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Contents

New PHP5-B, 350-bed hospital in Cebu to start operations on Feb. 18

(PNA), LAP/EB/RSM

MANDAUE CITY, Feb. 12 (PNA) -- A new PHP5-billion hospital in Mandaue City is set to start operations on February 18.

Dr. Helen Po, chief operating officer of Chong Hua Hospital Mandaue and Cancer Care Center, said the new general hospital will focus on comprehensive cancer care for Visayas-Mindanao patients.

The Chong Hua Hospital Mandaue and Cancer Care Center is a 350-bed specialty hospital that sits on 2.2-hectare property along Mantawi International Road.

It offers a diverse set of medical services and procedures except obstetrics (OB).

This 11-storey specialty hospital will initially open 165 hospital beds on Feb. 18.

Po said the Asociacion Benevola de Cebu, the operator of the hospital, opened the specialty center in response to the growing number of cancer cases in the country.

Patients from the Visayas and Mindanao, she noted, have to go to Manila for treatment, which is an additional financial burden for their families.

The association also operates the Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu City, its first hospital which has been providing medical care since 1909.

Its first hospital in Fuente Osmeña has about 660 hospital beds employing about 2,000 medical staff.

Po said the management hired an additional 500 medical staff with the establishment of Chong Hua Mandaue.

Firm, Capitol to ink solar power deal

By Oscar C. Pineda

THE YEC International Engineering Services will push through with its 520-megawatt solar (MW) power plant and the Capitol is set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the firm this month, said Cebu Investment and Promotions Office (Cipo) head Benjamin Yap yesterday.

“We are just waiting for their call for the MOU signing,” said Yap.

YEC announced in the first week of October last year its intention to put up a 520-megawatt solar power plant. The company submitted their proposal this month, said Yap.

The company said it will fully fund and handle the engineering, procurement and construction of the solar power project.

With a capacity to produce 1 MW power per one hectare of solar panels, Yap explained that the total 520 has. may not be in one area, but separate with at least 10 contiguous hectares per town.

Areas

In preparation, Capitol is now scouting for areas for rent, with a total area of 520 hectares so it will be ready once the MOU is signed. A comprehensive study will follow the MOU signing, said Yap.

YEC is the company to implement the 310-km. trans-axial highway passing through mountains from Daanbantayan town in the north to Santander town in the south. The company is yet to draft an MOU to identify duties and responsibilities of parties.

The solar power field is YEC’s second project with Capitol.

“In principle, it is already okay, and we are already setting the ground work,” said Yap.

“This means a two- month site or topography study and readying documentary requirements with DOE and DENR,” said Yap.

Partner change

In yesterday’s CIPO board meeting, Yap told the board members that YEC International Engineering changed their UK-based international firm partner to an Australian firm, and now the company is bent on pushing through with the project.

PB Member Grecilda Sanchez, in an earlier interview, said the trans-axial highway is YEC’s long-term project, with its component projects such as the development of commercial areas, export processing zones, wind farm and hydropower plant. The solar power is its short-term project.

Its total project cost is initially estimated at P80 billion, which will cover urban and master planning, architectural design and subsequent procurement of road-right-way, construction, and operations in partnership with Capitol, said Sanchez.

Group, partner set youth forum

(Sun.Star Cebu)

AIESEC Cebu, in partnership with TechTalks.ph, will hold the “YouthSpeak Cebu” forum on March 19 at the University of the Philippines Cebu Performance Arts Hall.

This one-day forum will gather college students and graduates/young professionals from all over Cebu.

The event will include workshops, boot camp sessions and a pitching competition that will encourage delegates to think outside the box and come up with a business idea/product that will address their chosen sustainable development goals.

YouthSpeak will open up discussions and action spaces for the youth about the most pressing issues of the world today, and aims to collaborate with different sectors of society to creating solutions to these problems.

With the theme, “Innovate and Collaborate for the World,” YouthSpeak Cebu aims to develop young individuals to become collaborative, innovative, solution-oriented, socially aware and entrepreneurial young leaders.

Registration started on Jan. 22 and will run until Feb. 29.

It is open to third year and above college students, graduates and young professionals (aged 18-30).

At the time of registration, delegates must create a team consisting of three-five members and register online at tinyurl.com/YouthSpeakCebu2016.

City’s sports program to intensify this summer

By Rommel C. Manlosa

THE Cebu City Sports Commission is going for a more comprehensive regimen for its Summer Grassroots Sports Training Program, which will start on April 18 to May 6.

Unlike the previous years, this time the SGSTP will be held daily from Monday to Friday with the top-caliber athletes and coaches of Team Cebu City sharing their skills and knowledge in different sports activities.

And after the three weeks of free training, a culmination activity will be held at the Cebu City Sports Center with the participants engaging in friendly competition on May 7.

This year, CCSC offers a total of 18 sports disciplines to learn. These include arnis, archery, basketball, boxing, badminton, chess, dancesports, karatedo, futsal, taekwondo, table tennis, sepak takraw, track & field, volleyball, weightlifting, touch rugby, lawn tennis and softball/baseball.

The schedule would be basketball from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., while the rest of the sports events will be taught from 2 to 4 p.m.

CCSC also lowered the age requirement to 6 years to 16 years old.

Training centers, which have been identified earlier, include the City Central School Quadrangle, and the gyms inside Hipodromo Elementary School, Lahug ES, Mabolo ES, Tejero ES, Zapatera ES, Bo. Luz ES and Talamban ES in the north district and the gyms of Don Vicente Rama Memorial ES, Pardo ES, Mambaling ES, Labangon ES, Punta Princesa ES, Guadalupe ES, Inayawan ES, San Nicolas ES and the Cebu City Sports Institute in the south district.

The athletes who volunteered to teach in the barangays are the priority on the CCSC’s list to carry the Team Cebu City colors to the Batang Pinoy and Philippine National Games competitions.

For those who are interested, more details are available with the School PESS coordinator, barangay halls or at the Cebu City Sports Commission office at the Cebu City Sports Center.

In Tañon strait: Coral reefs still in “good” state - DENR-7

By Kristine B. Quintas / FPL (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources-7 said coral reefs within Tañon Strait remain to be in “good to excellent condition” based on the initial assessment conducted by its Conservation and Development Division.

Eddie Llamedo, DENR-7 spokesperson, said the first wave of survey, however, only covered 3,378 hectares out of the total 18,830 hectares of coral reefs within the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS).

Llamedo said a series of inventory and assessment was conducted to identify the present condition and composition of the flora and fauna in the coastal and under water habitats in the region.

The assessment included the biophysical resources, mapping and delineation of coral reef boundaries and installation of marker buoys.

Llamedo noted that portions of the coral reefs particularly near the shoreline are in poor condition. He attributed the situation to human activities in the area.

He said that continuous human activities along crowded shorelines and marine-based pollution are some of the causes in the degradation of the coral reefs.

Other threats to coral reefs include overfishing, unsustainable development in coastal areas and sedimentation. Of these, the largest threat come from overfishing, followed by destructive fishing practices, such as dynamite fishing and trawling.

