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Zamboanga City News August 2011

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Zamboanga City - Archived News

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Contents

DOH confers Zambo Red Cross as Regional Blood Center

By R.G. A A. Go

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) - Zamboanga City Chapter Blood Bank was conferred by the Department of Health (DOH) as the Regional Blood Center for Zamboanga Peninsula set to be implemented by September or before the year ends.

PRC Zamboanga City Chapter Administrator, Victor Liozo Jr. said, “the centralized blood service which is a plan of the DOH has started as one of the major contributors of blood supply in Region IX as inter-regional blood center to perform comprehensive activity, engage in a centralized testing scheme of blood samples from other facilities within the region.”

Because of this, the PRC Zamboanga City Chapter wwill be a recipient of fund assistance from the DOH. The DOH will pay the salaries of the six medical technologists for one year.

The office is now hiring medical technologists and upgrading their facilities to prepare it to become the Regional Blood Center for Zamboanga Peninsula.

He explained that this is advantageous since “we are the center. Zamboanga City will have easy access. Todo benefits taki na Zamboanga.”

When the PRC will be converted into a Regional Blood Center for Zamboanga Peninsula the hospitals will just have to extract blood and send them to the PRC for screening of Hepatitis, venereal diseases, malaria, HIV (Human Immune Virus) AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and others He also explained that the testing of all blood samples is very important to ensure the blood being given to patients is safe.

The processing fee for blood screening is: whole blood P1,500, packed red blood cells P1,100 and platelets P700.

The PRC is spending P8 Million a year for the operation of the blood bank and the city is giving an aid of P1.8 Million.

City Gov’t lauds ZATERS’ tourism efforts

By Bong Garcia(JPA/PIA 9-Zambo City)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Aug. 30 (PIA) - - The city government of Zamboanga recognized the tourism efforts of the Zamboanga Adventure Tourism and Eco Recreation Society (ZATERS), a multi sectoral group being lead by the Philippine Information Agency 9-Department of Tourism-Department of Environment and Natural Resources (PIA-DOT-DENR) and SPELEO-Zamboanga.

In it’s first year anniversary held over the weekend at the city’s favorite hang-out park-Paseo Del Mar, Mayor Celso Lobregat in his keynote speech said the city government recognizes ZATERS efforts in promoting the city’s natural attractions as he expressed hope that other sectors would also support and cooperate in the campaign to bring about the good, the beautiful and the best of Zamboanga.

Sheila Covarrubias, City Information Officer in a press statement said Lobregat saw the group’s initiatives and discoveries which have created a stir of interest among adventurers and ecotourism enthusiasts to also discover and experience the thrill of the outdoors.

The city government has also noted the group’s daring steps and shared time and effort to help the city in the city’s promotion campaign, its escapades that were posted in some blogs in the internet as well as social networking and video streaming sites are all geared towards helping the city in the promotion of tourism, Covarrubias said.

“With these, I could say that you have accomplished a significant milestone as an organization as far as promoting the City is concerned,” Mayor Lobregat emphasized during ZATERS celebration of its first year anniversary.

ZATERS anniversary activities included a 6x54 tarpaulin exhibit that showcased tourism escapades not only of ZATERS but also of other groups promoting tourism like the Discovery Zamboanga, SPELEO-Zamboanga, and bikers group (ZAFCO).

Part of the celebration was a variety show showcasing Zamboanga’s talents, raffle prizes and other surprises.

Also present during the celebration were : Councilor Gerky Valeso (chairman on city tourism), Regional Director Mary June Bugante of DOT, PIA9 Regional Director Noemi Edaga and National Youth Commission (NYC) Director Raymond Domingo.

ZATERS’ advocacies as an organization is anchored on 3RP’s – raise, replenish, recreate, provide, preserve and promote.

ZATERS intend to raise awareness on tourism in order to provide alternative income to the host community. In its trivial efforts, the group incorporate environment friendly activities like tree and mangrove planting as a way to replenish the environment.

So far, ZATERS had planted mangroves in Great Sta. Cruz Island and seedlings during its adventure activities in Dulian and Merloquet.

