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Sta. Cruz Island wows BIMP-EAGA tour execs

By Sheila Covarrubias

The Great Sta. Cruz Island, about 2.49 nautical miles off the mainland city of Zamboanga, never fails to fascinate its growing number of visitors, the latest among them were tourism officials from Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia who came here for the two-day conference on joint tourism development.

In fact, it was recommended during the conference that the Sta. Cruz Island will be showcased in the BIMP-EAGA’s short-term plan for community-based ecotourism sites and destinations.

“I feel like a tourist myself when we were visiting Sta. Cruz Island this morning. That was really something we can learn from and adopt in our countries, in so many ways,” said Noraini Haji Tersad, tourism delegation head from Brunei.

Azwir Malaon, head of Indonesian delegation and director for Indonesia’s Destination Development, said although his country has many beautiful islands as well, but the Island of Sta. Cruz is by far one of the best in the world for its very white sand and pristine water.

“Coming down here to Zamboanga for the first time, we’ve seen something different, something similar to what we have in our country and we learned a lot. The people are so welcoming and fantastic,” Malaon said.

For his part, Datu Ik Pahon Anak Joyik of Malaysia and chair of BIMP-EAGA Joint Tourism Development Cluster, said his visit to Zamboanga City for the first time has been very interesting and encouraging.

“Seeing is believing. Rest assured when we go home we will do our part to make sure Zamboanga is always in our mind,” he said.

These tourism officials arrived in Zamboanga City Sunday for the 11th Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Joint Tourism Development Cluster Meeting, during which they discussed tourism development strategies that would enhance calibration and cooperation among BIMP-EAGA tourism agencies, stakeholders, industry players and local governments to ensure a more cohesive approach in marketing and promoting priority tourism destinations.

They also discussed the development of community-based ecotourism sites and attractions, of which Sta. Cruz Island was identified as one for the Philippines.

Tourism Assistant Secretary for Mindanao Arturo Boncato Jr. said the BIMP-EAGA countries agreed two years on a rolling pipeline list of community-based ecotourism sites, and the Philippines then registered Lake Cebu as one among many others.

Boncato said during the meeting delegates from each country shared their accomplishments on what was agreed two years ago.

This time, he said, the group has recommended that Sta. Cruz Island becomes the next community-based ecotourism site that the Philippines will focus on under the BIMP-EAGA joint tourism development strategy.

Job fair set October 24

By Sheila Covarrubias

The Public Employment Service Office (PESO) under the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) will spearhead the conduct of a job fair from 8am to 4pm on Friday, October 24 at the CSWDO grounds in Pettit Barracks.

The activity will be in collaboration with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine Overseas Employment Association (POEA), Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) and the ABS-CBN.

The job fair will cater to job seekers- both skilled and unskilled, skilled new graduates including skilled internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Variety of job positions will be made available by 15 local employers and 5 overseas agencies that will participate in the day-long job fair.

The KCC Mall de Zamboanga, which will be hiring more or less 5,000 workers, will join the job fair.

Interested applicants are advised to bring along with them their resume and other credentials.

Zamboangueño among 10 outstanding boy scouts

(BSP Zamboanga City Council)

A Zamboangueno, and a lone winner from Mindanao, is among this year’s Ten Outstanding Boy Scouts (TOBS). Eagle Scout Jericho “Jayko” Ortega, a 4th Year high school student of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU), together with nine others, was presented during a simple awarding ceremony last October 17, 2014 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). No less than the Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines Hon. Jejomar C. Binay, was on hand to congratulate the awardees.

In his speech, delivered in behalf of all the winners and finalists, Jericho quoted the immortal words of Lord Baden Powell, Founder of Scouting “We never fail when we try to do our duty. We always fail when we neglect to do it”. He went on encouraging all winners “to continue and realize our advocacy in scouting.”

Later that evening at Sofitel Hotel, the winners were inducted to the Ten Outstanding Boy Scouts of the Philippines Association (TOBPA), which incidentally was celebrating their 25th Year Anniversary.

