Iloilo City News

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10 Iloilo City establishments are PWD-friendly

By Lilibeth A. French (JCM/LAF/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, July 30 (PIA 6) - - Ten establishments here were recently affirmed by the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) of the Iloilo city government as PWD friendly.

These establishments include SM City, Robinsons Place, Plazuela de Iloilo, Diversion 21, Grand Dame Hotel, Philippine Long Distance Telephone, Tonino’s Restorante, Streetside KTV, The Medical City and Ayala Techno Hub.

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog awarded the plaque of recognition to the representatives of the PWD-friendly establishments during a Monday flag ceremony of the city government as part of the city’s observance of the 2015 National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week.

Iloilo City Social Welfare and Development Office Focal Person for PWD Program Cirila Sibolinao said the award gave due recognition to the establishments who have really made efforts to make and improve their facilities to be PWD-friendly.

“We are hoping that this will also encourage other establishments to make their facilities, devices and accommodations accessible or PWD- friendly as possible,” said Sibolinao.

Five barangays were also recognized for their efforts exerted to enhance the mobility and lives of PWDs in their communities. These barangays are Balabago, Dungon A, Buntatala, Calubihan and San Isidro, all in the districts of Jaro.

“These villages made efforts to make their barangay halls accessible to PWDs by putting ramps and have started the profiling of their PWDs,” said Sibolinao.

Last July 22, PDAO and other organizations of PWDs also joined the accessibility audit conducted by the Regional Council on Disability Affairs 6 chaired by the Department of Social Welfare and Development in eight private and government establishments in this city to check their compliance with Batas Pambansa Blg. 344 or An act to enhance the mobility of disabled person’s by requiring certain buildings, institutions, establishments and public utilities to install facilities and other devices.

The group visited Injap Tower Hotel, McDonalds FastFood Restaurant in Megaworld, Iloilo Convention Center, Startek, Atria, Esplanade, GT Mall, and TESDA 6 Regional Office.

Sibolinao said that if establishments and villages in this city could make their facilities PWD-friendly or compliant with the Accessibility Law this will bring significant impact on the mobility and safety of PWDs.

Iloilo City signs friendship relationship agreement with Republic of Korea’s Anseong-Si


ILOILO CITY, July 29 (PNA) -- Iloilo City and Republic of Korea’s Anseong City on Wednesday entered into a friendship agreement, bringing into a higher level the friendly ties developed between the Rotary Club (RC) of Metro Iloilo and Rotary Club of Anseong.

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said that the RC of Metro Iloilo headed by its former governor Ramon Cua Locsin and RC of Anseong have projects together and now they would like to “elevate it to bigger and permanent relationship by establishing friendly relationship between two cities.”

The friendship agreement was signed by Mabilog upon the authority of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) and Mayor Hwang Eun Seon of Anseong City.

“The people of Iloilo City are looking forward to this friendly relationship with the City of Anseong. We know that this could complement both our cities in terms of tourism, economic activity and social services, cultural and education sector,” Mabilog said.

Meanwhile, Anseong-Si Mayor Hwang Eun Seon through an interpreter said that he would like to learn from Mabilog and know more about Iloilo City.

“We would like to develop together not only Anseong but also Iloilo City. Through this kind of ceremony both cities could develop together,” the Anseong city mayor stated.

He also invited Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival to join their Baudeogi Festival in October 6 this year. Baudeogi Festival has performed in the World Cup and Olympics, he said.

The Anseong City local chief executive also has officially invited Dinagyang Festival to perform in their festival in October 6 of this year to which Mabilog responded in the affirmative.

Mabilog also extended the same invitation for this city’s Dinagyang Festival in January 2016.

DTI-6 releases around PHP9.1M for SSF program


ILOILO CITY, July 28 (PNA) –- The Department of Trade and Industry-6 (DTI-6) has already released around PHP9.1 million for the Shared Service Facility (SSF) program to their identified co-operators.

Ruby Melliza of the DTI Regional Office 6 said that for 2015, they have a SSF allocation of PHP23 million that would be used to purchase tools and equipment by the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) co-operators in order to increase their production and efficiency.

