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Zambo LGU gets seal of excellence on population dev’t

By Sheila Covarrubias

The City Government has been conferred the Seal of Excellence on Population and Development by the Commission on Population in recognition of the city’s contribution in the field of population and development and exemplary performance in the Philippine Population Management Program (PPMP).

The Seal of Excellence was turned over to City Social Welfare and Development Officer Socorro Rojas, who represented Mayor Beng Climaco during the awarding ceremonies for the Rafael M. Salas Population and Development Award (RMSPDA) held in Manila Thursday, Nov. 26.

Aside from the seal of excellence, the city was also honoured as Regional winner of the 2014 RMSPDA under the city category.

The city’s cash prize of P50,000 was formally turned over to Mayor Climaco by Popcom Regional Director Reynaldo Wong last October 19. The prize is to be utilized for any population and development activities, programs/ projects in the city.

The Rafael M. Salas Population and Development Award is designed to perpetuate the legacy of Rafael M. Salas, first executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, by honoring and giving due recognition to local government units, local chief executives and institutions or individuals for their outstanding contributions in the field of population and development.

Zambo City allocates PhP20-M to establish ICT center


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 27 (PNA) – The city government has allocated PhP20 million for the establishment of an Information Communication Technology (ICT) center.

Councilor Vincent Paul Elago, chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Science and Technology, made this announcement Friday citing the funding will be used to rehabilitate the Convention Center in Barangay Pasonanca and convert it into ICT center.

The Convention Center, which was constructed by the national government years ago, is being occupied at its ground floor by some government offices while its upper floor remain unoccupied.

The upper floor was previously occupied by the City Councilors when the City Council building along R.T. Lim Boulevard was under construction.

Elago said the PhP20 million funding allocation is included in the 2016 budget of the local government.

He said the Convention Center will house the local ICT office and will serve as training center and for other ICT-related activities once it is renovated.

He said the Convention Center can also accommodate call centers that would operate in this city.

Shelter Fair highlights Urban Poor solidarity week fete

By Sheila Covarrubias

Key shelter agencies and developers will showcase their services and featured house and lot packages during the Shelter Fair set on Saturday, Nov. 28 from 5:30am to 5pm at the Paseo del Mar highlighting the opening of the Urban Poor Solidarity Week.

Organized by the City Government through the Housing and Land Management Division and the Zamboanga Homeowners and People’s Organizations Federation, Inc., the shelter fair will be participated by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), National Housing Authority (NHA) and Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).

PAG-IBIG Fund or the Home Development Mutual Plan will entertain queries for the disposal of acquired assets and mandatory coverage of all income-generating Filipinos- be they employed, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and even association and organization members, formal or informal.

Twelve housing developers will showcase their house and lot packages and units and these include the Blue Shark Development Trading Corp., Dawing Corporation, Filinvest Land, Inc., HLC Construction and Development Firm, HNH Realty and Development, Lulua Realty Development, Inc., MGM and Associates, RGL Housing and Property Development, Tropical Village Residences, Uswah Prime Realty Corporation, XANADA Properties Corporation and ZC Tierra Verde Corporation.

The Urban Poor Solidarity Week celebration slated from Nov. 28-Dec. 7 is a gathering of Homeowners Associations and People’s Organizations aimed to foster friendship and camaraderie and most importantly to update members on issues affecting the sector.

The celebration will kick off at 5:30am at Paseo del Mar with a zumba activity to be followed by the opening program with Mayor Beng Climaco and personalities from Manila gracing the event.

Other activities during the week-long celebration include the mass blood donation on December 2 with Zamboanga City Medical Center as the blood bank, Women’s Congress at the Royce Convention in Astoria Hotel on December 4 and the Leaders’ Convention on Dec. 7.

There are a total of 115 Urban Poor and Homeowners Associations and People’s organizations in Zamboanga City with over 30,000 individual members.

DOLE monitors payment of 13th month pay


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 25 (PNA) -– The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has tasked its Labor Law Compliance Officers to monitor payment of the 13th month pay by the employers.

DOLE Regional Information Officer Iris Gay Tangcalagan told the Philippines News Agency on Wednesday it is to ensure the employers comply with the law governing payment of the 13th month pay.

President Decree No. 851 requires employers to pay their rank and file employees 13th month salary regardless of the nature of employment and irrespective of the methods by which their wages are paid provided they worked for at least one month during the calendar year.

An employee who worked for one month during a calendar year shall be paid not be less than one-twelfth of the total basic salary earned by an employee in a calendar year.