Jericho is the 2nd Zamboangueno to win this prestigious award. ES Kent Tan of Western Mindanao State University High School (WMSU) won it in 1997.

The Search for the Ten Outstanding Boys Scouts of the Philippines is a yearly search sponsored by the BSP, Department of Education and Coca-Cola. Winners are each given a trophy, medallion, P 25,000 total cash and a 2-year scholarship program in any state college or university sponsored by Coca-Cola.

23 brgys assess their dev’t, human security needs in 1-day session

By Sheila Covarrubias

The promotion and practice of good governance in 23 of Zamboanga City’s barangays was further concretized when their barangay officials and sectoral leaders participated in the “Needs Assessment and Baselining on Barangay Governance” held in Centro Latino, Paseo del Mar, Zamboanga City on Friday, October 17.

The assessment of their respective communities’ socio-economic and ecological needs is a key step in determining what basic services and disaster risk reduction measures are required by their constituents, Department of Interior and Local Government City Director Prof. Moh. Taha Arakama told the participants during the opening ceremony.

The baselining was extrapolated from their communities’ socio-economic and other profiles. Together with the assessment results, these will be used to develop the barangays’ public investment programs, whose implementation starting next year will be in accordance with the principles of accountability and transparency since for one fund disbursements will have to be posted in the community center, Arakama further said.

The databases and identified priority needs will also serve as basis for next year’s budget programming forming the grassroot part of the national government budgeting process. For the barangays, the budgeting period is from January to June, Arakama explained. He said the funding formulations should adhere to the two main goals of the Aquino administration, which are poverty reduction and inclusive growth.

Inclusive growth pertains to special support for the welfare of the poor, persons with disability, cultural minorities, women and children and youth, to include the 20 percent special development fund.

The participants discussed and documented their outputs by barangay, which they presented towards the end of the assembly. They tackled performance areas like barangay facilities, equipment and services; human resource management (staffs); revenues collection and utilization; fiscal accountability; local legislation; transparency; delivery of basic services; waste management; economic development – agriculture, fisheries, businesses; public safety and risk reduction; environmental governance.

This good governance promotion effort was developed and spearheaded by the Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance, Inc. (ZABIDA), whose president is Claretian priest Fr. Angel Calvo. DILG is this civil society organization’s main partner. ZABIDA selected the partner urban and rural barangays partly from years of working with the same communities in other programs like sustainable agriculture, environmental conservation, basic services provisioning, peace-building, housing, community organizing and livelihoods. These programs and projects have been funded mostly by the Spanish government’s Agencia de Cooperacion Internacional para Desarollo and foundation Manos Unidas.

A similar effort is also being implemented by ZABIDA in Basilan province, through its local CSO partner Nagdilaab Foundation, Inc. The other ZABIDA partners are Katilingban para sa Kalambuan, Inc,, Reach Out to Others Foundation, and Peace Advocates Zamboanga.

Nov. 9-13 declared Nat’l BSP Jamboree Week in Zambo

By Sheila Covarrubias

November 9-13, 2014 has been declared as National Boy Scouts of the Philippines Jamboree Week in Zamboanga City pursuant to Executive Order BC 72-2014.

This, in view of the holding of the Centennial Jamboree at the Zamboanga Economic Zone and Freeport Authority in Talisayan which will be participated by hundreds of boy scouts from all over the country and even other parts of the globe. The event is in conjunction with the celebration of the 100 years of the introduction of the scouting program in the Philippines.

Mayor Beng Climaco said the occasion will be an opportunity for the city to welcome boy scouts delegation coming from all over the country and that it is historical “since the earliest documented formation of a Scout troop in the islands was that of the Lorillard Spencer Troop of Zamboanga formed in 1914 by a United States Navy Lieutenant named Sherman Kiser in Recodo.”

The EO, issued last September 12, is based on Sangguniang Panlungsod resolution 996 approved on August 26, 2014.

