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Contents

Tourism, real estate can go hand in hand

By Katlene O. Cacho

CEBU tour operators and real estate brokers can work together to market Cebu as a tourism and retirement destination, an industry player in tourism said.

“Before these foreign nationals become investors here or buy properties to settle down here, they become tourists first,” said Alice Queblatin, Tourism Congress vice president for travel and tour group for Visayas.

“They consider the beauty of the destination before they buy properties or invest. So in this area, tour operators and real estate brokers can actually come together and collaborate so we can grow our arrivals for both tourism and investment,” she added.

Queblatin, who owns Southwind Travel and Tours, said she is open to work with the players in the real estate industry because they can help bring in more foreign tourists here. She noted that like them, real estate brokers conduct roadshows abroad, selling Cebu’s tourism as a strategy to get foreign retirees to settle down here.

“This is one of the reasons the country is courting the Japanese market again because we want them to come back to the Philippines. Aside from being a high-spending market for tourism, they are one of the best markets for our retirement villages,” she said.

Retirement is a niche product the tourism department and its stakeholders should exploit more alongside diving, medical tourism, and ESL (English as Second Language), according to Queblatin.

The Philippine Retirement Authority has been inviting former Filipino citizens and foreign nationals to choose the Philippines as their second home. The agency said retirees can “expect a good life here at an affordable cost”, coupled with the vibrant culture, hospitality, friendly English-speaking population, natural attractions, and tropical climate.

Philippine Allied Chamber of Real Estate brokers and Licensed Salesmen (PhilAcre) president Anthony Leuterio said that Cebu as a tourist destination sells.

He said that when they conduct roadshows abroad, they don’t sell properties directly but market and promote Cebu as a destination.

With all the ongoing developments in Cebu, both in infrastructure and real estate products, Leuterio, who also owns Rent.ph and Leuterio Realty said Cebu can compete with the likes of Hawaii as the second home of choice for most wealthy markets all over the world.

He, however, emphasized that Cebu has to create a “powerful branding proposition” to convince foreign tourists to make the province their second home.

Capitol to build 10 water catchments in towns

By Oscar C. Pineda, Flornisa M. Gitgano

PROVINCIAL Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (PDRRM) Officer Baltazar Tribunalo Jr. said the Capitol will build at least 10 water catchment facilities in mountain barangays and vegetable farms.

Tribunalo said this is a way to help farmers just in case the weak El Niño worsens.

Rain this month serves as an opportunity for the Capitol, as well as farmers, to save water through catchment facilities.

Tribunalo said they can use the rainwater if farmers experience shortage of water for their plants.

The catchments will be installed in Dalaguete, Argao, Sibonga, Alcoy, Alegria, Consolacion, Tuburan and Barili.

Provincial Information Officer Ethel Natera said these areas were chosen because there are already heavy equipment in the area.

The cost of the water impounding facility ranges from P100,000 to P1 million.

Natera said a cash-for-work program will be implemented once construction starts.

Those who can avail themselves of the cash-for-work program are the families who were affected by the mild El Niño.

Tribunalo said the Province will have a water truck after the governor approved its purchase.

Water sprinklers, hose and school supplies will also be delivered to the poor farming communities.

Funds

The PDRRM officer feared that the quick response fund will not be enough if calamities strike later.

“Usahay ma-exhaust na nato ang atong fund kay gitutokan natong El Niño. Unya mokalit la’g kusog ang bagyo nya simbako lang maigo ta. Tungod sa limitado nato nga funding tingali’g maapektohan gali ta sa sunod nga response (Maybe we’ll run out of funds because we are focused on El Niño. If a typhoon will hit the Province, our response will be affected because we now have limited funds),” Tribunalo said.

That is why, he said, the Capitol is buying equipment that can be used not only during El Niño, but also when there is a typhoon.

Provincial Agriculture head Roldan Saragena said the dry spell may continue until the fourth quarter of this year, based on weather forecasts.

Saragena warned farmers who already started planting to expect water shortage, intense heat and storms.

Effects

Pagasa confirmed Saragena’s apprehension on the prevailing heat, low rainfall and two weak-low-pressure areas (WLPA) now inside the Philippine area of responsibility. These will definitely affect Cebu agriculture.

“Save this rainwater now for future water shortage” was Saragena’s advice.

He said Capitol will be distributing 1,200 units of 200-liter plastic drums to farmers in the province.

This is through joint efforts of the Provincial Agriculture office, Provincial Disaster Risk-Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) and Provincial Engineering Office.

These catchments are for farmers associations, with supportive local government units (LGUs).

Saragena also advised farmers to avail themselves of Capitol’s agri-fisheries insurance program, which is 100 percent premium-subsidized.

Season

Pagasa Cebu officer-in-charge Alfredo Quiblat said June 22 was the start of the rainy season.

Saragena said Cebu is now at the start of the cropping season, which was supposed to be in the second week of May. He expects corn planted this month to be harvested anytime in September.

He said once corn starts to bear fruit, damage is imminent once it is exposed to three weeks of low rainfall and extreme heat.

Quiblat said, though, that while we have above normal rainfall this June, we may only have near-normal rainfall this July.

June rainfall is 229 mm., while the normal level is 183 mm.

There will be decreased rainfall this August, September and October. By November, Cebu will have very low rainfall, said Quiblat.

He said the forecast model, which is 60 percent accurate, is based on data collected all over the country on amount of rainfall, temperature, air pressure, humidity and historical or previous weather conditions.