The co-operators that received funding have also signed memorandum of agreement with DTI and have housing facility for their tools and equipment.

The fund release per province are in Antique more than PHP2.8 million for food processing, packaging, and salt making; Capiz PHP1.550 million for coco coir; Guimaras PHP835,985 for upgrading of equipment of Samal Weavers Association; and Negros Occidental more than PHP3.9 million for organic farming and composting, food processing, and purchase of tools for the packaging facility.

Melliza said that the tools and equipment are made sure to pass the Bureau of Product Standards.

DSWD-6, other NGAs hold access audit


ILOILO CITY, July 27 (PNA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD),together with partner agencies, and the inter-agency Regional Council on Disability Affairs (RCDA) as well as organizations of persons with disabilities (PWDs) recently held an accessibility audit on buildings in Iloilo City to check if they were PWD-friendly.

Among the establishments visited were Injap Tower Hotel, McDonalds Fast Food Restaurant in Megaworld, Iloilo Convention Center, Startek, Atria, Esplanade, GT Mall, and TESDA Regional Office.

The accessibility audit aims to inspect the buildings and establishments in Iloilo City if they have PWD-friendly accessibility.

Judith T. Barredo, PWD Focal Person of the DSWD, said that accessibility audit team had a monitoring checklist on the compliance of minimum requirements of the accessibility law (BPP 344) for government buildings and private establishments for public use.

The checklist includes the minimum requirements such as ramps, parking slot, washroom and toilet, accessible entrances, corridors and lobbies, stairs and elevators.

According to Barredo, “we have to ensure the protection and the privileges of PWDs not only as mandated by the existing laws for the benefit of PWDs, but as they are one of the most susceptible members of our society.”

The accessibility audit team has scheduled visits on terminals particularly airport terminals, buses terminals, and wharfs before the end of this month.

Iloilo City gears for 78th Charter Day


ILOILO City – Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog signed Executive Order 48-A creating a task force that will undertake activities in line with the city’s 78th charter anniversary.

Iloilo was made a Charter City by virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 158.

The celebration institutionalized by Mabilog in 2010 will culminate this Aug. 25.

It was on Aug. 25, 1937 when Iloilo was formally inaugurated as a city, more than a month after Commonwealth Act No. 158 was signed into law on July 16, 1937.

“The celebration of the Iloilo City Charter has been set to create awareness of the history and development of Iloilo as a city, to arouse community sense of pride of place,” said Mabilog.

City Tourism Officer Benito Jimena said among the major activities they have proposed is the “Arte sa Kalye.” A three-dimensional image will be installed or painted along the Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue.

A Mayor’s Ball that will gather who’s who in the city will be held, too.

APEC meeting peaceful – Diaz


ILOILO City – Peaceful was how the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) described the two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting here that ended yesterday.

“We are happy. No major criminal incidents happened,” said Chief Superintendent Bernardo Diaz, regional police director.

Over 100 foreign delegates from 22 member-economies of APEC and local participants attended the meeting on infrastructure and capital market development.

“The tours of the delegates were closely monitored, too,” Diaz told Panay News.

Over 2,000 police officers were mobilized during the July 23 to 24 meeting. They secured the meeting venue (Royal Garden Hall Convention Center) and hotels were the guests were billeted.

City streets were also crawling with cops, assisted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Fire Protection, Office of Civil Defense, Philippine Coast Guard and other government agencies.

DA regional summit to promote organic farming in Region 6


ILOILO CITY, July 24 (PNA) -– The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 6 will hold a regional summit to promote programs and advocacy on organic farming.

The August 12-13 Regional Organic Agriculture Stakeholders Summit will be held here in Iloilo.

Glenda Himatay, DA 6 action officer for organic farming, said they are expecting 300 participants from Western Visayas.

“The participants will be composed of municipal local technical committees on organic farming, practitioners and farmers”, Himatay said.

Himatay said the two-day summit will have various technical sessions focused on the theme, “Healthy Soil for a Healthy Living,” in relation to the International Year of Soils.

