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Nutrition forum set

By Bong Garcia

THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is set to conduct a one-day nutrition forum for members of the local media and information officers of National Government agencies and academic institutions in Zamboanga Peninsula.

DOST Regional Director Brenda Nazareth-Manzano said the forum dubbed as “2014 NUTRICOMNET-IX Media Forum,” is set to be held on November 5 in Zamboanga City.

It is jointly organized by the DOST and the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), an attached agency of the DOST mandated to undertake research that defines the citizenry’s nutritional status, with reference particularly to the malnutrition problem, its causes and effects and identify alternative solutions for them.

Manzano said the forum will highlight the 8th National Nutrition Survey (NNS) data on hypercholesterolemia, which refers to the presence of high levels of cholesterol in the blood.

Manzano said the forum will also tackle the importance of dietary fiber, calcium and its health benefits and tips on “Living a Healthy Lifestyle.”

For this year, Manzano said FNRI is partnering with Del Monte Philippines Inc. to tackle the benefits and importance of dietary fiber in one’s diet.

She said dietary fiber plays an important factor in preventing certain diseases and likewise promotes over-all health and nutrition.

Zamboecozone chair to SRPI: Start construction of power plant now


Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone (ZAMBOECOZONE) and Freeport Authority Chairman and Administrator Christopher Lawrence Arnuco has urged the San Ramon Power Incorporated (SRPI) to already start the construction of the coal-fired power plant at the Zamboecozone.

“Start the construction now, that’s what we’re asking!” stressed Arnuco.

Arnuco said that for some time they have been very quite about the issue as they respect the contract until such time there were remarks made that they were charging more than what they are supposed to charge.

“That’s not true,” Arnuco said, as he explained that they have no authority, even the Zamboecozone Board has not intructed them to charge more than what they’re supposed to charge.

In fairness to our leaders who sit in the Board, they are very particular in business and about the needs of Zamboangueños so they are asking, they are demanding that Zamboecozone join in the clamor for start of the construction now.

In an emailed document, Arnuco said “After a two-year exploratory period, SRPI in its communication to Zamboecozone and Freeport Authority last January 15, 2013, declared the suitability of the designated 30-hectare area at the Zamboecozone Second Industrial Park and expressed its intent to pursue its estimated P8.85 bnillion project to built and operate a 100 Mega-watt coal-fired fluidized bed boiler Power Plant at the Zamboecozone.”

SRPI is a subsidiary of Alson Power Group.

A secondary area of 3.70 hectares was also identified and subsribed by SRPI at the seafront stretch of the 2nd Industrial Park, and directly across its plant site, for the construction of its seaport facility for the offloading of the imported coal that it shall use in its operations.

In its resolution last January 25, 2013, the Zamboecozone and Freeport Authority (ZFA) Board of Directors approved and confirmed the Lease Agreement of SRPI covering the operation of the 100MW Coal-fired Power Plant with Port Facility, which was subsequently ratified by a Memorandum of Agreement entered into by and between SRPI and Zamboecozone last January 27, 2013.

The lease agreement detailed among others the provisions for SRPI to pay Zamboecozone P9,001,050.00 as advance payment for fifteen months covering the lease rental period from October, 2013 to December 2014.

The SRPI-Zamboecozone Memorandum of Lease Agreement also called for SRPI to pay an amount of p1,200,140.00 as security deposit, among others.

SRPI’s payment of a total of P10,246,202.00 in lease rental fees and security deposit was due to Zamboecozone since October, 2013, and was reflected in the billing statement issued by the Authority to SRPI last November 8, 2013.

A second billing statement for the same amount was again issued to SRPI last November 26, 2013.

On December 12, 2013, the ZFA Board of Directors convened to hear and grant the request of SRPI to reduce the lease rental from P600,070.00 to P100,000.00 for the three months from October to December, 2013, out of regard to the aggravation and disruption brought about by the month-long Zamboanga Siege and other relevant considerations. In the same resolution, Zamboecozone Board Resolution No. 2013-12-10, the ZFA Board also approved the lease rental of P600,070.00 for the first year as inscribed in the lease agreement between SRPI and Zamboecozone shall take effect on January of 2014.