Quiblat said Cebu experienced a dry spell during March, April and May.

During these three consecutive months, there was more than a 60 percent decrease in rainfall.

In the last week of May, Capitol’s provincial agriculture office reported that harvest in 43 has. of fishpond in Carcar City and Sibonga town decreased due to the dry spell. He said 500 farmers in four southern communities barely earned anything from their farms.

This prompted Cebu Province to declare a state of calamity last May 25, ordering the LGUs to submit an El Niño damage report.

That week, Saragena said Carmen, Tuburan, Borbon and Tabuelan in the North, while Asturias in the West and Argao, Moalboal, Alcantara in the South declared a state of calamity.

Sibonga, Samboan towns and Talisay and Carcar cities submitted damage reports. Some 519 farmers and 186 fisherfolks in these four LGUs were badly affected by extreme heat and lack of rainfall.

Stem cell clinic opens in Mandaue

By Katlene O. Cacho

GOVERNMENT needs to ramp up its efforts to get its share of the global medical tourism market, an industry player said.

“Medical tourism in the country is picking up as more foreign patients seek medical services here. As a regional player, we are slowly catching up with our neighbors like Thailand and Korea,” said Dr. Roderick Yalung, medical director of Regenestem in the Philippines.

He noted that a lot of hospitals and health and wellness centers in the country are now affiliated with institutions abroad, and that many medical centers and clinics have innovated and now use state-of-the-art facilities.

Yalung believes the Philippines is well positioned for medical tourism because we offer cheaper services yet high-quality medical attention, plus a variety of destinations to offer while patients recuperate.

He pointed out that a breast augmentation package would cost $8,000 to $10,000. This already covers hotel accommodations and round-trip fares plus a visit to a local tourism destination. The same amount would cover only the cost of the procedure, he said, in the United States.

“We really have advantages, that’s why the industry is calling on the government to fund medical tourism because this could be a revenue driver for the economy,” Yalung said. Government support was a key factor in the thriving medical tourism industry in countries like Thailand, Korea and Singapore, he added.

In a 2010 study, the Philippines ranked 11th in the top 15 destinations for medical tourists in the world, with Thailand and Singapore in the top two slots.

According to a 2013 report by the Philippine Institute of Development Studies, one of the problems is the lack of information such as medical tourist arrivals, expenditures, and services.

Yalung was recently in Cebu to open Regenestem, its first clinic in the Visayas and the second clinic in Asia of the Global Stem Cell Group, which offers “the most comprehensive and up-to-date” stem cell treatments. Regenestem Cebu is located at Block 88 of Oakridge Business Park on A.S. Fortuna in Mandaue City. It also offers services like cosmetic surgery, anti-ageing, dermatology, regenerative medicine, sports and arthritis medicine, and molecular orthopedics.

“We decided to open in Cebu because of its robust tourism and we believe there is a ready market for these kinds of medical services,” said Yalung.

He cited the presence of Koreans, Cebu’s top tourism source market. Rhinoplasty in Korea costs some $5,000, compared to $2,000 in the Philippines.

Currently, there are Regenestem clinics in Manila, United States, Mexico, Dubai, Argentina and Chile.

DENR plants native trees

By Bong Garcia

NATIONAL Food Authority (NFA) Provincial Manager Gaudencio Nuega has assured the public that there is sufficient supply of rice in Zamboanga City for the lean months of this year.

The lean month period is from June to September every year.

Nuega made the assurance as they intend to increase the rice they supply to the local market up to 30 percent during the lean months.

Nuega said they usually supply 20 percent as the commercial rice traders provide 80 percent of the local rice demand.

He added that they supply two rice varieties at the local market and is sold at P27 and P32 per kilo.

The NFA, at present, has a total of 360,000 sacks of rice of 50 kilos each at its warehouse in the village of San Roque, Zamboanga City, according to Nuega.

He said that 260,000 of the total rice stocks are reserved for the city since the remaining 100,000 sacks are intended for the nearby provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

He said the stocks of 260,000 sacks of rice are good for 48 days if and when the local consuming public will solely rely on the rice supply of the agency.

Nuega is confident they will not run out of supply as they expect the arrival of additional 100,000 sacks of rice in few days.

DTI calls on local artists to get copyright security

By Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu creative industry players are encouraged to take copyright registration for their creations to accelerate the growth of the creative economy especially in Cebu and the rest of Central Visayas.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-7) regional director Asteria Caberte made this call yesterday on the sidelines of the 4th Southeast Asian Creative Cities Network Forum (SEACON X Cebu 2015), as innovation and protection of creations has become one of the critical factors that affect the movement of the creative economy.

Cebu, being positioned as the creative capital of the Philippines following the recognition given seven years ago by the British Council in its Creative Cities Program, should lead in the dynamism and promote professional and distinguished creative industry.

Although big companies like those that have made their brand names in the world and in the mainstream markets already have their copyright, trademark or patent, Caberte said some creative sector players who have potential to take significant role in the creative economy have yet to get their works, companies, and creations protected.

Now that rampant violation issues is apparent across the world, such as copying designs, and others, it is imperative for serious players to be professional in treating their works and getting copyright registration is just one part of the foundations in order to grab the multi-million-dollar opportunities in the creative industry, said Dimiter Gantchev, deputy director and head for creative industries section copyright infrastructure division of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Gantchev, who was the keynote speaker during yesterday's SEACON X Cebu 2015), which carried the theme "Authentic-Cities: identity and Unity in Diversity," said that players in the creative sector should find deep discipline and proper approach in participating the powerful creative economy phenomenon.

