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USAID, through the Philippine Environmental Governance Project, assisted the local government (Davao City) in establishing, through a local ordinance, the mangrove area as a marine protected area. A crucial part in effective coastal resources management is law enforcement with Bantay Dagat teams playing a crucial role by safeguarding local waters. In Davao City Philippines, Bantay Dagat members protect mangrove areas from illegal cutting, thus conserving areas for fisheries and marine biodiversity habitats.
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Two Mindanao regions cornered PHP366-B investments in 2015


DAVAO CITY, Feb. 12 (PNA) -– The Board of Investments (BOI) reported a PHP366 billion-worth of investments cornered by regions 11 and 12 last year.

Gil Dureza, BOI chief of investments for Regions 11 and 12, said there was an increase in investments value last year with the entry of Enfinity Philippines for renewable energy for the development of 33.56 megawatts solar power project in Digos, Davao del Sur. The total investments last year was about 3.38 percent higher than that of 2014 when the registered total investments was at PHP354 billion.

In an interview with Dureza at Habi at Kape in Abreeza Mall, it was learned that that there were 15 listed projects last year some of which already went on commercial operations while others expanded their existing businesses.

He said the projects were of mixed categories from real estate to manufacturing, transportation and storage, accommodation and food service.

Among the investors listed under real estate were Davao Joyful Homes Realty Corporation, Johndorf Ventures Corporation, Mountain Haven Development, Inc., Communities Pampanga, Inc., Filinvest Land Inc., and 8990 Housing Development Corporation.

One ICT project was listed under Cybercity Teleservices (Phils), Inc. with a capacity of 2,012 employees.

Under manufacturing, the players were Starbridge Global Corporation an export producer of wood pellets, Consolidated Plywood Industries, Inc., producer of wood products, decking, T&G flooring and pallets parts, Palm Asia Milling Corporation, production of crude palm oil, palm kernel oil, and by-product palm kernel oil, Sammito Packaging Corporation, export producer of plastic products, vacuum packs and poly bags.

Another project in the list was on transportation and storage with Panabo Trucking Services, Inc. expanding as provider of logistics services to exporters thru bulk handling and cold storage while the Filsure Enterprise Corporation will be on marketing of liquified petroleum gas (Sure Gas and LPG Bottling Plant).

The Gohotels Davao, Inc. with type of product on accommodations and food services activities will operate its new hotel in Lanang, tis city with 198 rooms.

On the other hand, Dureza said the foreign direct investments (FDI) contributed to the rise in investments value. He said 61 percent of the investments were on FDI mostly on Business Process Outsourcing and the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) sector, which has become a top priority industry.

In the Philippines, he said among the top 5 countries that engaged in FDI were India, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.

As this developed, he said they will again be talking to Makati based big BPO companies this year. "But we will do it on a one-on-one discussion with big BPOs already operating in Metro Manila," he added.

He said their first session with the CEOs last year was of a general presentation about Davao's resources including available spaces in the city where they could possibly locate through the Ciudades Eco-Zone.

"This time we will do it one-on-one and go to specifics and details and if we could get at least 5 of the 20 that we are targeting during the Makati talk this quarter it would already be a good batting average," he said.

15 new investments in Mindanao expected this year

By Ace June Rell S. Perez

BUSINESS climate in Mindanao continues to thrive as the Board of Investment (BOI) Mindanao is expecting 15 more investment projects on the island this year.

These 15 lead investments are from real property, agri-development production, industrial park, manufacturing and coco processing for export projects.

"At present, a total of 15 companies are showing interests in investing to Mindanao," Gil M. Dureza, director of BOI-Davao Office Extension said in Wednesday's edition of Wednesdays at Habi at Kape at the Abreeza Mall of Davao.

Of these projects, 80 percent will be poured in Davao Region. These investors are both foreign and local firms which are up for expansion.

However, Dureza refused to divulge the investors’ identity as they are still in the different permitting and exploratory stages.

According to BOI-11’s investment performance of the approved projects for the whole year of 2015, a total of P4.9 billion was poured down to Davao Region, a 35.5 percent increase as against 2014’s performance at P3.6 billion.

For Mindanao, biggest bulk of the investment was contributed by the big power projects.

These are the P14.8 billion combined project cost of the Hedcor Bukidnon, Inc.’s 43.4 MW Manolo Fortich 1 and 25.4 MW Manolo Fortich 2 Hydroelectric Power Projects, P5.7-B Del Sol Energy CGS, Inc.’s Solar Energy project in GenSan Phase I and II, P2.6-B project of Enfinity Philippines Renewable Resources Fourth Inc. for its 33.566 MW Solar Power Project, P 2.3 billion Power Source Philippine Energy Inc.’s 20MW coal-fired power plant project and P1.1 billion Supreme Power Corporation’s 11.9 Diesel Power Plant in Koronadal.

For the manufacturing industry, a China-based box manufacturing plant company is coming in the city and is presently conducting its warm up or trial project in Calinan.

“They are still in process of registration but they already started one trial project here in Calinan area in Davao City,” Dureza said.

Davao market is 'most financial literate'

By Ace June Rell S. Perez

THE Davao market is the most financial literate in the country, a top financial services company said.

According to the Social Weather Stations’ (SWS) survey, a private non-stock, non-profit social research institution, conducted last October 2015, Dabawenyos are most literate in saving and financial management.

“We are extending our efforts outside Luzon, In Davao, we are very glad to note that in a research conducted by SWS, it showed that Dabawenyos are most literate in saving for the future and money management,” Alfonso D. Quitangon, sales territory head for Mindanao, said on Monday’s media roundtable interview at the Abreeza Mall of Davao.

The survey has a total of 1,200 respondents, 400 of which are from Mindanao, the rest are from Metro Manila, Luzon and Visayas.

Quitangon explained that the study normally has a set of questions to respondents gauging their understanding about financial literacy.

“The study proved that Davao has indeed a good grasp in money management, financial planning and investing,” he said.

However, the Philippines was ranked 68th globally in terms of financial literacy index, lagging behind Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, based on a study made by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Also, Quitangon added that the number of financial advisers in the company based here in Davao continues to grow. At present, the city has over 20 financial managers with over 300 financial advisors. In Mindanao as a whole have some 500 financial advisers from the company.

The company also noted that the island contributes some 6 percent of the total sales nationwide.

“By the end of the year, we target to reach a total of 800 financial advisers in Mindanao to be involved in our campaign to a financially-literate nation and we hope to make the Mindanao’s contribution in sales to 10 percent,” Quitangon said adding that the company intends to grow in sales in the country by 25 percent.

For Davao market, biggest bulk of the members is from the working market, both businessmen and employed individuals.

The sales head shared that for the last five to ten years, the top company’s products are the Investment Link Product, a combined insurance and investment plan and the Health and Accident Product, a preparation plan for incidents, health and accidents.

“Though I cannot give the figures but definitely sales in Mindanao posted growth for the past five years, and we attribute it to the increasing number of financial advisers and also the good economy experience here,” he said.

“Davao has a lot of potentials and promises, we view the city as one of the strongest area in the business, right now both Visayas and Mindanao are our areas of growth,” Quitangon added.

For its 121st anniversary, Sun Life Financial intensifies their campaign for financial literacy nationwide reaching more areas such as Davao City. “It is truly our desire to see our fellowmen enjoying prosperity, and so we shall also continue to strengthen our financial literacy efforts and reach out more Filipinos nationwide,” Sun Life Chief Marketing Officer Mylene Lopa said.

The company targets to attain a financially free nation through its campaign #LiveFreePH which is aimed to increase level of awareness of how to prepare for the future’s financial needs and spread its financial literacy advocacy.

