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Pasonanca watershed now among PHL’s protected areas

(Daily Zamboanga Times)

The Senate has approved on third and final reading an Omnibus Bill which sought to expand the number of protected areas across the country, including the Zamboanga City Pasonanca Watershed, to conserve and protect their rich biodiversity.

Zamboanga City Second District Congresswoman Lilia Macrohon-Nuño, who authored House Bill 4506, also known as the Pasonanca Natural Park Act, thanked Senate President Frank Drilon and Senator Loren Legarda, chairperson of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, who sponsored Senate Bill No. 2712, for the speedy passage of the measure in the Senate.

Drilon said the measure would boost existing government conservation efforts, “which seeks to preserve the Philippines’ delicate status, prestige, and privilege as one of the of the most mega-diverse countries in the planet.”

Legarda said the bill known as the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2015 (ENIPAS) would strengthen conservation of 97 protected areas in the country.

At present, there are 113 areas in the country declared as protected areas. However, only 13 have proceeded to be legislated as such under Republic Act No. 7586, otherwise known as the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS Act). As such, 23 years have passed since the passage of the NIPAS in June 1, 1992.

“After a long wait, we will soon have a law that will declare the Pasonanca area as a natural park,” Nuño said, noting that it was her predecessor former Rep. Erico Fabian who first introduced the bill in the House.

Once signed into law by President Aquino, Nuño said the reconciled version of her House Bill and the Senate Omnibus Bill would convert the 12,000-hectare Pasonanca Watershed into a Pasonanca Natural Park.

It would then be maintained for conservation purposes and would be developed for scientific, educational and recreational use, Nuño added.

Nuño explained the Pasonanca Natural Park will be used to educate the public on the importance of conservation and the protection of its biodiversity.

According to her, the Pasonanca watershed is home to diverse species of fauna, including the endangered species of Philippine raptor, notably the Philippine eagle.

Likewise, she said flora was abundant in the area and widely distributed in the different types of ecosystems.

“Considering the unique biological resources that exist in the area, we want to ensure that these are protected and conserved for future generations, including the people and the communities residing therein as well as their way of life,” said Nuño.

“The park administrators will draw a 10-year management plant that will include ecotourism, habitat and wildlife management, enforcement of laws within the park, fire prevention, pest control, among others,” she said.

Environmental and Natural Resources data show that the Philippines is host to two-thirds of the world’s biodiversity and about 70 percent to 80 percent of the world’s plant and animal species. It ranks fifth in countries with the most number of plant species, fourth in bird endemism, fifth in mammal endemism and is home to five percent of the world’s flora.

Celso cites importance of nutrition to children

By Bhong Simbajon

District 1 Congressman Celso Lobregat yesterday underscored the importance of good nutrition among school children for them to have sound health.

Speaking at the culmination of Nutrition Month in Boalan Elementary School, Lobregat emphasized the importance of good nutrition, especially at present when there are many illnesses threatening children which consequently make them unhealthy and thus slow in school learning.

Lobregat abd District 2 Councilor BG Guingona conducted an on-the-spot contest and parlor games in relation to nutrition gave away prizes to the participants who presented their nutrition jingles, as well as oral recitations and translations of Filipino to Chabacano vernacular in relation to nutrition month celebration.

In his message, Lobregat explained to children and their parents the importance of sustaining good nutrition by eating nutritious food like vegetables and fruits.

The legislator also encouraged the parents and teachers to introduce backyard gardening to produce their own fresh green and leafy vegetables for their respective family, instead of buying them from the market.

In his response, Boalan Elementary School Principal Dr. Edgardo Falcatan lauded Lobregat for his full support to and utmost concern for education.

Falcatan thanked the solon for the various infrastructure projects he has put up when he was still mayor of the city, like the repair and rehabilitation of old school buildings as well as the construction of the two-storey eight classroom building in their school where the students are now comfortably holding classes.

Cong. Celso Lobregat is flanked by school officials, Barangay Chairman Angie Inot and students of Boalan Elementary Schoo during the culminating program of Nutrition Month yesterday in the said school.

PRC-Zambo collects 329,000 cc of blood during Blood Donors Month observance


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Aug. 1 (PNA) – The local chapter of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has collected 658 bags of blood in this city during the observance of the Blood Donor’s Month.

The Blood Donor’s Month is observed every month of July pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 1021 issued by then President Fidel Ramos on June 9, 1997.

Dr. Victor Liozo Jr., local PRC chapter administrator, told the Philippines News Agency that the 658 bags of blood of 500-cubic centimeter (CC) each represent a total volume of 329,000 cc.

Liozo said the bags of blood were collected through donations by walk-in donors, students and teachers in schools as well as by workers in government and private firms.

Liozo said the blood they collected would last for a period of one month since the local blood bank also caters to the needs of patients from nearby provinces.