She advised the employees that they can file complaint for non-payment of the 13th month pay by their employers for appropriate action.

City’s weightlifters grab medals in Rio Olympics

By Jasmine Mohammadsali

Zamboangueño weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colonia emerged victorious in a weightlifting Olympic-qualifier competition held in Texas, a victory which will set them on the road to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Diaz and Colonia clinched podium finishes, both winning bronze medals in their respective categories at the 2015 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Weightlifting Championship in Houston, Texas.

Diaz won 3 bronze medals in the 53 kg category while Colonia won 1 bronze medal in the 56 kg category.

According to City Sports Officer Dr. Cecil Atilano, Diaz and Colonia’s individual wins qualified them to compete in the 2016 Olympics, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 2016.

The coaches and athletes are currently waiting for the official notification and announcement from the IWF, said Atilano.

Upon receiving the news, City Mayor Beng Climaco praised Diaz and Colonia’s victories during her Monday press briefing.

“Congratulations to Nestor Colonia and Hidilyn Diaz for their victory in their respective categories during the 2015 IWF World Championships in Houston, Texas qualifying them to the Rio Olympics. To God be the glory,” said Climaco.

The City recently recognized Diaz and Colonia for their exemplary performance in the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Phuket, Thailand, a campaign that resulted in five gold medals and a silver medal last September.

According to sports website, an athlete can qualify in the Olympics via team qualification where a country can gain three to six berths based on team rankings in the 2014 and 2015 World Championship, and continental qualification events, or via individual qualification by being one of eight in the top 15 in each weight category from countries which have not yet gained Olympic berths.

City gears for ‘Pascua na Zamboanga 2015’

By Sheila Covarrubias

Zamboanga City is in Christmas mood as preparations for the Pascua na Zamboanga 2015 festival are in full swing.

And to truly spread the holiday cheers, the City Government through the Creative Team of the General Services Office has chosen a fun theme this year—Candy Land Christmas—setting the scene in City Hall, Plaza Pershing, Paseo del Mar and other landmarks with sweet decorations featuring chocolate bars and cotton candy twirls, lollipops, cookies, cupcakes and many more—that will mean a lot of fun especially for the children during the yuletide season.

The grand opening of the Pascua na Zamboanga 2015 is set on December 1 at 6pm with the switch on ceremony of the Christmas lights in City Hall. This will be followed by the traditional Christmas parade of City Government employees at 6:30pm from City Hall to Paseo del Mar where the 80 feet Christmas tree will be lighted at 7pm.

Prior to the December 1st event, a football clinic is slated at the EAAB football field at 3pm, November 28 to be reinforced with a football friendly match between Loyola and Meralco Sparks football club and the Green Archers United football club at 3pm, Nov. 29.

The Christmas festival will continue with the Grand Christmas Bazar at 5pm from December 6-12 at Paseo del Mar. Canciones de Pascua, a competition of Christmas songs among Choirs in the city will be held from December 14-18 every 7pm at the City Hall grounds. The open Christmas Lantern Competition is set at the R.T. Lim Boulevard on Dec. 14.

Other activities included in the Pascua na Zamboanga festival are the Great 5-day City mall Holiday Fiesta at the City Mall in Tetuan from 9am-9pm on Dec. 15-20 and the commemoration of the Dr. Jose Rizal’s 119th death anniversary at 8am, December 30 at Plaza Rizal fronting City Hall.

Beng Climaco invites residents and visitors to come to Zamboanga and see the city come alive with the colors of Christmas and to enjoy free and fun activities. The festival is intended to ensure a quality entertainment experience for families and children.

Knowledge-sharing forum for PWDs held

By Henry Salac

The Persons with Disabilities Affairs Unit (PDAU) under the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) spearheaded a forum on Knowledge-Sharing on the Rights of Children with Developmental Conditions Nov. 18 at Centro Latino in Paseo del Mar.

Organized jointly with the Philippine Association for Citizens with Developmental and Learning Disabilities, Inc.(PACDLD), Jollibee Foods Corporation, Philippines, Cebu Pacific Airlines and the Local Government Unit (LGU), the forum was participated by representatives from the Department of Education (DepED), City Administrators, City Planning and Development, City Health, City Council, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) Sector headed by the Zamboanga City Federation of the Parents with the Children’s with Special Needs.