“With over a century of providing financial services, we believe that we can give customers enough confidence and comfort that this is a safe and assured investment for their future,” Quitangon said.

Another Philippine eagle hatches in captivity

By KD Suarez, with a report from Editha Caduaya (

The eaglet, which emerged from its shell on Thursday, February 4, is the 27th hatched in captivity

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine eagle population has an additional member with the hatching of an eaglet in Davao City, the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) announced.

The eaglet, which emerged from its shell on Thursday, February 4 at the Philippine Eagle Center (PEC), is the 27th hatched in captivity, the PEF said in a statement Sunday, February 7.

The bird hatched after 57 days of incubation, and the center said it "was able to hatch full term on its own without any assistance."

The yet-unnamed chick is "active and alert as it can already lift its head, sit and follow objects even at a day old," said PEF curator Anna Mae Sumaya.

It is one of two offsprings of the paired eagles MVP, a male, and Go Phoenix, a female. An elder sibling, named Sinag, hatched on December 7, 2015, the PEF said in the statement.

The PEF's breeding program started in 1987, and the newest addition to the list of successfully-bred birds is an "unexpected success."

PEF executive director Dennis Salvador also told Rappler that they "still cannot determine the gender of the new eaglet – it will take some time, after several months maybe."

"It will never see people but can be viewed through the CCTV," Salvador added.

The Philippine eagle – the country's national bird – is one of the rarest birds in the world, endemic to Philippine forests. It has the scientific name Pithecophaga jefferyi.

It is considered a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

P781M collected in biz permit renewals in Davao

By Karina V. Canedo (KVC)

Davao City Treasurer's Office (CTO) collected a total of P781,495,038 for this year's one-stop shop in the renewal and new applications for mayor's permit.

CTO Treasury Operations and Review Unit Head Villa Dureza, during Thursday's I-Speak forum said that their office has collected P74,357,132 more in this year's one-stop shop from January 3-22 compared to the same period last year where they gathered a total of P707, 137,906.

Dureza said that for this year they recorded a total of 32,392 business applications wherein 368 of it were applications for new businesses.

She added that as for the payment of Real Property tax, taxpayers can avail discount if they will pay before the deadline.

"You have until March 31 to avail discount," Dureza said.

She also said that taxpayers can pay at the CTO office located at the SangguniangPanlungsod Building but they may also pay to district offices in Bunawan, Toril, Calinan, Paquibato, Marilog, Agdao and Buhangin.

"You can pay on district offices and there is also online connectivity for real property tax payments," Dureza said.

Davao’s Chinatown pushed as major tourist destination

By Ace June Rell S. Perez

THE plan to develop Chinatown as Davao City's major tourist attraction gets further boost after the Davao City Chinatown Development Council (DCCDC) and the sponsor bank, Banco de Oro (BDO) finally decide to ink a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to further push the promotion of the area.

The contract to be signed is composed of the P3.5 million “one-time sponsorship” of BDO for the project.

“We hope that it will be signed as soon as possible. We also wish that we can make it up in time of the Chinese New Year celebration,” Lisette Marques, city tourism operations officer told reporters in an interview.

The funding will be utilized for the installation of the red-themed lamp posts with an intricate design of a dragon as a sign of the Chinese.

In a report, over 60 street posts from Magsaysay avenue to Sta. Ana avenue “will be replaced with street posts with Chinese-translated street names of the area.”

“It will be consistent to the design of the Chinatown,” she said. Davao Chinatown is the only of its kind in Mindanao located in the city with a total land area of around 44 hectares.

Chinatown has become the center of business establishments owned by majority as Chinese Filipinos.

These business establishments include banks, a wide variety of restaurants offering not only Chinese cuisine but also Korean, Filipino.

Chinese themed malls and shops also pockmark this business enclave of the city of Davao which is globally known as the international gateway and most progressive city of Mindanao.

The Davao Chinatown encompasses the areas of Ramon Magsaysay Avenue, Monteverde Avenue, Sta. Ana Avenue, and Leon Garcia Street.

Meanwhile, the City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) and the Chinatown Development Council will stage this year the “Salubong of Chinese New Year” on February 7 at the Rizal Park in Davao City.

Over 5,000 individuals are expected to gather during the event in welcoming the Year of Fire Monkey.

The welcome celebration for this year will be different from the previous years as it will be held at Rizal Park, not at the usual venue, in the city's Chinatown.

“The Chinatown Development Council announced that it will now be held at Rizal Park in order not to confine the celebration within the Chinese community and in the Chinatown area. They want that there will also be participation by Dabawenyos even those who are not Chinese,” Marques said.

The council estimated a total of P400,000 budget for the celebration, P100,000 of which will be coming from the CTOO and the rest will be the counterpart of the private sector.

The activities that are lined up for the celebration are the Dragon and lion dance, Food stalls, Chinese traditional games, like Mahjong and among other.

Foreign tourist arrivals contributed by the Chinese tourists contributes 10 percent of the total tourism arrivals in Davao City which is pegged at 1.3 million as of September of last year.

Marques added that China remained to be in the top five contributors in the tourist arrivals in Davao City along with Japan, Korea, USA, and Australia.

(News feature) Davao adds incentives to MICE tourism; urges combination of business and leisure

(By Azer N. Parrocha (PNA), RMA/ANP

MANILA, Feb. 5 (PNA) -- More incentives are expected to beckon tourists to hold their MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) in Davao and experience the best of what its ecotourism offers as well.

DOT Region 11 Director Roberto Alabado told reporters on Friday that incentives such as discounted hotel rates, transport fares and shopping rates among others could be expected through the region’s enhanced “Let’s Meet in Davao” program.

Alabado said that the program was meant to position Davao as a MICE destination by drawing in visitors for business but at the same time, highlight its varied leisure activities.

“MICE Davao seeks to transform an ordinary convention-goer into a VIP guest in Davao City,” Alabado said, noting that a convention-goer would simply have to present the MICE convention ID to avail of all privileges.

“This is an initiative that has not yet been replicated in any other city because the city, local and national government have collaborated to providing very good incentives,” he added.

The regional director also pointed out that Davao was the go-to place for regional meetings.

“Regional conventions are usually held in Mindanao if we are the third largest city or second largest in terms of population, we have a natural magnet for business and MICE will always be about business,” Alabado said.

“If you’re going to hold your MICE event in Davao, you’ll have new experience. It’s not just a meeting, we’ll introduce cultural tourism and ecotourism,” he added.

At present, the biggest MICE facility in Davao is the SMX Convention Center Davao that can seat a capacity of 5,000 and the Davao Convention Center which can seat a capacity of 1,500.

Although no figures have been recorded as to how many percent of its overall tourist arrivals and receipts made up the MICE market, Alabado said that its contribution was a significant one.

“Suppose we have 3,000 people coming in from one event and they will be staying here for three days. The city tourism office had a conservative estimate that each one will be spending Php3, 000 a day for accommodations, restaurants, shopping,” Alabado said.

“This 3,000 people multiplied by three days and multiplied by Php 3,000 is a Php 27-million income of the city coming in in just three days,” he added.

Davao MICE Execom Chair Ken Kapulong for his part said that aside from hotels, land transport, spas, malls, tour operators, this year, airlines have also joined the ranks of private sector partners in MICE tourism.

He said that Air Asia and Cebu Pacific had vowed commitment to provide convention-goers, who choose to hold their MICE event in Davao, with competitive air fare rates.

“Basically, this partnership will make your convention more smooth-flowing because it’s really a participation of all vital business sectors in Davao sector, from airline bookings, hotel accommodations to shopping to restaurant, even spa and wellness,” Kapulong said.

“Everyone is coordinating to provide our guests with this kind of Davao experience,” he added.