"Intellectual Property is one of the tools to promote creativity," Gantchev stressed. In fact, it is a new framework which allows to transform creative outputs into economic goods.

Gantchev mentioned a study that confirms that potential significant contribution of creative economy to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Based on the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) report, it showed that the creative or copyright-based industries contributed P661.23 billion to the Philippine economy in 2010.

A study conducted by the IPOPHL and the World Intellectual Property Organization this year, revealed that the creative industries’ contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at 7.34 percent in 2010.

The latest result is higher than the 4.82 percent contribution of the creative industries to the GDP in the 2006 baseline study.

In terms of employment, the creative industries accounted for 14.14 percent or 560,665 workers in 2010, up compared to its 11 percent contribution to the labor force in 2006.

The study also showed the creative industries accounted for 3.06 percent of total exports and 0.81 percent of total imports in 2010.

Creative or copyright-based industries are those engaged in creation, production and manufacturing, performance, broadcast, communication and exhibition, or distribution and sales of works and other protected subject matter.

The industries include published works of literature, music, motion picture, software, graphic arts as well as advertising services.

One of the challenges however, faced by the industry is the availability of credible data, even in the national level.

"It is important for creators to be aware of the various income generation in the creative industry," he said reminding that respect to their own work, or put a value to their works is very important.

The SEACON X Cebu 2015, held yesterday at the City Sports Club, organized by DTI-Cebu Provincial Office, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Cebu Creative Council, attracted delegates from Creative Councils in second cities in Asia like Chiang Mai, (Thailand); George Town, Penang (Malaysia), Bandung (Indonesia), and other foreign and local players, experts in the creative sector.

Meeting venue ‘prepared’ for Apec

By Katlene O. Cacho

TOP executives of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, the operator of Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu, were in Cebu yesterday to supervise the hotel’s preparation for the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit this August and September.

Paul Moxness, vice president for corporate safety and security at Carlson Rezidor said they are “well-pleased” with the hotel’s extensive preparation for the summit as far as safety and security.

“We are really extremely pleased with the outcome. Even the Apec National Organizing Committee is pleased with the hotel’s readiness. The management has been consistently in touch and in dialogue with local authorities to ensure that right measures are in place for the upcoming summit,” said Moxness in a press conference yesterday.

Nishan Silva, general manager of Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu noted that on top of providing Apec delegates with a wonderful hotel experience during their stay here, ensuring safety and security is a top concern.

“It’s not that we are afraid. But when we have the eyes of the world (on us), a little thing will become a big thing,” said Moxness.

Radisson Blu is working closely with local authorities like the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire and Protection and Department of Health to ensure the safety and security of the delegates, as well as the hotel’s operations, especially during the summit.

“For sure, the delegates will also bring with them their personal security, so we are also taking that into account and how we can seamlessly work or coordinate with them with the measures we have in place here,” said Silva.

Of the four big ministerial Apec meetings happening in Cebu, the Radisson Blu will get to host two of these meetings and two confirmed dinners.

Nishan said they expect at least 3,000 delegates to join the summit here. The hotel, he added, is already getting bookings from 21 economies.

Aside from readiness on safety and security, Silva disclosed that the hotel has teamed up with its sister hotel, Park Inn Davao by Radisson to ensure the staff requirement is sufficient during these meetings.

Likewise, the hotel has also started procuring Halal-certified food for their Halal-certified kitchen.

“We are well ahead of the planning stage,” said Silva.

Sandy Russell, vice president for commercial operations of Carlson Rezidor Group-Asia Pacific noted that Radisson Blu’s hosting of the Apec Summit is an opportunity to be known globally and introduce Cebu as a destination to the rest of the world.

As Apec 2015 Chair, the Philippines will host the third Apec Senior Officials’ Meeting and Related Meetings (SOM3) from August 22 to Sept. 6, 2015 in Cebu.

As the last comprehensive Senior Officials’ Meeting before the Apec Leaders’ Summit in November, SOM3 will have an intensive 16-day meeting schedule. Committees and working groups are expected to continue discussions and initiatives from SOM2, such as Apec’s connectivity, services and MSME agenda, Internet economy, urbanization, and work towards the realization of a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific.

Immediately after SOM3, the Philippines will host the Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting (SRMM) on Sept. 7 and 8 and the Finance Ministerial Meeting (FMM) on Sept. 10 and 11. The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Department of Finance (DOF) will lead the SRMM and FMM, respectively.

IEC participants to benefit condominium owners

By Jeandie O. Galolo

CONDOMINIUM investors may benefit from the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC), which will draw more than 50,000 people to Cebu in January next year.

Anthony Leuterio, president of online rental portal Rent.ph, said the big number of IEC guests from all over the world cannot all be accommodated in Cebu’s hotels. Hence, condominium owners, particularly investors, can take advantage of this market demand.

Turnover

In the case of Contempo Holdings Inc., developer of a three-tower condominium project Bamboo Bay Community in Mandaue City, president and chief executive officer Beverly Dayanan said they are fast-tracking the first tower’s completion and turnover in time for the IEC.

“The turnover of Tower 1 is scheduled later this year,” Dayanan told reporters at the sidelines of the topping off ceremony of Tower 2. Tower 1 is composed of more than 200 units and a hundred of them are fully-furnished. This, according to the official, makes it more convenient for condo owners to rent out their spaces anytime. Tower 1 is already sold out, Dayanan said.