Liozo appealed to the public to continuously donate blood and help save lives.

He said an individual who is a regular blood donor also have good health since the blood they donated is replenished.

Zambo LGU tests own disaster preparedness capabilities

By Sheila Covarrubias

Some 200 employees and officials of City Hall –both from the main and annex buildings on Thursday afternoon participated in a drill intended to prepare the local government unit in case an intensity 8 earthquake hits the city.

A one-minute blaring of the City Hall siren signalled the start of the earthquake drill at 4pm during which participating employees executed the drop, cover and hold response drills. The employees later evacuated to a safer area using a designated route.

The activity, said to be the first to be held in City Hall and spearheaded by the LGU through the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) also tested how fast responders can evacuate officials and personnel whose functions are very crucial in running the affairs of the government in case of an emergency situation.

The officials included Mayor Beng Climaco, City Treasurer Soledad Li, City Budget Officer Virginia Gara, City Accountant Sylvia Binarao, City Engineer Luis Despalo and City Legal Officer Jesus Carbon. They were swiftly evacuated to lot 60 in Cabatangan passing through the stretch of Gov. Lim to Nuñez extension- Gov. Camins- Sta. Maria- Gov. Ramos to Cabatangan.

Different scenarios were simulated such as building evacuation, subsequent fire, apprehension of intruders, first aid treatment, and search and rescue operations for missing and wounded employees among others. CDRRMO head Dr. Elmeir Apolinario acted as the incident commander and was stationed at the command post set up at the Plaza Gen. Vicente Alvarez where all incident planning and tactical operations were directed.

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS)-Zamboanga head Engr. Allan Labayog after observing the 30-minute exercise said the activity passed his standards especially in the evacuation time. “In less than 15 minutes, the officials were evacuated to Cabatangan and there was synchronization of activities as each agency knew what to do,” he said adding that the result of the activity was beyond expectation.

The drill was participated by the concerned agencies to include the Zamboanga City Police Office, City Fire Department, Task Force Zamboanga, the SAR and Emergency Medical Team, Philippine Red Cross-Zamboanga Chapter and other response teams, building safety inspection team of the City Engineer’s Office, communication groups, the City Security Unit and the CDRRMO and numerous others. Observers from the Office of Civil Defense evaluated the exercise.

City Hall, both the main and the annex buildings, houses the City Mayor’s Office, City Administrator’s Office, City Legal Office, City Treasurer’s Office, City Budget Office, City Accountant’s Office, City Assessor’s Office, City Engineer’s Office and City Planning Office.

DTI opens 4th ‘Negosyo Center’ in Zamboanga City


ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 30 (PNA) -– The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) opened Thursday the “Negosoyo Center,” the fourth here in the region and the 73rd nationwide this year.

Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, who authored Republic Act 10644 otherwise known as the “Go Negosyo Act,” led the inauguration of the center, which is co-located with the DTI-Zamboanga City Office at the second floor of VHW building in Veterans Avenue, this city.

Aquino was joined by DTI Sec. Gregory Domingo, DTI Regional Operations Group Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya, DTI OIC-Regional Director Dr. Sitti Amina Jain and other government officials as well as representatives from the private sector.

Domingo said the establishment of the Negosyo Center is to encourage and support the growth of MSMEs in this city.

Domingo said the center will facilitate and expedite the business application process of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in coordination with the local governments and other concerned agencies.

The center will also provide assistance to MSMEs in the availment of technology transfer, production, and management training programs and marketing assistance of the DTI and other government agencies.

Sen. Aquino said that one of the key components to achieve inclusive growth is to support the MSMEs, which will be provided through the center.

Aquino said this city has good potential in business and with the center it will be of big help to potential entrepreneurs to start a business as well as existing entrepreneurs.

He noted that 99 percent of the businesses in the country are MSMEs.

Domingo said that they aim to establish about 100 Negosyo Centers in the entire country this year.

Jain said the center in this city is the fourth in the region.

The other three are located in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur; Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay; and, Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte.

Jain said they will open this year another Negosyo Center which will be located at the compound of the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone and Freeport Authority in Barangay Talisayan, 26 kilometers west of City Hall.

She said that six centers will be opened in 2016 here in the region.

DSWD, DepEd hold tutorial program in Zambo City


ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 29 (PNA) -– The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has enlisted the voluntary service of 30 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) parent-leaders to conduct tutorial sessions to slow learners among this city's schoolchildren.

Glenda Tobias, DSWD 4Ps provincial link officer, said Wednesday the pilot site of the tutorial service project for school year 2015-2016 is the Maasin Elementary School, this city.

Tobias said the tutorial sessions are a joint project of DSWD and the Department of Education (DepEd) aimed at boosting the performance of school children who are beneficiaries of the 4Ps as well as of the non-beneficiaries.