Davao Region acquired around 2.4-million tourist arrivals in 2015 with 95 percent of the number coming from domestic visitors.

Alabado meanwhile expressed hope that the number of arrivals would increase, given its efforts to promote the region as a MICE destination and leisure activities such as the Visit Davao Fun Sale 2016 slated in March and the 9th edition of the Mt. Apo Boulder Face Challenge 2016 in April.

More conventions set in Davao until 2017

By Ace June Rell S. Perez

DAVAO City’s position as a preferred Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions (Mice) destination further strengthened as lineup of national and international conventions are already scheduled in the city this year until next year.

“We, in the City Tourism Operations Office and Mice industry stakeholders are already preparing for these national and international conventions,” Lisette Marques, city tourism operations officer told reporters in an interview.

Some of the conventions that will be hosted by the city are the national convention of the Philippine Veterinarian Medical Association (PVMA) this month which is expected to draw 1,500 participants all over the country, the international convention dubbed as the Asian Raptor Conference on October 2017 which is projected to gather 200 foreign guests.

The PVMA has more than 5,000 veterinarians members working in the government, in private and corporate practice, in the industry, in the academe and even overseas while the Asian Raptor Conference is an annual international event.

Marques said that they are targeting a 10 percent increase in tourist arrivals in the city for this year.

“We are positive to attain this since last year there has been an increasing awareness among national and international organizers of Mice about Davao City which can really contribute to the influx of visitors,” she said.

According to Department of Tourism (DOT) Davao data, of Davao Region's 1,874,587 tourist arrivals from January to September 2015, most of the tourists were reported in Davao City with 1,290,480 or 69 percent of the region's tourist arrivals.

"Many of the conventions that were not held here before were already staged here because we already have convention centers that can hold national and international conventions," DOT Davao director Roberto P. Alabado III, for his part earlier said.

"With the major conventions, Davao is now one of the preferred destinations for Mice," he added.

To further position Davao as a Mice destination, the tourism department will continue the Mice strategy. DOT is planning to stage more Mice road shows which will be vital to introduce the city, emphasizing Davao's unique offering of Mice incentives to various organizers who intend to hold their conventions in the city.

Also, the tourism department is now finalizing partnership from airlines partners to give Mice participants special fare discounts.

"We have talked already to airlines as partners, because one barrier during a convention here in Davao especially from Manila is the cost of travel. We are now finalizing partnerships from our airlines to offer discounts for our official Mice goers here," Alabado said.

UNESCO names Davao City as pilot site for sustainability science project


DAVAO CITY, Feb. 2 (PNA) -- The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has selected Davao City as the pilot site for sustainability science project on enhancing resilience to disasters of urban water systems in Mindanao.

The implementation of the sustainability science projects will be formally introduced in a consultation Wednesday (February 3) at Grand Regal Hotel with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and HELP (Hydrology for Environment, Life and Policy) Davao Network in the lead.

The consultation will provide a valuable source of stakeholders’ perspectives and inputs that can improve project design and outcomes, serve as backbone and help identify and control external risks.

The sustainability science project is a multi-stakeholder project entitled Demonstration Site on Enhancing Resilience to Disaster of Urban Water Systems of Mindanao. It aims to demonstrate the resilience of the urban water system of Davao City to climate change.

Malou Manlosa of DOST 11 said the project will be achieved by adopting a three-pronged approach strategy that considers vulnerability and community resilience in the context of climate change.

The strategic approach are assessing the state of the urban water systems in Davao City which involved mapping and data gathering spearheaded by the University of Philippines – Mindanao (UPM-Min); second, strengthening integrated planning and coordination to enhance resilience in the management of the water systems with the Ateneo de Davao University taking the lead; and, third, raising awareness on climate change adaptation among stakeholders by demonstrating resilience.

Manlosa said the project is expected for completion in four months with HELP-Davao leading the overall project funded by UNESCO. This will involve the academe with representatives from the AdDU, Up-Min, State Universities and Colleges, non-government organizations, national government agencies, local government units, among others.

Also involved in the project are the 35 barangays identified as flood-prone areas under the DREAM-Lider project of DOST.

Manlosa said the residents along the Talom-Lipadas river, Lasang River, Davao River and Matina Crossing would directly benefit from the project. She is however not sure if the project also involves infrastructure.

Manlosa said the 35 barangays are being involved because they are more knowledgeable and the first to be affected by flooding.

She said the data gathered during the implementation will be shared to them and all stakeholders.

DVO-DTI-Davao to set up virtual assistant in Negosyo Centers


DAVAO CITY, Feb. 1 (PNA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Davao has teamed up with the Davao ICT Information and Communication Technology) Council for the development of information technology system to establish a virtual assistant hosted at each Negosyo Center.

DTI-Davao City director Edwin Banquerigo said the work will start with the gathering of data for all businesses engaged in manufacturing/processing using the Davao City government's Business Permit and Licensing System (BPLS).

Banquerigo disclosed that during initial talks with Lawyer Sam Matunog, president of the Davao ICT Council, they agreed the partnership for the project aimed primarily to help both the micro and the small medium entrepreneurs and others.

"What we will do now is to gather all the data," he said.

He said they will analyze the data and capture what percentage will fall in the manufacturing sector as “we are also considering helping them with value-adding on their products”.

"We will be using the 2015 BPLS where there were about 35,000 registered businesses," he said.

He added that they will also tap businesses with mayor's permits in the areas of Tagum (Davao del Norte), Mati (Davao Oriental), Digos (Davao del Sur), Nabunturan (Compostela Valley) and Malita (Davao del Sur) as these areas are possible source of products needed by the entrepreneurs.

From the data that they can get, Banquerigo said, “we can design a package of training for them or other services and this will be linked with the services at the Negosyo Center," he said.

Baqnuerigo said they are targeting middle of this year for the system to be up and functioning.

He said the system is some kind of help support where an entrepreneur would know who to market with or get some market referrals.

He said this is industry collaboration for added services at the Negosyo Centers, which have been operating for a year now and being tapped by small businesses for trainings and other related services.

Some Negosyo Centers have done activities last year such as the training program for business counselors conducted by the University of the Philippines Institute for Small Scale Industries for 30 participants coming from the local government units and other private institutions.

Meanwhile, Banquerigo disclosed they are putting up another Negosyo Center in this city that will be located in Toril.

He said DTI aims to target at least one Negosyo Center per district here.

Currently, Davao Region has a total of six operational Negosyo Centers located in the key cities and provinces in Region XI.

City notch higher in top BPO list

By Ace June Rell S. Perez

DAVAO City posted a notch higher this year than last year's spot in the Top 100 business process outsourcing (BPO) destinations in the world.

Tholons, a services globalization and investment advisory firm, recognized Davao City anew as one of the biggest movers in its 2016 annual survey of the top 100 outsourcing destinations in the world, ranking 66th worldwide, some three places higher than last year's 69th place.

“This is a new development that we should be celebrating for, this development proves that the BPO industry in Davao City continues to boom amid challenges. We now ranked 66th in the top 100 outsourcing destinations in the world, that is third in the Philippines after Manila and Cebu City and the only ranked city in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-Eaga),” said Samuel Matunog, president of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-Davao Inc.

Ranking in the 66th place, Davao City edged out Penang (Malaysia), San Antonio, Texas (USA), and Thiruvananthapuram (India).

Tholons published its 2016 survey last Friday January 29, 2016 in the morning. The firm regularly publishes a report of the top 100 business process and information technology (IT) outsourcing destinations in the world.

In the 2016 edition of the report, nine Philippine cities made it to the list. These are, Manila which landed in the same rank last year in the second spot, Cebu City (7th), Sta. Rosa (81), Bacolod (85), Iloilo (90), Dumaguete (93), Baguio (94), and Metro Clark (97).