Llamedo said the government has allotted P1 billion each for National Coral Reef Restoration Program, and Solid Waste Management nationwide. The P2 billion budget was sourced out from DENR’s National Greening Program.

Of the amount, Central Visayas is getting around P30 million for the protection and rehabilitation of marine protected areas.

This year, DENR targets to assess another 4,000 hectares of coral reef coves within TSPS, one of the 10 richest fishing grounds in the country.

Tañon Strait is a narrow body of water between the islands of Cebu and Negros. It covers 521,018 hectares and borders 677 kilometers of coastline in three provinces.

According to Oceana, an international marine conservation organization, Tañon Strait is known as the playground of cetaceans, with at least 14 species of whales and dolphins found in its waters. It also harbors a diverse range of marine habitats including 26 species of mangroves; and seven species of seagrass, according to various studies.

It was declared a protected seascape by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 1234 signed by then President Fidel V. Ramos on May 27, 1998 in recognition of its extraordinary abundance and diverse assemblage of dolphins, whales and other marine species.

Capitol delivers cash, turns over Oslob projects

By Oscar C. Pineda

A TOTAL of P1.885 cash from the Cebu Provincial Government and some road and infrastructure projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) were turned over last Friday in Oslob.

Of the amount, P585,000 went to the barangay tanods, health workers, day care workers, nutrition scholars and animal health aides. The Capitol also turned over to barangays some El Niño Logistical Supply boxes, which contain livestock purgative medicines, antibiotics and vitamins.

The remaining P1.3 million was allotted for food security assistance to the residents.

“I am not just the governor of the Liberal Party (LP), gobernador sab ko sa mga Sugbuanon (I am the governor of all Cebuanos),” said Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, who lost in the southern town in the 2013 elections.

Rep. Wilfredo Caminero (Cebu Province, 2nd district), Davide and Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale turned over to Barangays Hagdan and Mainit officials their multi-purpose gyms worth P2 million each.

The projects were initiated by DPWH and implemented by a private contractor.

Commitment

Late in the afternoon, Davide and Magpale joined Caminero in the turnover of farm-to-market roads—the road of Luka-Tumalong, worth P4.8 million, and the one in Cansalo-ay, worth more than P3 million.

Despite an invitation, Oslob Mayor Ronald Guaren was absent during the activities. “I have a prior commitment, which I cannot refuse,” Guaren texted Sun.Star Cebu.

Guaren is a One Cebu Party member, not a partymate of Davide, Magpale and Caminero, who are all of the LP.

The Capitol officials also inaugurated the expanded emergency room of the Oslob District Hospital, which cost around P900,000. The hospital, which used to only have 10 beds, now has 25 beds, said its chief, Dr. Renato Cairo.

Cairo said they have five doctors in the hospital, including himself.

Magpale said that from the usual two, there are now 39 medical specialists doing rounds in provincial hospitals.

Barangay captains and hospital officers thanked Davide for the assistance.

In the 2013 elections, Davide lost in Oslob with 5,215 votes, against One Cebu candidate Pablo John Garcia, who got 5,468 votes. Magpale got 3,987 votes, while Glenn Soco got 3,460, and Boboy Durano, 2,618 votes.

For seniors

“Wa ko mopili kinsa atong tabangan, practically all towns gitabangan, depende unsa ang request nila (I do not single out which towns to help. We help all towns, depending on their request),” the governor said.

Magpale said the food security assistance was directly downloaded initially to 13 Oslob barangays at P100,000 each.

A staff member of Samboan Municipal Mayor Raymond Calderon said that the P50,000 is for the senior citizens’ food security assistance and the other half is for indigent residents.

PHP6.50 minimum fare in C. Visayas takes effect Feb. 8

(PNA), JBP/EB/PJN

CEBU CITY, Feb. 6 (PNA) -- The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 will implement the new minimum jeepney fare of PHP6.50 in Central Visayas starting Monday, Feb. 8.

LTFRB 7 Director Reynaldo Elnar said they received the LTFRB central office official fare reduction order Friday and scheduled its publication in a newspaper of general circulation on Sunday.

Elnar said the new fare will be implemented Monday or a day after its publication.

Elnar said the order was signed by LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez and Board Members Engr. Ronaldo Corpus and Atty. Antonio Enrile-Inton Jr. and attested by Executive Director Glenn Zaragoza.

The new fare stemmed from a petition of former Cebu City councilor Augustus Pe Jr. filed through the LTFRB regional office last Dec. 17, 2014.

The LTFRB en banc noted that recent developments show a sustained drop in the price of petroleum products.

Diesel, which fuels most jeepneys, ranged from PHP19.72 to PHP22.40 in the last two months, lower than their prices in December 2014 and January 2015.

The LTFRB has also granted a provisional fare rate in January 2015, reducing jeepney fare in Central Visayas from PHP7.50 to PHP 7 while it had yet to decide on a petition to adjust fares in the region.

Elnar said students and senior citizens will still get the mandatory 20 percent discount or a fare of PHP5.20.

Elnar warned jeepney drivers and operators to follow the law granting the 20 percent discounts to seniors and students, otherwise they will be fined PHP5,000 per violation under Joint Administrative Order (JAO) 2014-001.

DENR-7 completes assessment of 3,378 hectares of corals at Tañon Strait

(PNA), LAP/EB/RSM

CEBU CITY, Feb. 5 (PNA) -- The Conservation and Development Division (CDD) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 7 has completed the assessment of some 3,378 hectares coral reef cover within Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS), a statement said.

The assessment comprised 113 percent of the 3,000-hectare target for 2015, it added.

The TSPS is the body of water separating the islands of Cebu and Negros.

A series of inventory and assessment were conducted to identify the present condition and composition of the flora and fauna in the coastal and under water habitats in the region.

The assessment included the biophysical resources, mapping and delineation of coral reef boundaries and installation of marker buoys.

The DENR, which was tasked to manage the country’s coastal and marine resources, has adopted the sustainable and ecosystem-based approach under the Sustainable Coral Reef Ecosystem Management Program (SCREMP).

Under the SCREMP, proper management, protection and rehabilitation efforts were conducted to over 3,031 hectares coral reef areas within the network of TSPS (Negros Oriental and Cebu) and in Talibon, Bohol.

“We continue to try harder in our efforts to protect our coastal and marine ecosystems because once these coral reefs are damaged, they are less able to support the many creatures that inhabit them, which may cause more imminent damage or danger to the whole biodiversity, especially within the TSPS and other marine protected areas,” said DENR-7 Regional Director Dr. Isabelo R. Montejo.

The Tañon Strait is one of the world’s natural heritage sites and one of the country’s rich fishing grounds.

It was declared a protected seascape by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 1234 signed by then President Fidel V. Ramos on May 27, 1998 in recognition of its extraordinary abundance and diverse assemblage of dolphins, whales and other marine species.

1,600 receive agricultural titles in Danao City

By Kristine B. Quintas / LPM (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - At least 1,600 lot claimants in Danao City finally received their agricultural titles.

Around 82 of the titles were distributed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-7 during a mass title distribution conducted on January 22 at the Barangay Cogon Cruz covered court.