As a result of the December 12, 2013 ZFA Board Resolution, a third billing statement was issued to SRPI last January 8, 2014, for the amount of P10,282,206.20 covering the payment for the 15-month advance lease rental, security deposit and penalty surcharge.

Last March, 2014, the Authority cleared the 33-hectare area subscribed by SRPI at the Second Industrial Park of all illegal settlers and was duly turned over and received by SRPI, as stipulated by the terms and conditions of the ZFA-SRPI the lease agreement. The same month, SRPI payed Zamboecozone its back-rental for the period to October to December, 2013, amounting to P300,000.00, which was received by the Authority without any increment penalty surcharge.

Between April 2 to July 1, 2014, the Zamboecozone and Freeport Authority issued the 4th to the 7th billing statements to SRPI for the amount of P10,246,202.20. In July 11, 2014, Zamboecozone issued the First Notice and Demand to pay unpaid lease rental fees, security deposit, and penalty surchage, amounting to P10,246,202.20, which was dully received by SRPI on July 14, 2014.

The Authority gave SRPI fifteen days or until July 29, 2014, to settle its account with Zamboecozone. After failing to liquidate its acounts with Zamboecozone, the Authority issued the Second Notice and Demand to pay unpaid rental fees and other charges to SRPI, which was dully received by its representative and sent to its Makati office by registered mail last August 11, 2014. Similarly, Zamboecozone gave SRPI fifteen days or until August 26, 2014, to settle its account.

Following the second time SRPI failed to settle its due account with Zamboecozone, the Authority referred the matter to the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel for final demand.

“The Zamboecozone and Freeport Authority seeks to amicably settle the matter and desires to maintain its good business relationship with its most valued locator, SRPI, as it strives to fulfill its mandate and realize its mission to develop the zone into the premier growth and development center in Southern Philippines with Zamboanga as the center for trade and investment,” Arnuco said. Hader Glang.

PESO bares job opening

By Sheila Covarrubias

Here’s good news to all jobseekers!

A licensed recruitment agency licensed by Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) is in Zamboanga to conduct pre-screening and interview qualified applicants for projects in the Middle East particularly Makka, Damman, and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

The pre-screening and interview will be done at the PESO at the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) in Pettit Barracks from Oct. 27-30 from 8am to 4pm.

The positions to be filled up include nurses for Makkah, Cardiac Technician, EMT Technician, ECG Technician, Medical Laboratory Technician, Prosthetic Limbs Technician and encoder. Muslim applicants are preferred. No placement fee will be charged.

For Dammam University- positions available are Dental Assistants, Dental Laboratory Technicians, Safety Officer, Hospital Safety Engineer and Clinical Instructors. No placement fee will be charged.

For Central Security Hospital- male applicants are needed to fill up vacancies for nurses for the intensive care unit (ICU), RN Drug distributor, quality management, staff nurses (for all areas), EMT technician and nurse assistant.

And for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, positions to be filled up are Doctors; Head Nurses; Staff Nurses and Technicians. Other skilled positions are for male workers.

City Social Welfare and Development officer Socorro Rojas said representatives from the agency will be in Zamboanga from October 27, 28, 29, 30 to conduct the pres-screening and interview in coordination with the PESO.

Pre-screening and interview at the Public Employment Service Office (PESO), CSWDO, Pettit Barracks, Zamboanga City from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

Interested applicants are advised to bring their resume with the latest picture, transcript of records, employment certificate, training certificates and other credentials to register at the PESO.

Pelicula Spanish Film Festival goes to Zamboanga, Davao, Ilo-ilo, Baguio


MANILA, Philippines—From October 28 to November 23, a selection of movies from “Pelicula-Pelikula 2014,” this year’s Spanish Film Festival presented by Instituto Cervantes, the Embassy of Spain and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) will be shown in FDCP movie theaters in Baguio, Ilo-ilo, Zamboanga and Davao.