“All the cities in our country showed a positive development, all the nine cities showed growth by all the higher ranks compared to its records last year,” Matunog said.

Cebu City is up 1 notch from 8th to 7th on the Top 10; Manila retains the 2nd spot, Davao City up by 3 notches from 69th to 66th; Sta. Rosa up by 1 notch from 82 to 81; Bacolod up by 1 notch from 86 to 85m; Iloilo up by 1 notch from 91 to 90; Dumaguete from above 100 to 93rd (one of the biggest leap in a global scale); Baguio up by 1 notch from 95 to 94; and Metro Clark up by 1 notch from 98 to 97th.

“After absorbing half of Philippine BPO demand in 2014 and the reported increase of (Full-Time Equivalents) FTEs of over 33,000, the latest rise in Tholons ranking indicates that the multi-stakeholder approach in addressing the demands of the city’s ICT industry continues to bear fruit,” he said.

“With K to 12 adding two years in basic education and the move towards outcomes-based education at the vocational/technical and tertiary levels, it is expected that an even better trained talent pool will continue to attract online jobs and BPO locators to the city,” Matunog added.

48 join 2-week basic health care training

By Christine Joice C. Cudis

THE Philippine Red Cross (PRC) teamed up with Japan and Canada for a two-week training on basic health care of 48 participants in Mindanao.

The training, which was funded by the Canadian Red Cross and supported by the Japanese Red Cross, produced 13 graduates who were trained to facilitate future basic health care (BHC) unit trainings while the other 35 were given training on how to operate the units.

BHC units will also be distributed to the 31 PRC chapters in Mindanao. It can accommodate up to 30 overnight beds mainly for diarrheal and observation cases.

It also comes with a pre-packed set of supplies or modules with the following capacity: outpatient curative, preventive mother and health care (MCH) services, simple delivery and community health with primary health care (PHC) education.

PRC chairman Richard Gordon said the training was aimed to ensure that the PRC will be able to provide immediate, basic, essential, curative, preventive, and community health care in emergency situations.

He added that it is important as most of the local medical facilities are insufficient or have been destroyed.

"We have to be prepared because we have a buffet of disasters in the country. We are also preparing for mass casualty incidents," Gordon explained.

He also said that in events where large crowds are expected, PRC will be able to deploy staff, volunteers, ambulances, rescue vehicles, basic health care units, emergency field hospitals, and others to ensure that immediate assistance would be provided.

CanCham announces opening of 10th International ICT Awards in PHL


DAVAO CITY, Jan. 29 (PNA) -- The Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (CanCham) on Thursday announced the opening of the 10th Anniversary International ICT Awards Philippines with nominations for various awards to all eligible companies and individuals in the country. It is open until Sunday, January 31 this year.

Julian Payne, president of CanCham, told reporters in a press conference at Marco Polo Hotel here that the International ICT Awards Philippines that recognizes the very best in the dynamic and fast growing ICT industry is held annually.

“The 2016 will be the 10th anniversary event. This prestigious annual ICT gala awards night has inspired and promoted further development, growth, and innovation of the country’s ICT industry,” Payne said.

The awarding will be held on March 22 at the Marriott Grand Ballroom in Newport City, Pasay, he added.

The annual award is facilitated with the support of the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) while this year’s event will be sponsored by Globe Business and PLDT ALPHA Enterprise.

Among the ICT Awards categories include the Best Company of the Year; the Best Employer of the Year; Best Filipino-owned Company of the Year; Best Company of the Year Outside the NCR; and Best Global In-House Center of the Year.

Payne said special awards will also be given to the individual contributor of the year; the hall of fame; and the participant’s choice among the participating companies.

He said that last year’s awarding ceremony was joined by more than 400 industry leaders from the ICT industry in the country and business sectors from abroad.

Over a hundred nominations were received last year that competed to the 14 categories of the award, he added.

“The Philippines is leading the economic growth in Southeast Asia and now plays a significant economic role in the ASEAN as well as in the global market,” Payne pointed out.

He added that the ICT industry in the country continues to be one of the leading drivers in the robust growth of the Philippine economy.

Payne also urged ICT business groups in the country to visit the for complete information on the 10th International ICT Awards Philippines.

SOS Davao holds ‘Bike for Love’ on Valentine’s Day


DAVAO CITY, Jan. 28 (PNA) – The SOS Children’s Villages Davao is hosting a fun ride for bikers on Valentine’s Day, February 14, in celebration of its 35th founding anniversary.

“It is dubbed as the Bike for Love for a Child and Family,” said SOS Children’s Villages Davao Fund Development Coordinator Roxie Paguyan.

The 40-kilometer fun ride which starts and ends at the SOS Children’s Village in Bajada. It is supported by PhilCycling.

“It kicks off at 6 a.m. The route includes the SM Lanang, Angliongto, Davao Airport, Sun City and Cabantian National High School. Registration fee is P350 with one free jersey, certificate, snacks and raffles,” Paguyan said.

Registration is now on-going at the SOS Children’s Village Davao in Bajada. For more inquiry, contact tel. no. 222-0097 or 0910-8058586.

SOS Children's Village Davao is one of the eight villages in the Philippines. It is a private, non-political, non-denominational organization providing long-term family-based care and education to children in need.

It is a place for orphaned, abandoned and neglected children and children in extreme difficult circumstances to belong to a home and family, where competent and responsible SOS Mothers and co-workers provide unconditional love, inspiration, support and encouragement for these children to take their place in society, enriched with their God-given talents, and contribute their share to the progress of the human family.

“We build families in children in need, we help them shape their own futures and we share in the development of their communities,” said Paguyan.

SOS Children’s Village Davao currently has 178 children.

New businesses in Davao up in 2015

By Ace June Rell S. Perez

DAVAO Region's number of new business name registration (BNR) certificates issued in 2015 posted an increase of nine percent to 12,305 as compared to the previous year's 11,304.

The 2015 figure is the highest recorded, so far, in the past five years. According to the regional office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) data, of the total approved BNR for last year which is at 14,565, 84 percent of which or 12,305 are new Business names.

“These new business names are Micro-Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), this is a concrete indication that there are more new MSMEs coming in and emerging in the region and we can attribute those development to the multi-agencies intervention in support to spur the growth of MSMEs here,” DTI-Davao director Edwin D. Banquerigo said on Wednesday at the Habi at Kape at the Abreeza Mall of Davao.

DTI Davao reported that they hit the target set for last year by 104 percent. DTI’s annual target is 14,000 processed BNR’s.

The BNR being one of the principal front-line services of the DTI “aims to maintain a nationwide registry of business names mainly on Sole Proprietorship.”

For Davao City alone, BNR reached to over 7,800 businesses, 84 percent of which are new registered business names.

Banquerigo said that for the processed BNR’s for last year, the emerging top industries are trade and retail, service and manufacturing.

“Using the Business Permit and Licensing System (BPLS) data of Davao City, for this year we will be focusing on the manufacturing sector because value-adding to raw materials and products should be the direction now,” he said.

Banquerigo added that they will identify first the percentage of how many businesses are in the manufacturing industry and will focus on providing package of services and programs to help grow the sector.

“Of course the projects, services and programs must be fit on the level of the businesses, for example if they are still under the level one which is for startups then the programs must be fitted for them, if the level is already on the level six which is into exporting already then the program must come in accordance to that level,” Banquerigo added.

Maria Lourdes Monteverde, International property specialist for her part said that for the real-estate property industry, players must not focus on the housing sector but look beyond even to manufacturing.

“We should look beyond just the housing sector, it is also best to go for manufacturing for locators and investors to come in,” she said.

