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Zamboanga City council orders repair of Pasonanca Tree House


ZAMBOANGA CITY, April 23 (PNA) -- The city council, through a resolution, has asked the City Engineer’s Office to repair the once famous Pasonanca Tree House in this city.

Councilor Mayra Paz Abubakar, who authored the resolution, said the Tree House is now dilapidated and its iron stair is already rusty.

Abubakar said the Tree House needed to be repaired since it is one of the city's landmarks visited by both local and foreign tourists.

It was called the Pasonanca Tree House since it is located just outside the Scout Limbaga Camp Site in Barangay Pasonanca.

The Tree House, which is visited by thousands of visitor yearly, is just a stone's throw away from the Pasonanca Park.

It was originally constructed as “Youth Citizenship Training Center” in April 1960 with the assistance of the city council.

City dad calls Vitali "a sleeping giant", bats for sustainable development

By Nonoy E Lacson

Calling the Vitali District of this city "a sleeping giant" due to its huge untapped mineral resources, City Councilor Charlie Mariano called for a rationale utilization of resources to achieve sustainable development.

Speaking to almost 300 participants of the Information and Advocacy Conference on the Protection of Watershed held April 24 here, the city councilor made an appeal for the people to be heard on issues affecting their lives.

The conference was conducted by the Friends of the Zamboanga Watershed Movement (FZWM) in cooperation with the Social Action Center of the Roman Catholic Vitali Parish. FZWM is organized by Fr. Sebastiano D'Ambra of the Silsilah Dialogue Movement.

Vitali has huge untapped mineral resources which could "tremendously contribute to the development of the city if we allow it to be tapped and developed responsibly", Councilor Mariano said.

"In the city council, we listen to people on issues adversely affecting them," he said, and went on to say, "the people in Vitali District must be given the chance to be heard in a conference like this" before any decision is made.

"Mining is part of our lives," Mariano declared, adding, "What is important is that we should closely monitor the mining activity if it conforms to the standards and regulations by the existing mining law of the country."

Councilor Mariano pointed to the unabated quarrying in other parts of the city and other activities by irresponsible businesses that directly affects "our land and waters yet we do not oppose it."

"It is time for Vitali to develop economically by utilizing the untapped mineral resources by which this place is so very rich, provided we do it responsibly," he stressed.

The issue, he said, is not about watershed because the proposed Vitali watershed is not declared by law.

As far as the law is concerned, the city councilor clarified, the area is open to any mining activity since it is not a declared watershed.

"We should be reminded that our government is a government of laws and not of men. That we should make decisions according to existing laws," he said in an apparent reference to Fr. D'Ambra statement.

Fr. D'Ambra earlier in the conference said, "the concept of watershed is not determined by law but by the necessity" in order to support life as he stressed the importance of watershed in nurturing life.

The Italian priest told the participants during the opening of the conference that FZWM is "committed to promote dialogue with creation" in order to maintain the integrity of creation.

He urged the participants "not only to think what you can get from an activity today but what it will also give to your children in the future." "FZWM aims to promote the preservation and conservation of the six watershed areas of the city," he said. Of the six mentioned watershed in the city, only one is declared. Proclamation No. 132 declared "the Pasonanca Watershed Forest National Park". The other five are only proposed watershed areas. Vitali Barangay Chairman Lito Alavar, during the open forum, said "I do not see the danger to the environment of the present mining activities in the area." "I am on the forefront of opposing mining if it destroys our environment," he declared to the applause of the participants.

"I am convinced that Atro Mining-Vitali is a responsible mining company and I don't see the need to oppose it," he added.

Atro Mining-Vitali, inc. (AMVI) is set to start production in its 2,017-hectare Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) area located here. The initial phase of production will focus on a 25-hectare site in Sitio Veronica which is expected to last for at least five years.

Mr. Elson Ogario, AMVI president, allayed fears once the mining operations will commence. "Though we will be doing mining operations in the area, but our presence there would greatly help in the betterment of the area, in the restoration of the forests, in the protection of the environment, in the prevention of landslides and erosion and ultimately, in creating a better watershed, esp. when we already leave the area," Mr. Ogario said.