She said they came up with the project together with DepEd to ensure the children of the beneficiaries of 4Ps “are not just going to school but with good performance as well.”

She said the beneficiaries of the project are the Grades V and VI students who are slow learners and as recommended by their respective class advisers.

Tobias said the modules they use in the tutorial sessions are provided by the DepEd, which included spelling, and reading and comprehension.

She said the program is the first of its kind here in the region and they aimed to replicate it in all schools in this city.

She said that the parent-leaders involved in the tutorial service were properly screened by them to ensure they are capable to handle tutorial classes.

DTI holds financial literacy seminar in Zamboanga City


ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 28 (PNA) -– The two-day Personal Financial Literacy cum Entrepreneurial Mindset Seminar spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) kicked off Tuesday in this city.

Eng’r. Rolando Acuña, DTI provincial director, said the seminar aims to maximize the economic potential of the identified six champion products of the region and to ultimately improve the economic well-being of the various stakeholders.

Acuña said the seminar is free of charge and participated in by farmers, growers, processors, producers, and traders of this city’s six priority industry clusters, namely: fish, seaweeds, abaca, rubber, mango, and coconut.

Acuña said the seminar will focus on enhancing the stakeholders’ literacy on Personal Finance, Entrepreneurship, People and Human Resources Management, and Environmental Stewardship.

“Of equal importance to increasing farm productivity as a way of improving the income of farmers and growers is the development of their personal management skills. Over the years, one of the challenges seen among our farmers is the lack of knowledge or management skills in handling their finances. This seminar will help address that and provide them with new ways to plan and control their household financial demands to ultimately sustain and grow their farm business,” Acuña said.

“This seminar also aims to help our stakeholders understand that integrating clean and safe environmental practices in their farm operations is a positive factor that will have long term benefits in lifting internal morale, public image and will ultimately be good for business,” he added, emphasizing the economic benefits of environmental stewardship in industry clusters.

Mayor thankful for President Aquino’s concern to Zambo City


ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 27 (PNA) – Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar on Monday expressed her heartfelt gratitude to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III for his concern to this city.

Salazar said she is very thankful that President Aquino personally supervised the government offensive against the members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) during the 21-day September 2013 siege.

President Aquino stayed at Camp Basilio Navarro for at least two weeks as the government forces pursued the MNLF intruders.

Camp Basilio Navarro, which is located in Barangay Upper Calarian, this city, houses the Western Mindanao Command’s headquarters.

The President was here during the siege together with four of his Cabinet members namely, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, and Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson.

Salazar noted that President Aquino had even designated Singson to head the implementation of the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Reconstruction and Recovery (Z3R) program.

The Z3R is aimed at rehabilitating the areas affected during the 21-day September 2013 siege.

President Aquino has allocated PhP3.5 billion for the Z3R, which is steadily moving forward.

Early morning quake hits Zamboanga City

By Julie Alipala (Inquirer Mindanao)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – A mild earthquake struck this city 6:43 a.m. Sunday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported.

Engineer Rommel Allan Labayog, officer-in-charge of Phivolcs Zamboanga district, said the origin of the quake, which measured magnitude 4.4 and lasted for about five seconds, was traced 52 kilometers northwest of this city.

“Its tectonic and was traced to the Sulu trench,” Labayog said, adding that it had a depth of 121 kilometers.

No damage was expected, he said.

Sunday’s quake was the second tremor to jolt this city this month.

On July 16, a magnitude 3.8 tectonic quake occurring off Zamboanga del Sur also shook this city at Intensity II.

(SONA Special Report) Z3R program steadily moving forward


ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 25 (PNA) – The Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R) program is continuously progressing as more permanent shelters have been turned over to families displaced in the 21-day September 2013 siege.

The government, through the National Housing Authority (NHA), has already turned over 755 units of permanent shelters--428 loft houses and 327 houses on stilts--costing more than Php 300 million.

The others are either housed in the different recovery shelters or have availed of the home materials assistance (HoMA) provided by the government.

The fund used for the construction of the permanent and recovery shelters as well as HoMA came from the Php 3.5 billion President Benigno Simeon Aquino III allocated for the reconstruction of damaged infrastructures, purchase of lots, and construction of permanent shelters through the Z3R program.

Those who are housed at the recovery shelters will return to their respective homes once the construction of the permanent shelters will be completed. The HoMA beneficiaries are those who own lots whose house were burned during the siege.

The latest permanent shelters that were turned over consisted of 175 housing units last July 20. Of the total, 113 were for the members of the Lustre Homeowners Association in Barangay Sta. Catalina and 62 in Islamic Village in Barangay Sta. Barbara.

The 175 homes in Lustre and Islamic village mark, respectively, the 7th and the 8th turnover of completed permanent homes since August last year.