To recreate ones selves, ZATERS only consider activities with minimum impact to presere the natural environment.

This is in consonance with the group’s ultimate goal to promote Zamboanga City as a must-experience destination.

This is also ZATERS means of involving its members in the crusade to counter the misperception of Zamboanga through conduct of newsworthy positive activities to balance if not counter the negative news coming out from local and national dailies.

Con man falls

by Jocelyn P. Alvarez

THE police have arrested a con man selling fake jewelry in Zamboanga City, a police said.

Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) director Senior Superintendent Edwin de Ocampo said the suspect was identified as Joel Suba, 43, a resident of Camino Village.

De Ocampo said Suba was arrested after two of his victims filed a complaint at the Central Police Station against the suspect. The complainants were Leo Yubal, 32, a resident of Luzuran village and Roel Rebollos, 32, of Mercedes village.

De Ocampo said that the suspect convinced Yubal last Friday to swap his diver's watch with a gold necklace, on which the victim agreed.

Yubal later found out that the necklace was fake and only worth P50, De Ocampo said.

Rebollos complained that the suspect sold him a fake gold necklace, found to be worth P600.

The suspect was detained at the police headquarters and appropriate charges are being readied against him, De Ocampo said.

He added he urged the victims to pursue charges against the suspect who had been a subject of numerous complaints.

Fishing Season

by Nonoy Lacson (Manila Bulletin - Mindanao Newsbits )

ZAMBOANGA CITY – About 30,000 employees from the fishing and canning industry are expected to lose their jobs in November due to the early implementation of the close season for fishing.

The president of the Industrial Group of Zamboanga warned the Region 9 office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources that closing the fishing season on November instead of December may displace about 30,000 laborers from the canning and fishing industry in this city.

If this will be implemented, workers in the canning and fishing industry will have no work for four months instead of the usual three months, he said.

Run, walk, bike to stop TB

Zamboanga Times Top News

The Rotary Club of Zamboanga City in partnership with World Vision’s Social Mobilization on Tuberculosis (SMT), Zamboanga Hermosa Tuberculosis Council and other stakeholders will spearhead the 3rd Rotary Bike, Run, and Walk to Stop TB Now in observance of lung month on August 28, 2011.

“This activity is a way to prioritize campaign against tuberculosis and other lung ailments in view of the notified cases registered in the city,” says Arlo Ramos, World Vision SMT City Development Officer in Zamboanga City.

Three categories are being organized for this event: 5-K fun run, 3-K walk and 15K bikes from Paseo del Mar to Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex (Grand Stand) at 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon. Some cured TB patient will also join the run symbolizing as the epitome of renewed hope - that they too can reach the finish line of recovery.

This year’s local theme is “Healthy lifestyle for healthy lungs” is a continuous campaign to encourage elders, youth, and even children to continue fighting against tuberculosis.

Different stakeholders are invited to join the celebration, ranging from government officials, public and private healthcare providers, community workers, researchers, members of the civil society, representatives from funding agencies to cured TB patients and their families.

The proceeds of this event will be donated to Zamboanga Hermosa TB Council and Zamboanga City TB Task Force Association Incorporated. “The run, walk, bike event will come a long way because it will save lives,” shares Ramos.

In the Philippines, tuberculosis (TB) claims 75 lives every day. Confronted by stigma and resigned to living fearfully with TB, many people do not seek the treatment they need. As part of the global campaign against TB, World Vision is helping communities in the Philippines respond through a network of local volunteers dedicated to supporting those affected by the disease.

World Vision’s Social Mobilization on TB project has mobilized about 400 task force groups in 16 cities and 5 provinces throughout the Philippines. Their work entails raising awareness, referring those with TB symptoms for diagnosis and acting as treatment partners to TB patients, and advocate for local partners’ support to TB control. Presently, there are 14 TB Task Force organized in 14 barangays in Zamboanga city with 221 community volunteers.

The project works with the local health authorities to promote the Directly Observed Treatment Short-Course (DOTS) strategy. The DOTS approach combines diagnosis with a secure supply of quality anti-TB drugs and supervised treatment and assessment of patients by community members.