Invited speakers will discuss topics like soil and indispensable resource on organic agriculture, food integrity, food safety and medicinal farming.

On the first six months of this year, DA 6 reported that the demand for organic agriculture has increased because of the health benefits it provides.

Himatay said promoting organic agriculture will help the environment; increase income of farmers; and provide safe food for consumers as well as the farmers.

The DA 6 will also set-up an exhibit of organic products during the summit.

Others activities include poster making and cooking contests; and research symposium for high school and college students to present their research studies related to organic agriculture.

Winners of the various contests will receive cash prize from the DA. To be given awards are outstanding small farm and municipality on organic agriculture; and outstanding organic farming family.

Iloilo city, province to receive 3 major infra projects


ILOILO CITY, July 23 (PNA) -– The city and province of Iloilo will soon be recipients of three multi-billion peso projects under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme after a study on the viability of some projects is finished.

Soon to start is the expansion of the Iloilo international airport in Cabatuan, Iloilo which has been approved by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

Other Iloilo projects on the pipeline are the proposed government center in Passi City by Senate President Franklin M. Drilon and the proposed railway system project from the city to the province of Iloilo by city mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.

PPP Center Executive Director Cosette Canilao said that PPP has 13 ongoing infrastructure projects out of the 15 projects to be completed in different parts of the country before the Aquino administration ends in 2016.

Each of these projects must be over Php300 million to be considered by the PPP assistance for financing after passing the approval of the regional development council and the NEDA Board.

There are 221 finished projects since the inception of PPP. The center is also working for the passage of amendments to the existing Board of Investments Act to cover irrigation and other social infrastructures.

Canilao, with Canadian Ambassador Neil Reeder, conducted a press briefing for the national, international and local media covering the two-day Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) in this city on July 23-24.

On the other hand, the Department of Finance stressed that the lack of investment in the region’s infrastructure cannot be attributed to the insufficiency of capital since a large amount of capital worldwide is seeking profitable investment opportunities that can complement public sector resources.

What then needs to be done to enable more of this capital to flow into much needed infrastructure projects in the region’s emerging markets? Two major obstacles were identified and these were the lack of a pipeline of bankable infrastructure projects in developing economies that can attract capital from institutional investors.

The second obstacle is the lack of appropriate financial instruments and enabling policy frameworks for pension funds and insurance firms to expand their investment in emerging market infrastructure.

By addressing these two issues, the APEC Finance Ministers’ Process (FMP) can remove the obstacles to the advancement of APEC’s vision of sustained, balanced and inclusive growth.

Iloilo City to showcase Ilonggo arts and culture during welcome dinner for APEC delegates


ILOILO CITY, July 22 (PNA) -- Iloilo City is now ready to awe delegates of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting with its showcase of Ilonggo arts and culture during the local government unit-hosted welcome dinner Wednesday.

Junel Ann Divinagracia, executive director of the Iloilo Organizing Committee, said that the performances of various cultural groups with students from various learning institutions in the city are very impressive as she witnessed them during Tuesday’s rehearsal.

The cultural show will feature a panorama of Ilonggo arts and culture with the theme “Tracing Roots, Treading Routes.”

With their clear storyline, delegates would be able to know of the history of Iloilo tracing from the indigenous peoples to its trade with other nationalities and up to the present.

Performing groups include the Kinaadman Chorale of the John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University; Tarangban of the University of San Agustin; Spanish Suite, Iloilo and Banwa Ko and Hala Bira Iloilo by the Annie Divinagracia-Sartorio School for the Performing Arts and Kawilihan of the University of San Agustin and Samba Regatta by the West Visayas State University College of Physical Education, Sports, Culture, Arts and Recreation (PESCAR).

Iloilo will host the July 23-24 meeting focused on Fostering APEC’s Infrastructure through Long-Term Investment and Capital Market Development led by the Department of Finance.

APEC hosting to draw more investors to Iloilo

By Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Finance said Iloilo City hopes to attract more investments as it hosts one of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings this week.

