell 6.6 percent, lower than 7.5 percent in the same period last year.

Nationwide, according to DOLE, there are over 200,000 jobs that await job seekers on Labor Day.

Capitol looking at renewable energy sources for the future

By Jean Edith Anne P. Costelo (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu provincial government is contemplating of exploring renewable energy system as alternative power source in helping address the looming power shortage this year.

This, after renewable energy company PhilCarbon Inc. introduced its renewable energy projects to Capitol officials yesterday.

"Libre ni sya, kung di mag-put up og money ang LGU (local government unit, we will install whether it's a farm or it is a solar roof, we will finance it and we guarantee 10 percent discount on the power cost and it is fix through 25 years, and walang escalation," said Edgar Hao, president of Energy Coal Philippines Inc.

Gao Pronove, executive director of PhilCarbon Inc., also said they can work with the LGUs and the provincial hospitals in setting up solar roofs and their company gets paid through the savings generated.

PhilCarbon Inc. already has renewable energy installations, which includes biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro-power plants in Negros, Leyte, Bataan, Aurora province.

The renewable energy projects can be installed in hospitals, municipal buildings, gyms, warehouses and in private sectors including malls, ice plants and day-time used buildings.

Pronove, however, said that once they install a solar roof, they offer discounts, citing as example a hospital that used to pay 11 pesos per kilowatt hour to just P10 pesos per kilowatt hour, a rate that stays the same for the next 15 years.

Pronove also discussed yesterday the financial scheme for the project.

"Our prices come with installation, we can finance it ourselves or they can buy it from us or we can finance it and then after 12 years, they can buy it from us," said Pronove.

He said they do the installation themselves and that the LGU should just provide them the land they can rent for the setting up of a solar roof at their own cost.

Pronove also mentioned their renewable energy projects such as a solar farm in Silay, Negros; biomass in Himamaylan, Negros; and rice husk-generated power in Ormoc, Leyte.

Pronove said they are going to do a variety of renewable energy projects in Cebu including rice husks, Ipil-Ipil, Cacao, and Napier grass that can be used as fuel.

In a separate interview, Governor Hilario Davide III said there are already provinces that have been using the renewable energy system he sees its potential for Cebu.

"There are areas still diri sa ato nga naglisod og power> In fact, sa power sector although at the moment it's Luzon and Mindanao that is suffering from power supply problems, but sa future wa ta kahibawo 10 to 15 years tingali we may also face the same dilemma, so maayo nga we explore renewable energy," he said.

2nd Ambassador’s Tour set on May 2 to 5 in Cebu and Bohol


CEBU CITY, April 28 (PNA) -- The second Ambassador’s Tour to the Philippines is set on May 2 to 5 in Cebu and Bohol, a statement from the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia said.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 Regional Office in Cebu and the offices of Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III and Bohol Governor Edgardo Chatto are assisting the embassy in the tour, the statement said.

Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya said now is the best time to visit the Philippines as the country hosts a major international conference, and with its strong economic growth.

“For one, the Philippine Government has declared this year as Visit Philippines Year 2015 (VPY 2015). The flurry of festivals, concerts, conferences, other activities and events lined up will draw in both domestic and foreign tourists in the country. The country is also hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings, where its member economies will congregate in different Philippine cities to talk about inclusive growth for their citizens and during their downtime, take in all the beautiful sights the Philippines has to offer,” Malaya said.

The second Ambassador’s Tour followed the highly-successful ‘Ambassador’s Tour to the Philippines’ in November 2013.

“This is mainly because the participants of the first Tour informed us that they would like to join the tour again and promised us that they will bring in more friends and family to join. Cebu and Bohol are increasingly becoming major Philippine tourist destinations. It is an opportunity for our Malaysian friends to see other parts of the country,” Malaya said.

Participants of the three-day/four-night tour will fly directly to Cebu from Kuala Lumpur on May 2, where they will be immediately treated to a city tour, with visits to a guitar factory and workshops on hand painting and fashion accessory.

Cebu is well-known for its guitars and fashion accessories. They will then be feted to a welcome dinner.