Meanwhile, as 2016 marked the reckoning period for full compliance of member-economies in the Asean Economic Community (AEC), Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) director for Investment Promotion, International Relations and Public Affairs’ Romeo Montenegro earlier said that businessmen must push and invest in the manufacturing sector.

“If Mindanao wants to take advantage of AEC and BIMP-Eaga, starting to have a mindset of creating more manufacturing base is important so that we will not only produce raw materials, but also produce value-added products that can be directed towards other larger markets, the entire Asean and the other big market in the international sphere,” Montenegro said.

“Most of our export products are raw, one factor of this is Mindanao have limited processing center and a manufacturing activities,” he said adding that this is also caused by the costly domestic shipping rates as compared to direct international shipping.

More Davao Pasalubong Center stalls up for raffling

By Karina V. Canedo

MORE businessmen are encouraged to participate in the raffle for the stalls of Pasalubong Center, an official said.

Davao City Administrator Jesus Melchor V. Quitain, in a media interview, said that they still haven't finished raffling the stalls.

"Nagkaroon kami ng raffling doon, but we did not raffle everything. The first raffling involved stalls for eateries," Quitain.

He asked the City Information Office (CIO) to help them disseminate information about the raffle.

"Marami pa kaming stalls to be raffled off. We hope more people will get to participate and we have asked the City information Office to help us in disseminating the information also so more people can participate," Quitain said.

He added that according to Assistant City Administrator Jhopee Avancena-Agustin, many stalls are still vacant.

"According to Atty. Agustin may bakante pa, yun ang concern ko because I want the Pasalubong Center to be the destination of the tourism." He belied report that rent is expensive at the Pasalubong Center.

"Hindi naman mahal ang rent pero ang sabi ni Atty. Jhopee dahan-dahan lang muna. We will take everything one classification at a time," Quitain said.

Tourism industry players embark on aggressive Davao promotion in Singapore


DAVAO CITY, Jan. 25 (PNA) -- The tourism industry players here are embarking on a more aggressive promotion of Davao in Singapore.

Department of Tourism (DOT)-11 Regional Director Roberto Alabado said SilkAir and Cebu Pacific, which provide the Davao-Singapore air link, makes easier for tourism players to promote the city because air linkage is a factor where they could entice tourists to come to Davao.

He said they will be tapping hotels in Singapore where Davao's best will be featured and also mount an exhibit where information related to Davao will be made available. Information would include must-visit places and other destinations, accommodations and restaurants as well as air linkages.

"We are looking also at a 'B2B' (business-to-business) set-up so we could invite tour operators when we do the promotion," he said.

He added that Singapore is very strategic because it has various connections in the world.

Alabado also said that Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. is giving priority to promoting the cities in Mindanao including Davao.

"There is a plan that the Department will be inviting CEOs of companies in Singapore for an all-expense paid weekend travel to Davao so they could see what is best here and by word of mouth they could share their experiences," he said.

He said they are looking at collaborative effort with the private sector where they could share in the travel requirements of the visitors such as on accommodation, air fare, tours and food.

Alabado disclosed that in the pipeline now is the familiar tour of Singapore-based media as this sector could write, broadcast and report the must-visit destinations of Davao.

"Promoting our city to the world must be sustained so that travelers who haven't been to our place would be encouraged to come," he said.

Alabado admitted that Davao is not yet known in the Middle East countries which comprise a huge market, the reason that "we want to tap with the Halal economy at USD2.3 million".

"But these prospective visitors with little information about Davao would be curious and would start searching online what is in Davao," he said.

"There is no stopping us anymore in our promotional campaign," Alabado concluded.

BIMP-Eaga Vision 2025, new challenge to Philippines

By Ace June Rell S. Perez

THE implementation of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-Eaga) Vision 2025 will be more challenging for the Philippines being the chair the BIMP-Eaga starting September 2016.

The BIMP-Eaga Vision 2025 is a blueprint eyed to support and complements the Asean 2025: Forging Ahead Together roadmap. It will also serve as the successor document to the Implementation Blueprint 2012-2016.

Undersecretary Janet M. Lopoz, executive director of the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda), told reporters that it will be more challenging for the Philippines as it will chair the BIMP-Eaga during the pilot year of the implementation of the BIMP-Eaga Vision 2025.

“This coming February 23 to 26, Davao City will be hosting the BIMP-Eaga Summit- Strategic Planning Workshop session, it is very timely that we are hosting the event because Philippines will also be an incoming chair of the BIMP-Eaga, sometime in September and it will be an extra challenge for us because will be the chair at the time we will be implementing the new roadmap,” she said.

The four-day event will be an avenue for member countries to finalize and consolidate the final inputs of the new BIMP-Eaga Vision 2025.

“New in a sense that we have checked other progress of our projects vis-à-vis our targets for the last 6 years and we have seen that we have achieved much, we are set to plan out the enhancement of our BIMP-Eaga directions vis-à-vis Asean Integration and new development and prospects,” Lopoz said.

The event is expected to draw 200 delegates from the four member countries. The venue in Davao City is still being finalized.

Under the BIMP-Eaga Vision 2025 Tourism component, a proposal for a direct route between Bali in Indonesia and Davao in Mindanao is being eyed now by Minda to pilot “pockets of tourism loops.”

“Bali is an existing tourist destination which is generating a lot of tourism receipts and we wanted to get a percentage of that,” Lopoz said.

Another pocket of tourism loops which are also identified is Davao leading to the cultural communities in Lake Sebu in South Cotabato passing the T’boli cultural village in Davao del Sur, and Davao leading to Davao Oriental to the beaches of Surigao ,a possible community-based eco-tourism destinations.

At present, the Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Transportation and Communication and, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, and other supporting agencies are now in an ongoing negotiation with two different Indonesian Airlines for the Bali-Davao route as well as with Cebu Pacific which already have existing regular flights but through Cebu going directly to Bali.

“We’re looking on the possibility of having Cebu-Davao-Bali,” she added. Furthermore, the Philippines will also be proposing for connectivity of development corridors in Mindanao to other areas in the sub-region through improvement in infrastructure, inclusion of development of food hubs between Mindanao and other BIMP-Eaga nation members, and developments on socio-cultural aspect for the development of the sub-region.

Davao City, Bacoor ink sisterhood


DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in behalf of Davao City signed a sisterhood pact with Mayor Strike Revilla of the Bacoor City last Thursday.

Davao City Councilors Danilo Dayanghirang, April Marie Dayap, Mabel Sunga Acosta, Antoinette G. Principe, Myrna Dalodo Ortiz, Bernard Al-ag, Louie John Bonguyan, Nilo AbelleraJr, Al Ryan Alejandre, and Rachel Zozobrado-Nagayo also went to the event.

“The pact meant the continuation of the cooperation in the trade and industry and also exchange of plans and programs even education in both cities,” Dayanghirang said in a phone interview on Friday.

He added that city mayor even invited the constituents of the Bacoor City to have an educational tour in Davao City.

“Ideas will be shared and to be adapted depending on the concerns of each,” Dayanghirang said.

He also added that the sisterhood pact means assistance in calamities, given that even those who are not sister cities of Davao are extended helped by the city.

Procurement of P244-M cacao seedlings ongoing

By Ace June Rell S. Perez

AS 2016 serves as the pilot year for implementation of the Cacao Double-Up Program (CDUP), some five million cacao seedlings, amounting to P244 million, are on the process of procurement.

"Procurement of these cacao seedlings already started and is ongoing. These are targeted to be planted before the planting season of the year," Undersecretary Janet M. Lopoz, executive director of the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda), said.

She added that Mindanao regions are almost done with the procurement process.