“Iloilo City is taking advantage of its hosting one of the high-profile meetings of the APEC to drum up interest among potential investors in a wide range of sectors, including retail, manufacturing, business process outsourcing, agro-processing, and tourism,” the DOF said.

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said 400 hectares of reclaimed land have already been identified for future investors.

At present, the city is developing an industrial zone on 400 hectares of reclaimed land. The DOF said the city has received P150 billion in investment pledges in 2013 and about 60 percent of the funds are already being spent on construction of businesses.

Mabilog said the APEC meeting on July 23 and 24 will be a good opportunity to further increase interest in the city as financial experts, finance ministers and officials, and representatives from international development institutions flock to the area.

“Hosting APEC is a way to boost awareness of the investment opportunities and strengths of Iloilo city as an investment destination,” Mabilog said.

Mabilog said the city has a 99-percent literacy rate within its workforce. It also has a secure power supply.

Mabilog said the city has been ranked as number one in terms of local government efficiency by the National Competitiveness Council, reflecting business-friendly processes.

“The economic outlook for Iloilo is very dynamic, and we have a lot of potential to grow. We look at Iloilo city as a globally competitive, premier city,” Mabilog said.

Iloilo in talks for air service to Incheon, Xiamen

Louine Hope Conserva

ILOILO CITY -- The Iloilo City government is in talks with carrier AirAsia Philippines over the possibility of offering flights to the South Korean gateway of Incheon and Xiamen in China, the Tourism department said.

The push for more connectivity comes as the city hosts meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) this year, raising the region’s profile among international tourists, the Department of Tourism in Region 6 (DoT-6) said

“With Iloilo’s hosting of the APEC meetings this July, September and October, we do hope that more visitors will be coming in from the 21-member economies of APEC that will impact our number of flights and hotel accommodation,” said lawyer Helen J. Catalbas, DoT-6 director.

Ms. Catalbas said Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog is currently leading talks with AirAsia Philippines, Inc. with the aim of launching services next year.

South Korea and China are both APEC members, along with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, the United States,and Vietnam.

For domestic flights, Ms. Catalbas said she has participated in discussions for the introduction of flights between Iloilo and Cotabato.

“For Mindanao, our flights for Davao, General Santos and Cagayan de Oro are going strong. We are looking at adding Cotabato. What is important is we can sustain the flights,” she said.

The airport’s current local routes include Manila, Cebu, Tacloban, Puerto Princesa, General Santos, Davao and Cagayan de Oro.

The Iloilo International Airport, located in the town of Cabatuan, will be bid out for upgrade works under the public-private partnership (PPP) program. The contract cost is P30.4 billion covering expansion, operation and maintenance over a 30-year period.

It is part of the PPP airport Bundle 1 that includes the Bacolod-Silay Airport with an indicative cost of P20.26 billion.

Prospective bidders, based on the PPP Center Web site, include GMR Infrastructure Ltd.-Megawide Construction Corp., the Metro Pacific Investments Corp.-JG Summit Holdings, Inc. consortium, Aboitiz Equity Ventures, San Miguel Corp., Philippine Skylanders, Inc., and Union Equities, Inc.

The submission of qualification documents has been moved to Aug. 10 from July 27.

Iloilo City tops Government Efficiency ranking

By Lydia C. Pendon

ILOILO City has been recognized by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) as the number one in the list of top 10 cities in the Philippines for Government Efficiency ranking.

The City received an award from the NCC during the 3rd Regional Competitiveness Summit, Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index held July 16 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Metro Manila.

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who received the award, dedicated the victory to all City hall workers, barangay officials and the people of Iloilo City who supported his dream of a better and livable city for the present and future generations.

Iloilo City garnered a total score of 24.52 points, followed by Naga with 23.03 points, Cagayan de Oro with 22.55, Makati with 22.27, Davao with 21.80, Kidapawan with 21.70, Valenzuela with 21.44, Cebu with 21.02, Angeles with 2.86, and Balanga with 20.20.

The recent award also validated the early recognition of the city by the Department of Interior and Local Government as the yearly champion in Administrative Governance since 2011.