Presently, the area is totally denuded. Studies have shown that with the kind of soil prevalent in the area which is sedimentary, even during slow rains, erosion do happen bringing these soils into the river causing it to become brown and during heavy rain, into chocolate brown. Being denuded, flooding also do happen at Vitali Proper during heavy rain, abetted by the diversion of Mialim River.

But with AMVI's presence, it can help protect the environment, the company president assured.

Part of the operational plan, he revealed, is to put up "a siltation pond system in our mining area, proper drainage and sabo dams to help arrest the silts from flowing into the river systems. We will also commit in reforesting the un-mineralized area and do progressive rehabilitation."

On the question that AMVI's mining operations endanger the water that flows in the proposed watershed or the water source found in the area, AMVI says otherwise. The company president said, "We strongly disagree. We will just be mining iron ore and we don't use any chemicals.

Hence, whatever water that presently flows from the area into the river would just be basically the same water as the one flowing now. As we have siltation pond systems, sabo dams and proper drainage systems, the water even that will flow from our mining area would be much cleaner.

As we will be reforesting the area, we could even further enhance the watershed."

PMA holds silent drill in Zamboanga

By Nonoy E Lacson

The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) on Monday started the scheduled three day silent drill exhibition in Zamboanga City.

Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) Spokesman Capt. Maria Rowena Muyuela said the silent drill on Monday was held in Paseo del Mar while the silent drill scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday will be in Naval Forces Western Mindanao headquarters and at WesMinCom grandstand, respectively.

Muyuela said the drill exhibition is part of the PMA cadets’ annual Southern Cruise for this year.

“We will host the visit of PMA Class 2017 and silent drill exhibitions which will showcase the military traditions,” Muyuela added.

The silent drill exhibition will be performed by the third class cadets of PMA Class 2017 which will showcase the finest movements in military marching and formation.

She said that the main highlight of the Southern Cruise is to promote PMA in the different areas in order to recruit new applicants.

She said the upcoming military event is a continuing activity, after the successful conduct of the Southern Cruises for PMA classes 2014 and 2015 in the past two years – a revival after 20 years.

NEA dumps Zamcelco’s genset plan

(Manila Bulletin)

Zamboanga City – The National Electrification Authority (NEA) has disapproved the plan of the Zamboanga Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) to purchase a generator set (genset) worth P84-million, citing it as more expensive than the others.

NEA Deputy Administrator Edgardo Piamonte, in an order issued to Zamcelco Board of Director president Omar Sahi, and general manager George Ledesma, he said the NEA disapproved Zamcelco’s plan to purchase a 16-megawatt (MW) land-based generator after it was found out to be “very costly” for the cooperative to purchase.

But Sahi said that Zamcelco is going to appeal the decision of the NEA, and will not conduct a rebidding because there was no failure of bidding in the first place.

Sahi added that if the NEA will affirm its decision in rejecting Zamcelco’s recommendation to purchase the genset from Camec JCB, then they will not anymore buy a generator for the city.

As this developed, City Councilor Cesar “Jawo” Jimenez was surprised on the statements of the board president of Zamcelco.

“Does he mean to say that just because they did not get what they want, they will allow the people of this city to suffer from the long hours of daily brownout?” Jimenez asked.

Security tightened in Abong-Abong for Holy Week


Police and military authorities have beefed up local security to ensure the protection of Catholic faithful who are expected to flock to the Mayor Cesar Climaco Freedom Park in Abong-Abong for a Holy Week pilgrimage.

Sr. Supt. Angelito Casimiro, City police officer-in-charge, disclosed Tuesday that over 100 policemen will be deployed to the park to augment the presence there of police station 7.

Casimiro said the augmentation force will come from the Police Regional Office-9 headquarters and Regional Special Training Unit.

He said station 7 commander Supt. Concordio Apolonio, Jr. has been designated as the ground commander since the park is within the latter’s area of jurisdiction.

Abong-Abong is part of Barangay Pasonanca.

Lt. Col. Alberto Valencia, Task Force Zamboanga deputy commander, said they will deploy troops to complement the police forces providing security to pilgrims at the park.

Valencia said the troops would come from the Marine Battalion Landing Team-3 and the Army’s 12th Division Reconnaissance Company.

