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New program to boost Davao's position as Mice destination

By Reuel John F. Lumawag

TOURISM industry players have joined forces for “Let's Meet in Davao Mice” program in a bid to boost the city's position as a preferred destination for meetings, incentives, conventions, and events (Mice).

The Let's Meet in Davao Mice program is a collaboration between the Davao City Government, Davao City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO), Department of Tourism (DOT)-Davao, the Mice Execom, and other Mice partners like hotels and restaurants.

The program aims to assist planners and organizers succeed in their Mice programs and objectives in Davao Region; to increase Mice activities in Davao in a bid to position the city for the Mice market; to make Davao as a choice for Mice activities; and to promote and market Davao City as one of the preferred tourism destinations.

Program components include "arrival resources," which can be availed as incentives in hosting events in Davao; Mice desk equipped with necessary information about Mice; and industry sector participation from accommodation facilities and hotel industry sector that will give out special Mice rates.

The program will be a year-round initiative that will run from 2015 to 2016.

CTOO officer-in-charge Lisette Marques told Sun.Star Davao that they came up with the program to make Davao City more attractive for the hosting of Mice activities and programs.

"We would like to really make it more advantage or attractive for them to conduct meetings here," she said.

Under the collaboration, DOT-Davao will co-organize road shows spearheaded by the CTOO and Mice Execom; provide the CTOO the support to top 10 key events or Mice accounts that will be targeted with the Mice Execom for 2015 and 2016; and give incentives as indicated on the Mice Manual 2014-2015.

The Davao City Government will spearhead the road shows this year, inviting media partners, Mice planners, and tourism associations in various locations in Manila; work on the possible issuance of a council resolution to waive permits in the installation of streamers around the city for Mice related events registered through the Mice website (; provide with the DOT the support to top ten key events or Mice accounts; co-presenter of DOT in the program; and provide policy direction and promotional and logistical support.

The Mice Execom shall be the consultative body that will be working with the DOT and CTOO in the processes of the Mice program; come up with incentives; familiarization tour for targeted associations and organizers; and co-spearhead the road shows.

Partner hotels will give special rates for the Let's Meet in Davao Mice program valid for 2015 to 2016; display the Let's Meet in Davao Mice program logo or poster; and promote the program through their own campaigns or channels.

Partner restaurants will give out special rates for the program valid for 2015 to 2016; display the program logo and posters; and promote the program through their own campaigns or channels.

Marques said they are hoping to get 10 big Mice activities for 2015 through the Let's Meet in Davao Mice program.

DMSF launches high-end CT scan

By Antonio L. Colina IV

THE Davao Medical School Foundation (DMSF) Inc. launched Monday a P48-million worth Philips Ingenuity Core 128-Slice CT Scan that will support the hospital's operation.

In a press conference on Monday, DMSF Inc. president Jonathan Alegre said the acquisition of a new medical equipment is a milestone for the hospital since it can expedite the process of diagnosing a patient.

With state-of-the-art medical equipment in place, Alegre is hoping to serve more patients with quality services at an affordable price.

DMSF is not the first hospital to acquire a 128-slice CT Scan, but the hospital is the first one to utilize a medical equipment manufactured by Philips, which is safer since it uses low-dose radiation.

Dr. Samuel Bangoy, a radiologist of DMSF, said that it is not anymore how advanced the technology in place that's needed but rather how safe it is to the patients.

In this case, the Philips 128-Slice CT scan takes only a shorter time to come out with the results, thus the lesser the patient's exposure to radiation.

"To scan an entire body, it will only take about 10 to 15 minutes. Before, it takes hours," he said.

He added that they are also hoping to serve patients of the other hospitals in Davao City who will need the services of the 128-Slice CT Scan.

Council urged: Allow e-trikes to travel on city streets


A COMPANY engaged in manufacturing of electrically-charged tricycles requested the City Council to grant them a franchise allowing e tricycles to travel around Davao City.

The Philippine Etrans Manufacturing Corp. sent a letter to Councilor Tomas Monteverde IV, expressing intent to register their electric vehicles.