Mabilog said that Iloilo is now considered one of the major cities in Southeast Asia, as major business players in Metro Manila, Asia and the Pacific have their presence felt in Iloilo.

Private business sector capital infusion is estimated to be more than P200 billion since five years ago that provides job generation, livelihood and showcases the Ilonggo pride.

NCC, a non-government organization headed by businessman Guillermo Luz, is composed of top business leaders in the country, government officials and leaders of professional groups.

Aside from Government Efficiency, a total of 142 cities and 978 municipalities were also ranked in the index based on pillars of Economic Dynamism and Infrastructure using a total of 28 indicators.

This 2015, the NCC has introduced new award categories, recognizing third to sixth class municipalities, first to second class municipalities, component cities and highly urbanized cities.

Villages get P10-M projects


ILOILO – A total of P10.011 million was distributed to barangays here yesterday at Casa Real de Iloilo or the old provincial capitol.

Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. led the distribution of funds to finance 124 projects in the villages of 22 towns that included Lambunao, Miag-ao, Ajuy, Calinog, Lemery, Concepcion, Tubungan, Tigbauan, Alimodian, Leon, New Lucena, Maasin, Pototan, Cabatuan, Dumangas, Oton, Leganes, Santa Barbara, Zarraga, Calinog, Janiuay, and Dueñas, and the component city of Passi.

Projects to be financed included the rehabilitation or construction of bridges, day care centers, streetlights, gymnasiums, multipurpose pavements, multipurpose halls, barangay health centers, and water systems.

“I do not hesitate to give assistance to municipalities. The political leanings of their leaders are never a consideration,” said Defensor.

The funds distributed yesterday were in the form of checks and received by the mayors and their barangay captains.

International flights increasing in Iloilo

By Lydia C. Pendon

INTERNATIONAL flight arrivals at the Iloilo airport posted a significant increase since it opened for direct flights in 2013, said Department of Tourism Western Visayas Director Helen Catalbas.

Catalbas said that from 64 flight arrivals in 2013, international flight arrivals went up to 65 in 2014 and 67 in 2015 for the first quarter of the years reported.

"The data may only show a gradual growth in terms of flights but we can see a huge impact in passenger arrivals. From 26,871 passenger arrivals in 2013, the numbers went up to 27,154 in 2014 and with the Visit Philippines Year this 2015, a large volume of visitors coming in the region," she added.

In 2013, three flights from Singapore and two flights from Hong Kong arrived at the Iloilo International Airport weekly, while two flights from Singapore and three flights from Hong Kong weekly were reported in 2014.

In 2015, flights were arriving alternately from Singapore and Hong Kong four to six times a week.

The year 2013 recorded 6,917 passengers and 84.2 percent were Filipinos and 15.8 percent were of foreign nationalities. In 2014, there were 6,441 passengers and the first quarter of 2015 posted with 6,607 passengers.

Iloilo Hotels, Restos ready for APEC

By Leonard T. Pineda I (JCM/LTP/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, July 16 (PIA) --- The Department of Tourism (DOT) in Western Visayas assured that hotels and restaurants in Iloilo will deliver excellent service to delegates and guests of the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting here next week.

DOT-6 Tourism Operations Assistant Khariza Joy Sofia said that DOT has conducted seminars and training sessions to hotel and restaurant staff to equip them with fundamental knowledge and attitude at par with acceptable standards and upgrade their skills to international level.

“The trainings were specifically requested by the APEC local organizing committee to upgrade the services of hotels here,” she said.

DOT-6 conducted a training on front office operations last July 29-30 to enhance the effectiveness of hotel personnel in dealing with guests.

A housekeeping operations seminar was conducted from July 1 to 2, while training on effective customer service and work values was held last July 3.

DOT-6 said there is an ongoing training for hotel personnel assigned on waitering, bartending, and effective customer service. This training started July 14 and will conclude on July 17.

Over 26 hotels, restaurants and other establishments participated in the trainings organized by DOT-6.

The first APEC meeting in Iloilo City slated on July 23-24 will focus on Fostering APEC's Infrastructure through Long Term Investment and Capital Market Development.