The next day will have the participants explore Cebu’s world-class islands and beaches in an island-hopping tour, with opportunities for snorkeling and fish feeding in a marine sanctuary, a fishing village tour and a picnic barbeque lunch on the island.

The participants will also have an opportunity to go on a day tour of Bohol province, where they will be treated to a countryside tour, visit the world-famous Chocolate Hills, see the world’s smallest primates in their natural environment at the tarsier reserve and have a lunch while cruising the Loboc River before returning to Cebu.

Before they fly back to Kuala Lumpur the next day, they will have the chance to see Spanish colonial influences in Cebu in historical sights such as the Magellan’s Cross, the Basilica del Sto. Nino, Casa Gorordo and the Cebu Heritage Monument in Cebu City.

The four day tour costs RM2788 or Php 33,456 (half twin) and RM3288 or Php 39,456 (single) to include the Bohol day tour.

The fee includes three-nights hotel stay with daily breakfast in a four-star hotel, meals, transfers and tours with English-speaking local guide.

Official carrier is AirAsia, which flies directly to Cebu from Kuala Lumpur.

Ambassador Malaya also thanked Malaysians for discovering more of the Philippines, as Malaysia posted the highest growth in tourist arrivals at 27.24 percent increase with 139,245 arrivals in 2014, and became the Philippines’ ninth largest tourist market.

Megaworld’s township in Cebu seen to boost local food tourism

By VG Cabuag

MEGAWORLD Corp., the property development firm of businessman Andrew Tan, said it will help boost the local food tourism in Cebu with its food strip in Mactan Newtown that resembles that of Singapore’s hawker center.

“With the growing business-process outsourcing population, and soon residential population as well as the influx of tourists because of its close access to hotels and resorts, Mactan Newtown is expected to experience growing commercial and retail demand. Thus, we are continuously expanding our food and retail offerings to respond to the anticipated market demand,” said Noli Hernandez, president, Megaworld Cebu Properties Inc.

The food strip is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and with a 350-person seating capacity, crowds can have grilled items from stalls which will offer Filipino favorites like skewered chicken, fish, shrimp and Cebu’s chorizo.

Among the features of Mactan Alfresco is the large communal outdoor grill or ihawan.

Among the dining establishments already open are Choobi Choobi, Orange Karenderia, Conching’s, Meximama, Cebu’s Original Lechon Belly, Ana’s Lechon and Ayer’s Lechon.

Also on the horizon for Mactan Alfresco are the lechon pits where guests can soon experience lechon roasting on the premises.

“The Mactan Alfresco aims to bring the best of Cebuano cuisine to locals and tourists alike, helping to expand the food-tourism industry in Mactan. With a mix of establishments that offers dishes that Cebu is famous for and the communal grill where you can see your food being cooked, Mactan Alfresco’s dining experience will be a feast for the senses,” said Kevin Tan, the company’s first vice president and head of commercial division.

The Mactan Alfresco is near the main entrance of Mactan Newtown, the country’s first township with its own beachfront in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu. Megaworld has allocated P30 billion to develop the township within the next five years.

Among the features of Cebu township is the development of its 11-hectare beachfront property, which will become a beach club as well as boutique and resort hotels in which residential condominiums residents and BPO companies will have access to.

There are 10 luxury residential towers on the pipeline, at least seven office towers, and five business and leisure hotels, including the 18-story The Mactan Belmont Luxury Hotel and 18-story Savoy Hotel Mactan Newtown.

Six fun things you can do in Cebu this summer

By Jicel Reve S. Gabriel (Contributor)

PEOPLE must have found their feet itchy, so to speak, as they are keen on travelling or just being somewhere else other than their abodes this season of the year.

One, whether or not he or she is a “lumad” (or a native Cebuano or Cebuana), must be considering celebrating summer his or her own way. He or she might want to travel and taste how it is to be outside Cebu in just a few days. But why not think it over? Have you been to all the good places in Cebu already? Look, there may be spots in Cebu that you might have overlooked, have not gone to, or worst, do not even know.