Song He, director of Phil. Etrans, said the Land Transportation Office (LTO) only allows e-tricycles' registration under private vehicles.

"There is a need for us to apply for the registration for our electric vehicles because if the same will not be registered, the purpose of our company in providing or or manufacturing electrically charged vehicles will be defeated since it cannot be used to cater the public or the commuters of the city," he said in his letter.

The company manufactures maximum of 3,000 vehicles per month like e-motorcycles, e-tricycles and e-jeepneys.

P6-M for city's SAM kids

By Kriztja Marae G. Labrador (KGL)

AN OFFICIAL from the Davao City Health Office (CHO) said Thursday that they will allocate around P6 million for the Severely Acute Malnourished (SAM) kids as one of their priorities in 2015.

SAM kids are identified as not only underweight but are the ones who can die anytime because of hunger.

CHO head Joy Villafuerte, in a media interview, said that CHO's other priorities for their 2015 budget, which will still be around P270 million, are family planning and the promotion of healthy lifestyle.

"We wanted to focus also on the lifestyle kasi yan man talaga ang prevention, health lifestyle wala kang hypertension, heart disease o diabetes," she said.

Villafuerte also said that they plan to increase the supply of the implanon (an injectable rod for women that helps prevent pregnancy). For their Department of Health (DOH) counterpart projects, Villafuerte said that they will focus on finishing all their structures and facilities like health centers, wellness centers and pediatric centers.

"Facilities and equipment yung focus nang DOH while yung sa amin yung routine," she said.

Davao Media Freedom Day celebration today

(Sun Star Davao)

MEMBERS of the media industry in Davao City will be coming together today, November 22, at Ateneo de Davao University for the pre-empted celebration of the 5th Davao Media Freedom Day.

Davao Media Freedom Day was organized and officially declared as such by no less than former Davao City mayor Sara Z. Duterte last November 23, 2010 as Davao media’s move to perpetuate the learnings that can be gleaned from the Ampatuan Massacre.

Thus, the Davao Media Freedom Day is celebrated in time with the number of years since the massacre. But with November 23 this year being a Sunday, activities have been set earlier, which is Saturday.

This year’s theme is: “Gagged. Threatened. Killed. #Free?” to underscore impunity and the government’s inaction on the Freedom of Information Bill.

In the morning will be an amazing race type of game organized by Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Nico Alconaba, as well as an essay writing contest for those who cannot join the race to be handled by Sun.Star Superbalita managing editor Alger Dura.

Participating media groups will be setting up a mini exhibit for students to browse around and get a feel of how it is to be in the media industry.

In the afternoon will be a forum that will have Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate and National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP)’S Nonoy Espina as guest speakers with panel of reactors from local media outlets including ABS-CBN Davao, GMA-Davao and 109.5 Balita FM.

Judith D. Dalagan, chair of the AdDU Mass Communication Department, will be the one to welcome the participants composed of journalists and Communication Arts students, while Sun.Star Davao’s Stella A. Estremera will be giving the brief history of the celebration.

Estremera, along with Zarate and AdDU’s Gemima Valderrama, is a member of the group that first convened the celebration.

For this year’s celebration, the main movers are Sun.Star Davao, Philippine Daily Inquirer, GMA-Davao, ABS-CBN Davao, 105.9 Balita FM, NUJP, Mindanao Times, Mindanews, and Communications Majors Alliance of Davao City with the support of the Mindanao Development Authority.

MinDA assures monitoring of the P8.6B investment prospects from BIMP-EAGA confab

(PIA-11/Carina L. Cayon)

DAVAO CITY, Nov. 20 (PIA) – An official of the Mindanao Development Authority assured that the agency will continue to monitor and keep track of the developments of the P8.6 billion worth of investment prospects of Mindanao drawn from the 2nd BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT Trade Fair and Business Leaders conference recently held in the city.

“Certainly, we’ll keep track and monitor developments of those projects so we’d be able to see conclusions of those investments discussed in the form of Memorandum of Agreement or Joint Venture Agreement which will signal the start of the investments,” stated MinDA’s investment and promotion director Romeo Montenegro.