Mabilog eyes intelligent transport system for Iloilo City


ILOILO CITY, July 15 (PNA) -– Mayor Jed Patrick is eyeing the replication of the intelligent transport system in this city following his exposure to the technology during a three-day Sustainable Urban Transport workshop at City of Danang in Vietnam last week.

Mabilog during his Wednesday regular press conference said that the system is armed with plenty of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras that monitor vehicles plying major thoroughfare.

Through the system, traffic violations can easily be detected including the pedestrians.

Moreover, cameras could very well help during emergency response if there are road accidents, among others.

“It is about time that we could introduce this to Iloilo City through public consultation,” he said.

The mayor said that it is important that the city government consults the public to know if the system is acceptable to them. At the same time, they will be made to know of the benefits the system would give them.

He said that it was very timely that there was one company that offered the said technology upon knowing of the “traffic challenge” in the city.

The company was referred to his executive assistants and will be sent to the city council for them to also be properly informed about the system.

“It maybe a little costly but I think if the city wants it, we can afford it. But it has to be publicly consulted,” he stressed.

The summit that was attended by delegates from South East Asia also presented the idea of the bus rapid transit (BRT) where there is one convergence area where commuters could leave their vehicles and take a bus going to their destination.

Meanwhile, Mabilog will be meeting with his executive assistants every Tuesday to properly address traffic issues in the city.

Iloilo now ready for next week’s APEC meeting


ILOILO CITY, July 14 (PNA) –- Iloilo is now ready to host the Strengthening Capital Market and Infrastructure Development meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit on July 23-24.

This was assured by Junel Ann Divinagracia, executive director of the 2015 Iloilo Organizing Committee (IOC) as she cited that the committee is ready to facilitate whatever is needed such as enhancement of the venue as well as manpower.

“Venues for the event have been checked,” she said.

The meeting that is spearheaded by the Department of Finance (DOF) is expected to gather around 120 delegates from the Asia Pacific and other high officials who will be invited to the meeting.

This July 18 a team from the National Organizing Council (NOC) will arrive in Iloilo for the needed preparations.

On the other hand, she added that Iloilo is just waiting for the completion of the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) that will serve as venue for the September and October APEC meetings.

She added that works at the ICC are being done 24 hours to ensure that the facility will be completed as committed by end of the month.

Iloilo will be hosting the Senior officials Meeting for Disaster Risk Management, Small and Medium Enterprise Ministerial Meeting and Food Security Week & High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security & the Blue Economy and Related Meetings in September and October.

SSS WV collections breach P1.35 B

By Leonard T. Pineda I (JCM/LTP/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, July 13 (PIA) --- The Social Security System (SSS) collected a total of P1.35-billion in contributions from Western Visayas since January 2015 which is 7.6 percent higher than the P1.25-billion collected from January to April last year.

In a media release, SSS Officer-in-Charge for Western Visayas Division Raul A. Casiano said the improved collections was due to the increasing presence of SSS in the region.

He said that SSS offices in the region have extended their resources to remote communities to enable residents in these areas to have easier access to social security services, including registering as members and updating their membership.

“SSS branches in Kalibo, Dumaguete, and Iloilo deployed Mobile E-Centers, or temporary SSS desks usually put up in far-flung areas, to make SSS services such as SSS registration, salary loan application, ID capture, member data change request, and status inquiry within reach of potential and existing members,” he said.

He said that they have set up Mobile E-Centers in the islands of Siquijor and Guimaras, and the cities of Bayawan and Passi from November last year to April of this year.

“The deployment of mobile E-centers, which in total accounted nearly 3,000 transactions from said areas, is part of the SSS initiative to cover hard-to-reach and informal sectors,” he said.

He said SSS also participates in the monthly “Gobyerno sa Baryo,” a joint program of the Aklan Provincial Government and Congressional District Office for the benefit of the province’s constituents in remote and rural communities.

As of April 2015, SSS members in Western Visayas inched up by 3.4-percent from 1.78 million in 2014 to 1.84 million, of which about 70 percent or 1.25 million are regular and household employees.