"Once the planting materials are delivered, the first batch of the program will take off," Lopoz said, adding that the challenge mow is on how they catch up the availability of the certified quality materials.

The program which is aimed at to double up and even surpass the country's current cacao production, which is anchored by Minda and Department of Agriculture (DA) and in partnership with Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology (Dost) and the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao Inc. (Cidami).

For the pilot year of implementation, CDUP has a total of P500 million budget.

"Initially DBM will pour some P500 million for the pilot year of implementation which will be on 2016,"Lopoz said in a recent interview. Of the P500 budget, P169 million of which will be allocated to Minda as counterpart for the initial budget and the rest will be allocated to DA, PCA, and other concerned government agencies.

According to Cidami data, the country’s total cacao production is pegged at some 10,000 metric tons (MT) in 2014.

The projected global demand of the cacao industry is pegged at 5 million MT with global deficit of 1 million MT. The country through the program is targeted to contribute 100,000 MT annual production by 2020.

The program will cover a total of 200,000 hectares and will target to plant 100 million cacao trees. Under the program the cacao seedlings are targeted to be intercropped with the coconuts trees.

It will be composed of three phases, the production, processing and the marketing stage.

“At present, we are working on an inventory of the certified nurseries as we target quality cacao, it must certified of Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) certified,” Lopoz said.

Mindanao business leaders to sustain export to Dubai


DAVAO CITY, Jan. 21 (PNA) -- The participation of business leaders in Mindanao at the Dubai Annual Investment Forum led to the initial entry of fruits grown from this island to the Middle East.

This was disclosed by Undersecretary Janet Lopoz, executive director of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), in a forum held at Abreeza Ayala Mall on Wednesday.

Lopoz said it has been their objective to penetrate other foreign markets and through business matching between Mindanao businessmen and buyers of their products.

Earlier, Marilou Ampuan, one of the founders and secretary-general of the Mindanao Islamic Chamber of Commerce and who participated in the Dubai AIF said they submitted business venture proposals.

"We are being assisted by MinDA and the Davao City Investment and Promotion Center (DCIPC) to make good with our proposals," she said.

Lopoz reported that initial shipment of mango and calamansi produced in Region XII already entered Dubai market.

She said Rickson Olympus of Tulunan, North Cotabato shipped one ton of mango to Dubai last November 29, 2015 that was sourced from 15 farmers who are members of the Tulunan Cooperative.

This was followed with another shipment on December 18, 2015 of one ton mango and a trial shipment of two boxes of bananas coming from small farm growers of General Santos City and Tampakan, South Cotabato.

She said a shipment of calamansi of 1.5 tons was made on December 27, 2015 that were consolidated from small farm growers in Sultan Kudarat particularly in the towns of Lambayong and Esperanza and in Matalam, North Cotabato.

MinDA is hopeful that this shipment will be sustained considering the huge demand of the Dubai market on agricultural products.

She said the business sector is also looking at the Filipino population there of 523,000 or 21.3 percent of the Dubai population.

At present, the Department of Agriculture (DA) 13 is assisting in the marketing and scouting for other markets.

Davao Region hits PHP26.7-B tourism receipts in 2015


DAVAO CITY, Jan 20 (PNA) -- The Department of Tourism in the Davao Region has reported an estimated of tourism receipts at PHP26.7 billion for the first 10 months in 2015.

This was disclosed by DOT 11 regional director Roberto Alabado III who said that the figure was based on the industry performance for travel and tourism from January to September last year.

However, Alabado said the figure will still increase with the remaining two months still being processed but already noted a 10.2 percent growth compared to the performance last year of the same period.

He attributed the ten months positive performance to tourist arrivals of domestic travelers at 1,857,099, foreign travelers at 121,604 and overseas Filipino, 4,870.

Compared to last year, he said domestic visitors registered only some 1,690,729, foreign tourists, 104,700 with a slightly higher number for overseas Filipinos at 5,198.

The holding of major projects and activities added to the continuing promotion of the region citing among others the participation in Tourism and Trade Bazaars at the Philippine Travel Mart, Madrid Fusion, he said.

He also said that there were familiarization tours for media coming from other countries and for the ADB directors.

There was also the Singapore marketing, the Mt. Apo Boulder Face Challenge with participants both from international and domestic, the Samal – Talikud Convergence, and the hosting of Zeghram Cruise ship.

Alabado also reported some major MICE events in the region namely, the midyear PICE Convention, the Palarong Pambansa, Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines, Philippine College of Physicians Midyear Convention, Davao International Travel Expo, NAITAS General Membership and Business Meeting, Philippine Nurses National Convention and Insular Life Convention.

The other contributor to a good performance was the increased connectivity. Alabado cited Air Asia that re-established the Davao-Manila-Davao, Cebu Pacific launched their Davao direct flight to Singapore and SilkAir added more Davao-Cebu-Singapore flights.

In 2015, new tourism products were developed with the creation of new tour packages and the development of new attractions.

He also mentioned an enhanced agritourism through Asia’s Fruit Market, the new Samal tour packages which included agricultural tour, the Taklobo tour and the Talikud tour, the Marilog Highland Agritour.

The development of cultural villages was among the efforts undertaken last year focusing on the Bagobo Cultural Village and the potential Sangab Mandaya Cultural Village, he said.

As to human resource development, Alabado said the region was a recipient of the ADB-CIDA Industry Skills Training Project of 6 grantees to receive free trainings to cover human resource management, CB tourism, security certification, etc. with 414 trainees.

There were also some 40 various trainings for the region’s tourism stakeholders were conducted on homestay program, customer service, communication skills and getting to know you tourists with 2,099 persons were trained.

Davao City to host Red Cross Million Volunteer Run 3


DAVAO CITY, Jan. 19 (PNA) -– Davao City will be hosting this year's Philippine Red Cross Million Volunteer Run 3 to be held on February 6 in an out and back course at the SM City Davao car park in Ecoland.

“We are hoping to get at least 1,000 runners,” said Gwen Clarise Cachuela of the Davao Red Cross Chapter at the weekly SCOOP Session of The Royal Mandaya Hotel Tuesday.

This is still part of the nationwide PRC Million Volunteer Run 3, which is participated simultaneously by the 38 chapters in the country.

“This year, PRC is targeting to get at least 3 million runners nationwide,” said Cachuela.

The 4K fun run kicks off at 6 a.m. while the route starts at the SM Davao car park going to the Tulip Drive, Quezon Boulevard, Ecoland Drive and back to Tulip Drive and to end at SM Davao car park.

Regular registration fee is PhP400 inclusive of a singlet and a race bib. A discount price of PhP200 will be given for the adults, who prefer without the singlet but only with a race bib. Students and seniors will also pay PhP100 for the race bib only.

For more inquiry contact mobile no. 0928-8096690 or

Meanwhile, the St. Paul College of Davao is staging the Run for Care Fun Run this Saturday, January 23 at 5 a.m. at the Riverfront Corporate City grounds in Ma-a.

“(We are) all in one for the mission,” said Sr. Marissa Galvez of SPCD at the weekly SCOOP Session of The Royal Mandaya Hotel on Tuesday.

The categories are the 5K and 3K with the registration fees of PhP300 for adults and PhP250 for kids and teens. Registrants will get a T-shirt, race bib, bottled water, certificate and prizes.

“The runners will just be running inside the Riverfront Corporate City grounds,” said Sr. Galvez.

Proceeds will go to different SPCD projects.

“This is open for everyone including the non-Catholic schools,” said Sr. Galvez.

There will also different fun booths and a bazaar during the event as part of the St. Paul’s Week celebration. For more inquiry, call tel. no. 282-8112.

P6B allotted for 3-year childhood care program


THE national government has set aside close to P6 billion for the three-year implementation of the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) intervention package which will start this year.