Turned over permanent shelter projects include the 44 units for Martha Homeowners Association; 143 units for Paniran Homeowners Association; 16 units for St. Peter Homeowners Association; the initial 50 units for Lustre Homeowners Association; 200 units houses on stilts in Barangay Taluksangay; and, the 127 houses on stilts in Barangay Mariki.

The four homeowners associations--Martha, Paniran, St. Peter and Lustre--are all located in Barangay Sta. Catalina.

Salma Andain, a laundrywoman and one of the houses on stilts beneficiaries in Mariki, said they are happy to have a new home.

Andain said it will greatly alleviate their plight compared to their previous living condition being houses in evacuation tents at the Mayor Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex.

Andain’s neighbor, Nersa Mawali, said in several instances they slept outside whenever it is brownout at the sports complex since it’s too warm inside the tent.

The sports complex has served as the biggest evacuation center for families displaced in the 21-day September 2013 siege.

Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said the completion of the houses was a monumental proof the Z3R program with build back better concept steadily moved forward.

Salazar said the national and local governments remained steadfast in its commitment to transfer internally displaced persons (IDPs) to much safer and more permanent shelters under the Z3R the soonest time possible, provided that sanitation requirements are first met.

Salazar disclosed that while the government is working hard to meet the June 2015 deadline set by no less than President Aquino, ensuring that sanitation mechanisms are in place and public utilities are accessible at relocation sites makes compliance a little tricky.

“We already have complied with the deadline, though not 100 percent of the housing units were finished or turned over because we are very strict about sanitation purposes as well as the provision of water and electricity,” she said.

President Aquino has designated Public Works Sec. Rogelio Singson as the over-all in charge in the implementation of the Z3R plan.

Eng’r. Al-Khwarizmi Indanan, NHA district manager, said the constructions of 515 houses on stilts units were ongoing since a total of 642 units would be constructed in Barangay Mariki.

However, Indanan disclosed the contractors undertaking the housing projects have to source out construction materials from other places in order to meet the project deadline.

He said there was shortage of cement and good lumbers in this city.

He said, despite the shortage, construction of other permanent housing units were also ongoing in Barangays Sta. Barbara and Tulungatung.

Sta. Barbara like Sta. Catalina is among the most affected barangays during the siege.

Mariki, aside from hardest hit, was the entry point of the members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) who initiated the 21-day siege.

Beng applauds Zamboangueño in Dragon Boat team

By Sheila Covarrubias

Another feather in the cap for Zamboanga!

The Philippine Army Dragon Boat Team with a Zamboangueño member bested 17 other countries in Japan’s Dragon Boat Festival held recently.

Pvt. Abdil Asiz Sanaani of Justina Village, Putik is one of the nation’s paddlers who are continuously bringing honor and pride to the country in international competitions.

Mayor Beng Climaco hailed Sanaani for his contributions in the field of sports and for personifying the Zamboangueño spirit of resiliency and fortitude.

Amidst the challenges that the City is beset with, Zamboangueño athletes who are sent to represent the country in various competitions continue to shine and help bring back a better Zamboanga.

The Philippine Army Dragon Boat team brought home medals in all 11 events they participated during the competition in Japan. The paddlers competed against the world’s best including Russia, Poland and Canada.

Just recently, Mayor Climaco honored Zamboangueño athletes who reaped medals in the recently concluded Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) held in Singapore and Southeast Asian Wrestling competitions held in Thailand.

The medal haulers who were given heroes’ welcome last June 22 included billiards player Chezka Centeno (gold medal in the 9-ball category), Eumir Feliz Marcial (gold medal) in the boxing event, softball players Sonny Boy Acuna, Orlando Binarao, Emerson Atilano and Vermon Diaz (gold medal) and Alshamier Ibnohasim, bronze medalist for his performance in the Pencak silat event.

Last July 13, the honourees included weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colonia. Diaz was a gold medallist in the 53 kg category and Colonia won a bronze medal in the 56 kg category during the Southeast Asian Weightlifting Championships held in Thailand June 26.

(SONA Special Report) Zamboanga City sports complex to undergo PhP335-M upgrade, rehab


ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 23 (PNA) -– The Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex, which served as the biggest evacuation center for families displaced in the 21-day September 2013 siege, is set to undergo rehabilitation and upgrade by October this year.

Dr. Elmeir Apolinario, city disaster risk reduction and management officer, told the Philippines News Agency that the PhP335 million needed funds for the upgrade and rehab will be taken from the fund President Benigno Simeon Aquino III has allocated for the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R) program.

President Aquino announced in his 2014 State of the Nation Address (SONA) that he allocated P3.5 billion for the Z3R program.

The 5.5-hectare sports complex has been cleared of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) last Sunday. The last batch of IDPs removed from the complex was transferred to the different recovery shelters.

At present, the city government is undertaking clean-up of the sports complex. It will be followed by a survey.