SSS recorded about 351,384 self-employed members and 241,812 voluntary members.

“There is a modest increase in the number of self-employed and voluntary members which grew by 6.7 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively. So we want to focus on those sectors under the informal economy, considering the vast number of micro and small businesses engaged in crop production and active fishery activities around the area,” Casiano said.

The SSS official also noted that the thriving tourism, specifically in the Municipality of Malay, has prompted the SSS to closely monitor employment activities in the province.

“We have conducted a saturation drive for 11 days in Boracay this month to comb the area for erring employers and employees who are still not reported for SSS coverage. From that alone, we were able to compel around 250 employers with about 1,300 employees to register with the SSS,” he said.

As of date, SSS has 14 branches and eight service offices strategically located in the provinces of Antique, Aklan, Iloilo, Capiz, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.

Council sets probe as traffic lights cost P3.2m each

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr. (Inquirer Visayas)

ILOILO CITY—The Iloilo City council will investigate alleged irregularities in the purchase and installation of nine traffic lights in the city worth P29 million.

Voting 6-5 during the council’s session on July 7, the councilors approved a motion of Councilor Plaridel Nava to investigate the traffic light contracts entered into by the city government and private suppliers.

“We just want to know the truth because we believe that P3.2 million for one set of traffic lights is too expensive,” said Nava, chair of the council’s committee on transportation.

The councilors are divided on the issue.

Nava said the vote to investigate was not against Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.

Mabilog, in a statement, said the voting simply showed the council was independent.

“As always and as usual, the city government does not hide anything,” said the mayor.

Mabilog had defended the traffic light project as a measure to ease increasing traffic congestion in the city’s main streets.

Streets in the city’s central business district, the old commercial center, were built during the Spanish and American colonial period and designed for horse-drawn carriages. These have become congested with the increase in both private and public vehicles in recent years.

The city government and traffic officials have implemented re-routing experiments and tightened the implementation of ordinances but gridlocks regularly occur during peak hours.

Nava said he supports the installation of traffic lights in certain areas in the city.

But he said the location and operation of these should be based on a scientific study on the volume and pattern of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

“There should be case studies and dry runs to determine the ideal location of the traffic lights,” he said.

Transport groups, under the Western Visayas Transport Coalition, have asked the city government to stop the operation of traffic lights near the provincial capitol and in downtown because these have worsened, instead of eased, road bottlenecks.

The groups also requested that the traffic lights in major intersections be turned off during rush hour.

The investigation, which would be conducted jointly by the council’s committees on transportation, good government and rules, will also look into the procurement process involving suppliers KIV Marketing and Triune Electronics.

The city bought four traffic lights worth P14 million from Triune Electronics Systems Inc. and five others worth P14 million from KIV Marketing.

10,000 Iloilo City voters face disenfranchisement


ILOILO City – Some 10,000 registered voters here will be disenfranchised if they fail to have their biometrics taken on or before Oct. 31 this year.

They make up 4.7 percent of the 240,000 total registered voters in the city, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

These voters stand to lose their right to suffrage unless they comply with Comelec’s computerization program, according to Jonathan Sayno, assistant city election officer 2.

Since May 9 last year, said Sayno, Comelec has been reaching out to such registered voters in all the districts here through the biometrics registration and validation campaign dubbed “No Bio, No Boto.”

Comelec personnel here have been busy with the campaign — on top of registering first-time voters and processing applications for transfer of residence and correction of entries — just to ensure every registered voter gets to vote in the May 2016 election, he said.

“We are reaching out [to those] without biometrics to prevent any disenfranchisement,” Sayno said, but he also warned that voters without biometrics after the deadline will be “deactivated.”

Sayno said they plan to hold caravans in universities and more mobile registrations per district, and hope to finish all these before October.

By that time, Comelec personnel will accommodate the certificates of candidacy (COCs) of people seeking elective posts.

It is highly likely that the filing of COCs from Oct. 12 to 16 will interrupt their work in registering voters and recording and validating biometrics, Sayno admitted.

Iloilo City Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.

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