The EO likewise states that the BSP-Zamboanga honors the death anniversary of the late Mayor Cesar C. Climaco, a legendary mayor of the Zamboangueños by keeping vigil in his tomb on the eve of his death anniversary which is commemorated every 14th day of November.

Council OKs P2.5B city’s 2015 budget

By Allen Abastillas

The city’s budget for fiscal year of 2015 is P2,597,523,027.084 as approved by the City Council on September 30 and signed into law by Mayor Beng Climaco on October 10, City Secretary Zenaida Jayme said yesterday.

Jayme said the 2015 budget through Ordinance No. 686 series of 2014 was approved by Council after a series of meetings with city officials and sessions by the legislative body.

The budget is divided into three programs — Social services which get 40 percent, economics — 25 percent and general public servise — 33 percent.

Under the 2015, seecurity gets top priority with a budget of P 90,273,758.96. Health gets P64, 683,125.050, Education — P 78,250,000, Executive budget — P 599,654,130.11.

Moreover, under the budget, the slaughter house has been allocated P8.5 million; Main Market — P21,200,000, Integrated Bus Terminal — P3.2 million; Sta. Cruz market — P13,781,000; Paseo Del Mar — P 7.1 million, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office — P 7.5 million; Barangay Mercedes cemetery — P 1.2 million; Development funds — P 450,600,000; Land improvement — P 35 million. Hospital and Health Sector — P 35.2 million; Roads, highways and bridges — P 218.4 million; Artisan wells, reservoir and pumping stations — P 1.8 million; irrigations and canals — P 61.4 millions; waterways, aqueducts, sewerages and river dikes — P 95.5 million.

The Intelligence funds in 2013 was only P 13.5million. For this current year, it was increased to P18 million. For 2015, it will be P 22 million.

For disaster allocations — P 125,319, 806.

Plaza del Pilar stalls rental lowered by 50%

By Nonong Santiago

Upon recommendations from the Committee on Plaza del Pilar, the City Council amended the ordinance lowering by fifty percent the stall’s rental at the Plaza del Pilar, along Pettit Barracks, this city.

Councilor Vincent Paul Elago, proponent of the resolution, said he fully supports the decrease in the monthly rental of the various stalls in the government-owned facility to help businessmen cope up with their daily income.

The councilor said based from the ordinance, stalls are rented to businessmen at a cost between P3,500 TO 7,000 depending on its sizes.

“Many of the stall holders are just selling candles, religious artifacts and other religious books and novenas and many have complained that they can hardly meet their monthly rentals due to few customers patronizing their products,” Elago said.

The committee on Plaza del Pilar conducted consultation along with Elago’s committee and agreed to lower the rental fees of the various stalls.

Many of the entrepreneurs lauded the council’s move as they thanked the members of the august body for responding to their appeal. (Nonong Santiago)

SMEs thankful to DTI for Zampex

By Bong Garcia

THE small and medium entrepreneurs from all over the region and from other regions are very thankful for the conduct of the first Zamboanga Peninsula Trade Exposition 2014 (ZAMPEX) in this city.

"We are thankful to the organizers for holding ZAMPEX for us Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs). This is a very good opportunity for us to promote and market our products and grow as a business," Frankie Perez of Baker's Field said.

The Baker's Field, which is based in this city, sells special "biscocho."

The ZAMPEX, initiated by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), was held from October 8 to 11 in this city.

Perez disclosed that ZAMPEX is the trade fair that they joined and has immediately reaped dividends for them.

"This is our first trade fair. But the turnout of sales is really encouraging considering that we are just new in the business. Thanks to DTI for inviting us in the ZAMPEX 2014," Perez said.

Perez and his wife Ester, a former banker, established their business right after the latter retired from her job.

The couple, to further improve their business, has sought the help of the DTI for assistance.