Cebu has so much to offer this summer. You just have to take your pick:

Rest and relax at five-star hotels

If you are not in the mood for strolling around Cebu City sidewalks and just want to feel cool and relaxed, there are gorgeous hotels in Cebu where you can check in as a family or solo. Most hotels are just a cab ride away from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

Take a plunge at white beaches, waterfalls and discover islands

Why look for other beaches and islands to get those tan lines and get sun-kissed when you can have them right in the comfort of our own place? Feel the heat of the summer sunshine in great beaches and waterfalls in the towns located in the northern and southern parts of Cebu. Cebu’s famous islands such as Malapascua, Bantayan, Olango, Sumilon, among others, have established businesses that offer island-hopping experiences and kayaking sessions you will never forget. Since these places would take a longer travel time, it’s best to ride a bus at the terminals in the city. If you go there with your friends or family, you can hire a private transportation.

Explore ancient and historical spots

If you are good in world or Philippine History because of the books you’ve read or places you’ve travelled to, you might as well want to master the history in your locality. There’s quite a long list of historical spots in Cebu City alone.

Dine out at popular restaurants

Food is everybody’s favorite. You surely don’t want to starve yourself as you enjoy the great spots in the Queen City of the South. Ready your palate with the cuisines from across the countries such as Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Persian food, among others. In case you dine out with someone not from Cebu, dare not to let him or her go home without tasting Cebu’s Lechon.

Stroll around the malls and department stores

If you simply want to be outdoors for a day, even just for a couple of hours—because you want to escape from the humid air of your house—going to the malls may be your appointment of choice. It won’t cost you much especially if you avoid impulse buying.

Play at a famous adventure or sports spot

Why look for adventure and sports in other regions when you can have fun here in Cebu? You don’t need to spend so much to be away from home just to have fun escapades. You can conquer your fear of heights when you can experience the feeling of floating up in the air with ziplines here in Cebu. Adventures parks are all over; you just need to look.

DOLE-7 lines up activities for Labor Day


CEBU CITY, April 25 (PNA) -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) 7 has lined up a series of activities for the celebration of Labor Day on May 1.

On the same date, DOLE 7 Director Exequiel Sarcauga said there will be a “Jobstart Employer’s Forum,” in which President Benigno S. Aquino III is an expected guest.

“This is a roll-out of the program, so no less than the President will grace this occasion,” Sarcauga said.

“This is actually a youth employment generation program. It is a program in partnership with the Asian Development Bank,” he said.

Sarcauga said the program aims to fast-track the employability of the youth.

He said the Jobstart Employer’s Forum, which was previously piloted in Central Luzon, will present important subjects such as the Youth School-to-Work Transition, which is to identify priority beneficiaries who are fresh graduates.

The beneficiaries will be profiled on their specific skills which they would like to acquire as an additional skill to enhance their employability.

The regional director said the activity would better address issues on how to assist jobseekers and would also strengthen labor market information.

This year’s Labor Day celebration will be hosted by Mandaue City with a theme, “Disenteng Trabaho at Kabuhayan Alay Natin sa Bayan.”

DOLE’s Labor Day Program will start through a Solidarity Run and Caravan at 6 a.m. with kickoff points in Lapu-Lapu City and Talisay City.

This will be followed with a mass at the Mandaue City Sports Complex and a two-hour commemorative program.

South Cebu city's Php78-M new public market set for completion in July


CITY OF NAGA, Cebu, April 24 (PNA) -- A modern public market costing Php78 million is set to be completed in the City of Naga in southeastern Cebu in July this year.

City of Naga Mayor Valdemar Chiong said the new public market is located in Barangay East Poblacion.

Chiong, who is on his third and last term as mayor, said the modern market building is being constructed at the site of the city’s reclamation project.

Chiong said the first phase of the market’s construction costs Php38 million while the second phase costs Php40 million.

When it opens, the city government will be giving priority to the current stallholders at the old public market to occupy the new facility.

The old market building will be the new home of the students and teaching staff of Cebu Technological University-City of Naga Campus.

Apart from having a modern public market, the city government also scheduled to inaugurate in July the two-story building that will house the offices of the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Fire Protection.

The new building is located at the extension of the city's baywalk area, just a stone's throw away from the soon-to-be-finished public market.