The distribution, which was in partnership with the local government unit of Danao City and the Asia Foundation and Foundation for Economic Freedom, was the first wave this year.

“It shows the seriousness to implement measures to accelerate the issuance of land titles to spur economic growth and security of land tenure,” DENR-7 Regional Director Dr. Isabelo Montejo said.

“We have been doing our best to further intensify our efforts to fast track the processing and issuance of patents in region 7, so that for this year we will once again meet if not exceed our targets,” Montejo added.

Agricultural patent is the confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles, over alienable and disposable public agricultural lands thru administrative procedures.

These patents are acquired by natural-born Filipino citizens by virtue of their open, continuous, exclusive and notorious possession of alienable disposable public agricultural lands, for at least 30 years, tacked to the possession of their predecessors-in-interest.

Montejo, in a statement, indicated that DENR is willing to facilitate the speedy approval of plans and issuance of certifications, and provide technical assistance and conduct surveys, land adjudication, training and capacity building to expedite issuance of patents.

DENR-7 gears up to complete its target of issuing 1,690 agricultural and 1,805 residential patents for 2016.

IEC, Sinulog, APEC ‘boost economy’

By Elias O. Baquero

THE National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) yesterday said that the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit, Sinulog Festival and the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) were international events that greatly contributed to Cebu’s economy.

“These are the three major international events that are major contributors to Cebu’s economic growth for the second semester of 2015 and January 2016,” Neda 7 Director Efren Carreon said.

The hotels were fully booked, the transport sector (taxi, bus and jeepney) did well, the service sector raked in huge profits and several other businesses grew, Carreon said.

“Events like this create demand and in the process they also produce more, and in producing more, they hire more people. It’s a chain reaction,” Carreon said.

Carreon said Cebu’s economic growth is consistently higher than the economic growth of the entire country. In 2014, Cebu’s economic growth was 8.8 percent compared to the nation’s 6.1 percent.

Revealed

For 2015, the full results will be revealed to the public in July 2016.

“However, we are confident that we will still be higher in 2015 than the 5.8 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of the entire country because we grew fast,” Carreon said.

Aside from Apec, Sinulog and IEC, the Neda 7 director also gave credit to the remittances of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and the Mactan Economic Zone (MEZ).

The MEZ is like the Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) where new or fresh money comes every month.

Demand

“Money creates its own demand for housing, transportation, food, drinks, restaurants, clothing and even mobile phones, Carreon said.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan recently announced that GDP grew by 6.3 percent from October to December 2015. The full-year average of 5.8 percent, he told Agence France Presse, was “respectable” considering that agricultural output had contracted after two typhoons and the dry spell caused by El Niño.

Among the sectors of the economy that grew was services, by 7.4 percent from 5.6 percent in the same quarter in 2014.

The tourism department has yet to report the number of arrivals in the second half of 2015, when several APEC meetings took place in Cebu. The recently concluded IEC had around 13,500 registered delegates, some 11 percent of them from other countries.

DOT goes on US roadshow to promote Cebu

By Katlene O. Cacho

THE Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 is currently conducting a roadshow in four cities in the United States to lure more foreign tourists to come to Cebu via the Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) new direct link between Cebu and Los Angeles next month.

The agency, together with three Cebu-based travel agencies and travel operators/representatives from Manila will market Cebu and the Philippines to Filipino communities and US nationals in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco from Jan. 29 to Feb. 6.

DOT 7 Director Rowena Montecillo, in an interview, said they are scheduled to meet US-based Filipino travel agencies, as well as American travel operators and agencies during the eight-day roadshow. She said the multi-city roadshow aims to educate and update partners about Cebu’s existing and new tourism product offerings to help them in planning itineraries and handling travel queries.

Spring break

According to Montecillo, PAL’s Cebu-Los Angeles direct flight beginning March is a good opportunity to market Cebu, especially among American students because of the approaching school break.

During the presentation, the regional tourism chief will highlight Cebu as a leisure and adventure destination. She said the travel agencies have already prepared adventure packages for this high-spending market.

The US is the country’s second biggest tourism supplier, with 636,658 arrivals from January to October last year, up by 7.51 percent from 592,204 arrivals in the same period in 2014. This market is also the second biggest contributor in terms of tourism receipts at P3.99 billion as of October 2015.

In Central Visayas, the US is the region’s third biggest market after Japan and Korea. It logged 127,480 arrivals from January to October 2015.

Frequent flights

PAL said the Cebu-Los Angeles flights will start on March 15, which is also the airline’s 75th founding anniversary. The airline company will utilize a 254-seater Airbus A340, equipped with both business and economy class seats. It will fly thrice weekly.

This new route will bring PAL’s US flights to 38 frequencies per week. This will also raise the airline’s total number of internatiomal flights operating out of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport to 34 weekly, and will add to the existing weekly international flights to Nagoya, Narita, Osaka, and Seoul.

Cebu Pacific hiring over 100 female cabin crew positions

(PNA), BNB/ANP

MANILA, Jan. 31 (PNA) -- Low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific will be hiring over 100 female cabin crew positions in recruitment fairs which will be held in Manila, Cebu and Davao from next month until October.

Cebu Pacific said that these cabin crew positions will be vital in advancing the airline company’s expansion plans and growing fleet following it’s the acquisition of two brand-new Airbus A320 aircraft.

Moreover, the airline company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Cebgo, will also start taking delivery of brand-new ATR 72-600 aircraft this year.

Cebu Pacific VP for Marketing and Distribution Candice Iyog in a statement urged interested applicants to join the airline company’s expanding team.

“These career opportunities can pave the way for unlimited travel benefits, competitive compensation packages closer to home, and annual performance bonuses,” Iyog said.

“We encourage everyone to join us in providing high-quality service all over the world," she added.

The recruitment fairs are scheduled on the following cities and dates: Manila (Cebu Pacific Office, Pasay) on February 6, April 30, June 4 and October 15; Cebu (Summit Circle Cebu) on February 20 and July 9; and Davao (Royal Mandaya Hotel) on April 16 and September 24.

Cebu Pacific will process the applications on the same day, between 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Acceptance of updated curriculum vitae with 2x2 photo will be until 1:00 p.m. only.

Responsibilities include guaranteeing the safety of guests on board the aircraft, and ensuring that guests have a fun and pleasant flying experience.

The detailed job descriptions and qualifications can also be found on www.cebupacificair.com or Cebu Pacific's page on jobstreet.com.ph.

Bantayan’s Kinatarcan Island to get potable water, shelter

(PR)

The Cebu provincial government has partnered with Manila Water Foundation (MWF), Inc. to put up a water project for the residents of Kinatarcan Island in Sta. Fe town, northern Cebu.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), together with MWF, will conduct a community consultation in Kinatarcan on Feb. 5-7 for the project.

The group will discuss the environmentally appropriate method of accessing potable water in the island, said PDRRMO head Baltazar Tribunalo.

Lipayran Island of Bantayan town and Pilar town in Camotes Islands will also receive the same water project from the province and MWF.