Instead of the five-year development and construction masterplan, Dayanan said Bamboo Bay is ahead of schedule, cutting the process down to four years.

Tower 2 is set for turnover in November next year while the last tower’s completion is eyed in the last quarter of 2017.

For the IEC, Leuterio said Rent.ph is actively marketing Bamboo Bay as a preferred site to accommodate guests, primarily because of the project’s location being in the middle of Mandaue City and Cebu City.

For lease

Although the church is also encouraging Cebuanos to accommodate IEC guests in their own homes, Leuterio said there are others who prefer to stay in their own private place. This is where condominium investors, who lease out their units to others for income, earn from the thousands of international guests, which he projected can go beyond 50,000.

Should Pope Francis decide to attend the IEC, Leuterio said the number of guests will increase exponentially.

Buyers’ profile

“In real estate (buying), most of the time, 70 percent of them are investors, only 20 percent are end-users, and 10 percent of them are flippers,” Leuterio said.

Flippers, according to him, are those who purchase a property such as a condominium unit, and resell it at a time when they see that the property’s price has significantly increased.

For Bamboo Bay Community, studio units of 22 to 23 square meters of floor area were initially sold at P1.8 million per unit in 2013. The price has jumped by more than 20 percent in a span of two years at P2.2 million.

There are 750 units in Bamboo Bay. Tower 2 is 80 percent sold, but it is expecting to reach a sold out status within the year. Tower 3, meanwhile, has sold 20 percent and the company is looking to sell 50 percent of the remaining units of the tower within 2016.

Priority

Dayanan said the company is also thinking of future expansions. But for now, they are prioritizing the smooth turnover of Bamboo Bay units to homeowners.

Cebu to have three Negosyo Centers

By Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines – Cebu will have at least three Negosyo Centers by next month, as both regional and provincial offices of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here will open two facilities, including a Center that will be based in Bogo.

Cebu is one of the identified pilot areas for the first 100 Negosyo Centers in the country, said Senator Paulo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV, in his recent visit to Cebu.

Aquino, who is one of the major proponents of the "Go Negosyo Law," said that the government, through DTI is accelerating the establishment of "Negosyo Centers" around the country to further capacitate Filipinos to do business, and take advantage of the good environment for entrepreneurship.

In Cebu, Aquino called the participation of the business community to be active in helping their constituents succeed in business, "this is a tripartite program. We need the private sector's expertise and mentoring ability. This is our focal point to help achieve inclusive growth.

The creation of "Negosyo Center,” is a project aimed at preparing the country for the full implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community integration, and promote growth of the country’s SMEs, as stipulated in the RA 10644, otherwise known as Go Negosyo Act of 2004.

DTI undersecretary for regional group operations Zenaida Maglaya said that the agency targets to open at least 100 Negosyo Centers this year. Cebu is one of the pilot areas to open this facility.

A one-stop-shop for SMEs, Negosyo Center is where SMEs can do business without hopping from one office to another in order to comply with needed requirements.

The facility may be located within the DTI office compound or at designated area by local government unit (LGU).

According to Maglaya there is a dire need for the Philippines to offer this kind of service to the SMEs, which comprise the 99 percent of businesses in the country.

She said taking care of the SMEs, as well as boosting the growth of the small and medium business players is very vital under the Asean Economic Community (AEC) regime, for them not to be overtaken by the entry of global businesses in the country.

DTI has it that at least 50 percent of the total target of 100 Go Negosyo Centers should have been established by 2nd quarter of 2015. Funds will be allocated per region.

Under the Implementing Rules and Regulation, the DTI’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Council will approve a multi-phase plan for the establishment and management of Go Negosyo Centers within 180 days of its reconstitution.

In areas where there are existing SME Centers and National Economic Research and Business Assistance Centers administered by the DTI, the facilities may be converted into Go Negosyo Centers.

The Negosyo Centers shall have the following functions: business registration assistance, business advisory services, business information and advocacy and monitoring and evaluation of business processes for MSMEs.

The Centers will be linked to the Philippine Business Registry System (PBRS) to make it easier and faster for entrepreneurs to start and register their businesses at the local level.

For the Go Negosyo Centers to be able to provide business registration assistance, the DTI along with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and other relevant agencies will develop a unified and simplified business registration form based on the current form being used for the business process and licensing system.

Aside from making business registration easier, the Negosyo Centers will allow MSMEs to avail of other services such as technology transfer, production and management training programs as well as marketing assistance from the DTI, Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines – Institute for Small-Scale Industries, Cooperative Development Authority, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and other agencies concerned.

Free med care for poor families

By Flornisa M. Gitgano

INDIGENT parents with children six years old and below will get free medical care from provincial and district hospitals.

During its out-of-town session in Samboan yesterday, the Provincial Board (PB) approved on mass motion an ordinance mandating provincial and district hospitals to provide free medical care to qualified children.

PB Member Celestino Martinez III, sponsor of the ordinance, said the ordinance will encourage more indigent parents especially in rural areas to submit their children to a regular check-up.

The ordinance said the barangay should issue a certificate that proves that parents of the child are indigent, while the municipal and city social welfare development office are tasked to verify the certificate issued by the barangay.

The hospitals under the Provincial Government should provide medical care without asking for any deposit from the parents.

Once the parents comply with the requirements, their children can avail themselves of free medical services, including hospitalization or in-patient services; professional care services; diagnostics, laboratory and other medical examination; use of operating or surgical rooms and other medical equipment and facilities; prescription drugs that are available in the hospital or in-house pharmacy; and other forms of medical attention.