August is National Lung Month. This annual health observance, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 1761, seeks to increase the public’s awareness of the human pulmonary system, the illnesses of the lungs, and their prevention. The celebration will focus on the campaign to forge a partnership among concerned sectors to implement the Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) program for tuberculosis.

“In celebrating National Lung Month, let us remember that in order to maximize our potentials, we should have a healthy body. Let us encourage everyone to take care of their lungs by not smoking and by exercising. We should also contribute in keeping a healthier environment so that our lungs will remain healthy,” narrates Ramos.

For more inquiries, please contact: Arlo Ramos, World Vision SMT City Development Officer- 09177221286 Roberto Dazo, World Vision SMT Project Coordinator- 09178073968 Elizabeth Delgado, World Vision Program Manager (OIC), Mindanao 2- 09177239241

Congressman Jalosjos says it’s ‘Amor con Amor se paga’ with Zamboanga

By Bhong Simbajon

Zamboanga – is the immediate and categorical answer given by Zamboanga Del Norte 3rd District Representative Cesar Jalosjos sighting the good relationship of its leaders and that of Zamboanga City when asked if he is running for any position in Zamboanga City.

In an interview, Congressman Jalosjos said that the political climate of Zamboanga City is presently in its strong foundation and the people have chosen outstanding leaders who managed to run the state and its affairs properly in consonance to progress and development and there is no reason for the people to venture other political clans or organizations to run the affairs of their city and consign it in despair.

The solon sighted that his province is also in good relationship with the leaders of Zamboanga City, particularly his co-leagues in congress Deputy Speaker and District 1 Representative Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, and District 2 Representative Erico Basilio Fabian, who is his seat mate, close personal friend and co-league in the Nacionalista Party where the entire Jalosjos political clan in Zamboanga del Norte province also belong.

“Our alleged invasion in Zamboanga is only rumors. Not in our personal knowledge, we don’t have plans to put a Jalosjos in Zamboanga, Beng is my kumare, Erbie is my co-party member, so why should we go there?” Congressman Jalosjos clarified.

Congressman Jalosjos revealed that for several times and even just recently, some people from Zamboanga City visited them and wanted the Jalosjos to run in Zamboanga, but they haven’t taken it seriously as there is no serious matter about it because they don’t have plans to meddle with Zamboanga’s political climate.

“Let’s leave Zamboanga City to its present leaders. The city is in good hands with the able leadership and sound management of Erbie, Beng and Mayor Celso Lobregat as the record shows, the Jalosjos’ are not traitors to its friends and allies ” the solon said.

The same opinion is also shared by Zamboanga del Norte 1st District Representative Seth Jalosjos and Zamboanga Sibugay 2nd District Congressman Romeo Jalosjos,Jr who are one with their clan in having one voice in terms of political stand and decisions.

“Although we have a lot of friends there in Zamboanga, mucho conose, de alya tamen kita, pero para comigo, last term yo ara na congress, I will run as governor in Zamboanga del Norte, my brothers and nephews are in their 1st term also, so how could we ran in Zamboanga? Very simple, we would rather support our allies there,”. Jalosjos said.

At present the Jalosjos’ are occupied in formulating coordinative efforts and strategies in upholding the peace and order problem here in Western Mindanao together with their co-leagues in congress.

Congressman Jalosjos said that they also had talks with the representatives of Zamboanga City with regards to the initiatives to be undertaken in the present peace and security problem we are facing here in our area.

Jalosjos said that with the coordinative efforts of the leaders in the halls of congress, the huge possibility of convergence in peace and security initiatives would be favorable to all citizens of Western Mindanao.

Lobregat on Open Skies policy: ‘We must have open mind first’

by Vic Larato

“Before we can have open skies policy, we must have open mind first.” This was the sterling message of Mayor Celso Lobregat during the roadshow on Open Skies Policy and Executive Orders 28 and 29 sponsored last Friday by the Department of Tourism (DOT) regional office 9 at a local hotel.

Mayor Lobregat was optimistic that Zamboanga City would stand to benefit from the open skies policy, which the Aquino administration is pushing. However, he said the people must have open mind and change their attitude towards bringing in tourists.