In Monday's Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City, National Nutrition Council (NNC) Davao director Maria Teresa Ungson said the budget comes from different government agencies to help improve nutrition of children in the Philippines.

The program involves agencies, such as Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Bureau of Animal Industry (Bai), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), ECCD and NNC.

Of the total allocated budget of P5.973 billion, for 2016-2018, P897.8 million comes from DOH, P3.956 million from DSWD, P2.4 million from BFAR, 396.2 million from BAI, P37.2 million from ECCD, and P683.4 million from NNC.

Ungson said the ECCD intervention package aims to provide integrated services on health, nutrition, early education and social services on the most crucial period of one's growth and development--the first 1,000 days of life.

She said the objective is to reduce mortality and morbidity rates among children 0-23 months old, reduce the prevalence of stunting and wasting among children 0-23 months old, and increase the children's meeting developmental milestone.

"We want to fight malnutrition especially stunting. We want to give necessary services to promote a good pregnancy, child with good brain development and proper growth development of a child physically and mentally," Ungson said.

The ECCD will be implemented in all Accelerated and Sustainable Anti-Poverty Program (Asapp) municipalities from the category one provinces as determined by the Cabinet Cluster on Human Development and Poverty Reduction targeting pregnant women, children 0-23 months old, and parents/caregivers.

Davao del Sur is on the ninth of the tenth list of areas in the country chosen as the recipients of the ECCD intervention package. The NNC is targeting Digos City, and the towns of Hagonoy and Magsaysay, covering 69 barangays.

Records showed that there are 9,526 pregnant women in three areas of the province, with 3,674 0-5 months old and 11,023 6-23 months old children.

"Nagulat nga kami na meron din sa Davao Region. Basically, ito yung mga services ng government na i-strengthen like pregnancy of the mother hanggang sa pagpanganak niya then hanggang sa two-years-old na ang bata," Ungson said.

Other areas chosen as recipients for the ECCD intervention package are Pangasinan, Quezon, Camarines Sur, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Leyte, Zamboangadel Sur and Sulu.

"This is a problem of the whole country. I mean the stunting is really staggering... there are 14 countries in the whole world that have high stunting rates, and Philippines is part of those 14 countries," Ungson said.

Citing the Unicef Global Nutrition Database 2012, 80 percent of the world's stunted children live in 14 countries. The Philippines was on the ninth list with 34 percent stunted children.

To help improve the nutrition status of the children, Ungson said the national government will have to push for ECCD intervention package.

Currently, the program is on its preparatory phase and NNC is on its social preparation stage conducting activities to make ECCD intervention package implementation-ready.

Halal trade expo set in Davao

By Ace June Rell S. Perez

DAVAO-BASED Universal Islamic Center, in partnership with the Mindanao Islamic Chamber of Commerce (MICC), is set to stage the Philippine Halal Trade and Tourism Expo on April 22 to 24 this year at the Abreeza Mall of Davao.

The three-day event will be focusing on promoting the growing US $3.2 trillion Halal industry in the global scale.

Marilou W. Ampuan, chair of the Halal committee of the Philippine Tourism Congress and founder of MICC, told reporters in a recent interview that the expo will further position Davao as one of the Halal hubs in Mindanao.

"We will be expecting over 200 participants to grace the event, mostly tourism industry players such as hotels and restaurants," she said adding that halal product producers and certifiers will also be invited.

Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has started the implementation of the Philippine Halal-bTourism Project last week.

The project will be tapping 50 major industry players in the tourism sector such as hotels and restaurants in the country to embrace Halal principles and practices by April of this year.

Of the figure, 10 will be tapped in Davao, 20 in Manila, 10 in Cebu and 10 in Boracay.

"For the first 10 players who will submit their intention to be part of the project, we will be shouldering the Halal accreditation and certification fees," Roberto Alabado III, DOT Davao regional director said.

He added that for those interested players who will not be part of the project, they will still assist and guide them for their accreditation and certification.

According to the project primer, the Halal tourism industry global economy value is pegged to double by 2020 at $6.4 trillion with some 150 million Muslim travelers worldwide.

Davao Region is among ATF 2016 focus destinations

By Ace June Rell S. Perez

DAVAO Region will be one of four Philippines’ top tourist destinations that will be showcased during the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Tourism Forum (ATF), an international tourism gab slated on January 18 to 26, 2016, to be held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza and SMX Convention Center at the Mall of Asia.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) office in Davao and its private partners will showcase the best of the region’s unique mix of diversity, both in landscape and in culture.

Other major tourist destinations in the country that will be showing a strong presentations and promotions during the post ATF tour are Palawan, Cebu, and Bohol.

Roberto P. Alabado III, DOT Davao regional director, told Sun.Star Davao in an interview that some 19 delegates of ATF has confirmed attendance to the prepared post ATF tour on January 23 to 26.

“Last week, we had a talk to the tour organizers, they already finished the site inspection, and we prepared the best in our region to promote our region as one of the major tourist hubs in the Southeast Asia.

The 19 delegates from different countries will visit Davao region’s Philippine Eagle Center, Malagos Garden Resort, Pearl Farm Resort, Banana Plantation and Hijo Plantation tour, and Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-Eaga) Ecofusion facility at the Abreeza Mall of Davao.

Delegate will also taste the Davao’s very own exotic fruit, Durian. In a separate interview, Mary Ann “Baby” Montemayor, president of the Davao Region Tourism Council and Davao Ecocrafts Association Inc. (DEA) that during the visit, the ATF delegates will witness a tribal living museum.

“In Abreeza Ayala Mall we are doing a tribal living museum, this activity will showcase culture and arts,” she said, adding that tourists is always looking for shopping where there is culture.

Also the region’s micro entrepreneurs and their products will take center stage during the visit.

“It will be experiential because we are doing some bead-making, weaving, handmade paper making, and then we will let them try to do it,” she added. In 1996, Davao City was successful in hosting the international forum; Montemayor described it as one of the most memorable ATF hosting as several years after people are still talking about the event.

This year, ATF centers on a theme “One Community for Sustainability.” It represents the region’s thrust to become a “10-in-one” destination in the global market.

The tourism forum will highlight the adoption of the Asean tourism strategic plan which will provide a framework for regional tourism development from 2016 to 2020, envisioning Southeast Asia into “a quality tourism destination offering a unique, diverse” experience by 2020.

RDC 11 sets 11 priorities for 2016

By Jeanevive D. Abangan (PIA 11)

DAVAO CITY, Jan. 15 (PIA)--Before he ends his term as chairperson of the Davao Regional Devt Council in June this year, at a mature age of 82, Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo P. del Rosario sets 11 priorities for the development planning body to pursue in 2016.

Among the RDC 11 priorities are the Implementation of the Roadmap to Address the Impact of El Nino; linking Davao Regions industry clusters with global value chains to significantly bring stability and growth opportunities for small and medium enterprises; and the implementation of the Davao Food Terminal Complex in Toril, Davao City.

Other Davao Region RDC priorities include the review of the Davao Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project proposed by the Davao City Government, the closure of issues related to the Davao Sasa Port Modernization Project, and the completion of the 300 megawatt San Miguel Corporation Global Power Coal Plant Project in Malita, Davao Occ.

The RDC also wants to ensure the conduct of the full blown feasibility study of the Samal Bridge Project which was the recommendation of the pre-FS completed in 2015, secure the implementation of the development, operation , and maintenance of the Davao Airport; and update the Davao Region Human Resource Development Plan to address the job-skills mismatch.

Del Rosario also advocates the passage of House Bill 4412 and Senate Bill 2292 into law to establish the Davao Regional State University system, the first ever regional state university in the country.