Cebu gets PHP143M for farm road projects


CEBU CITY, April 23 (PNA) -- The Regional Project Advisory Board (RPAB) of the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP) said Cebu can now benefit from the PHP143-million budget allocated for farm-to-market road concreting projects.

“The PRDP sub-projects support the Philippines and regional framework for inclusive growth. It also supports Cebu province’s six-star agenda, specifically on food security and countryside development,” Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III said.

Davide said the road projects are now close to realization after they were approved by the RPAB.

He said the projects can increase rural income through higher productivity, lower costs, and easier access to markets.

These roads include the Anonang Sur, Bogo City to Lambusan, San Remigio road; Dap-Dap to Batad, San Remigio road; and Kinawahan to Canaganahan, San Remigio road.

Out of the allotted budget, PHP57 million is aside for the Anonang Sur to Lambusan road.

Dap-Dap to Batad road will use up PHP56 million of the budget while the remaining PHP30 million will be for Kinawahan to Canaganahan road.

The road concreting projects are expected to be implemented within one year.

PRDP is a six-year (2013-2019) program designed to establish an inclusive and market-oriented agri-fishery sector through strategic investments.

Veco consumers may now pay bills at M. Lhuillier branches


CEBU CITY, April 22 (PNA) -- Customers of the Visayan Electric Company (Veco) may now pay their bills through M. Lhuillier, with a partnership sealed by both parties.

M. Lhuillier Financial Services, a subsidiary of the M. Lhuillier Group, is the eighth third-party collection agent (TPA) tapped by Veco to accept bills payments.

Other TPAs include LBC, SM, Gaisano, 7/11, and several banks.

The partnership was signed by Veco president Jaime Aboitiz and M. Lhuillier president Michel Lhuillier.

Aboitiz said the partnership extends its service, not only to Veco customers, but also the other five utility subsidiaries of the company, which include Davao Light.

“So far, M. Lhuillier is the biggest third-party collector in the group with its nearly 1,500 branches nationwide that will accept payments for Veco,” the power distributor said in a statement.

Veco revenue management department manager Bievenido Saniel III said there will be no transaction fees involved.

Payments will be posted on the same day these are received.

PTT opens 10th service station in Cebu


MANILA, April 21 (PNA) -- PTT Philippines has opened a new service station in Cebu, bringing to 10 the number of Thai oil firm’s stations in the province.

A fourth PTT service station in San Fernando, Pampanga was also formally opened last April 18, simultaneous with the opening of PTT Bogo, Cebu station.

“This is a continuing program of PTT Philippines and therefore you could expect more to open this year to achieve our target of 150 stations in the Philippines in the next four years,” said PTT Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer Sukanya Seriyothin.

Seriyothin, who led PTT San Fernando 4’s opening, reiterated that the opening of more stations this year is part of the company’s aggressive five-year expansion plan.

With the opening of Bogo and San Fernando 4 stations, PTT has now a total of 82 retail stations in Luzon and in Cebu in the Visayas.

After PTT San Fernando 4 and PTT Bogo stations, PTT Philippines is set to open more stations in northern and southern Luzon as it aggressively looks partners who are interested in dealership.

PTT Philippines requires a minimum size of 1,000 square meters property with at least 35 meters frontage for a station to be built. The location must also be along the highway for accessibility.

Meanwhile, PTT is also set to start the construction this year of its biggest station, the SCTEX station located in Concepcion, Tarlac.

PTT has been in the Philippines for 18 years. Apart from retail marketing, it also operates on wholesale business serving aviation, maritime and mining.

Its parent company, the PTT Public Company Limited of Thailand is the largest oil and gas company engaged in the upstream and downstream petroleum businesses.

NIA identifies Lake Danao in Camotes Island as good irrigation source


CEBU CITY, April 20 (PNA) -- The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has identified Lake Danao as a potent source for irrigation water in San Francisco town in Camotes Island off northern Cebu.

The 650-hectare lake, the biggest in the Visayas, is surrounded by five of the town’s 15 barangays.

Dr. Romulo Davide, Cebu Capitol agriculture consultant, earlier initiated a lakewater analysis on Lake Danao which was conducted by the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).

The lakewater analysis showed that Lake Danao only contains 0.1 percent sodium chloride, which is below the hazard level.