“Attitude change is necessary before we can bring in tourists and take advantage of the open skies policy,” Lobregat said even as he pointed out that the city government has been doing its best to promote the city’s tourist potentials.

“No matter what the city government does to attract tourists,” Lobregat lamented, “certain sectors of society always criticize and criticize that instead of attracting they are driving away tourists.”

He cited for instance Paseo del Mar, the city’s newest tourist attraction, where people from all walks of life would promenade at night. “Yet, some people are criticizing the city government of charging P5 for use of comfort rooms. Unless we change this attitude, we can never progress,” he said.

Lobregat said tourism promotion has always been one of his administration’s priorities that during his first term in office he had invited the late Max Soliven, a journalist based in Manila, to help the city promote Zamboanga.

He said the efforts may have succeeded, but was undermined by the negative reports heralded by the news media. “They always capitalize on negative news. When somebody is shot and killed, it is headlined, but when we capture the killer, the story hardly gets into the front pages of the local papers. I’m not saying don’t publish negatives news, what I am appealing to the media is to give Zamboanga a good mileage by publishing positive news on front page and the negative news on the inside pages,” Lobregat said. “If people don’ change their attitude and if they don’t have open mind, then we can never progress.”

He said tourism has its effects on job creation and investments. “When we open our skies to as many airlines as possible, definitely airfares and freight cost will go down as a result of healthy competition.”

The policy allows foreign carriers to make stopovers abroad before finally touching down on any Philippine airport, except the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. For instance, carriers seeking to transport passengers from Hong Kong to Cebu are now allowed to make a stop in Macau first, thus allowing them to gather more travelers.

In his desire to pursue policies that promote tourism and spur investment in the countryside, President Aquino has issued Executive Order No. 28 recognizing the Philippine Air Negotiating Panel and the Philippine Air Consultation Panel. He also issued EO 29 that authorizes the Civil Aeronautics Board and the Philippine Air Panels to pursue more aggressively the International Civil Aviation Liberalization Policy.

These executive orders reaffirm the President’s commitment to pursue policies that promote tourism and spur investment in the country.

Mindanao businessmen support responsible, sustainable mining

by Michael Vincent D. Cajulao(ALT/MVC/PIA9-Zambo City)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Aug. 24 (PIA) -– The Mindanao Business Council said it supports any mining activities provided that it conforms to the laws and policies implemented by the national government when asked about the coming operation of Sagittarius Mining Incorporated in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

In a press conference conducted yesterday here, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Regional Governor for Western Mindanao Edgar Mata Bagarinao said they are for mining but it should be responsible and sustainable.

“WE are for responsible and sustainable mining operations here. Basta dapat sundin nila ang batas”, Bagarinao said.

He also said that mining industry will be beneficial to Mindanao and the country as a whole thru the taxes paid by the operators and the job opportunities it offers.

“Mindanao and the whole country will benefit, either directly or indirectly, in mining. For one, taxes will go to the government’s coffers which can be used to fund programs and projects. It also gives jobs to the locals as mining operations need human resource”, he explained.

The business group also allayed fears on destruction of the environment saying they will keep an eye to the mining operators throughout Mindanao.

“We will keep an eye on all mining operators here to make sure that they operate according to the law and that our environment is preserved and protected”, Ms. Mercedes Lourdes S. Quisumbing, President of the Pagadian City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stressed.

She said having big mining firms like SMI to operate in Mindanao will really boost economic activity.

“If these companies pay their taxes on the area of their operations, would you not want that? They will be pouring their resources in our area”, Quisumbing exclaimed.

Zamboanga City Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Cholo Soliven also shared the same position saying responsible and sustainable mining is being supported by their chamber.

“Our chamber is in full support of responsible and sustainable mining as this ensures the protection of our environment and the continuous growth of our economy,” the flamboyant businessman said.

However, he stressed that they do not support the proposed mining operation in Ayala District, west of the city, saying it will destroy the city’s watershed.

“But we again reiterate our opposition to the proposed mining site in Ayala because it will destroy one of the city’s remaining watersheds. This is not responsible and sustainable mining”, Soliven said.