In its risk assessment conducted on the island after the Supertyphoon Yolanda in November 2013, the PDRRMO found out that housing and water are major issues that confront the residents.

“Kinatarcan has no open source of water. Their sources of water are rainwater, underground water and saltwater,” Tribunalo said.

He said most residents collect rainwater for their daily use while a few desalinate saltwater.

They have wells to access underground waters but these easily dry up during the dry season, he added. The PDRRMO has also partnered with Caritas Switzerland for a 400-unit housing project in Kinatarcan.

On Feb. 1, PDRRMO and Caritas Switzerland will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the first batch of houses.

Kinatarcan residents, assisted by PDRRMO, came up with the Kinatarcan Integrated Development Plan containing the results of their assessments on risks and hazards, environment, coastal and human resources.

“But these methods are rather expensive,” Tribunalo said.

CV growth ‘will be higher’

By Jeandie O. Galolo

AN economist expects the economic growth in Central Visayas to be higher than the recently announced 5.8 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2015, estimating this to accelerate to about 8.3 percent.

“In the last five years up to 2014, for every one percent growth in the national output, the region would grow by 1.4 percent. Based on this and the 5.8 percent GDP growth last year, I would say that the region would have grown by 8.3 percent more or less (in 2015),” said Fernando “Perry” Fajardo, economics professor at the University of San Carlos and executive director of the Cebu Business Club.

This consistency of the region’s growth in surpassing the national figures in the past years will continue, Fajardo noted.

The 8.3 percent projected GRDP in 2015, if proved to be accurate, would be lower than the 8.8 percent growth experienced by Central Visayas in 2014.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) 7 Director Efren Carreon previously said that the region is targeted to grow from nine percent to eleven percent in 2015.

Nationwide, GDP figures showed that the country’s economy grew by 6.3 percent in the last quarter of 2015 and 5.8 percent for the full year, the fourth fastest in Asia next to India, China, and Vietnam. Strong domestic demand drove the economy last year, said Economic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director-General Arsenio Balisacan.

Based on the current figures, Fajardo said it was net exports and agriculture that pulled down the country’s performance.

“From the demand side, it really was caused mainly by last year’s large gap in growth in imports (11.9 percent) and exports (5.5 percent),” said the economist.

“From the production side, the culprit was agriculture, which grew only by 0.2 percent in 2015 compared to 1.6 percent in 2014,” Fajardo added.

Industry also experienced declining growth rate from 7.9 percent in 2014 to six percent in 2015. According to Fajardo, this is due to the decline in growth rates in mining, from a rise of 4.9 percent to a decline of 1.3 percent, and manufacturing from 8.3 percent to 5.7 percent.

“The agriculture sector persists to be the biggest roadblock in our goal of attaining a higher and more inclusive growth – both in light of improving crop production and farmers’ incomes. There is an urgent need to rethink the development strategy for this sector, especially with the impact of El Niño and natural disasters that hound the country yearly,” Balisacan said in a statement issued by NEDA in its website.

The decline of the country’s GDP growth last year was also expected said Fajardo, noting the drop in the previous global growth projections of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, particularly in 2014 and 2015.

This year, the NEDA chief said he hopes growth will continue, despite uncertainty faced in the political scene in the country come this May, the national election. Fajardo said with the expected global recovery this year, it seems that the country can grow higher than 5.8 percent.

3 Cebu cities in top 20 list of DOF, BLGF

By Flornisa M. Gitgano

THE cities of Lapu-Lapu, Cebu and Mandaue were recognized by the Department of Finance and the Bureau of Local Government and Finance as among of the top 20 cities in the country with high-generating, locally-sourced revenues in 2014.

Lapu-Lapu was ranked 15th; Cebu City, 17th; and Mandaue, 20th.

The list came out in a national newspaper last Jan. 13.

Top 5

The overall “winner” was Makati City, with an annual regular income of P10.21 billion and locally-sourced income of P9.23 billion, or 90.3 percent.

It was followed by the cities of Pasig, Mandaluyong, Pasay and Quezon.

Lapu-Lapu City had an annual regular income of P1.44 billion, with a locally-soured income of P908.57 million, or 62.9 percent.

Lapu-Lapu Mayor Paz Radaza said the City Government showed good governance, which encouraged investors to start investment in the city.

“In return, our investors have shown their trust and confidence to the City Government by dutifully paying their taxes,” she told reporters.

Cebu City recorded an annual regular income of P3.35 billion, with a locally-sourced income of P2.01 billion, 60.1 percent.

Mandaue City’s annual regular income was P1.22 billion, with a locally-sourced income of P714.5 million, 58.5 percent.

Simplified processing

Lapu-Lapu City Treasurer Elenita Catagcatag said they encouraged taxpayers to pay their dues since improvements in the city were “visible to their eyes.”

“Since Mayor Paz Radaza has embraced accountability and transparency and has pursued good governance in the city, investors’ confidence is at its peak. In return, our investors have shown their trust and confidence to the City Government by dutifully paying their taxes,” Catagcatag said.

She said they have also simplified the processing of business taxes.

She said taxpayers no longer have to go to different areas for signatures since persons assigned to assist them are designated in one area.

Cebu Capitol declares no work for workers on Jan. 29

(PNA), LAP/EB/EDS

CEBU CITY, Jan. 27 (PNA) -- Cebu Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino Wednesday declared there will be no work for Cebu Provincial Government employees on Friday, January 29.

Tolentino said this will pave the way for the preparation of the 4 p.m. mass in front of the Cebu Capitol on Friday for the ongoing 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC).

A portion of Osmena Blvd. in front of the Cebu Capitol building until the intersection near the Fuente Osmena will be closed to vehicular traffic starting 1 p.m. Friday.

IEC organizers said they will have to prepare the place for the mass, including the arrangement of chairs.

The 4 p.m. mass will be followed by a procession from the Cebu Capitol to the Plaza Independencia near the Cebu port area.

Roads around the Plaza Independencia will also be closed to vehicular traffic, Cebu City transportation officials said.

On Thursday, half of the old Mandaue-Mactan Bridge going to Lapu-Lapu City will be closed to vehicles from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the Pilgrim Walk, which will start at 4 p.m.

Some 5,000 youth delegates are expected to use the bridge when they walk from Hoopsdome in Lapu-Lapu City to the Mandani Bay project site in Mandaue City where they will hold a vigil until 8 a.m. Friday.

Cebu Capitol gives 194 vehicles to villages

(PNA), LAP/EB/EDS

CEBU CITY, Jan. 26 (PNA) -- Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III has distributed a total of 194 vehicles to the different far-flung villages in the province.

Of the 194 vehicles distributed, 25 are ambulances, 47 are mini-ambulances, 111 are multi-cabs, two are motorcycles and nine are mini-dump trucks.

Davide said the mini-ambulances were requested by the barangays, especially in far-flung areas, so they can immediately take their sick constituents to the hospital.

“That is part of our health program, to bring the sick people immediately to the hospitals. In that way, we can save lives,” Davide said.

Cebu Capitol Public Information Officer Ethel Natera said the mini-ambulances were supplied by Cebu Sendai Motor Sales Inc. at PHP204,500 each.