"We would like to thank DTI-9 Regional Director Dr. Sitti Amina Jain, Provincial Director Rolando Acuña for this opportunity given us. Special mention also to DTI's Ms. Rose Garcia, and Mr. Roel Catimbang for designing our packaging label," Perez said.

Another SME, this time, from Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte has nothing but praise and thanks for the conduct of the ZAMPEX 2014.

Gapnod Creatives Designer Lordan Reganion said ZAMPEX has given him a greater appreciation of his self-worth and of his products.

Gapnod Creatives focuses on intricate and unique house decors made from drift wood.

"I have joined a lot of exhibits in our province; have been included in the local Hall of Fame for winning many times. But I have never been more proud and felt more appreciated until now. People here were awed of my products. Sales have so far been good. It's more than what I expected," Reganion said.

Aside from them, all of the 87 exhibitors reported positive feedbacks and expressed enthusiasm for the next edition of ZAMPEX in 2015.

Jain, elated with ZAMPEX 2014's outcome, immediately ordered to prioritize and start planning for the next trade expo and prepare the SMEs for the bigger market.

"By 2017, we hope to bring ZAMPEX outside region 9 or even Mindanao. Perhaps we can bring this to Manila, but we need at least 100 exhibitors to realize this. However, before going outside of the region, we have to make sure that our SMEs are ready to meet the clients' demands so that all our efforts will not be wasted. Until then, we need to prepare you not just for the national market, but more important, the ASEAN market," Jain stressed.

The holding of the ZAMPEX 2014 forms part of DTI's activity for the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival 2014.

The feast day of Our Lady of the Pillar on Sunday, October 12, was the highlight of the Festival.

Weather bureau to use meteorological balloon

By Bong Garcia

THE Zamboanga Station of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) will start using meteorological balloon starting next year to boost the monitoring of weather condition in this part of the country.

Pagasa-Zamboanga station Chief Meteorological Officer Maribel Enriquez said the use of the meteorological balloon will enable them to determine the weather condition in the upper layer of the atmosphere.

Enriquez explained the weather condition in the upper layer of the atmosphere differs from that in the ground.

Enriquez said the balloon with expendable transmitter known as radiosonde will be flown twice a day. The first one will be at 8 a.m. and the second at 2 p.m.

She said they will spend P46,000 daily in utilizing the meteorological balloon as each cost P23,000.

The balloon, which carries instruments aloft to send back information on atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity and wind speed by means of a small, expendable measuring device called a radiosonde.

Enriquez said the balloon can stay afloat for an hour before it will explode and the radiosonde can no longer be used again.

She said the Pagasa-Zamboanga station will be the fourth to use such kind of weather equipment starting next year.

The meteorological balloon is being used at present by the Pagasa stations based in Cebu, Legaspi, and Palawan.

Pagasa builds Doppler radar station

By Bong Garcia

THE Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) is set to complete the construction of its Doppler Radar Station in Zamboanga City in February next year.

Pagasa-Zamboanga Station Chief Meteorological Officer Maribel Enriquez said the construction of the station has started in July and "is ongoing."

"The construction will be completed in seven months time," Enriquez added.

Enriquez said the station is being constructed inside by a local construction firm at Camp Don Basilio Navarro that also houses the Western Mindanao Command headquarters in this city.

She said the project cost P100 million to include the building and the Doppler radar equipment.

She said the Doppler radar was purchased from France and is set to arrive next year in time with the completion of the construction of the station.

The facility will be used to measure the amount of rainfall, intensity of the rain, and weather phenomenon. It has coverage of 50-kilometer radius.

Tang Sweet Orange sweetens Zamboanga Hermosa Festival 2014

(Mindanao Examiner)

ZAMBOANGA CITY - Tang Sweet Orange has joined the celebration of the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival and making this year's event more merrier as locals were elated to see the brand that many Chavacanos have grown up to in this southern part of the Philippines.

Tang executives said the new flavor made only for Mindanao was in Zamboanga City to provide refreshments to festival-goers as they cheered for the participants during the events.