DA encourages farmers to venture into cassava production

by Jocelyn P. Alvarez(JPA/PIA 9-Zambo City)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Aug. 23 (PIA) - - The Department of Agriculture (DA) here is encouraging local farmers to go into cassava business and intensify its mass production saying there are multi-national companies willing to buy it in bulk at a considerable and reasonable price.

DA in a press statement said cassava production will augment the income of the farmers and address the pressure on rice and corn.

“It will also cater the needs of the cassava-eating communities. Muslims and nomads in Mindanao prefer to eat cassava as an alternative for rice and corn,” the press statement reads.

Ahmad Nahul, DA regional cassava focal person said the agriculture department is intensifying advocacy campaign and information dissemination for cassava mass production in the different areas including idle lands in coordination with the local government units(LGUs) region wide.

Nahul said DA is working closely with LGUs to put high considerations on the cassava mass production project.

Nahul informed, “an initial three hectares as project sites in Barangays Tictapul, Tumitus and Tagasilay, l in Zamboanga City were established as the propagation areas and nurseries for planting materials of high quality cassava.”

This project is in support of the government’s effort in increasing income of farmers and generate jobs.

Zambo international chess winners receive cash incentives

by Jocelyn P. Alvarez(JPA-CIO/PIA9 Zambo City)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Aug. 22 (PIA) –- Two young lads who were respectively hailed gold and silver medalists in the recently concluded 2011 Asian Youth Chess Championships (AYCC) received cash incentives from the city government.

Their remarkable feats that brought honor to the city did not go unnoticed as City Mayor Celso Lobregat himself handed to the youth the cash incentives over the weekend.

City Information Officer (IO) Sheila Covarrubias said the two lad; Joey Albert Florendo and Earlyn Mae Olila were gold and silver medalists, respectively, in their individual categories in the AYCC held in Subic, Olangapo recently.

The lady IO said the mayor handed out a check worth P60, 000 to Florendo and another check of P40,000 to Olilia as the players incentives for bringing pride and glory to the city.

“The mayor hopes that the two young rated chess players will be an inspiration for other chess enthusiasts to emulate,” she said.

“The two Zamboangueños were among the close to 300 players from the 18 countries that participated in the international chess competition,” Covarrubias informed.

The distribution of incentive was done at the mayor’s office in City Hall.

Bikers set “Run for Peace and Solidarity in Mindanao”

posted by Mindanews for 08-21-11

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/20 August) – Bikers from Visayas and Mindanao are holding a “Run for Peace and Solidarity for Mindanao” to generate public awareness and support for the ongoing peace talks between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Aldrin Abdurahim, executive director of the Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP) said Thursday that the bike run, which will kick-off here on Sunday, August 21 and end in Cotabato City on August 30, is also the aimed to strengthen solidarity among the peace process’ stakeholders.

Abdurahim said the bike marathon will be preceded by a Culture of Peace briefing and Citizens’ Peace Forum to be held on Saturday, August 20, at Western Mindanao State University (WMSU).

The theme of the forum is “Duyog Mindanao: Generating Citizens’ Participation in the Peace Process.”

The biking campaign is part of a series of activities dubbed as “Duyog Mindanao 2011,” spearheaded by the Mindanao Peace Weavers, the Davao-based International Initiatives for Dialogue (IID), and the Zamboanga City-based Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) and the IRSMP.

The bikers will stop at significant points and institutions along the highway routes to hold dialogues with local citizens on topics related to the peace process, Adburahim said.

He said the participants of the bike run will inform them on their understanding of the peace process as well as to get inputs and “how the people understand the peace process.”

The event will coincide with the resumption of peace negotiations between the Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) next week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel and the MILF panel are meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on August 22 to 24.

The bike run will kick off at 6 a.m., Sunday, August 21, from the WMSU open stage, make a symbolic pass at the PAZ’s peace monument in Barangay Sta. Maria, this city, and move on to Curuan, 50 kilometers east of this city, where the participants will spend the night.

The following day, August 22, they will drive up to Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay.