Davide, a Ramon Magsaysay awardee, handed the result of the lakewater analysis to Norma Monisit, acting division manager for Bohol and Cebu Irrigation Management Office of NIA.

From the lakewater analysis results, Monisit said the NIA would conduct a feasibility study on a possible irrigation project, with Lake Danao as the source of water.

A four-month experiment conducted earlier by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist’s Farmer-Scientist Training Program (FSTP) and the San Francisco Municipal Agriculture Office, also found the water in Lake Danao suitable for crops.

The 1,000-square meter demo corn farm, which was identified by the town’s FSTP coordinators, is located near the lake.

The corn plants are healthy, with ears growing at a length of around 30 to 40 centimeters, dispelling doubts the lake water was not suitable for crops, the Cebu Provincial Information Office said.

Monisit said the irrigation system could be realized in two to three years because of the massive water source and is of big help to farmers who only rely on rainwater.

Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III said pumps will be installed around the lake for temporary irrigation in other parts of the town.

Davide will push for the realization of the irrigation project as part of his administration’s countryside development agenda, the information office said.

Mandaue seniors to get PhilHealth coverage

By Karen Kei V. Decamotan (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Mandaue City government is working on providing medical insurance coverage to its senior citizens.

Mayor Jonas Cortes during the opening of the Inter-barangay Gateball competition for the elderly citizens revealed the good news to them.

"Senior citizens are now a life time members of PhilHealth as the city has started distributing the Member's Data Sheet (MDR) for them to fill out," Cortes said during the event which was part of the activities lined up for the fiesta celebration on May 2.

Cortes said the city is determined to work so the services of City Health Department will be brought to the people's respective doorsteps.

"I asked every elderly for the submission of their requirements for the release of MDR. This is our way of thanking you for your contribution to the city's progress," he added.

The gateball tournament was an official game at the 8th Mayors' Cup particiapated by some 29 teams from the 27 barangays and was held at Mandaue Bridge Park on April 17.

Jesus Barz, newly-elected president of Mandaue-Japan Gateball Association and one of the pioneers of the game, said only Manila, Makati and Mandaue have established a court for gateball.

According to Barz, Noburo Watanabe, a Japanese national, introduced the game to some of them in 2007. Hence on, they gained support from the senior citizens sector and also attracted the youth.

Barangay Umapad, the defending champions, will face against their tough counterparts, Barangay Cubacub.

Town launches digital tourism guide


A FOURTH class town with a population of just around 17,000, Santander hasn’t let its size or distance deter its progress.

The town launched the Santander Guide, a mobile app that provides a handy guide to exploring this small town that’s located farthest south from the seat of the Provincial Government.

The mobile guide is a component of the Digital Tourism program being implemented nationwide by Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and new media startup InnoPub Media.

“The Digital Tourism launch in Santander is part of a province-wide expansion of the tourism project pioneered in Cebu. Santander as part of the BOSS: Boljoon – Oslob – Santander – Samboan south Cebu tourism circuit aims to be one with the conjoining municipalities who have done their launch of the same program,” said Santander Mayor Marilyn Wenceslao.

“I would like to thank the Cebu Provincial Government, the local tourism movers in our town and most especially Smart Communications,Inc. and InnoPub Media for helping us make this project possible,” Mayor Wenceslao said.

Cebu Gov. Hilario P. Davide III said the new mobile app for Santander will greatly boost the town’s economy and benefit the neighboring communities as well. “Tourism is a key industry and an effective trigger to economic development,” Davide said.

Travel around Santander’s many attractions, including mainland Cebu’s southernmost tip as determined by town research and GPS records, is made easier with the launch of the mobile app.

The Santander Guide is now available for free download to Android phones and will be made available to iOS in the coming weeks.

“Let the mobile app guide you to top Santander spots and activities that include natural marvels like waterfalls, well-preserved underwater sites for snorkeling and diving, long coastlines for leisurely walks and sea and sunset viewing as well as man-made structures that showcase the town’s colorful past,” organizers said in a statement.