PACDLD officers Octavio Gonzales and Felicite Jean Gonzales discussed the Developmental Milestones of the Children with Disabilities (CWDs) by understanding Developmental Conditions, their rights to avail Medical Services and Educational Intervention and the Local, National, International Mandates of the Law especially their rights and privileges as part of the society for their generational futures.

The PDAU based on their functions and obligations was challenged to fully monitor the implementation of all existing National and Local Laws for the PWDs such as BP 344 or the accessibility law, RA 7277 the Magna Carta for PWDs and the RA 9442 especially the public ridicule as an act of making fun or contemptuous imitating or making mockery of PWDs, whether in writing, or in words, or in action due to their impairments.

Zambo City employees start receiving bonus, cash gift


ZAMBOANGA CITY (PNA) -- The local government has allocated PHP23.65 million for the yearend bonus and cash gift of the 2,120 employees to be released this month.

City Hall Information Officer Belen Sheila Covarrubias said the amount represents half of the employees’ Christmas bonus, which is equivalent to their one month salary and PHP5,000 cash gift for this year.

The other half of the Christmas bonus and cash gift was already released in May this year.

Covarrubias said the employees’ Christmas windfall was released starting Monday, November 16, on orders of Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar.

She said the total allocation for the Christmas windfall is PHP47.38 million with the cash gift amounting to PHP10.53 million and the year-end bonus amounting to PHP36.85 million per record from the City Budget Office.

Of the total 2,120 city government employees entitled to the bonus and cash gift, 1,802 are holding regular positions while remaining 318 are casual employees.

OWWA distributes PhP300,000 livelihood starter kits in Zambo


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 20 (PNA) – The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has distributed on Friday PhP300,000 worth of livelihood starter kits to distressed Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

OWWA Regional Director Hassan Gabra Jumdain said the distribution of the livelihood starter kits is part of the agency’s “Balik Pinas, Balik Hanap Buhay Program” aimed to help uplift the lives of unsuccessful OFWs.

Jumdain said there were 30 beneficiaries and each of them received PhP10,000 worth of livelihood starter kits consisting of cooking utensils including oven, gas stove and blender.

He said 16 of the 30 beneficiaries are from this city, four from Basilan province and two from Pagadian City.

He advised them to put to good use the livelihood starter kits given them. “You can now start small business.”

Vanesa Alcantara, one of the beneficiaries from Isabela City, Basilan, said the distribution of the livelihood starters is timely since she will be able to bake cake in time for the Yuletide Seasons.

Urban poor solidarity week program set in Zambo City


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 19 (PNA) -– The local associations of urban poor and homeowners as well as the People’s Organizations (POs) will converge for their biggest gathering to update the members on issues concerning the three sectors.

Marisa Aizon, chair of the local federation of homeowners and POs, said the event which is also aimed to foster friendship and camaraderie will be held from November 28 to December 7.

Aizon said the event, dubbed as Urban Poor Solidarity Week, will kick off at 5:30 p.m. on November 28 with a zumba at Paseo del Mar.

The opening program will follow after Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar and visitors from Manila will grace the activity.

Aizon said a whole-day shelter fair, also to be held at Paseo del Mar, featuring all housing agencies will highlight the opening day of the Urban Poor Solidarity Week.

She said the housing agencies that will join the shelter fair are the following: Pag-IBIG Home Development Mutual Fund; Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC); National Housing Authority (NHA); National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC); Developers’ Association; and, numerous others housing agencies where interested clients can inquire housing units acquisition.

She said the opening program will also tackle the Magna Carta for Homeowners Associations, Republic Act 7279 otherwise known as the Urban Development Housing Act (UDHA), Presidential proclamation process and status of requests and other updates concerning the urban poor and homeowners associations.

She said the other activities during the Urban Poor Solidarity Week will include; mass blood donation, December 2; Women’s Congress, December 4; and, the Leaders’ Convention, December 7.

There are 115 Urban Poor and Homeowners Associations and POs with over 30,000 members in this city.

DOH holds summit on Basic Emergency Obstetrics, Newborn Care


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 18 (PNA) -– The Department of Health’s (DOH) Family Health Cluster is holding the First Summit on Basic Emergency Obstetrics and Newborn Care (BEmONC) facilities in this southern port city.

The summit’s participants include physicians, nurses and midwives from the different provinces and cities here in Region 9.

The summit kicked-off Wednesday and ends Thursday. It is anchored on the theme “Threading the Path for the Strategic Delivery of Maternal Newborn Child Health and Nutrition Program Services.”