The mini-dump trucks, which were bought at PHP710,000 each, were earlier distributed to other local government units (LGUs).

The recipient LGUs may use these for garbage collection, transport of filling materials and other general services.

DOLE-7 to assess 6,662 Central Visayas firms for labor standard compliance in 2016

(PNA), LAP/EB/EDS

CEBU CITY, Jan. 25 (PNA) -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Region 7 has targeted a total of 6,662 establishments in Central Visayas for labor standard compliance assessment this year.

DOLE-7 Director Exequiel Sarcauga said this number is more than double the 3,000 establishments targeted in 2015.

Sarcauga said they were able to assess more than 4,000 establishments, the reason the target was increased this year.

He said DOLE-7 has received several requests for issuance of certificate of compliance (COC), which is a manifestation that many principal employers are requiring service providers to be accredited with DOLE first.

Sarcauga said DOLE-7 will deploy labor laws compliance officers (LLCOs) to assess the establishments whether they are compliant with the labor standards, occupational safety standards and working condition standard.

He said these must be complied with before the establishments will be issued a COC.

Service providers are allowed under Department Order 18-A provided they will comply with the standards set by the labor law.

P200M for livelihood plan: Dole 7

By Elias O. Baquero

THE Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) 7 has allocated P200 million for its livelihood program aimed at alleviating the living condition of poor families in Central Visayas.

Dole 7 Director Exequiel Sarcauga said the P200 million budget for livelihood is embedded in the General Appropriations Act for the labor department for 2016.

Sarcauga said that his office asked organized poor families in Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor and Negros Oriental to submit livelihood project proposals for assessment and approval.

Sarcauga said that once a project proposal reached Dole 7, it will be referred first to the Project Management Office (PMO) of Dole for evaluation and recommendation.

Funds will then be released if the proposal is found to be viable and feasible.

He said that the livelihood program is intended to achieve inclusive economic growth in the country.

“Since the fund allocation is for 2016, we can release the money for any project that will be found viable and feasible. We want to make sure that we will hit the target in the utilization of that P200 million budget,” said Sarcauga.

Sarcauga said that Dole 7 has the highest allocation for livelihood project because it is here where members of the vulnerable sector or informal sector are the highest in number.

“If we can alleviate their situation, we can help the government in achieving inclusive growth, which means economic growth that trickles down to the poor families,” said Sarcauga.

Labor standard

Meanwhile, Sarcauga said that Dole 7 has increased its target establishments to be assessed for labor standard compliance from 3,000 in 2015 to 6,662 for 2016.

In 2015, the target was 3,000 but they were able to assess more than 4,000 establishments, hence, the increase in the target for this year.

He said Dole 7 received several requests for issuance of certificate of compliance (COC), which is a manifestation that many principal employers are requiring service providers to be accredited with Dole first.

Dole 7 will deploy labor laws compliance officers (LLCOs) to assess the establishments whether they are compliant with the labor standards, occupational safety standards, and working condition standard, among others that would merit a COC.

Service providers are allowed under Department Order 18-A provided they will comply with the standards set by the labor law.

VECO upgrades lighting system at Carbon Market I

By Jean Marvette A. Demecillo / ATO (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Vendors at the Cebu City Carbon Market Unit I will no longer be paying for their individual lighting consumption after the Visayan Electric Company upgraded the electrical wiring system in the area.

At no cost to the city government, about 100 bulbs were installed at the Carbon Market to keep the area well-lit for consumers and vendors.

During the bulbs’ ceremonial turnover yesterday, VECO vice president for engineering group, Valentin Saludes III, asked the vendors to take care of the new system since it would benefit them, as well as the consumers.

“Ang Carbon is one of the projects of VECO. Di na kailangan og individual na suga sa mga vendors,” he said.

Acting mayor Edgardo Labella, who also attended the ceremonial turnover, said the project will help decrease crimes in the area since it is already lighted all over.

“This will lighten up the whole Carbon. This has a very significant impact to the consumers nga hayag ang market. This will deter criminality, kung hayag ang lugar, this is a good deterrent for criminal elements to pursue their trade because its lighted all over,” he said. Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

Labella said it will also help reduce the operational overhead expenses of the stall owners because they will no longer be placing their individual lights.

“It’s just my hope that with the reduction of the operational cost, they might as well reduce the prices the commodities that they sell,” he said.

This is the first electrical wiring project with a total project cost of P386,540.

VECO has also donated 42 hi-bay lights and 46 Compact Fluorescent Lamps to fully light up the market. Labella said VECO personnel told him to replicate the project in other markets at Carbon.

He said the city government will shoulder the monthly electric bill of the new system.

In line with this, Raquel Arce, Market Authority head, urged the vendors not to engage in illegal tapping since it would only cause fire incidents.

Arce said vendors will have difficulty in tapping the new system because of the materials used by VECO contractor.

“Well-lighted na atong market. Before, nakabase lang ang suga sa merkado sa mga stalls. So, kun mamawng og suga, naay portions sa merkado nga ngitngit. So, karon, magsiga nana siya. Usa nga atong makita ana, nga maminusan ang lungkab, if not, mawala gyod kay hayag naman ang lugar,” she said.

If vendors will be caught tapping the new system, she said her office will remove their stalls immediately.

“Kun naa tay masakpan nga mag-tap, ato gyod bargohan og pwesto kay dilikado gyod ni kay maka-cause og sunog kay dili man sakto nga wires ilang gamiton,” she said.

Cebu’s first direct flight to China

By Katlene O. Cacho

AT least four new direct routes will be launched in Cebu this March with the addition of Xiamen Air which will commence its direct flight from Cebu to Xiamen, China starting March 30.

The thrice a week schedule, according to GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) chief executive adviser Andrew Acquaah Harrison, is Cebu’s first direct flight to China.

Cebu’s previous mode of travel access to the world’s most populous country was through chartered or connecting flights.

Xiamen Air will utilize the Airbus 321, which can accommodate roughly 200 passengers.

Harrison said Xiamen’s entry to Cebu is a welcome development since part of the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) thrust is to boost Chinese arrivals to the Philippines, particularly in Cebu, as well as make Mactan-Cebu International Airport the regional hub that is connected to different parts of the globe.

Other direct routes opening this March are Eva Air’s Cebu-Taipei-Cebu, Philippine Airlines’ Cebu-Los Angeles-Cebu and Emirates’ Cebu-Clark-Dubai.

Tourism stakeholders in Cebu earlier said that the improved connectivity to Cebu will enhance trade and tourism links of the province.

China, for instance, is the country’s fourth largest tourist source market, with 415,868 visitors recorded from January to October last year. In Cebu, China logged the highest growth at 58.63 percent during the first 10 months of 2015 with 94,476 arrivals.

DOT 7, likewise, sees a strong comeback of Chinese tourists to the country, following the rapid expansion and growth of China’s outbound tourism and the improving tourism relations between China and the Philippines.

DOT 7 Director Rowena Montecillo said the increase in Chinese arrivals is a welcome development in the midst of the travel ban advisories and the political tensions between China and the Philippines.