“We are hoping once everything is done, we can start the project by as early as October,” Apolinario said in an interview with the Philippines News Agency.

He said that Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, who is the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer, has approved the plan to rehabilitate and upgrade the sports complex and recommended for the release of the PhP335 million.

Gazmin was here Wednesday and has met with the CDRRMO officials and personnel as well as city government and military officials.

Apolinario said the rehabilitation and upgrading of the different facilities at the sports complex will be simultaneously undertaken by 10 contractors.

Apolinario said the sports complex is expected to have a new look once the rehabilitation and upgrading works are completed.

He said that additional facilities like athletes' quarters and other amenities will be also constructed inside the sports complex.

The sports complex has served as the biggest evacuation center to the more than 100,000 people displaced during the 21-day siege broke out on September 9, 2013.

Most of the residents are in dismay upon seeing the present state of the sports complex since most of the facilities were destroyed after it was used as evacuation center.

The Joaquin F. Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex, which is a multi-use sports complex, was built and completed in time for the March 6, 1992 Palarong Pambansa (National Games).

The government spent a little over PhP64 million to build the sports complex, which boasts of the latest synthetic rubberized track oval, the second in the world, after Saudi Arabia.

The stadium has a capacity of around 10,000 people. The sports complex also hosted in the past years several national games such as the Private Schools Athletic Association in 2005 and Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges-National Sports Olympics aside from regional sports competitions.

Fire bureau boosts ZCFD personnel

By Bong Garcia

THE Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) detailed 58 fire safety inspectors (FSIs) to the Zamboanga City Fire District (ZCFD) to assist in the inspection of business establishments and buildings in the city.

The ZCFD has only four FSIs, and they have yet to inspect more than 5,000 business establishments and buildings for the issuance of the Fire Safety Certificate, a pre-requisite in granting business permits.

Superintendent Dominador Zabala Jr., ZCFD fire marshal, said they have inspected and issued Fire Safety Certificates to the owners of 8,000 establishments and buildings since January 2015.

Zabala said they have set December 15, 2015 as the deadline to complete the inspection of all business establishments and buildings.

Zabala urged all owners of business establishments and buildings to extend full cooperation with FSIs, as the inspection aims to ensure the welfare and safety of the public against destructive fires.

DSWD, IOM turn over 700 recovery shelters for IDPs

By Sheila Covarrubias

Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman and International Organization for Migration (IOM) Chief of Mission Marco Basso on Monday formally turned over to internally displaced persons (IDPs) through Mayor Beng Climaco, 700 recovery shelters with sanitation facilities and boardwalks.

Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas assisted in the ceremonial handover of the shelters during a program held at the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) in Zone 4 attended by IDPs from the Kasanyangan Transitory site where 292 of the recovery shelters are located.

Four hundred (400) of the recovery shelters are in Masepla 3 in Mampang TS and 8 are located at the Philippine Tuberculosis Society Inc. (PTSI) property in Upper Calarian.

In a briefing of the IOM-DSWD project, Conrado Navidad, IOM National Programme Officer said the 700 recovery shelters cost the DSWD a total of P73.9million with the IOM as implementer of the project.

All these shelters are completed and occupied by IDPs, mostly from the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex or grandstand. “We thank the City Government and the DSWD for the opportunity to serve the IDPs and the people of Zamboanga,” Navidad said.

Sec. Soliman assured that the national government is continuously coordinating with the local government for the welfare and interest of families affected by the 2013 siege.

She hailed the affected families and the entire city of Zamboanga for their resiliency and hard work even if the journey to building back better is a tough challenge. “Nais naming ipaalam sa inyo na kasama namin kayo sa daan patungo sa build back better Zamboanga.”

Mayor Climaco expressed continuous gratitude to Secretaries Roxas and Soliman and most especially to President Aquino for all the support since the start of the siege until the humanitarian crisis and the recovery and rehabilitation phases. She likewise thanked the humanitarian partners, barangay officials and all stakeholders for the efforts and their contributions for the wellbeing of the IDPs.

For his part, Sec. Roxas recalled the difficult times during the siege and its effects to the city of Zamboanga.

He also assured the IDPs and the City Government officials led by Mayor Climaco that the national government remains fully committed to help the city fully recover from the devastations wrought by the siege. “Walang iwanan, we are our brothers’ keeper.”

District II Cong. Lilia Nuño who was also present during the program, likewise thanked all the agencies- both in government and non-government and the humanitarian partners for their dedication to help the city to recover from the siege.

Cong. Nuño and her husband Taluksangay Barangay Chair Abdurahman Nuño are hosting IDPs from Arena Blanco,Mariki, Sta. Catalina and Rio Hondo by allowing the establishment of a transitory site in the barangay.

The Taluksangay TS houses 375 families of which 200 have been given permanent houses on stilts recently.