No bills

The ordinance highlighted that the patients should not be billed for “any other medical, incidental or miscellaneous expenses.”

The use of ambulance donated by the Province will also be free of any charges in transporting patients to and from the provincial, district and private hospitals.

The medical staff may face sanctions if they commit prohibited acts, including denying the patient of free medical care and attention, requiring or asking for an amount as deposit for admission, referring the patient to other or private hospital even if they can still accommodate the beneficiary, and referring to a private or other pharmacies the patient despite availability of medicines.

Aside from these, it is also prohibited to require beneficiaries and their families to give professional fees to the attending doctor, let the parents pay for other fees, and ask the parents to pay for the use of the ambulance.

Violators will face a suspension of six months without pay if proven guilty.

Source

Martinez said the funds for the program will be taken from the annual budget for the operation of all provincial hospitals.

He said the Province has an existing Point of Care Program.

VECO’s 'Cebu Unplug campaign' goes to barangays

By Fayette C. Riñen (mbcn/fcr/PIA7/with reports from Jay-Ileen Engalla, Intern/PIT)

CEBU, June 21 (PIA) -- The Cebu Unplugged Campaign of the Visayan Electric Company (VECO) spreads to the barangays next month as the company advocates a lifestyle habit to adopt energy conservation measures in the household as a long-term goal.

VECO reputation enhancement manager Ma. Theresa Sederiosa said, the Cebu City Council has adopted the program and will launch the campaign in July which councilor Nida Cabrera spearheads being the chairperson of the Committee on Environment.

“Cebu Unplugged will now be implemented in the 80 barangays of Cebu City,” said Sederiosa who added that Cebu Province already passed a resolution adopting the program authored by Provincial Board Member Peter John Calderon.

Sederiosa said the conservation campaign in the city’s barangays will not only focus on energy efficiency but also water conservation.

Cebu Unplugged campaign on the other hand, listed eight ways to conserve energy of which the number one rule is to unplug appliances and electronics when not in use because simply turning it off without unplugging it continues to consume energy.

The other conservation measures listed are defrost refrigerator regularly to prevent build-up and cover up and save on cooling cost by blocking sun’s heat with curtains.

Maximize use of washing machine in one go, shut the door of appliances, use gas burner instead of electric stove, turn on electric fans instead of air condition units and choose energy-efficient appliances.

“Power supply is almost equal to demand and to avert an energy crisis, we need to manage the problem from the demand side,” said Sederiosa.

On the evening of June 15, power reserve in Cebu was recorded at -105MW based on the report of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said Engr. Saul Gonzales, chief of the Energy Industry Management Bureau of the Department of Energy - Visayas Field Office (DOE-VFO).

Gonzales said the available supply on the night of June 15 was at 643.5 MW but the demand that day reached 748 MW although he was quick to assure the public that there is ample power supply in Cebu. The projection towards yearend is that power use will be excessive which will further reduce our power reserve, he added.

Gonzalessaid, Cebu should lead in the energy conservation campaign because it has the highest power demand from the Visayas grid at 771 MW followed by Panay with only 284 MW and Negros Island with 267 MW. Leyte is fourth with 159 MW and last is Bohol with 58MW, said Gonzales.

Gonzales said VECO’s Cebu Unplugged campaign will help the government’s advocacy drive on the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Program of the DOE.

Cebu Unplugged won the Bronze Award in the 2nd Asia Pacific Stevie Awards 2015 in Shanghai, China in June 5, where the campaign was pegged as “a different kind of people power.” The one-year old campaign was launched in June 2014.

Sederiosa said power demand in VECO’s franchise areas particularly Metro Cebu increases at an average growth of 4.5 to 5 percent as she placed emphasis on community involvement in energy conservation to prevent a possible power crisis.

Capitol shortens process of distributing medicines

By Oscar C. Pineda

CAPITOL cut short the long and tedious process of procuring medicines through public bidding.

The Provincial Health Office (PHO) will now buy the items from Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) and distribute these to its 16 hospitals in the province through the Cebu Medicine Consignment scheme.

Though this scheme, endorsed and recommended by DOH, Capitol pays only for the consumed medicines and returns the unused ones.

“Consignment system will address procurement problems and solve Capitol’s budgetary constraints because we can get medicines and pay only for what we consumed,” said Provincial Board (PB) Member Member Peter John Calderon.

Calderon is health committee chair of the PB.

Jone Siegfred Sepe, Provincial General Services officer, said the consignment of medicine is one of the five objectives of Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III this year.

Davide aims to put up a teleradiology system, where a radiologist serves all hospitals via the Internet; two dialysis machines installed in strategic provincial hospitals by November; and a laboratory diagnostic machine in four provincial hospitals.

Davide also aims to make all four provincial hospitals in Bogo, and Danao, Carcar cities, and Balamban town fully functional as Level 1 facilities.

Level 1 hospitals are capable of giving specialized services, like surgical operation in emergency situations, said Dr Cynthia Genosolango.

Health program

Calderon, Sepe, Genosolango and Public Information Office (PIO) head Ethel Natera were the resource persons in yesterday’s Capitol-initiated Kapistorya Forum, where the governor’s health program was discussed.

“Duna na tay consignment committee to monitor level of stock and will alert suppliers if quantity goes down,” said Genosolango.

She said Capitol has seven hospitals implementing the scheme and by July all 16 hospitals will be covered.