She said the continued arrival of Chinese visitors despite these factors is an indication that the country is still in the radar among the Chinese travelers when it comes to destinations. Montecillo said they prefer family-friendly facilities and activities. They also enjoy water activities like snorkeling, island hopping, and other aqua sports.

Provincial Health Office urged: Prioritize CCTV camera installation in hospitals

By Michael Vencynth H. Braga/NSA (The Philippine Star)

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu Provincial Board urged the Provincial Health Office to include in its priorities the installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the district and provincial hospitals in the province.

The legislative body explained that the video recording system would help record daily operations of the government-run hospitals and further deter misdemeanors, such as medical malpractices and baby theft.

Board Member Arleigh Sitoy, who sponsored the resolution, mentioned the recent incidents involving the district and provincial hospitals and the baby theft at Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center.

“Recently, with the help of a CCTV camera, a baby snatcher dressed as a nurse was identified by the authorities and led to her arrest and the recovery of the baby,” read part of the PB’s resolution.

“The installation of such cameras will provide an added security to the hospital’s clients as well as ensure that the hospital staff, which are entrusted with the health care of the patients, are doing their jobs efficiently,” it added.

The PB mentioned the provincial ordinance which requires security camera installation in all hospitals and other private and public health facilities. It was approved in 2004. Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

The video surveillance system will cover the identified “critical areas” in health facilities, particularly nurseries.

PHO chief Cynthia Genosolango earlier said they have not included in its 2016 budget the purchase of CCTV cameras because it is not an immediate need yet since most of its facilities have no nurseries and that newborn babies are delivered immediately to their mothers for breastfeeding.

“But we can always look into these things. We will have that (ordinance) implemented for safety and security purposes,” she said.

Progress seen for Cebu south

By Jeandie O. Galolo

IF A professional feng shui consultant is to be believed, Cebu will experience prosperous years ahead, especially in the south.

“(The year) 2017 will be the onset. By 2024, Cebu will be prosperous. That I can assure you,” Foong said on Tuesday in a press conference held in Quest Hotel attended by the local media.

By 2017, the feng shui master said Cebu will be the “best developing city” in the Philippines, as Cebuanos will see bigger developments that will continue until 2024.

However, for 2016, Foong said Cebu’s economy will be “slow.” But this is not unique to Cebu, because other countries, except for the US which is recovering, will exhibit slower growth.

Recently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered its growth forecast for the Philipine economy down to 6.2 percent instead of 6.3 percent for 2016 based on its January 2016 World Economic Outlook (WEO). Likewise, Credit Suisse dropped its forecast to 6.2 percent from the previous 6.4 percent projection.

Cebu, meanwhile, will see more developments from 2017 to 2014.

Foong said this year approaches Period Nine which means places located in the south will see more developments in the years to come.

“Period nine. (This is when) the energy is coming to the south sector,” the Feng Shui master said. The Philippines is in the southeast part of Asia and Cebu is also at the southern part of the Philippines.

To take advantage of the promising opportunities in the south, Foong recommends investing or buying properties in the south now, as property prices in the areas will escalate at a growth greater than expected, even double in the next five years.

The energy sector and entertainment, he said, will exhibit good performance this year. Banking and finance, meanwhile, will grow at a stagnant rate. The stock market, he said, will be in the negatives in the next three days.

While the economy will be generally slow this year, Foong maintained that this doesn’t mean zero opportunities for the business sector.

As for the coming elections, Foong said major changes in key policies could affect businesses. He also expects heightened tensions between China and the Philippines.

“In 2016, (there will be) many disagreements, mini civilization wars among countries. You see big boys telling the small boys what they should do,” he said.

The year of the fire monkey will be celebrated on Feb. 8.

Cebu contingents to get incentives from Capitol, LGUs

By Victor Anthony V. Silva

Aside from cash prizes for their winning performances, Sinulog contingents from the province can also expect incentives from the Capitol and the local governments they represent.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III said the winners deserve these rewards for their effort and dedication during practices.

“It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of money. But I hope it will still make the participants happy,” he said.

Davide said he will still have to consult with members of the Provincial Board (PB) regarding the matter.

Meanwhile, the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) can also expect P3 million as financial assistance from the provincial government this year.

Last year, the Capitol gave SFI P1.5 million.

The provincial government reportedly still had obligations to the foundation for 2013 and 2014, but Provincial Budget Officer Danilo Rodas said these have been included in the assistance extended in 2015.

Governor Davide said he only recently signed the obligation request for the financial aid.

The PB yesterday approved several resolutions commending contingents from the province for their respective wins.

PB Member Ivy Durano-Meca said that the Danao City government will give incentives to its contingent and the amount will be deliberated by the city council today.

Around P1 million was set aside by the city government to prepare their contingent for Sinulog.

Meca said she will still consult with Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale regarding the release of cash rewards from the PB to the winning participants.

The Carcar City Division won best in costume, best in musicality, and second place in the ritual showdown for the secondary division during the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan last January 9.

The winning performers, from the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan the week before to the grand parade last Sunday are Carcar City Division, Naga Central School, Danao City, Tuburan, and Asturias, among others.

DENR-7 discusses programs for 2016

By Kristine B. Quintas / ATO (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - To kick off the agency’s 2016 program implementation in Central Visayas, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-7 conducted a workshop to discuss their plans and objectives for the year.

DENR-7 regional director, Isabelo Montejo, said the leveling off activity and formulation of implementation plan workshop highlighted the various programs under the 2016 work and financial plan and placed the adequate budget for every priority program.

The one-day activity was attended by more than 40 participants, including provincial and community environment and natural resources (P/CENR) officers, division chiefs and planning officers from DENR-7.

According to Montejo, the activity, which is conducted annually, is important to discuss their implementation plan so that it will serve as a guide how to execute the programs and ensure a successful year for Central Visayas.

“We are doing this, so that we can start things right for 2016, our goal is to once again accomplish our targets by end of 2016 so we have to plan,” explained Montejo.

The activity also served as an opportunity to share successful strategies and present the positive points of the agency, as well as discuss the things that needs to be improved in implementing the various projects and programs of the department.

“It must be emphasized here that sound fiscal management must be exercised at all times consistent with the good governance and transparency initiatives as espoused by DENR Secretary Ramon JP Paje,” Montejo added.

Aside from the leveling off of 2016 work and financial plan, the participants also formulated and updated forward estimates for the period 2017-2019 to serve as guide in budgeting and planning.

Meanwhile, a three-year framework on learning and development or training for the period 2016-2018 has been developed to enhance the capacity of the various DENR personnel in delivering their tasks and responsibilities.

FLI to ‘revisit’ horizontal developments

By Jeandie O. Galolo

A LOCAL official of publicly-listed Filinvest Land Inc. said they will return to developing horizontal housing projects in Cebu this year.

Boler Binamira, FLI assistant vice president for sales, said the company will be launching two horizontal developments in Cebu.

“We are revisiting our roots, (the development of) horizontal projects, and that is housing,” Binamira told reporters at the sidelines of the topping off ceremony of the fifth building of One Oasis condominium in Mabolo, Cebu City.