Thousands of Catholic faithful would converge at the park during Holy Week. Many of them would spend the night of Maundy Thursday in the park and go home in the afternoon of Good Friday after the reading of the Last Seven Words.


With report from PO2 Radzben S. Jul (RPIO9)

A total of 78 traffic violators were apprehended by the Zamboanga City Public Safety Company and Zamboanga City Police Station 11 and Zamboanga City Police Station 7 including 6 Motorcycles and 1 public utility jeep impounded following intensified mobile/checkpoints implemented in their area of jurisdiction last Wednesday April 16, 2014. The operation also resulted to the impoundment of four motorcycles and for the implementation of traffic laws and city ordinances in the Zamboanga city which resulted to the confiscation of driver’s licenses for various traffic violations with Zamboanga City Public Safety Company netted 56 traffic violators including 6 motorcycles impounded, Zamboanga City Police Station 11 netted 13 traffic violators including 1 public utility jeep impounded and Zamboanga City Police Station 7 netted 9 traffic violators. All violators were issued citation tickets / temporary operator’s permit with corresponding penalties.

Zambo City grants scholarship to poor but deserving students


ZAMBOANGA CITY, April 17 (PNA) -– Poor but deserving high school graduates here who wish to avail of the city government's academic scholarship program have until April 30 to apply.

This was announced by City Human Resource and Management Officer Dr. Jane Bascar as she enumerated the requirements for interested applicants given the time frame for the start of the enrollment period for the school year 2014-2015.

Bascar said that a prospective scholar must pass the college entrance examination in a public tertiary school in the city aside from the scholastic qualification.

Bascar said he or she (or if minor, his/her parents) must be qualified voters of this city.

She said the applicant or any of his/her siblings must not be a recipient of any other scholarship or educational assistance from this city, or any government or private entity, except when such education assistance is in the form of deductions to tuition fees as a result of their exemplary academic standing.

She said the applicant must be a resident of this city for at least four years of continuous stay prior to his or her application, and must possess moral integrity and character with no criminal or derogatory record or charges of drug dependency.

Lastly, she said that his or her family’s combined income shall not exceed the poverty level as determined by the Local School Board (LSB) based on the recommendation of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

Enacted in 2008, City Ordinance No. 332 grants poor but deserving high school graduates who will pass the program’s stringent qualifications and requirements the opportunity to receive an educational assistance of P5,000 per semester for four years should they enroll in a public tertiary school in this city.

The entire amount of P5,000 will be deposited to the tertiary school where the scholar is enrolled in.

The balance shall be given to the scholar in cash for his or her other school needs if the educational assistance should exceed the school tuition and miscellaneous fees for the semester.

Bascar said the city government has allocated a scholarship for 100 per school year.

Bascar said the city government’s scholarship program was established to provide competent and intelligent students of this city the opportunity and means to finish their education.

Quality healthcare benefits for indigent families launched


Consistent with the government’s commitment in delivering quality healthcare for all, a multi-sector program spearheaded by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC), was launched recently at the Zamboanga City Coliseum.

The “Alaga Ka” program launch was attended by some 500 indigent families which were identified through the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Listahanan or National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction. Listahanan provides high quality list of the poor households nationwide and maintains its sharing of database among National Government Agencies (NGA’s) as stipulated in the Executive Order 867 series of 2010.

Through the “Alaga Ka para sa Maayos na Buhay” or simply Alaga Ka is a program implemented in 17 regions nationwide that seeks to provide the country’s 14.7 million indigent families with greater access to primary health care services. Philhealth’s strategic campaign for the ‘Alaga Ka’ aims to increase the utilization of primary care services by the enrolled indigent families, empower families with the right and accurate information about their benefits and educate them on to maximize its used emphasizing the concept that the poor are being taken cared by the government.

During the said launch, DSWD through Listahanan provided assistance to these families and those who are non-members of PhilHealth through a Validation Desk.

Philhealth’s Regional Office IX has already enrolled 1,050,048 members covering Zamboanga Peninsula. They make sure that all those covered by Listahanan (NHTS-PR) can receive the benefits they deserve from them. The National Government shoulders the Annual premium of this indigent families amounting 2,400 pesos.