Prior to the turnover, Mayor Climaco with some members of the City Council and the Early Recovery Sector leads and co-leads ushered Secretaries Roxas and Soliman to a site inspection and walk through visit to the transitory site in Kasanyangan, which is also set to be a permanent resettlement area for over 3,000 IDPs.

ZC moving in right direction — Beng

(PR Investment and Promotions Division)

Governance matters!

Zambo City has improved its ranking by 60 notches in the recent National Competitiveness Awards.

ZC was top 3 (next to the Cities of Cebu and Manila) in the infrastructure pillar based on road network, comprehensive land use plan, indicator of visitor capacity, availability of basic utilities, annual investments in infrastructure, ICT capacity, mobility of the local population, and financial liquidity/development in the locality.

According to Guillermo Luz, co-chair of the NCC, the index should serve as a yardstick for the performance of LGUs.

Luz stands by the integrity of the index noting the data were cross-checked with other government agencies and private institutions. There is no board of judges to avoid any politics in the selection process. The results highlight the importance of being competitive in several factors, especially those which are closely examined by potential investors.

“The data will catch your attention, you will ask questions about certain places, it will hopefully have you open notes to particular places that will lead you to wonder why and why they are not performing well on certain indicators but most of all I think it will open up awareness and consciousness on the importance of being competitive,” Mr. Luz said.

Mayor Beng Climaco expressed her gratitude in receiving the award, considering her efforts in building back a better Zamboanga barely two years in office. She has shown how transparency leads to competitiveness. The Mayor acknowledged that there is still much work ahead.

Infrastructure policies would have to be addressed to facilitate movement of goods and services. Pushing for policies that lower the cost of moving goods and services around the country, her administration is supporting the development of an intermodal and seamless transport system in the Region. Embedding and institutionalizing change is among her biggest challenges. Reform for the long run is vital. Let us build the infrastructure and investors will come.

School children deworming, immunization set

By Bong Garcia

THE Department of Health (DOH), in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd), is conducting deworming and immunization of public school children in Zamboanga Peninsula.

Dr. Joshua Brillantes, DOH regional office’ local health support division chief, said the deworming is scheduled to be held during the National School Deworming Day on July 29, while the school-based immunization starts on August 3 and will be completed in 20 days.

Brillantes said the targets for the deworming are public school children enrolled in Kindergarten I to Grade VI aged five to 12 years old.

They are targeting to deworm 658,018 school children from pre-school to Grade 6 in the entire region, said Brillantes.

He said that 145,819 of 658,018 school children are enrolled in Zamboanga City, while the rest are in the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay.

The DOH is also targeting to immunize 102,419 Grade I pupils and 62,516 Grade VII students for the school-based immunization in the entire region.

Brillantes said the Grade I pupils will be immunized for measles and tetanus diphtheria vaccines, while measles rubella and tetanus diphtheria vaccines for Grade VII students.

He added that 20,212 Grade 4 students under the Zamboanga del Sur Schools Division Office and 4,352 of the Pagadian City Schools Division Office will also be immunized with human papillomavirus vaccines.

Zambo City records zero rabies cases since January


ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 18 (PNA) - The Zamboanga City Rabies Eradication Control Coordinating Council (ZCRECCC) reported zero cases of rabies for the first six months of this year.

Dr. Mario Arriola, Office of the City Veterinarian (OCVet) head, said this came about due to the continued and intensified vaccination and surveillance activities in this city.

Arriola, as the OCVet head, sits as the chairman of ZCRECCC.

Arriola said his office will continue to undertake vaccination and surveillance activities so as to control and prevent rabies cases.

He urged animal bite victims to report to their respective barangay councils which are mandated to report the same to the ZCRECCC through the City Health Office and the OCVet.

He also appealed to all barangays chairmen to organize their respective Barangay Rabies Council (BARC) and activate their Astray Animal Management Team to help in the conduct of anti-rabies advocacies at barangay level.

He said his office will train the animal catchers and the city government, through the City Health Office, will provide pre-exposure vaccine for the catchers.

He said the first barangay of this city’s 98 barangays to organize the BARC and activated its Astray Animal Management Team is Barangay Baliwasan.

He said the Astray Animal Management Team of Baliwasan has turned over to the City Pount 53 captured and surrendered dogs since its activation last month.

DPWH: PhP405-M school building projects up for implementation in Zambo City

By R.G. Antonet A. Go [(PNA), CTB/TPGJR/RGAAG]

ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 17 (PNA) – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will be constructing PhP405 million school building projects this year in this city as part of the preparation in the full implementation of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) K-12 program.

Eng’r. Cholie Roble, DPWH district engineer’s office head, said that they will construct a total of 38 school buildings consisting of 275 classrooms in the different parts of this city.

Roble said that 17 of the 38 school buildings worth PhP228.7 million will be constructed in this city’s first congressional district. It will consist of 152 classrooms.