The official, however, did not mention the amount for these horizontal projects.

He said FLI is on the lookout for properties up to Liloan in the north of Cebu where they can build their second horizontal housing project.

The first, he said, will be in Mactan, a township. Late last year, FLI broke ground on Futura Homes, an economic housing project in Lapu-Lapu City.

In another development, FLI is scheduled to turn over 209 condo units in One Oasis in the first quarter of 2017. This will bring the total number of turned over units in the said development to almost 800.

In the next five years, FLI project development officer Archie Igot said they will construct five more buildings that will bring the total number of units in One Oasis to 1,700. One Oasis is the second condominium project that FLI launched in Cebu in 2011, following Grand Cenia, which was launched in 2007.

As for its development at the South Road Properties, FLI vice president for strategic business development Allan Alfon said FLI has already completed its temporary drainage line within its property in SRP to minimize flooding in the area.

Alfon is the head of the task force created by the Cebu City Government to address flooding in SRP.

“The proposal is already there. The next step is implementation,” said Alfon, noting that he is yet to meet with the city mayor and officials and the other developers in the area, which include the SM and Ayala groups.

It was announced in August last year that the developers will commission Manila-based DCCD Engineering Corp. to undertake the project.

However, Alfon said it has not yet been decided if the completion of the comprehensive drainage line will be shouldered by developers or the Cebu City Government. He also could not give an estimate for the cost of the project.

DTI urges farmers to plant coffee to serve increasing global demand

By Jeandie O. Galolo

THE Department of Trade and Industry in Cebu has encouraged local farmers and planters to go into coffee production to meet the huge demand coming from the domestic and international markets.

“We have a shortfall in supply. That’s why we have to encourage our farmers to grow coffee because our local coffee chains are importing from other countries already, and the demand outside (the country) is high,” said DTI-Cebu business development chief Elias Tecson.

To convince local farmers to go into coffee-growing, the local trade agency will be organizing a coffee investment forum in Cebu on January 22 at the Cebu Grand Hotel.

In previous years, DTI said the Philippines used to be the world’s fourth biggest coffee exporter until market conditions changed from 1989 to 2002.

“At present, it is observed that there is an increasing demand for coffee that cannot be sustained by the current local supply,” DTI-Cebu said in a statement.

“Out of the 65,000 metric tons of coffee consumed yearly, only 30,000 metric tons is produced from the local coffee industry and the rest is imported from countries like Indonesia and Vietnam,” DTI Cebu added.

From 1989 to 2002, the country’s production went down from 70,000 tons annually down to just 23,000 tons. The Philippine Coffee Board said it is targeting total production to reach 75,000 metric tons.

Cebu, said Tecson, is a relatively new coffee grower. Presently, he said there is an estimated 200 hectares of land within Cebu Province planted with coffee. He said they are most abundant in the towns of Tuburan, but there are also growers in Argao and Asturias.

Worldwide, coffee ranks first among non-staple food, the second most traded commodity next to oil, and the fifth most important agricultural product.

In 2014, 149.26 million bags or 8.9 billion kilograms of coffee were consumed worldwide.

Cebu Customs exceeds 2015 collection by almost Php1 B

CEBU CITY (PNA) -- The Bureau of Customs (BOC) Port of Cebu has exceeded its collection target in 2015 by almost Php 1 billion, an official said.

Cebu Customs District Collector Arnulfo Marcos said the district collected a total of Php 16.529 billion in 2015, against a collection target of Php15.605 billion.

Lawyer Kenneth Kern Sesante, chief of staff of Marcos, said the meeting of the target and the surplus collection were results of the efforts of the Port of Cebu officials and personnel.

Sesante said Marcos was able to recover 15 missing container vans that were spirited out of Cebu International Port (CIP).

The persons involved and the consignees were identified and were made to pay duties and taxes.

Marcos was among the five retired generals who were assigned as BOC district collectors in various ports in the country but were dismissed from service as ordered by Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina and approved by Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Cesar Purisima.

Marcos is set to be replaced by lawyer Rico Rey Francis “Koko” Holganza, former Port of Cebu deputy district collector for operations and concurrent chief of the legal division and chief of the bonds division.

Holganza is a former number one Cebu City councilor who first entered into the customs service as legal officer in 2001 and was designated as chief of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) for several years.

Holganza is the son of the late Ribomapil “Dodong” Holganza Sr., a political detainee during Martial Law.

Holganza will be the first Cebuano district collector of the BOC Port of Cebu. (PNA) RMA/EB/EDS

PCG Cebu says everything ready for Sto. Nino fluvial procession on Saturday

(PNA), RMA/EB/EDS

CEBU CITY, Jan. 14 (PNA) -- An official of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Cebu Station on Thursday said everything is ready for the Sto. Nino de Cebu fluvial procession on Saturday morning.

PCG Cebu Station Commander Agapito Bibat said only the organizers were required to secure a permit for the activity and pay the Php 1,000 permit fee.

Bibat said a total of 139 vessels, including 60 motorized outrigger bancas, have been cleared to join the fluvial procession.

The image of the Sto. Nino de Cebu will be on board a replica of the galleon used by Ferdinand Magellan in his voyage to Cebu.

Bibat said the PCG will deploy one personnel on each of the participating vessels to ensure the safety of the participants.

All those on board the motorized outrigger bancas will be required to wear life jackets.

Bibat said no liquor or any alcoholic drinks, balloons, guns and deadly weapons will be allowed in all the vessels

The fluvial procession takes the icons of the Sto. Nino de Cebu and Our Lady of Guadalupe from the Ouano Wharf in Mandaue City to Pier 1 in Cebu City.

Cebu Grand Hotel targets Mice

By Katlene O. Cacho

THE 22-year-old Cebu Grand Hotel has turned its focus on meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (Mice) as it expects more meetings to take place this year, following the official launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

Carlo Suarez, the hotel’s general manager, said they are gearing up for an influx of investors and foreign public officials expected to visit Cebu to explore trade opportunities.

“Mice market is the way to go, especially with the integration that is happening now. We expect more corporate bookings as they come here for discussions, business meetings, forums, etc.,” said Suarez.

The AEC officially kicked off last Dec. 31. Economies of 10 ASEAN members--Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam--were integrated economically to forge a regional bloc to rival China, India and Japan.

Cebu Grand Hotel has about 100 rooms, six function rooms and two board rooms. Its ballroom can accommodate up to 400 people.

Suarez said the hotel management embarked on a major renovation since last year, adjusting the amenities to the needs of the Mice market. It also embarked on various marketing efforts under the programs of the Department of Tourism to attract guests and boost business meetings.

“We are doubling our marketing efforts by joining travel shows and other sales marketing initiatives to cope with the intense competition in the hotel industry now and of course, get a good share of this high-income generating Mice market,” said Suarez.

Mice is seen as a lucrative market due to its higher per-capita expenditure. Cebu is believed to have vast potential for Mice tourism because of its direct flights to key countries and its proximity to leisure destinations.