Furthermore, A massive information drive was also delivered to all attendees to address the need for awareness. Among these is the Philhealth Primary Care Benefit Package (PCB)’s TSeKap (Tamang Serbisyo para Kalusugan ng Pamilya) that seeks to heighten their awareness on the benefits they gain from this programs. TSeKaP consists of essential services aimed at prevention, early detection of diseases and even interventions for healthy living. It includes series of consultation, visual inspection with acetic acid, regular blood pressure monitoring, periodical breast examination, and health promotion like education on breastfeeding, counseling on lifestyle modification and smoking cessation and diagnostic procedures, said Philhealth.

In an interview with Mr. Edgardo F. Faustino, Division Chief for Field Operations for Philhealth IX, he revealed that the implementation of these indigent programs for the indigent families became more efficient and credible through the presence of the DSWD’s Listahanan (NHTS-PR) database. He further said that through the Listahanan, Philhealth no longer need to go through the voluminous documents and laborious process of identifying its recipients as the list can be easily accessed since it is already done electronically.

Majority of the families present during the event are also Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development coming from selected barangays around the city. Philhealth Board Resolution No.1571, s.2011, states the enrollment of all indigent families under Listahanan (NHTS-PR) of the DSWD in the indigent programs while entitlement of all Pantawid beneficiaries to Philhealth benefits is in pursuant to it’s Philhealth Circular No. 024, s. 2012.

DSWD shall update its list in the 2nd Quarter of the year in the conduct of the 2nd Nationwide Household Assessment through its Listahanan Unit targeting more than 600 thousand households.

DoubleDragon to build 2 malls

By Jenniffer B. Austria

DoubleDragon Properties Inc. said Monday a unit formed a joint venture with a Mindanao-based company to construct two community malls under the brand CityMall in Zamboanga City.

DoubleDragon said in a disclosure to the stock exchange retail arm CityMall Commercial Centers Inc. signed an investment and shareholders’ agreement with Galleria Zamboanga Inc. for the construction of the two community malls.

It said under the agreement, CMCCI and GZI would form a joint venture company called Prime DDG Commercial Centers Inc. as the corporate vehicle that would own the two CityMalls in Zamboanga City.

GZI will contribute one hectare of prime property in Tetuan, Zamboanga and 1.4 hectares in Guiwan, Zamboanga, as equity in Prime DDG.

Prime DDG will be 70-percent owned by CMCCI and the 30-percent owned by GZI. CMCCI will be in charge of the management. Construction of the two malls is expected to start by end of second quarter of 2014, DoubleDragon said.

CMCCI is a holding company for the CityMall community mall projects of DoubleDragon. CityMall is envisioned to become one of the largest branded independent community mall chains in the country.

A CityMall will have an average gross floor area of 5,000 to 10,000 square meters and will be located in prime locations mostly in Visayas and Mindanao.

SM Investments Corp. of the Sy family acquired a 34-percent interest in CMCCI in February, with DoubleDragon owning the remaining 66 percent.

DoubleDragon completed the acquisition last year of a 1.2-hectare commercial property in Roxas City, which would be the site of the company’s first CityMall.

The CityMall in Roxas City, along with the two community malls in Zamboanga City will open by December this year.

Zambo mayor issues 2 EOs to ensure solemn observance of Holy Week


ZAMBOANGA CITY, April 14 (PNA) -– Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, to ensure a solemn and orderly Holy Week observance, has ordered the implementation of traffic rerouting scheme and bans the carrying of weapons and liquor at the Mayor Cesar Climaco Freedom Park in Mount Abong-Abong, Barangay Pasonanca in this city.

The Climaco Freedom Park, for the past several years now, serves as convergence place to Catholic devotees to do their Lenten devotions during Holy Week.

Salazar’s directives are contained in Executive Orders 47 and 48 issued April 10 after she convened a meeting with the local police and military authorities and other stakeholders to finalize preparations for the Holy Week observance.

The two EOs will take effect from 6 p.m. April 16 to 6 a.m. April 19.

EO 47 prohibits the bringing, sale and drinking of liquor and other intoxicating drinks, bringing of audio/video equipment and playing of loud music and the bringing of firearms, bladed weapons and other similar items within the Climaco Freedom Park.