Since its conception by Instituto Cervantes in 2002, the Spanish Film Festival has been an annual attraction for Manila filmgoers, bringing the best of Spanish and Latin American cinema to the local audience of the Philippine capital. Thanks to the collaboration of the FDCP, a selection of these films featured recently in will travel to other Philippine cities: Baguio, Ilo-ilo, Zamboanga and Davao.

Award winning Spanish director David Trueba during the opening of Pelicula-Pelikula 2014 at Greenbelt 3 in Makati City. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Instituto Cervantes de Manila

Award winning Spanish director David Trueba during the opening of Pelicula-Pelikula 2014 at Greenbelt 3 in Makati City. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Instituto Cervantes de Manila

The film line-up for this leg of Pelicula at the FDCP Cinematheques is composed of the following films: “Mapa,” “Soldados de Salamina,” “Las aventuras de Tadeo Jones,” “El secreto de sus ojos” and “Un cuento chino”.

“Mapa” is a documentary released by Leon Siminiani in 2012. It follows a young director who is fired from his job in a television company and travels to India with the intention of making his first feature film. Yet he discovers that what he is seeking is not in India but at home, in Madrid. The documentary will be shown in Spanish with English subtitles.

“Las aventuras de Tadeo Jones” is an animation film for kids. Mistaken for a famous archaeologist, Tadeo Jones is sent to Peru on an expedition. With his faithful dog Jeff and a few friends he tries to save the lost city of the Incas from the evil treasure-hunters. The film will be shown in English.

The Festival has traditionally been graced by the presence of Spanish filmmakers. On October 10th, the Spanish director David Trueba presented three of his movies and had an open forum after the screening.

His film entitled, “Soldados de Salamina,” will be exhibited again at the FDCP cinematheques. The film is about a young female novelist who is tracking the story of Rafael Sánchez Mazas, a right-wing writer sentenced during the Spanish Civil War to be executed but managed to escape and hide in the woods.

She finds out that the tasked soldier encounters him in the forest, but lets him escape. The novelist tries to put the pieces of this puzzle together, plagued with contradictions and enigmatic characters. Unaware that while seeks Sánchez Mazas’ truth, she too is finding herself. This film will be shown in Spanish with English subtitles.

A classic of “Pelicula” is the “Audience Choice Award”. During the Festival, the audience has the chance to choose their favorite film. This year’s winning entry is the comedy “La gran familia española.”

Movie enthusiasts in Baguio, Ilo-ilo, Zamboanga and Davao will have the chance to enjoy two gems that have been chosen as winners of the “Audience Choice Award” in previous editions—“El secreto de sus ojos” and “Un cuento chino.”

Directed by Juan José Campanella in 2009, “El secreto de sus ojos” won the Goya Award for the Best Latin American Film and the Oscars for the Best Foreign Language Film. Benjamin Esposito, a judicial employee, starts writing a novel about a crime he witnessed years ago.

Writing the book about the murder, which took place in Buenos Aires in 1974, leads him to investigate his own past and a period of Argentina’s history marked by violence and death and where nothing was what it seemed to be. The movie will be shown in Spanish with English subtitles.

“Un cuento chino (A Chinese Tall Tale)” is a comedy directed by Argentina’s Sebastián Borensztein in 2011. Roberto is a war veteran who lives a very monotonous life but all that is about to change when he meets Jun, a young Chinese man who cannot speak a word of Spanish and who has no place to go to in central Buenos Aires. The film will be shown in Spanish with English subtitles.

Presented by Instituto Cervantes, the Embassy of Spain, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), “Pelicula” at the FDCP Cinematheques is made possible by Emperador Distillers, San Miguel Corporation, Vibal Foundation and Qatar Airways, in collaboration with New World Hotel, Alba’s Restaurante Español and Espa-Fil.