Dubbed as "The City of Flowers," Zamboanga is full of Hispanic heritage and tradition and the Hermosa Festival honors the "Our Lady of the Pillar," which was brought to the Zamboanga in 1734 by the Spaniards. The month-long festival includes a procession, live music, cultural performances, Baile de Calle or street dance, Regatta de Zamboanga which is a boat race with traditional Muslim vinta and Festival de Musica Chabacano or the Chabacano Music Festival and the Danza la Vida, a street party.

Sarita Sebastian, head of the organizing committee of the festival, said the Fiesta Pilar is the grandest and most awaited event in Zamboanga City which is being celebrated in adoration to the Virgin Mary.

"It is great to have Tang Sweet Orange here to celebrate this event with us," she said.

Alex Tacderas, Category Lead for Powdered Beverages of Mondelez Philippines, the maker of Tang Sweet Orange, said: "We know how important the Hermosa Festival is to Zamboangueños and how it is very much unique to them, just like Tang Sweet Orange. The Hermosa Festival showcases the rich culture of Zamboanga City."

"Tang Sweet Orange goes hand in hand with this beautiful festival. Its taste was made with Mindanao’s preference in mind, by capturing the right blend of sweetness that those from the region love. Bien sabroso - is the simplest way to describe it. It’s a refreshing addition to celebrate this year’s festivities."

He said Tang is a refreshing powdered juice drink packed with vitamins and minerals that comes in 11 variants and available in Orange, Apple, Mango, Strawberry, Grapes, Watermelon, Four Seasons, and Pineapple. It also comes in the limited edition Watermelon-Apple and Watermelon-Strawberry, and the Sweet Orange flavor exclusively available in Mindanao, he said.


Regatta attracts thousands of spectators

By Bong Garcia

THOUSANDS of spectators gathered Saturday to witness the Regatta de Zamboanga, a traditional race of vintas with colorful sails that brought life once again at the R.T. Lim Boulevard in Zamboanga City.

The spectators, including local and foreign tourists, cheered as a total of 120 vintas, each paddled by two males, raced for the cash prizes at stake.

City Tourism Officer Sarita Sebastian-Hernandez said the prizes are the following: first place, P10,000; second place, P7,000; third place, P5,000; fourth place, P3,000; and, fifth place, P2,000.

Hernandez added that the consolation prize for the non-winning participants is P1,500.

Regatta is one of the activities of the annual Zamboanga Hermosa Festival, the highlights of which is the feast day of Our Lady of the Pillar on Sunday, October 12.

The event was downgraded last year to “Regatta de Esperanza (Regatta of Hope),” a mere show of hope, courage and strength of the local populace after the 21-day siege a month earlier.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Director Mary June Bugante initiated the conduct of the Regatta of Hope, which was conducted at the Paseo del Mar less the glitz and glamour of the colorful race.

The R.T. Lim Boulevard also known as the “Cawa-Cawa” Boulevard was one of the biggest evacuation centers for families, mostly Badjaos, displaced by the September 2013 standoff.

The entire more than a kilometer stretch of the R.T. Boulevard, from the shorelines to the road center island, was transformed into a tent city, losing it panoramic beauty and vibrancy.

Meanwhile, the vinta number one paddled by two fishermen from the village of Sinunuc, west of this city, went home with the top prize of P10,000.

Aside from the cash prize, they also received plaque of recognition, two cellular phones and gift pack from Mondelez, the manufacturer and distributor of Tang sweet orange.

Tang Philippines Brand Manager Lawrence Lorico said they co-sponsored the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival 2014 as they introduced Tang Sweet Orange that “is uniquely Mindanao, or uniquely made for Mindanao.”

The Sinunuc fishermen also bagged additional P5,000 cash prize after they were adjudged as the participants with the most colorful sail.

The other winners are as the following: vinta number 52, second place; vinta number 36, third place; vinta number 13, fourth place; and vinta number 75, fifth place.

Zamboanga City Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.

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