The local police are directed to confiscate as well as dispose immediately all prohibited items and the violators are to be invited to the police station for investigation and filing of appropriate charges or imposition of fines.

EO 48 orders a temporary re-routing scheme on roads leading to the Climaco Freedom Park and declaring the place as a walk-in park for the duration of the Holy Week.

LTO to release 5,000 new plate numbers

By Allen Abastillaa

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) will soon release 5,000 new plate numbers for motor vehicles nationwide.

According to LTO-9 Director Aminola P. Abaton, the 5,000 new plate numbers are intended only for newly acquired motor vehicles.

Abaton said he does not know yet how many plate numbers that will be issued for Zamboanga Peninsula. Motor vehicles with expiring registration and with existing plate number will renew their registration and will not be issued new plate numbers, according to Director Abaton.

“We are still waiting for new directives from the LTOCentral Office as to the date the new plate numbers will be issued for renewed units. There will be an assessment of renewal units or renewed motorvehicle registration because they still have existing plate numbers,” Abaton said.

He said the new plate number have security features that once it is installed on a registered motorvehicle, it cannot be transferred to another motorvehicle because once it is removed from the original unit, it will be broken and destroyed.

Another feature of the new plate number is that those for public utility jeepney and public utility have different bar codes. Bar codes of public transportation and private motorvehicles have different barcoding of the new plate numbers, Abaton said.

LTFRB to issue special permit to PUJs serving Holy Week pilgrims in Zambo


ZAMBOANGA CITY, April 12 (PNA) -- The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has advised operators of Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJs) to secure special permits to be able to ply the route to Mount Abong-Abong during the observance of the Holy Week.

LTFRB Records Officer Linda Mohammad issued the advice as she warned that penalties will be slapped against those who would ply the route to Mount Abong-Abong without the required special permit.

The penalty for out of line violation is a fine of P2,000.

Mohammad said that yearly they issue special permits but limited in number to avoid traffic congestion at the Climaco Freedom Park in Mount Abong-Abong during the observance of the Holy Week. Priority is being given to PUJ operators servicing the route from city proper to Barangay Pasonanca.

The Mount Abong-Abong, although within the political jurisdiction of Barangay Pasonanca, is being served by PUJs with franchise routes from city proper to Abong-Abong.

However, there are only about 10 PUJs servicing the route from city proper to Abong-Abong which is not sufficient to serve the number of people going to Climaco Freedom Park in Mount Abong-Abong during Holy Week.

Multitude of catholic faithful converge at the Park during Holy Week for the Way of the Cross at the Station of the Cross.

Mohammad said the special permit will be valid for three days from April 17 to 19.

Mohammad said the requirements in applying for a special permit are the following: unexpired franchise; Official Receipt, Certificate of Registration; and, P250 special permit fee.

Mount Abong-Abong climbers reminded of Holy Week pilgrimage


ZAMBOANGA CITY, April 11 (PNA) -– Archdiocesan Administrator Monsignor Crisologo Manongas has reminded the public especially the Catholic faithful that going to Mount Abong-Abong during the Holy Week must be for sacrifice or penitence and not for a picnic.

Manongas issued the reminder as he noticed that most of those who climb Mount Abong-Abong nowadays are for an overnight picnic instead of doing the Way of the Cross at the foot of Pulong Bato.

The Station of the Cross was part of the pet project of legendary Mayor Cesar Climaco when he initiated the establishment of the Abong-Abong Park in the early '80s during his term as the mayor of this city.

The Abong-Abong Park was later named as Mayor Cesar Climaco Freedom Park after he was felled by an assassin’s bullet while inspecting a fire scene on November 14, 1984 along Gov. Alvarez Street, this city.

“The first intention of the late (Mayor) Cesar Climaco of building that place (Abong-Abong Park) was to make it a place of pilgrimage. It is not a tour (area) but it is for a sacrifice prayer, an act of sacrifice in going there, not for a picnic,” Manongas said.

Manongas said the people must do their religious duty of praying the Via Cruses and reflecting on the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind when they go the Mount Abong-Abong this Holy Week.

The Climaco Freedom Park in Mount Abong-Abong serves as the gathering place of Catholic devotees during the Holy Week observance.

Zamboanga City Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.

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