Santander’s location on the southern tip of Cebu makes it the perfect gateway to the neighboring islands of Negros, Siquijor, and Bohol, and all you need to know to catch a ride to these places can be found in the Santander Guide.

“We are happy to launch the latest destination under our nationwide program to use digital technology for tourism information. With Digital Tourism, information about Santander is now made more accessible through mobile devices,” said Max Limpag, InnoPub Media co-founder.

“Our digital tourism launch in Santander complements our grassroots support for communities in this area. Through digital technologies, digital tourism is not only making information accessible to local and foreign markets but it is also helping spur economic activity on ground,” said Atty. Maria Jane Paredes, Smart Public Affairs Group senior manager for Visayas and Mindanao.

The launch in Santander is part of a province-wide expansion of the tourism project pioneered in Cebu. The Cebu Province component was launched in Argao last year.

Malacanang declares April 27 non-working holiday in Lapu-Lapu City


LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu, April 17 (PNA) -- Malacanang has declared April 27, 2015 a special non-working holiday in Lapu-Lapu City for the commemoration of the Battle of Mactan.

President Benigno C. Aquino III, through Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., issued the proclamation declaring the holiday last March 30.

“The Battle of Mactan is among the significant events in the Philippine history and serves as testimony to the rich cultural and historical heritage of the Filipinos. It is but fitting and proper that the people of the City of Lapu-Lapu be given full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies,” read the proclamation.

Revelers can expect more activities this year during the two-week celebration, which will start tonight with the opening of the annual Kadaugan sa Mactan (Victory in Mactan) Food Festival, officials said.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza said the city has allocated PHP5 million for the festivities, which feature the reenactment of the April 27, 1521 battle and the two-day street party.

The city commemorates the Battle of Mactan every year as a tribute to Datu Lapu-Lapu, a native of Mactan who killed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

This year’s Rampada street dancing competition and the Kadaugan Street Party will have more space with the route extended to the Hoopsdome in Barangay Gun-ob.

The activities will start Saturday with the opening of a food festival in the Mactan Liberty Shrine.

The food festival will run until April 26.

Lapu-Lapu City Tourism Officer Hembler Mendoza said they have prepared more than 700 seats at the food festival, up from more than 300 last year.

Apart from food and drinks, the event will also feature performers to entertain the crowd.

More than 40 establishments, including hotels and resorts, will participate in the food festival.

Lapu-Lapu City Councilor Harry Radaza, head of the committee organizing the street party, said last year’s street party was too crowded with 500,000 people cramped on the M.L. Quezon Highway from the foot of the Marcelo Fernan Bridge to the intersection near the approach of the old Mactan-Mandaue Bridge.

To spread out the crowd, part of the Maximo V. Patalinghug Ave. up to the Hoopsdome will be closed for the street dancing contest and the street party from April 24 to 26.

The Rampada showdown will be held at the Hoopsdome.

Superintendent Marcial Yangua, chief for operations of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office, said they will deploy 80 police officers at the food festival, 571 for the street party and 253 for the reenactment.

Dr. Rodolfo Berame, city health officer, said there will be two ambulances with five paramedics on standby each night at the food festival.

He said there will be six medical stations along the route of the street dancing and street party.

Cebu trade group's program finalists in World Chambers Competition


CEBU CITY, April 16 (PNA) -- A Cebu business chamber’s program on women entrepreneurship is a finalist in the World Chambers Competition.

The Search for Women In Need Now Entrepreneurs and Role Models (Winners) of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) is a finalist in the “Best Unconventional Project” category of the World Chambers Competition, a global awards program that recognizes the “most innovative projects” undertaken by chambers of commerce and industry from around the world.

According to the World Chambers Competition website, the category seeks to “reward those who have developed an exceptional project in an activity not typically associated with a chamber of commerce’s mission and objectives.”

“The project must be inspirational and innovative, while demonstrating that it fulfilled specific needs and objectives of the chamber and its small and medium enterprises (SME) member community, in terms of creating jobs and strengthening their local economies,” the award giving body said.

MCCI will be competing against Stavanger Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Norway), Chamber of Commerce of Zaragoza (Spain) and Calgary Chamber of Commerce (Canada) in the Best Unconventional Project category.