City Hall Information Officer Belen Sheila Covarrubias said the summit is designed to highlight achievements based on identified program indicators and will gather for the first time all graduates of BEmONC Skills Training, which started January 2010 up to the present.

Covarrubias said the event will also tackle latest updates that will help improve and augment knowledge of health service providers to face the challenges ahead and beyond achieving the 2015 Millennium Development Goals number 4 and 5.

Zambo City allocates PHP2M for Christmas decorations


ZAMBOANGA CITY (PNA) -– The city government has allocated PHP2 million to decorate the different landmarks with Christmas decorations in time for the Yuletide Seasons.

Eng’r. Rene Dela Cruz, city general services officer, said Monday the Christmas decorations will be placed at City Hall, Plaza Pershing, Plaza del Pilar, Paseo del Mar and in Jardin Maria Clara in Pasonanca Park.

Dela Cruz said this year’s Christmas decoration is anchored on the theme “candy land.”

He said this year’s budget for Christmas decorations was higher of PHP500,000 than last year because they bought led Christmas lights.

Last year, the city government spent PHP1.5 million for Christmas decorations.

Dela Cruz said they will build a 70-foot Christmas tree at the Paseo del Mar.

The Paseo del Mar is a seafront park located at the back the historic Fort Pilar and serves as the resident’s favorite place to converge at night time.

Dela Cruz said the Christmas tree and electrical Christmas decorations are tentatively scheduled to be switched-on on November 28.

He said the decoration of this city’s landmarks is part of the effort of the city government to boost local tourism.

DOST sets holding of biggest S&T Fair in Zambo City

By Teofilo P. Garcia, Jr [(PNA), CTB/TPGJR]

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 16 (PNA) – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced the holding of a three-day 2015 Mindanao Science and Technology (S&T) Fair in this city.

DOST Regional Director Brenda Nazareth-Manzano said Monday that the huge event will bring together people from all walks of life, particularly scientists, researchers, engineers, businessmen, students, professionals, non-government organizations, national government agencies, local government units, media practitioners and other partner-stakeholders.

Manzano said the S&T will be held from December 3-5 and is anchored on the theme “Philippines: A Science Nation Innovating for Global Competitiveness.”

Manzano said the event will feature world-class innovation technologies of the S&T sectors aligned to the ASEAN Economic Integration.

She said it will showcase the eight S&T Based Outcomes that serve as the legacy of DOST under the administration of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and DOST Secretary Mario Montejo.

She said the DOST outcomes will help push the country towards national development and competitive advantage in the global economic scenario.

Specifically, she said the eight outcomes are as follows: science-based know-how and tools that enable the agriculture sector to raise productivity to world-class standards; innovative, cost-effective and appropriate technologies that enable Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to develop and produce competitive products that meet world-class standards; state of the art facilities and capabilities that enable local industries to move up the value chain and attain global competitiveness; Philippines, a global leader in Information Technology-Business Process Management Services generating direct employment of 1.3 million 520,000 of which in the countryside; Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-based transformation of governance broadening access to government services (i.e. health and education) for those in the countryside (Philippines in the top 50 global ranking of e-government by 2016); improved quality healthcare and quality of life thru science, technology and innovation; highly skilled and globally competitive S&T human resources in support of the national S&T programs (Philippine Science High School to be the leading science high school in ASEAN by 2015 and every town to have at least one DOST scholar by 2016); and, science-based weather information and climate change scenarios with associated impact assessments that enable concerned agencies to develop appropriate mitigation strategies for a disaster.

Apart from the exhibits, Manzano said other special events lined-up are: Campus Science Journalism Seminar-Workshop; Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) Consultative Dialogue; Forum on “In the Specific Case of Research, are Colleges and Universities Relevant?”; Forum on Developing an Innovation Ecosystem through Science and Technology; and, Site-Visit to Coral Restoration Project in Sta. Cruz Island.

She said the three-day expo is open to all interested individuals to include S&T enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, students, researchers, inventors, innovators, professionals and the general public.

Water, sanitation and hygiene workshops set

By Bong Garcia

THE City Government of Zamboanga will conduct a two-day orientation workshop on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) in Day Care Centers and in schools.

City Social Welfare and Development Officer Socorro Rojas said the activity will be held from November 16-17 at a local hotel.

Rojas said around 500 individuals consisting of children, teachers, day care workers, social workers, village officials and volunteers are expected to join the two-day activity.

She said the activity will be highlighted by the presentation of the State of Children’s report of the city.