The rest of the schedules and stop over areas are: August 23, Tungawan to Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay; August 24, Kabasalan to Buug, Zamboanga Sibugay; August 25, Buug to Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur; August 26, Dumalinao to Pagadian City, the capital of Zamboanga del Sur; August 27, Pagadian City to Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Lanao del Norte; August 28, Sultan Naga Dimaporo to Pikong, Lanao del Sur; August 29, Pikong to Parang, Maguindanao; and, August 30, Parang to Cotabato City.


9,000 day care kids to benefit from feeding program

by Michael Vincent D. Cajulao(JPA/MVC/PIA9-Zambo City)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Aug. 20 (PIA) -– More than 9,000 pre-school kids from the different day care centers in the city will be the beneficiaries of a series of feeding program activities of the city government which will start next week.

The City Social Welfare and Development Office, in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development 9, will embark on a 120-day feeding activity that will cover the 227 active day care centers in the city, said City Social Welfare chief Francisco Barredo.

Barredo said the program aims to address nutrition deficiency among day care center pupils. He pointed that the food which will be given to the kids are recipes prepared by the nutritionists from DSWD, making sure that the food packs necessary nutrients needed by the children.

The program also aims to promote active participation of the parents. They will be the ones to cook the food for their kids. This will also give parents knowledge on preparing food that will boost nutrition of their children.

For the food alone, the feeding program will cost more than P112,000, with a budget of P12.50 per beneficiary.

La Paz farmers now into Ceylon tea propagation

Zamboanga Times-Top News

Over 200 upland farmers of Barangay La Paz in the west coast of Zamboanga City are now in massive planting and propagation of Ceylon tea, the so-called prized form of black tea that originated from Sri Lanka.

The Ceylon tea is known for its intense flavor which many tea consumers greatly appreciate and are now largely produced all over the world. La Paz Barangay Kagawad Gardie Serna, president of the La Paz Farmers Federation, said their group has established a nursery of Ceylon tea trees and many of La Paz farmers have been distributed the seedlings for massive propagation, saying that markets for such tea are plenty and the tea industry is promising.

Serna, in an interview with Discovery Zamboanga members in La Paz, said the Department of Agriculture has encouraged upland farmers to shift part of their farming activities to the production of Ceylon tea particularly the fine highland varieties that are considered costly as they have a rich taste and strong aroma favored by the consumers.

It is called Ceylon tea because Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon under colonialism and the name has stuck for the tea. Tea was first introduced to the country as a crop in 1867, to replace a devastated coffee crop. Tea producers quickly began to produce tea with a unique flavor and color, and Ceylon tea began to experience high demand. The majority of Ceylon tea is grown in the highlands of the country, with lower elevation teas being used as filler in tea blends.

Serna said it is only in Barangay La Paz where Ceylon tea trees can be found in Zamboanga City.

Nature concern

By TONY PE. RIMANDO

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Owing to the pressing global concerns and issues on the environment, all public and private schools have been urged by the Department of Education (DepEd) to lead the role on environmental awareness by enhancing environmental education and by pursuing effective school-based activities that seek to preserve and protect the environment.

Education Secretary Armin A. Luistro explained that the move is in pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 9512 or “An Act to Promote Environmental Education and for other Purposes.”

Through DepEd Order No. 52, S. 2011 he issued recently, Luistro enjoined all public and private elementary and secondary schools to undertake appropriate activities that will ensure the promotion of environmental education among school children and members of the school- community including the Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs).

Lessons regarding environment should be intensified on all science subjects, Luistro said, adding that environmental concerns should also be used as tools for classroom drills, discussions and activities and should be taught and integrated in related subject areas.

The DepEd chief also encouraged school administrators and teachers to use various instructional materials such as books, visual aids, and teaching guides in making the students more aware of the concerns and issues on the environment.

Zamboanga City approves dev't plan for Sta. Cruz Islands

(PNA) DCT/LAM/TPG/utb

ZAMBOANGA CITY — The newly-created Protected Area Eco-Tourism Management Bureau (PAEMB) has approved the management and development plan of the two Sta. Cruz Islands - Greater and Little - located 1.9 nautical miles south of this city.

This was announced by Mayor Celso Lobregat, who said that the plan will serve as the guidebook of the city government for the two Sta. Cruz Islands' sustainable development.