Montenegro said exchange visits by companies such as from Thailand and Malaysia will be expected as the generated investment leads of projects will continue to be explored by Mindanao key players and foreign counterparts.

Earlier, MinDA said that the Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia Philippines–East ASEAN Growth Area and the Indonesia Malaysia Thailand–Growth Triangle (BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT) initiative will serve as Mindanao’s platform for the upcoming Economic Community.

“Mindanao is expected to be ahead in terms of taking advantage of the opportunities in the ASEAN integration,” said Montenegro who recently graced as among the guest speakers during the 12th Mindanao Communicators Network Congress held recently in Zamboanga City.

He said among the big ticket investments that were explored during the BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT business matching included the proposed coffee plantation in Sultan Kudarat and the oil palm plantation in North Cotabato amounting to P1.5 billion each.

Another project prospects were the oil depot in the Polloc Port in Parang, Maguindanao of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao worth P440 million and a P350 million worth of corn processing facility in South Cotabato.

Discussions have also been going on concerning the possible establishment of connectivity between the Port Labuan in Malaysia and Polloc Port in Parang, Maguindanao.

Montenegro said the investment prospects are spread across Mindanao including the Bangsamoro areas, adding that “efforts to draw investments towards Bangsamoro areas are equally improving with the anticipated setting up of the Bangsamoro government later on.”

Mindanao export products will also be pushed to be able to top into the larger market of Asean which is assured of 600 million consumer population from the ten ASEAN member countries, he said.

Mindanao will also be able to present itself as investment destination for the production expansion of several multi-national companies in terms of locating their products in Mindanao, Montenegro stated.

The MinDA official believed that Mindanao will have a higher chance of drawing investors, noting its competitiveness advantages such as the cheaper cost of electricity and the presence of more productive labor and agriculture sectors.

MinDA has said that “Mindanao will be positioned as ASEAN’s food basket with the eventual goal of becoming the primary source of industrial crops, producing mass volumes of essential raw materials necessary for processing into more valuable products.”

Council approves P5.8B 2015 budget

By Arianne Caryl N. Casas

THE 17th City Council approved on third and final reading Tuesday the P5.8-billion 2015 budget.

The annual budget is pegged at P5,813,841,960 -- P4,589,920,456 goes to general fund proper while P129,862,807 will cover operational expenses of the eight economic enterprises and P1,094,058,697 for development fund (infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects).

The City Mayor's Office (CMO) gets the highest chunk of the 2015 budget with a total appropriation of P1,691,979,732 or 36.9 percent of the general fund proper.

The CMO budget includes funds for the peace and order program, the Central 911, Traffic Management Center and eight other units/offices like the Business Bureau, Lingap, Crisis Intervention, Barangay Development, Traffic Signalization Project and Intensified Canal Clean-Up and Drainage Project and Sidewalk vendors Demolition Team.

Gov. Generoso Bridge II opens

By Reuel John F. Lumawag

AFTER being delayed for over a month, Governor Generoso (Bankerohan) Bridge II finally opened Monday, allowing a now easier flow of traffic in the area.

The rehabilitation of the bridge began on April 23 of this year with an allocation of P63 million and to be done by Oscar Sarmiento Construction.

The completion date was supposed to be on October 6 but it was moved to November 6 then to November 15 due to construction delays.

The opening of the bridge was lead by the Department of Public Works and Highways-Davao headed by Regional Director Mariano Alquiza and the City Government of Davao headed by lawyer Mariano Alquiza.

Personnel and the officials of the Traffic Management Council were also present during the opening.

"Lipay tang tanan kay nahuman na ang tulay although naay pa'y gamay gamay na buluhaton sa ilalom pero ma-agihan na ang kalsada (We are happy that the bridge is already finished although there are a few more finishing touches that needed to done under the bridge but it is now passable by motorists)," Alquiza said.

The rehabilitation of the bridge was done after it was discovered that the main posts or piers holding the bridge were weakened brought by long use, constant battering from flood debris, and illegal quarrying operations.

The Governor Generoso Bridge II rehabilitation project included the strengthening of the piers or the main posts. An asphalt overlay on the bridge was also done.