Before he bows out of office, Del Rosario wants the RDC to conduct preparatory activities to formulate the Davao Region Successor Plan 2017-2022 together with its accompanying documents, the Results Matrices, the Regional Development Investment Program and the Regional Development Research Agenda.

Del Rosario wanted the formulation process to start before he ends his term as the RDC chairperson. He views the Successor Plan as mechanism to ensure that priorities set will be supported and continued by the next RDC chairperson whatever would be the outcome of the national and local elections.

Meanwhile, Del Rosario encourages his successor to push the set priorities and aim to get a substantial share of the annual budget. However, he said requests for inclusion in the national budget should be in accordance with needs of the Davao Region constituents.

Davao City to tap gov't line agencies focusing halal industry


DAVAO CITY, Jan. 14 (PNA) -- The Davao City Investments and Promotion Center (DCIPC) sees the emergence of halal industry in the city once Mayor Rodrigo Duterte signs the Executive Order creating the Davao City Halal Development Council (DCHDC), whose work focuses on the proposed programs and projects to address certification and accreditation of establishments and producers.

DCIPC head Ivan Cortez said there were proposals already lined up and they needed to assess and look them in coordination with concerned government agencies with staff members who were technical experts on the Halal certification and accreditation process.

He said that the government offices and their attached agencies were members of the DCHDC with the Mindanao Islamic Chamber of Commerce as chair and the DCIPC as vice-chair.

Among the agencies named in the Council were Department of Agriculture (DA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Science and Technology (DPST), Department of Tourism (DOT national and regional offices), National Commission of Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Davao City Agriculturist Office, Davao City Health to name a few.

He said while the DOT embarked in Halal Tourism Project launched in Davao City this week with 10 establishments as beneficiaries, the Council would assist all the other establishments wanting to make their places be friendly to Muslim visitors and tourists also.

"We want to include everybody in this endeavor," he said.

Cortez said the proposal also included the establishment of a Halal certified abattoir although this would be discussed with the DA which has projects of this kind too.

"We will submit proposal on this project to the city government also considering the cost it will entail," he said. He said there has been a clamor of Hala-certified slaughterhouse.

He added that they would also embark on awareness campaign about Halal concerns through briefings and fora and on the production aspect of agri products.

"With the city's readiness on this we can tap the Halal market which is very huge," he said.

He shared his conversation with Mohammad Sabbah, managing editor of Arab Investor Magazine, a business paper based in the Middle East saying, "Muslim tourists don't want to go to the same place that they had visited and would look for new places to travel".

With our preparation to be a Muslim-friendly destination Cortez said, “We could tap this market and besides Muslim tourists would want to go to places that they will enjoy and one of their considerations are accommodations and restaurants that are Halal certified”.

Davao City as Mice destination

By Ace June Rell S. Perez

INCREASING awareness among national and international organizers of meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (Mice) about Davao City resulted to the influx of visitors.

"We can attribute the increasing tourist arrivals to the campaign of enabling Davao City as a Mice destination," Roberto P. Alabado III told reporters on Wednesday.

He said Davao City is emerging as the top Mice destination.

According to DOT data, of Davao Region's 1,874,587 tourist arrivals from January to September 2015, most of the tourists were reported in Davao City with 1,290,480 or 69 percent of the region's tourist arrivals.

"Many of the conventions that were not held here before were already staged here because we already have convention centers that can hold national and international conventions," Alabado said.

"With the major conventions, Davao is now one of the preferred destinations for Mice," he added.

To further position Davao as a Mice destination, the tourism department will continue the Mice strategy. DOT is planning to stage more Mice road shows which will be vital to introduce the city, emphasizing Davao's unique offering of Mice incentives to various organizers who intend to hold their conventions in the city.

Also, the tourism department is now finalizing partnership from airlines partners to give Mice participants special fare discounts.

"We have talk already to airlines as partners, because one barrier during a convention here in Davao especially from Manila is the cost of travel. We are now finalizing partnerships from our airlines to offer discounts for our official Mice goers here," Alabado said.

As tourist arrivals in the city continue to grow, Davao City Investment Promotions Center (DCIPC) said that it contributed to the investment confidence of private sectors.

"Investors in the accommodation sector both Manila-based companies establishing presence here and local firms that are expanding are dependent in the trend of tourist arrivals in a specific area, as the tourist arrival increases, the applications of accommodation and hotel investments here are also moving up," Ivan C. Cortez, DCIPC officer-in-charge, said.

Some of the hotel accommodations that are set to open in the city are GoHotels, Homecrest, Dusit Thani, among others.

By February, city's hotel rooms will reach over 8,000.

EU envoy visits EU-funded projects in Davao City for the first time


MANILA, Jan. 12 (PNA) -- European Union's Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen takes his first visit in Davao City to reaffirm the organization's commitment to contribute to development initiatives in Mindanao.

The visit from Monday until Tuesday will look into potential opportunities for further partnership with stakeholders from Davao City and other provinces in the region.

Ambassador Jessen will meet with local government officials from the region, representatives from non- government and civil society organisations and the business community.

This is the second visit to Mindanao following his trip to Cotabato City last December. He will be accompanied by Mr. Thomas Wiersing, Desk Officer, European Commission and Mr. Mattias Lentz, Minister Counsellor, EU Delegation to the Philippines.

The Ambassador will also visit the Indigenous Peoples' MNHCN project (Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health and Nutrition strategy or MNCHN). The design of the action is founded on a rights-based approach, aiming at Mindanao which the EU is currently supporting with a grant of 7 million euros.

This project addresses the maternal, neonatal and child health and nutrition needs of Indigenous Cultural Communities / Indigenous Peoples (ICC/IP) and other disadvantaged communities in Mindanao. It is being implemented in the provinces of North Cotabato, Compostela Valley, Bukidnon, Agusan del Sur, and Zamboanga del Sur.

A landmark program, the initiative has contributed largely to the formulation and passage of the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2013-01 (Guidelines on the Delivery of Basic Health Services for Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples) signed by the Department of Health, Department of Interior Local Government, and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

Ambassador Jessen will see first-hand the gains and accomplishments of IP MNCHN Project-Mindanao at Pamulaan Center for Alternative Education at USEP Mintal Campus.In partnership with Pamulaan Foundation, the project helps in strengthening the Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPOs) of the five project sites through “Leadership and Organization Capacity Training” of IP leaders.

Among the achievements of the project is the formulation of the Ancestral Domain Investment Plan for Health (ADIPH) which has become the basis of LGU fund allocation for IP health programs and services at the municipal and provincial levels.The project has also initiated the creation of Service Delivery Networks of health service providers within and outside the ancestral domains of the five project sites.

Its scholarship grant for midwifery courses is supporting 15 IP youths. Financial and technical support for 52 scholars of midwifery board review and examination have also been provided where 24 of them have passed the examination and are now licensed midwives.

Davao City Health Office lines up 2016 projects

By Christine Joice C. Cudis

DAVAO City Health Office (CHO) prioritizes health facility enhancement, population management, and environmental sanitation among their projects lined up for completion this 2016.

Aside from the immunization of more than 10,000 children who did not receive the vaccines last year, CHO vows to improve access to quality hospitals and health care facilities.

Government-owned and operated hospitals are to be upgraded to accommodate more patients and house up-to-date facilities.

"Huge percentage of the government's budget goes to the hospitals so we could provide better health care and assistance to those who needs it," said City Health Officer Dr. Josephine Villafuerte.

At present, there are already 17 established health centers in the city. It houses birthing facilities and machines for the treatment of tuberculosis patients.

However, some of the centers which are still under construction were temporarily put to stop as the budget is still to come on February.

Meanwhile, CHO will concentrate on conducting immunization to children below 12 months, population management, and environmental sanitation.

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