Medicines

Calderon said Capitol will still do its own procurement of medicines that are not listed in the DOH medicine consignment.

Sepe said that before a surgical operation is conducted, a surgeon needs an X-Ray report by a radiologist, which not all Cebu hospitals have.

“By adopting this concept, the radiologist doesn’t need to travel to remote hospitals,” said Sepe.

The newly acquired machine converts analog X-Ray results into digital and sends these to their destinations via the Internet.

Sepe said the reagents are bid out, with the winning bidder providing the machines.

He said these are for complete blood count (CBC), blood chemistry, sodium-potassium analyses and many others.

Laboratory

“You have medicines, laboratory and equipment, the patient doesn’t have to spend anything,” said Sepe.

He said dialysis machines will most likely be installed in Carcar and Bogo cities.

With four ultra-sound machines in four provincial hospitals, and two dialysis center in place by November, Sepe and Genosolango are confident that by the end of 2015, all four provincial hospitals can provide specialized service in emergency situations, the types provided by Level 1 hospitals.

“There are primary care hospitals among the 12 that will not enjoy Level 1 status for lack of a functional operating room and they cannot expand their bed capacity because of a limited structure,” said Genosolango.

International Travel Fiesta to boost lull in June tourism-organizers

By Earl Jon M. Rallos

ORGANIZERS of the first Cebu International Travel Fiesta promised exciting tour packages and great travel deals as they opened the fair at the SM City Cebu North Wing yesterday. The fair runs until tomorrow.

The event was organized by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) as one of the highlights of this year’s Cebu Business Month (CBM) celebration.

According to CBM 2015 tourism committee chairperson Cenelyn Manguilimotan, 50 exhibitors were invited to take part in the CIFT, all of them tourism stakeholders ranging from local and international travel agencies, real estate, airlines, and hotels.

“In June, usually the travels are off, but what we are hoping is that they are (clients) buying their packages now and they’re going to travel later,” said Manguilimotan, who also pointed out how Cebu is an ideal place for tourism.

“We do not want Cebu to be limited because Cebu has so much to offer,” she added.

Sun.Star Cebu also supported the event.

The grand opening yesterday was attended by Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza. In her speech, Magpale said that Cebu won’t be the only province to benefit from the CIFT but the entire country’s tourism as well.

CBM 2015 overall chairperson Francis Dy said that by staging the travel fair, they want to help the tourism industry level up.

“Our tourism industry is one of the key factors to achieve inclusive growth, as envisioned by our government,” said Dy.

He also said that for the past years, they have limited their tourism activities to forums. He said now it was time that they hold activities that are action-based or result-based.

DOTC undertakes study for metro mass transit

By Liv G. Campo / FPL (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III is glad that the proposal of the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board to have a mass transit network in the metro area was adopted by the Department of Transportation and Communications.

Davide, who also chairs the MCDCB, said it is a welcome development that the DOTC agreed to undertake the feasibility study.

“Nalipay kaayo ta ana no. Finally, we are seeing the fruits of this… Dugay na gyud na pangandoy nga atimanon ang proposals,” Davide said yesterday during the board’s second quarterly meeting at the Capitol Social Hall.

The board also approved yesterday the “Roadmap Study for Sustainable Urban Development for Metro Cebu,” wherein the mass transit network is one of the flagship projects.

Domi Chua, chief operating officer of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc., said DOTC’s participation is expected to hasten the implementation of this project.

She explained that DOTC will launch the feasibility study to find out which transport system works best for areas in Metro Cebu, whether it is an automated guided transit like in Japan, a Light Rail Transit, Metro Rail Transit or a Bus Rapid Transit.

“We need to establish that study first. They (DOTC) have already agreed that they are going to do the feasibility study, what transport system (suits) for Metro Cebu,” she said.

She said that DOTC accepted the terms of reference for the study during the meeting with MCDCB members last March. The budget for the study will be included in the 2016 national budget.

“Once we have the study already, implement na,” she said.

The study aims to give a long-term mass transit network in Metro Cebu.

She said Japan International Cooperation Agency, which already submitted its own study, recommended that an AGT, a driverless train running on a “guideway,” for example, is a suitable transportation mode for Mactan area to Mandaue City, while an MRT is for a larger scope, like, from Danao City to Cebu City, or Carcar City to Cebu City.

The MCDCB is targeting to start implementing the project in 2020.

DOT-7 readies tour packages for APEC Summit delegates

(PNA), LAP/EB/RSM

CEBU CITY (PNA) -- The Department of Tourism (DOT)-Region 7 has outlined tour packages for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit delegates during their stay in Cebu later this year.

DOT-7 Director Rowena Montecillo said they already conducted a dry run on the Cebu Heritage and New Horizons Tour, a complimentary tour package shouldered by DOT for the delegates.

Montecillo said APEC delegates may avail themselves of tour packages like island-hopping, countryside or highlands tours, diving, spa and wellness, Cebuano food tour, souvenir and countryside tours in Bohol during the APEC meetings in Cebu in August and September.

She said Southwind Travel and Tours Inc., Destination Specialists Inc. and Wander Lanes Travel and Co., which formed a consortium and won the bidding through PhilGeps, has submitted the final list of tour packages to DOT and APEC National Organizing Committee.

They are only awaiting approval of their tour packages, she said.

The tour consortium led by Southwinds Travel and Tours Inc. owner Alice Queblatin presented to DOT officials the eight tour packages to be offered to delegates of the technical working group, senior officials and ministerial meetings during the summit meetings in Cebu.