"The bridge is good as brand new," said Alquiza, adding that the bridge will have a longer life span brought by the rehabilitation.

DPWH project manager engineer Alvin Cabueñas said there will be a monthly inspection on the bridge and a yearly detailed inspection as part of their maintenance.

Dutch firm taps BPO firm to develop multi-layer online game

By Reuel John F. Lumawag (KRP)

A DUTCH-OWNED company Maata Games has tapped Davao City-based business process outsourcing (BPO) company for the development of a new massively multi-player online game (MMOG).

The partnership will be the first of its kind to be done between the Davao-based ICT-BPO company, Next BPO Solutions Inc. (NBSI), and the Netherland-based game development company.

MMOG is "an online video game which can be played by a very large number of people simultaneously."

Entitled as Erectus, the game is about the clash of civilizations of Homo Sapiens and Homo Erectus 130,000 years ago. The game is targeted for players who are 16 years old and above.

The development started early this month and is expected to be completed for launch on March 2015, wherein it will be first introduced in four languages -- English, Dutch, Japanes, and Tagalog.

Maata Games managing partner Paul Ludwig told reporters on Friday evening that the conceptualization, designing, and the development of the gameplay and storyline has already been done in the Netherlands and the programming and coding will be done here in Davao City by five developers from NBSI.

He said they have sent a scrum master to prepare the Davao City developers for the game development of Erectus. Ludwig will be travelling back and forth between the Netherlands and Davao to check on the game development.

Ludwig said once completed, Erectus will be a free to play browser-based game wherein players will "raise" their civilization to attack or form alliances with other players. He said an in-game shop will be available where players can purchase things to boost their camp.

He said they have considered outsourcing the work in Eastern Europe but decided to go for the Philippines because the cost of doing business here would be cheaper.

"One thing that I was very sure of is programmers here are really qualified to do the job... I am certain the job here will be done properly," Ludwig said, adding that what makes the Philippine programmers unique is that they are able to work efficiently in a team environment.

He said the partnership between NBSI and Maata Games will not be a one-time partnership but will be a continuing one once the game is launched. After the browser-based Erectus is launched, they are hoping to develop it into a mobile game application once they are able to grab a large market of players.

He said what set this game apart from their competitors is it is more focused on the storyline and has a lot of history in it.

"The project basically shows that it can be done here in Davao City. We are very competitive in the skills side," said Xavier Eric B. Manalastas, president and chief executive officer of NBSI.

"This is a good milestone for the software industry of Davao City. We are very pleased to showcase the quality and capabilities of our developers here and the Maata Games has selected Davao City to be the launching pad for their global game," Atty. Sam Matunog, president of ICT Davao, said in a statement.

Pamasko bowling opens on Dec. 4


IT'S all set for the Mayor Rody and Vice-Mayor Pulong Duterte Pamaskong Handog Open Bowling tournament that will begin on December 4 at the Fair Lanes Bowling Center.

Games are also scheduled on December 9, 11 and 12.

Sunday Bowlers Club board of director Emie Orteza bared this in a text message to Sun.Star Davao recently.

A total of P35,000 and trophies are at stake.

The event is sponsored by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte through City Mayor's Office chief of staff Christopher "Bong" Go and Sports Development Division of the City Mayor's Office (SDD-CMO) headed by William "Butch Ramirez.

Davao sets incentives for MICE market

By Carmencita A. Carillo

DAVAO CITY -- The tourism sector here remains confident of capturing a significant share of the Meetings, Incentives Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) market even after the city failed to make it as one of the six venues for the Asia Pacific Economic Meetings (APEC) in 2015. “APEC or no APEC there are many opportunities for Davao City,” said Arturo P. Boncato, Department of Tourism (DOT) assistant secretary.

The local government, DOT and the tourism private sector signed an agreement on Nov. 13 for a more aggressive MICE campaign for Davao City in 2015-2016.

MICE incentives for 2015-2016 have also been lined up, including arrival assistance resources and discounts from participating shopping malls, among others.