This year’s competition received 79 applications from 39 countries. Other categories include citations in corporate social responsibility, job creation and business development, and in policy advocacy.

“It is a great honor to be nominated as finalist to the World Chamber and compete with the other worthy finalists under the category,” said Carmel de Pio Salvador, MCCI’s vice-president for internal affairs.

In a statement, Salvador said the Winners project was conceptualized to highlight the stories of women in Mandaue’s barangays and how they have triumphed against challenges brought by society, birth and lack of opportunities.

MCCI listens to their stories and opens doors for training and networking, she said.

“The nomination is a breakthrough because it means the whole world will now know the stories of these women and will, for sure, inspire other women to succeed despite difficulties. The positive effect is unimaginable! And now let’s try to win the competition,” she said.

The World Chambers awarding will be held in Torino, Italy on June 10 to 12 during the World Chambers Congress.

Cebu IT workers paid highest in PH

By Flornisa M. Gitgano

INFORMATION Technology (IT) workers in Cebu receive higher average salary than their counterparts anywhere else in the country, even surpassing that of Metro Manila, an online job site reported., in its 2015 Cebu Salary Report that was presented yesterday to the local press, said fresh graduates in Cebu working in IT and computer software get paid an average of P25,483 a month. This is P1,534 higher than what a fresh graduate with the same specialization receives in other parts of the country.

The figures in the salary report are based on Jobstreet’s data for its Cebu listings from October to December 2014. The online portal encourages employers to disclose the minimum and maximum salary offer.

Top highest paying jobs

These findings cover fresh graduates, junior executives, managers, and supervisors. Jobstreet served 300,000 job candidates in Cebu out of 500,000 in Central Visayas. Over a thousand companies in Cebu are listed in Jobstreet, with 5,000 postings daily.

“The top three highest paying specializations (for fresh graduates) in Cebu are the same as with the rest of the country,” Jobstreet said. These are in IT and computer software; IT and computer network or database administration; and technical and help desk support.

Yoda Buyco, Jobstreet Philippines marketing director, explained that Cebuano IT workers are mostly employed by large BPO companies, which tend to offer higher salaries to attract more jobseekers.

In Metro Manila, IT workers are employed in different industries and in both local and foreign companies.

Even among junior executives or employees, those with one to four years of experience get a better average pay compared to others in the same level nationally.

The highest paying job for junior executives in Cebu are the technical and help desk support workers, who have average salaries of P38,163. This is followed by those working in IT-computer software at P32,199, corporate finance or merchant banking at P30,759, IT-computer hardware at P30,455 and IT-computer network or database administration at P27,754.

Surging demand

However, the trend of better-paid employees in Cebu doesn’t follow that of supervisors and managers. Jobstreet said the average salary for these kind of employees is lower than that of their national counterparts, particularly in Manila, but IT continues to be the best-paying specialization for both position levels.

“The demand for IT (skills) is surging. There are a lot of jobs available, but in terms of quality, the supply is low,” Buyco said.

The official said Jobstreet is feeding the Department of Labor and Employment and the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency its own labor-related statistics.

Currently, there are 20,000 companies posting at JobStreet and 100,000 jobs available to date.

At present, the most in-demand jobs for fresh graduates are customer service positions, particularly workers for business process outsourcing companies.

Food safety training set on April 16-17

THE Department of Trade and Industry-Cebu Provincial Office, in cooperation with the Department of Health-Food and Drug Administration, DTI-Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development, and the DTI-Trade Related Technical Assistance Project 3, will hold a training on “Food Safety and Food Licensing and Registration for MSMEs” on April 16 to 17.

The training will be held in Cebu Grand Hotel on N. Escario St., Cebu City.

The activity is expected to be attended by micro, small and medium enterprises, food manufacturers, producers and food service providers in Cebu. DTI said it is being held in support of the MSMEs’ need to become more competitive especially in the light of the Asean Economic Community Integration.

The two-day training will give emphasis on Food Safety Act of 2013, Food and Drugs Administration Licensing and Regulations, Food Safety Best Practices (HACCP, GMP & GHP), Online E-Registration and E-Licensing, among others.