Roble said the remaining 21 classrooms comprising of 123 classrooms worth PhP176.3 million will be built in the second congressional district.

She said five of the 38 school building projects consisting of 15 classrooms are already set for bidding.

She said the five school buildings are to be constructed in Barangays Maasin, San Roque, and Sinunuc in the first district, and in Barangays Mangusu and Zambowood in the second district.

She assured the school buildings will be constructed according to standards to ensure the safety of the students school officials.

DTI sets 2-day Zampen SME Conference in Zamboanga City


ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 16 (PNA) -– The Micro, Small, and Medium Entrepreneurs (MSMEs) will take center stage as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is set to conduct a two-day Zamboanga Peninsula (Zampen) SME Conference, capping the month-long observance of the SME Month.

Dr. Sitti Amina Jain, DTI regional director, said Thursday that the conference, which will be held from July 30-31, aims to further strengthen MSMEs in the region through government initiatives, and recognize their importance to the regional and national economy.

Jain said the conference also aims to bolster efforts to develop entrepreneurial mind set in the region by inspiring and enforcing entrepreneurship values among participating MSMEs through testimonials coming from successful home-grown entrepreneurs; and, to give due cognizance to the deserving MSMEs in the region through the SME Star Awards.

Jain said the Regional SME Conference will serve as a venue for the discussion of the latest policy direction and updates in the county’s MSME development agenda.

The activity will also recognize the most active member-agencies of the Zamboanga Peninsula SME Core Group, according to Jain.

She said the ZAMPEN SME Conference will be participated in by the Provincial SME Development Councils, the ZAMPEN SME Core Group, the academe, industry players, and the media.

The Regional SME Conference with the theme “Local Market Now; Global Market Next” will also feature lectures and panel discussions on four thematic components of SME Development, namely, Access to Market, Access to Finance, Productivity and Efficiency, and Business Investment and Enabling Environment.

Jain said that topics on the ASEAN Economic Community, the European Union-Generalized Scheme of Preference (EU-GSP+), and other export markets will also be discussed, including domestic market opportunities and assistance to MSMEs, and other pertinent policies as well as issues and concerns besetting exporters and MSMEs.

Also part of the two-day activity is the launching of the fourth Negosyo Center in Zamboanga Peninsula located at the DTI-Zamboanga City Office, with Senators Benigno Aquino IV and Cynthia Villar, and DTI Secretary Gregory Domingo as guests.

City Tourism Office joins CORVA

(Daily Zamboanga Times)

The City Tourism Office participated in the Training -Workshop on Coastal Resources Visualization Assessment (CorRVA) last July 6-10, 2015 at the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology.

Senior Tourism Operations Officer Richard Aliangan of the City Tourism Office together with Eufemia Lorenzo, Elpidio Barrera, Jr. and Rodel Rodriguez, attended the 3-day training-workshop conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The workshop featured talks and discussions which centered on three (3) significant modules: 1.) Coastal integrity; 2.) Seagrass Ecology; and 3.) Mangrove Ecology.

The information generated from the workshop becomespart of the on-going baseline data for the Protected Area which will serve as guide in the establishment of permanent Biodiversity Monitoring Stations on both the Great and Little sta. Cruz Islands.

The participation of the City Tourism Office is parallel to its programs on the conservation and preservation of the Great and Little Sta. Cruz Islands.

ZSCMST President Dr. Milavel D. Nazario, gave the welcome address during the opening program of the said event.

Council for Disability Affairs gears up for disability prevention, rehab week

By Felipo David G. Malcampo

ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 14 (PIA) – The Regional Council for Disability Affairs has lined up several activities for the celebration of National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week here starting July 16-23.

Teddy Kahil, president of the Regional Federation of PWDs said that the activities aim to “promote more opportunities for persons with disabilities (PWDs)” particularly in livelihood and employment.

The activities will kick off on July 16 with a motorcade from Pettit Barracks towards the City Coliseum where the opening program will be held at 8 in the morning. During the program, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will distribute starter kits to PWD-beneficiaries for their livelihood. The Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) will also conduct information dissemination on Tertiary Special Education. Also, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will launch a skills training on Nail Care and Foot Spa for 25 PWDs.

A jobs, trade and wellness fair will also be held at the Coliseum on the same day.

Kahil, along with other resource speakers from the DSWD, DOLE, DOH and other agencies will have radio and TV guestings in local stations, as well as a press conference at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) on July 21.

Other activities include PWD voters’ registration on July 20, Skills and Talents Enhancement workshops for PWDs, and the awarding of Western Mindanao Power Corporation for its compliance to RA 344, or the Accessibility Law.

This year’s NDPR theme is “Health and Wellness Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities Toward Inclusive Development for All.” (FPG/FDM/PIA9-Zamboanga City) - See more at:

Zambo health office opens high-risk maternity clinic


ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 13 (PNA) -– The City Health Office is set to open on Wednesday a high-risk maternity clinic to address problems on maternal health in this city.