Zambo sports complex to undergo major facelift


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 14 (PNA) -- The city government is speeding up the processing of the documentary requirements to start the rehabilitation of the sports complex before the election ban takes effect.

Dr. Elmeir Apolinario, head of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), told the Philippines News Agency they are optimistic the rehabilitation of the sports complex can start either next month or January next year.

The government has allocated PHP214 million to rehabilitate the sports complex, which Apolinario said is set to be completed in six months.

Apolinario said they will seek for an election ban exemption once the rehabilitation works will commence to ensure the project completion on time.

Atty. Stephen Roy Cañete, first district election officer, said the election ban will take effect March 25.

Cañete said the local government can seek election ban exemption though they are still waiting for the 2016 guidelines on election ban concerning infrastructure projects.

“Based on experience, they submit to the Comelec the list of ongoing projects that are certified by the City Engineer’s Office and the listed projects are considered exempted,” he said.

The Joaquin Enriquez Sports Complex will undergo major facelift as most of its facilities were destroyed since it has served as the biggest evacuation center for the more than 100,000 people who were displaced in the 21-day September 2013 siege.

Zambo eyes new City Development Plan

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

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 13 (PNA) – The city government through the office of the City Planning and Development Coordinator (CPDC) is conducting survey to identify flood basin areas to ensure the safety of the residents.

Eng’r. Rodrigo Sicat, CPDC chief, told the Philippines News Agency that the result of the survey will form part of the process in drafting a new City Development Plan.

“We are going to rigidly identify the flood basins declare these areas as no-build zones,” Sicat said.

Sicat said the areas that would be included in the no-build zones will include riverbanks, shorelines, and steep slopes.

He said the survey result will also be used as among the basis to revised the zoning ordinance since there are no provisions for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the existing law.

He said the revised zoning ordinance will prevent the construction of houses in disaster-prone and areas declared as no-build zones.

Zamboanga City is ZAMPEX 2015 top earner


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 12 (PNA) – This city, with strong performance from its micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), marked the highest sales in the recently held Zamboanga Peninsula Trade Exposition (ZAMPEX) 2015.

ZAMPEX 2015 post-activity report showed the four-day trade exposition registered Php12.5 million total sales that included cash sales, booked orders, under negotiation, and prototype sales in both food and non-food categories.

The report showed this city, through its participating MSMEs, raked in Php6.57 million representing 52 percent of the Php12.5 million total sales.

The report released through the City Hall information office showed that Eco Bottling Enterprises, and a local food exhibitor emerged as the top performer and grossers from among the 83 exhibitors that joined the ZAMPEX 2015.

The report disclosed that this city was followed by the province of Zamboanga del Norte with Php3.27 million sales; Zamboanga Sibugay, Php2.4 million; and, Zamboanga del Sur, Php280,617 in sales.

The ZAMPEX 2015 that featured the finest food and non-food products and services in the region was held from October 8 to 11 this year in this city.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) spearheaded the conduct of the event with the support from the region’s SME core group.

This year’s ZAMPEX was the second. The first was last year, which was also held in this city.

National Nutrition Council bares Region 9 green banner awardees


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 11 (PNA) –- The National Nutritional Council (NNC) has bared this year’s green banner awardees as the Outstanding Nutrition Program Implementers here in Region 9.

Maria del Pilar Pamela Tarroza, NNC regional program coordinator, said the winners are: Zamboanga City, city category; Zamboanga Sibugay, provincial category; and, Piñan, Zamboanga del Norte, municipal category.

Tarroza said the awardees received a plaque and a printer during the awarding ceremony held on Tuesday afternoon in this city.

Tarroza said the award is given to local government units and individuals who showed outstanding performance in the implementation of nutrition programs in their localities.

She said the individual awardees as outstanding nutrition action officer who received certificates of recognition are: Dr. Rodelin Agbulos, city health officer of this city; Dr. Ricardo Awit, Piñan, Zamboanga del Norte; Nena Pedroza, Alicia, Zamboanga Sibugay; and, Marelene Garcia, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Certificates of recognition and cash were also given to outstanding Barangay Nutrition Scholars.

Meanwhile, Agbulos said this year’s award as Outstanding Nutrition Program Implementers is the second to be received by this city.

Agbulos said this city received the award due to the collaborative efforts and innovations adopted by all members of the local nutrition council in the implementation of nutrition program.

Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar reminded the nutrition program should be further strengthened since the problems on stunted growth among children remain high.

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