Food Safety Act of 2013 or RA 10611 is a law that aims for a high level of food safety, protection of human life and health in the production and consumption of food. Also aims for the protection of consumer interests through fair practices in the food trade.

Suroy Suroy Sugbo for the young soon

By Liv G. Campo / NSA (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines- Since the eight-year-old Suroy Suroy Sugbo was a hit for the retirees, the provincial government of Cebu is coming up with a similar version, but for the younger ones.

“We know the Suroy Suroy caters to the senior citizens. This time, we will have another Suroy Suroy Sugbo version for the yuppies, especially the students,” said provincial tourism officer Grace Paulino.

Paulino said there were already talks for the new program so she hopes this gets implemented before the year ends.

And while the current Suroy Suroy promotes delicacies and tourist attractions of local government units in the province, the one for the yuppies will have activities like trekking, scuba diving, spelunking, white-water rafting and other adventures for the young people.

Paulino said it is timely that the river cruise in Alegria town is back in business after last year’s incident wherein a tour guide died during a tour.

She said guidelines are already set for adventures that may risk the lives of the guests, and equipment is available to ensure everyone’s safety.

She said for the young people to join, the Capitol will make sure that the rates will be affordable.

Cebu tourism officer bats for trans-axial highway

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

CEBU CITY, April 12 (PNA) -- Cebu Provincial Tourism Officer Grace Paulino has supported the proposed 300-kilometer trans-axial highway that would traverse the whole length of Cebu from the north to the south.

Paulino said the distance of tourist spots especially in the north can be discouraging to some tourists who do not like very long travels.

Easier access to these areas would be an advantage to Cebu’s tourism efforts, she said.

Paulino said better roads like the planned trans-axial highway can help solve this problem.

Paulino said the proposed trans-axial highway would be beneficial because it reduces the travel time from Cebu City to Bantayan Island.

A trip to Hagnaya port in San Remigio town, a jump-off area to Bantayan, takes three to four hours by bus, plus another one-hour boat ride to the island itself.

Paulino said this is exhausting, if not time-consuming for those who only have a very limited time to travel.

Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III is proposing for the implementation of the proposed Trans-axial Highway project.

The project, which is estimated to cost P56 billion, will connect the northern part of Cebu from Daanbantayan to the southern most part in Santander.

400 pupils get new classrooms

By Philline Janson & Jennifer Eroles CNU AB Com Interns (FMG)

SOME 400 pupils may hold their classes in new classrooms by June once the two-storey school building that the GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) donated to Ibo Elementary School (IES) in Lapu-Lapu City will be completed.

Lapu-Lapu City Government officials and GMCAC officials led a ground-breaking ceremony in IES yesterday for the construction of the new classrooms.

GMCAC donated the four-classroom building as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR), which focuses on education, health, skills enhancement and livelihood.


The groundbreaking came after GMCAC and IES officials signed last Feb. 17 a contract for the project.

“This donation is a big help in our goal of drastically reducing our classroom shortage come 2016,” City Administrator Teodulo Ybañez said in behalf of Mayor Paz Radaza.

In an interview, IES Principal Herminia Leyson said the shortage of classrooms in the school resulted in the shifting of classes to accommodate all the students.

Leyson said students also hold classes at the stage.

“The school currently has 19 classrooms. This project is the answer to the problem, and so classes can be held whole day,” she said.

Also present during the ceremony were GMCAC president Louie Ferrer, GMCAC chief executive advisor Andrew Harrison, City Schools Division Superintendent Eduardo Ompad and GMCAC corporate affairs head Estee Patino Plunket.


Ferrer said this is the first major CSR project of GMCAC.

“We will be turning over a high standard, complete school building and that represents our belief in the importance of excellent outputs,” he said.

He said the building is designed to be typhoon and earthquake resilient.

It will also have two sets of washrooms, a complete sewage and drainage system, and pre-painted roof and steel roof frame.

Rigid steel railings and fire extinguishers will be installed to ensure the safety of the children.

The donation also includes tables, chairs, chalkboards, and electric fans for each of the classrooms.

Plunket said that initially they had hard time delivering construction materials because of the road widening project, but this has been solved and the students can enjoy the facilities in the next school year.

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