Smart, InnoPub, SFI release handy guide to Sinulog 2016

(PNA), FPV/EB-PR/EDS

CEBU CITY, Jan. 12 (PNA) -- Mobile leader Smart Communications (Smart), Cebu-based new media startup InnoPub Media and the Sinulog Foundation Inc. have collaborated to provide Sinulog 2016 revelers with a handy guide to everything Sinulog--from religious activities to festive parties - through the 2016 Sinulog Guide.

“With the Sinulog Guide app, revelers can plan their itinerary ahead of time so they can maximize their stay in Cebu during one of the country's most celebrated festivals,” said Smart Public Affairs Group Head Ramon Isberto.

The guide, available for free download on Android and iOS devices, provides a comprehensive resource on the Sinulog festival, including schedule of processions and novena masses, backgrounder on contingents, and information on the exciting line-up of activities and parties such as the Oh Ship!, Invasion Cebu, and LifeDance Cebu, which are all co-presented by Smart.

A section in the app provides timely updates on the festival, from relevant Sinulog tips to information on street dancing contingents, as it draws near and until after the Grand Parade.

The app also includes listings on the top things to do, best places to dine at, and most popular pasalubong-shopping outlets in Cebu.

Top tourism attractions featured in the app contain GPS data and feature “check location” links that, when tapped, use GPS to guide a tourist to a particular site.

A directory of Cebu establishments like restaurants and malls, consular offices, and emergency services such as hospitals and police stations are available in the Sinulog Guide.

It also has a full listing of tour guides and tour operators accredited by the Department of Tourism.

The app also now includes a "virtual concierge" feature that allows app users to send questions and inquiries.

“Sinulog Guide is a platform for information and services. With the new virtual concierge feature in the app, we hope to make it even more useful to visitors – with help and additional information a bell tap away,” said InnoPub Media co-founder Max Limpag.

To enable Sinulog revelers to live the 'Smart Life' and instantly share with the rest of the world their Sinulog experience, Smart is also offering Big Bytes 50 which includes 350MB for surfing, and access to apps like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat; plus 600MB of videos and music from Fox, iFlix and Spinnr, valid for three days – all for only Php50.

“With Big Bytes 50, Sinulog revelers can instantly share the sights, the sounds, and the revelry of Sinulog, and have access to games, music, and videos at the same time,” said Ariel P. Fermin, PLDT Smart EVP and Group Head of Consumer Business.

To register, dial *121#, the all-access number for all Smart promos.

Like in the previous years, Smart has partnered anew with Sun.Star-Cebu to live stream Sinulog festivities so that Filipinos can witness the festivities for free, wherever they are in the world.

The live stream will also be available in the Sinulog Guide app.

“Sinulog Guide is a useful resource that provides important information to our guests and visitors. It’s all about Sinulog and how to make the most of it. It is all about Cebu, its culture and the places you can visit here. It’s all about our celebration that never ends,” said Sinulog Foundation executive director Ricky Ballesteros.

"The development of tourism apps such as the Sinulog Guide app is part of Smart's nationwide Digital Tourism program, in partnership with InnoPub Media. Through this initiative, we hope to enhance the tourist experience by using mobile technology to deliver tourism, cultural, and historical information," Isberto said.

The initiative was given an Anvil Award of Merit in February 2013 and commended by the Cebu City Council, in a resolution passed on mass motion in January 2012, as an “ingenious” way to deliver tourism information.

DAR turns over Php 28-M farm machineries to 17 farmer’s organizations in Cebu

(PNA), FPV/EBP

MANILA, Jan. 11 (PNA) -- The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has recently turned over Php28 million worth of farm machineries to 15 farmers’ organizations in Cebu Province.

Assistant Regional Director Dr. Antonio A. del Socorro said the Common Service Facilities (CSFs) were procured under the Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Services (ARCCESS) to improve farm productivity and develop business entrepreneurship for the agrarian reform beneficiaries.

Del Socorro said that the farm machineries are expected to contribute in increasing incomes of farmer-members in Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs) engaged in rice, corn and vegetable enhanced farming, and sugar block farming.

He added that the brand new CSFs were tested to ensure their efficiency, while farmers were trained on how to operate and maintain these farm machineries.

A total of three four-wheel drive120-horsepower tractors worth Php 4,154,800, four four-wheel drive 90-horsepower tractors worth Php3,078,400.00 each unit, seven hand tractors with implements worth Php181,636 each unit, five units of corn sheller huskers worth Php140,192 each unit, four rice threshers worth 170,048.32 each unit, four floating tillers worth Php77,251.20 each unit, one shedder worth Php 268,320, and two power tillers with cultivator worth Php 135,083.52 each unit were delivered to the identified lead ARBO recipients.

Del Socorro said the recipients were ARBOs: two from Naga City, one in Carcar City, two in Toledo City, one in Aloguinsan, one in Sogod, one in Daanbantayan, one in Medellin, two in Bogo City, two in Barili, one in Moaboal, two in Asturias and one in Tuburan.

In Naga City, Alpaco Farmers and Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ALFABMPC) received one four-wheel drive 90-horsepower tractor with implements, and Agrarian Reform Community Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ARCBMPC) obtained farm machineries and facilities consisting of one hand tractor with implements and one Corn Sheller Husker with implements.

Carcar Communities and Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CCMPC) in Carcar City received one rice thresher, one floating tiller and one shredder.

In Toledo City, Canlumampao United Farmers Irrigators Association (CUFIA) received one floating tiller, and Carmen Farmers Association (CAFA) obtained one power tiller cultivator and one hand tractor with implements.

Esperanza Farmers Association (ESFA) in Aloguinsan received two hand tractors with implements and a corn sheller husker.

For typhoon Yolanda affected areas, Bitoon Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association (BARBA) in Daanbantayan obtained a four-wheel drive 90-horsepower tractor with implements; while Don Virgilio Gonzales ARB Cooperative (DVG ARB Coop) in Medellin, Hacienda Filomena Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association (HFARBA) in barangay Binabag, and Anonang Norte Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association (ANARBA) both located in Bogo City received a four-wheel drive 120-horsepower tractor with implements. The Cabalawan Small Farmers Association (CASFA) in Sogod obtained a power tiller cultivator and a four-wheel drive 90-horsepower tractor with implements.

In Barili, the Cabcaban Farmers for Rural Development (CFARD) received a corn sheller husker and a four-wheel drive 90-horsepower tractor with implements, while the Panaghugpong sa Nagpakabanang Guntinganong Magbabaol Multi-Purpose Coop (PANGUMA MPC) received two hand tractors with implements and a corn sheller husker.

The Tomonoy Farmers Association (TOMFAS) in Moalboal received a hand tractor with implements and a corn sheller husker.

In Asturias, the Bago Lunas United Communal Irrigators Association (BLUCIA) received a rice thresher and two floating tillers, while the Bag-ong Kusog sa Mag-uuma (BAKUMA) received a rice thresher and a floating tiller.

The Panaghugpong sa Molupyo sa Colonia (PAMOCO) in Tuburan received a hand tractor with implements and a corn sheller husker.

Cebu Province Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.

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