For the schedule and further information on these screenings please visit the official website of Instituto Cervantes ( or log on to its Facebook page:

Job-seekers swarm ‘Feria de Empleo’

By Sheila Covarrubias

Almost a thousand people- fresh graduates and job seekers, swarmed the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) in Pettit Barracks yesterday to check out the job vacancies offered in the Feria de Empleo or Job Fair.

A total of 710 registered of which 600 were interviewed by the different local and overseas agencies. 565 were qualified for the various positions offered in the job fair and 22 were hired on the spot.

Mayor Beng Climaco graced the job fair which was organized by the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) under the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO).

Held in partnership 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 day-long job fair was attended by 17 local agencies and 2 overseas agencies.

A total of 7,789 job vacancies for placements locally and abroad were made available during the job fair.

Meanwhile, Mayor Climaco distributed starter kits to displaced families as a sidelight to the Job Fair and as part of the Emergency Employment Assistance program of the City Government and the DOLE and implemented by the PESO-CSWDO.

8 starter kits, worth P10,000 each were distributed to displaced families from Rio Hondo, Mampang and Sta. Catalina.

Since its implementation several months ago, the program has already distributed some P450,000 worth of starter kits for various livelihood trainings that displaced families underwent. The program will be until December and will cover a total of P2.5 million funds from the DOLE.

Other livelihood trainings undertaken by the affected families are peanut-butter making, sewing and dressmaking, food vending and merienda making among others.

Zamboecozone: More investors are coming

By Bong Garcia

ZAMBOANGA City Special Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (Zamboecozone) chairman and administrator Christopher Lawrence Arnuco said they are optimistic that more investors are pouring huge investments into the Zamboecozone.

Arnuco made this announcement during the Issues in the News program Friday, citing they have at present a total of 19 locators with a committed P13 billion investments.

The Issues in the News is a weekly public affairs program of the Zamboanga Press Club Inc. and carried live over dxVP of the Catholic Media Network.

Arnuco said five of the 19 locators are new investments since they were among firms that have registered as of September from January this year.

He said there are also 20 applicant-locators “that are in the pipeline,” citing they already submitted letters of intent.

He added that one of the 20 applicant-locators in the pipeline is the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), which is expected to start operations soon.

DBP has already complied all of the requirements and what they only need is to construct the building to house the bank-branch in the area, according to Arnuco.

He said they are optimistic that the number of locators at Zamboecozone will reach 30 by the end of this year.

Owwa bares outstanding OFW family winners

By Bong Garcia

THE Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) announced that an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) family from Zamboanga City and from Zamboanga del Norte have been adjudged as the winners in this year’s search for the Most Outstanding OFW Family of the Year Awards (Mofya) in the region.

They are the families of Ladjakaya Abubakar of Zamboanga City, the winner for the land-based category, and that of Captain Anecito Catacutan of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte, the winner for sea-based category.

Owwa Regional Director Hassan Gabra Jumdain said the family of Abubakar was among the seven families nominated in the land-based category while Catacutan among the three families in the sea-based category.

They received a customized trophy in an awarding ceremony held Wednesday night in this city.

Jumdain said the families of Abubakar and Catacutan, as the regional winners, will receive cash prize during the National MOFYA awarding ceremony to be held on December 4 in Manila.

Jumdain said, as the regional winners, the families of Abubakar and Catacutan will represent the region in the national search for MOFYA 2014.

“I wish them the best of luck,” Jumdain said in an interview after the awarding ceremony Wednesday night.

“I enjoin all the people of Zamboanga Peninsula to pray for our regional winners. Hopefully they will win in the national competition,” he added.

He said the region has already produced four winners since the search for Mofya, which is now on its 10th year, was launched in 2004.

The objectives in the search of Mofya are the following: to give proper recognition to the outstanding achievements of the OFWs; re-orient OFW on the sanctity and integrity of the family; inspire OFW families to strive for cohesiveness in the family; uplift the image of OFW families in their respective communities; and, sustain awareness among OFW’s of the importance of the family unit in the attainment of community goals.

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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