Ma. Felisa Marques, City Tourism Officer, said they are also working on the possibility of having the city council issue a resolution that will waive all permits and fees in the installation of streamers around the city for MICE-related events that have registered through the website.

Davao was considered one of the contenders for at least one APEC meeting as it topped the readiness and security preparedness requirements of the committee during their inspection.

However, it was not included in the final list after various foreign travel advisories were issued against Mindanao.

The areas approved to host the APEC meetings are Metro Manila; Bagac, Bataan and Clark, Pampanga in Central Luzon; Tagaytay City and Cavite in Calabarzon; Legazpi City and Albay in Bicol Region; Boracay, Aklan and Iloilo City and Iloilo Province in Western Visayas; and Cebu in Central Visayas.

Mr. Boncato said there are still smaller APEC meetings and working group discussions next year and there remains a chance that Davao could serve as the venue.

“Next year is APEC year and even if Davao is not part of the approved major destinations, there will still be opportunities for the city because the events here will focus on mini destinations, “ he said.

Mr. Boncato pointed out that Davao’a hosting of two international events this year proved the city has both the facilities and the capacity for MICE activities.

The city hosted the Philippines Development Forum (PDF) on the Bangsamoro, which was attended by representatives of international funding institutions alongside government officials, and the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area-Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (BIMP-EAGA IMT-GIT) Trade Fair and Leaders Conference last month.

Torotot festival set on December 31

By Kriztja Marae G. Labrador

DAVAO City will again hold the Torotot Festival on December 31 in another bid to make it to the Guinness Book of World Record, an official of the 2014 Pasko Fiesta executive committee (Execom) said.

Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre, spokesperson of the 2014 Pasko Fiesta sa Dabaw execom, said during the I-Speak Media Forum at the Davao City Hall Thursday they will stage it with the support of the same telecommunication company and they will make it "bigger and better" than last year.

He said that for the upcoming Torotot Festival, they will clarify the time of blowing the torotot or party horns, which will be at 10 p.m. of December 31 in order to beat Japan's record of 6,900 people.

"We only had 3,500 attendees inside the area last year so we did not beat their record," Alejandre said.

He also said that for this year, they will also tap several barangays to make the torotots.

"We will make the torotots here in Davao kasi nalaman natin na yung ts orotots last year was from Manila pa pala and we also want the barangays to have an additional income," he said.

Alejandre said they are currently looking for an area to hold the said event.

"We are actually looking for another place because our night market is at Roxas Avenue so we are looking for San Pedro St or Sta. Ana Avenue for the approval of the TMC but they really want to stage the event in Roxas but it may be crowded so that's the two areas," he said.

All systems go for biggest party in Mindanao

(PIA/RG Alama)

DAVAO CITY- All is set for Carte Blanche 2014, the biggest dance party in the southern Philippines.

To be held this Saturday, November 15 at the concert grounds of the Crocodile Park here in Davao City, organizers are eyeing to break the record of 10,033 attendees during the first staging of the electronic dance music festival.

Event organizer Kat Dalisay says they are preparing for a much bigger event than last year.

“We have 100 bouncers, four mobile patrol vehicles with 10 policemen, 10 security guards, two ambulances and six first aid stations.” Dalisay said.

Dalisay who have now patched up with the City Government after a controversial squabble said the organizers- the Manic Nightnings Productions which she heads is fully cooperating with the City Government for the event.

“We have invited Vice-Mayor Paolo Duterte and the City Councilors to come to the event.” Dalisay said. She is also hoping that City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte would also drop by during the party.

Dalisay also said that she instructed the emcees and DJs to not to utter any foul language and be sensitive to the crowd. She said they will try to avoid the Ramon Bautista controversy, where the famous comedian was declared persona-non-grata by the City Government for his politically incorrect remarks during his spiel which occurred at a rave party in the city.

She also added that the city’s ordinances involving liquor and smoking will be strictly enforced during the party.

Apart from controversies and prohibitions, Dalisay said the City Government is supportive in her endeavor by linking her up with the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) association in the City. Her father Albert Dalisay was recently elected as officer of the group.

Dalisay said that part of her vision is that Carte Blanche will become a major tourism draw for Davao City.

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