Montecillo said the APEC is a good occasion for Cebu to show its destinations and hospitality.

Cebu will host some of the senior ministerial meetings, with an expected 3,200 delegates, including 21 world economic leaders.

Mandaue, DOST offer online services through tech centers for out-of-school youth

By Flornisa M. Gitgano

THE Mandaue City Government signed yesterday a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for the implementation of the eFilipino Technology Economic Development (Tech4Ed) project in the city.

Mandaue and Naga City, which also signed the same agreement yesterday, will be the pilot areas for the government agency’s project.

Through the Tech4Ed, individuals like out-of-school youth will have access to the internet “to bridge the digital and education divide to promote grassroot development for inclusive growth and poverty reduction.”

Mandaue Mayor Jonas Cortes and DOST Assistant Secretary Beatrice Quimson signed the MOA.

The eFilipino Techno Center will be constructed or provided by the LGU.

According to the DOST, the center will serve as the hub for the community to have access to information, communication, technology, government services, non-formal education, skills training, telehealth, job markets and business portals, giving individuals and communities in rural and urban areas an opportunity for inclusive growth.

In an interview, Quimson said P66 million was allocated for the project nationwide.

“It is not enough to put up all the centers that’s why we are partnering with other LGUs like Mandaue who will set up the centers and we will put in all the contents and provide the necessary trainings to give equal opportunities to everybody,” Quimson told reporters.

Courses

According to the MOA, the LGU may open at least three Tech4Ed Centers within their jurisdiction.

The LGU should also provide at least three laptop units or computers per center. A software program will be installed in the computers.

There are six segments in the program including e-EduSkills, e-Assist, e-Health, m-Agri, m-Market and e-GovServ.

Based on the presentation showed by project consultant Clarissa Navarro, an Alternative Learning Eskwela, which will be useful to out-of-school youth, can be accessed.

A Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) skills training program and grammar, vocabulary and speech are also available.

A program on how to save money and invest is also offered.

Cortes welcomed the project for his constituents. “This program is precisely the tool to level the playing field and allow economic growth,” he said in his speech.

Cebu Capitol spends PHP270M for infra projects

(PNA), FFC/EB/SSC

CEBU CITY, June 15 (PNA) -- The Cebu provincial government has spent some PHP270 million for infrastructure development projects.

Data from the Cebu Provincial Information Office showed that the bulk of the amount went to road improvement and repairs.

The Cebu Capitol shelled out a total of PHP93 million in 2014 while another PHP113 million this year for the improvement of provincial and farm-to-market roads.

Among the road projects is the PHP19-million Sangi-Bugho provincial road concreting in San Fernando town which is now 80 percent complete and is projected to be finished by July or August this year, the information office reported.

The concreting of the road connecting San Fernando and Pinamungajan towns is reportedly seen to cut the travel time to just 45 minutes from two hours going to and from these two towns via Toledo City or Carcar City.

Another road project that is set to start is the PHP3 million Malapascua Island circumferential road.

The road projects implemented this year include the farm-to-market roads in Tudela and Tuburan worth PHP15 million each, vegetable highways worth PHP14.6-million, concreting of Bunlan-Camalig-Cabotunga road in Santander worth PHP7 million, Tuburan-Cogon-Alegria Marmol road worth PHP26 million, Nipa-Cayaan road in Tabogon worth PHP13.4 million and Cogon-Cantumog-Corte road section in Carmen worth PHP25.49 million, among others.

The province has a PHP3-billion budget this year, up from the PHP2.5-billion budget last year.

Science roadshow goes to Cebu this week

By Ma. Cristina C. Arayata [(PNA), CTB/MCCA/SSC]

MANILA, June 14 (PNA) -– Mark your calendars. The “Science Nation Tour: Agham na Ramdam”, a nationwide science roadshow by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), is set to rock Cebu this June 18-20.

The event kick-off will be held at Cebu City Marriott Hotel. Technology and Innovation Exposition featuring the 2015 Regional Invention Contest and Exhibit (RICE) and Entrepreneurship Conference will be staged here. The conference will discuss the role of science and technology (S&T) in raising competitiveness of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

An warding ceremony was also scheduled for the Best SETUP (Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program) adopters the in region. SETUP is a DOST flagship program that provides assistance to MSMEs through funding, technology upgrade and manpower training. It helps MSMEs improve product quality, productivity and competitiveness.

This will be capped off by a public-private sector forum night at the same hotel. Among the attendees include DOST Secretary Mario Montejo, Eco-System technologies founder Robert So, Bohol Island State University president Elpidio Magante, Central Visayas Regional Development Council chair and Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto.

On June 19, one of the SETUP adopters, Kimes Foods International in Aragao, Cebu, will be visited. Kimes, a SETUP beneficiary in 2012, is engaged in processing and preservation of fruits and vegetables. To upgrade a drying technology used in production of gluten-free coconut wraps, it received Php 1.4 million assistance in 2012.

The Materials Technology Innovation Center (MATIC) will also be visited. MATIC, located within the S&T complex of DOST-Region VII in Banilad, Cebu, is a repository of material swatches and resources. Also, MATIC serves as an avenue for interactions between design experts, technology suppliers and creative industry players (advertising, animation, architecture, culinary arts, among others). MATIC is a collaboration among the European Chamber of Commerce, DOST Region VII and other government organizations, aiming to facilitate growth of creative sectors.