Dr. Rodelin Agbulos, city health officer, said Monday the clinic will be established at the CHO’s Reproductive Health and Wellness Center at Pettit Barracks.

Agbulos said the establishment of the clinic is a joint project of his office and the Philippine Obstetric and Gynecologic Society (POGS).

He said the clinic will be handled by an OB-Gyne specialist to attend to women with high-risk pregnancy.

He said patients of high-risk pregnancy includes pregnant afflicted with diabetes, hypertension, and others medical complications.

The city health official said the most common case of high-risk pregnancy in this city is preeclampsia pregnancy.

He said the objective in the establishment of high-risk pregnancy clinic is to obtain zero maternal mortality.

Dr. Agbulos said that referrals from the barangay health centers will also be accommodated at the clinic.

Zamboanga City honors SEA Games medalists

By Bong Garcia

THE City Government is set to afford heroes’ welcome to the two Zamboangueño weightlifters who reaped medals in the recently held Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

The SEA Games weightlifting was held from June 26 to 28 in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

Elbert Atilano, Philippine weightlifting association vice president and training director, said the ceremony will be held on Monday just after the flag raising ceremony at the Rizal Park in front of City Hall.

To be afforded heroes’ welcome are Hidilyn Diaz, 24, and Nestor Colonia, of the village of Mampang and Mercedes, respectively.

Diaz won the gold medal in the Women’s 53-kilogram (kg) category, while Nestor Colonia got a bronze medal in the 56-kg category in men’s division.

Atilano said Diaz broke the record in the snatch event with 98-kg and 115-kg in the clean and jerk with a total of 213-kg.

Atilano said Colonia bagged the bronze medal in the 56-kg category men’s division with 116-kg snatch event and 151-kg clean and jerk with a total of 267-kg.

Atilano Diaz and Colonia will also receive cash incentives from the city based on Ordinance 231.

The cash incentives based on Ordinance 231 are as follows: Gold medal, P150,000; Silver medal, P100,000; and Bronze, P75,000.

City joins 3rd Farm Tourism Conference

By Vic Larato

The city government sent its representation to the 3rd Farm Tourismn Conference held on July 1-3, 2015 at the Batis Aramin Resort & Hotel, Barangay Malupak, Lucban, Quezon Province.

Mayor Beng Climaco sent Ms. Jessica Caroline C. Fabrigas of the City Tourism Office and Mr. Isidro A. Quijano of the Office of the City Agriculturist to represent the local government and take part in an important convergence of ideas featuring the most recent breakthrough discovered in the tourism industry– FARM TOURISM.

The three-day conference was attended by some 200 delegates with an enormous participation from various local government units. It gathered some of the most credible authorities in agriculture, farming and tourism, who shared their insights and success stories in their respective fields to include among others, Dr. Mina Gabor, President of the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST), and Ms. Josie Costales, Chairman of the Costales Nature Farms, the first Farm Tourism Site to be accredited by the Department of Tourism. Costales Nature Farms is a prime agro-tourism destination that conducts ecological and balanced farming techniques, which aims to promote a sustainable agriculture, healthy lifestyle, and environmental biodiversity through integrated organic farming. The farm was adjudged as the Most Outstanding Organic Farm of the Philippines for the year 2012 recognized by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. The event was likewise graced by top local and national officials led by Senator Cynthia Villar and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala who served as the Guests of Honor during the opening ceremony, as well as Governor David Suarez of Quezon Province and Mayor Celso Olivier Dator of the municipality of Lucban, Quezon Province.

A convergence of both farm and tourism, Farm-Tourism is a tourism concept coined by the former Secretary of the Department of Tourism, the Honorable Mina Gabor in 2013. Farm per se is primarily on food production and tourism conventionally is on culture, history, and sites, with farm-tourism, farm becomes a contributor in tourism through farm activities.

With the continuous evolution of the tourism industry, it now becomes limitless and goes beyond sightseeing to experience which farm can offer an extraordinary experience that is not common in urban areas. The distinct farm experience can be but not limited to Fruit Picking, Crop Harvesting, Pond Fishing, Biking, Camping, Horse Back-riding, and Hanging Bridge crossing.

City Tourism Officer Sarita Sebastian believes that the city’s participation in this new trend in tourism will lead the promotion of farm-tourism in Zamboanga City as a new tourism product as well as reinforce the present administration’s advocacy of a healthy lifestyle. She likewise sees the opportunity of strengthening the linkage between the government and the private sector; encouraging the farmers to maximize the land utilization and be more productive; and educating farmers on organic farming and farm tour guiding.

The 3rd Farm Tourism Conference is an endeavor of the International School of Sustainable Tourism supported by DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2015-50.

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