A visit to Central Visayas campus of the Philippine Science High School is also one of the activities lined up.

On June 20, an awarding ceremony for the 2015 RICE entries is slated.

The science roadshow will tour all 17 regions in the Philippines. It aims to highlight the benefits of DOST programs and technologies while also demonstrating the essential role of S&T in daily life.

Cebu PB asks LGUs to check safety of hotels, resorts

(PNA), JBP/EB/PJN

CEBU CITY, June 13 (PNA) -- The Cebu Provincial Board (PB) has passed a resolution urging local government units (LGUs) in the province to check the security measures of hotels and resorts in their localities to ensure the safety of their guests and their valuables.

The PB passed the resolution after a May 2 incident in Bonbon, Aloguinsan town in southwestern Cebu where guests, after touring the town’s tourist spots, returned to their hotel room only to find out that their bags containing electronic gadgets and clothes were already gone.

Police said there was no forced entry into the room and that the hotel did not have security equipment like a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera, which could have recorded people coming in and out of the hotel premises.

The hotel was also not accredited with the Department of Tourism, the PB said.

“Such was brought to the attention of the Provincial Board acting in aid of legislation as well as protect the province’s interest in packaging Cebu as a tourist hub,” the resolution read.

The PB said LGUs should only issue a business permit to hotels and resorts that complied with these requirements.

Cebu PB member Arleigh Sitoy, author of the resolution, said the LGUs in the province must make sure that hotels, resorts and similar establishments are safe and secure.

He said similar incidents like the one in Aloguinsan may drive away tourists from their localities.

Malaysia wants strong alliance with Cebu in tourism promotion

(PNA),RMA/EB/RSM

CEBU CITY, June 12 (PNA) -- The Malaysian government, through its Tourism Malaysia office, has initiated a strong alliance with Cebu Province, to create a mutual destinations' promotion campaign.

"We are talking to Cebu authorities to collaborate in promoting both places," said Tourism Malaysia director general Datò Mirza Mohammad Taiyab.

Taiyab said Cebu's captivating resort charm can complement with Malaysia’s large bed of jungles and rain forests.

These are just few of the complements that Cebu and Malaysia will be able to formulate.

Taiyab, together with a 15-member delegation comprising of State of Tourism Boards, product owners, hoteliers and tour operators, met with the tourism industry movers in Cebu and Manila, as well as government authorities to reinforce the existing ministerial level of the Malaysia-Philippine joint tourism promotion agenda.

This is under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)Tourism Ministers Meeting.

The planned promotional linkage between some cities in Malaysia and Cebu are still in the drawing board.

But Taiyab said Filipinos are encouraged to explore more the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country in Southeast Asia, known for its "Truly Asia" experience.

Taiyab said aside from its well-known destinations like the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, and theme parks, among others, the country is constantly introducing fresher stories to attract a foreign audience, including Filipinos.

"There must be new stories to tell about Malaysia," Taiyab said.

This year, the country, which is also positioning as the key educational hub in the ASEAN region, is bannering the year 2015 as its "Year of Festivals."

The Malaysian government is spending USD50 million for advertising campaigns only for this year.

Latest record showed that of its total 27 million foreign tourist arrivals, 618,000 are Filipinos.

Over the last 10 years, Filipino arrivals to Malaysia have exponentially improved, making Philippines as its 7th largest source of tourists.

Increasing the number of direct flights to Malaysia from different point of destinations in the Philippines like Cebu, is the main reason why Filipinos are now interested to explore Malaysia.

Today, there are a total of 15,000 airline seats available for direct connectivity to Malaysia from the Philippines.

Air connectivity in the Visayas is also improving, with the current seven direct flights with a total of 1,200 seats a week, going to different cities in Malaysia like Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalo.

DENR-7 to strengthen its environmental program

(PNA), LAP/EB/RSM

CEBU CITY, June 11 (PNA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 7 is focusing its celebration of the agency’s 28th founding anniversary on reducing the country’s poverty rate through its environmental program.

Dr. Eddie Llamedo, DENR 7 information officer, said the agency’s National Greening Program (NGP) will provide alternative livelihood for the marginalized households through seedling production and care of newly-planted trees.

“It (NGP project) helps since it provides livelihood opportunities. We are employing the members of the people’s organizations in the seedling production planting and maintenance,” Llamedo said.

The six-year project, which started in 2011, is a massive forest rehabilitation program established through Executive Order No. 26 that seeks to grow 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares across the country.

The DENR-7 Technical Services report showed that the total accomplishment from January to June this year reached 13,165,607 seedlings, which exceeds by some 14 percent the 2015 target production of 11,557,500 seedlings.

The same data reveals that Negros Oriental, which was recently separated from Central Visayas through Executive Order 183 creating the Negros Island Region, has the highest seedling production with 7,214,185.

Cebu province produced 2,870,406 seedlings; Bohol with 2,954,000 seedlings; and Siquijor with 127,016 seedlings.

DENR 7 Director Isabelo Montejo assured they have produced quality seedlings in various tree planting and growing programs in the region.

He said the mild El Niño has not stopped the agency and its partners from producing quality seedlings.

Llamedo said they have partnered with various government agencies, private stakeholders, the academe and people’s organization to synchronize all reforestation efforts in the region.

Llamedo said 352 people’s organizations partnered with DENR this year to establish around 15,115 hectares of plantation of timber, crops and mangroves, among others.

More than 65,000 hectares in Central Visayas have been reforested after four years of implementing the program, he said.

Cebu Province Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.

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