Lobregat said the management and development plan consisting of more than 100 pages was approved following a more than five-hour deliberation of PAEMB last Friday, the day the body was convened.

The newly-created PAEMB is co-chaired by Lobregat and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Regional Executive Director Arleigh Adorable.

PAEMB is a multi-sectoral body that will be responsible for the management and protection of the Greater and Little Sta. Cruz Islands.

Lobregat said the management and development plan will be submitted to the Department of Tourism (DOT) for approval.

The Sta. Cruz Islands Management and Development plan is key to the city government’s takeover of the management and development of the two islands following the formal signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) by Lobregat and the DOT Secretary Albert Lim and other agencies concerned in Manila last June 17.

The MOA paves the way for this city’s takeover of the Sta. Cruz Islands from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) formerly known asthe Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA).

The city government envisions to transform the Greater and Little Sta. Cruz Islands into an “island-ecosystem that is responsibly and sustainably managed,” developed and protected for the “maintenance and preservation of the natural biological, physical diversities of the environment and for ecotourism promotion.”

The development and protection of the two Sta. Cruz Islands will be a joint effort of the city government, PAEMB and the stakeholders of the island.

On the other hand, Lobregat foresees no obstacles in this city’s plans for the two Sta. Cruz Islands even with the resignation of Lim, which is set to take at the end of this month.

The Greater Sta. Cruz Island is known for its pink sand beach and sand bar while the Little Sta. Cruz Island has a typical white sand beach.

First Renal Transplant Unit in Zambo soon to operate

by Jocelyn P. Alvarez(JPA /PIA9 Zambo City)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Aug. 16 (PIA) – - The first ever Renal Transplant Unit (RTU) in Zamboanga will soon be able to perform its first kidney transplant as the Department of Health (Manila) has approved the release of it’s license to operate.

The RTU of the Western Mindanao Medical Center (WMMC), a private hospital here will officially open its services to the public once the hospital gets hold of the accreditation certificate from the government’s health department.

DOH9 Regional Director Dr. Aristides Tan said he is happy that the private sector is complementing the efforts of the government by putting up a RTU, the first in the city.

WMCC Renal Transplantation Head Dr. Michael Abutazil said “WMMC is just waiting for the accreditation certificate coming from the Department of Health for the hospital to conduct our first kidney transplant in this city.”

Dr. Abutazil said there are five local nephrologists / doctors who specialize in kidney disease/trouble.

He confirmed that Zamboanga City alone has a 1000 patients diagnosed with renal failure who needs kidney transplant.

At present, kidney transplant is only available in Manila.

WMMC said once this program is operational, kidney patients from this city and neighboring provinces need not go to Manila or Cebu to have kidney transplant enabling patients to save a lot of money considering cost of surgery, hospitalization and transportation will be lessen if the transplantation will be done here.

NEDA-9 Director : Zambo City’s growth to continue

by Michael Vincent D. Cajulao(ALT/MVC/PIA9-Zambo City)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Aug. 15 (PIA) – “The city will still grow whether it’s the regional center or not,” National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) 9 Regional Director Arturo Valero said.

Valero was referring to the economic effects of the transfer of the regional center from the city to Pagadian in Zamboanga del Sur.

“Even if Zamboanga City is not the regional center, it will still grow”, Valero said.

Instead, he pointed that the city should focus on being the industrial or commercial center of the region.

The city government is still lobbying for the return of the regional seat to Zamboanga which was relegated to Pagadian City in 2004 as ordered by then President and now Pampanga 3rd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

However, President Benigno Aquino III issued Memorandum Circular no. 11, calling for a 30-day moratorium on the transfer of regional offices from the city to Pagadian. The Memorandum also tasked an inter-agency committee headed by NEDA to conduct studies on the issue.

Malacañang issued another memorandum, MC no. 11 – A, extending the studies on the matter and asking all affected agencies to submit to NEDA the stand on the regional seat transfer.

Dir. Valero, however, said there is no official result of the study yet as it is still being collated by NEDA.

117 deportees from Malaysia arrive in Zamboanga City

by Riza Lacbao

Saturday night, another Filipino deportees on-board a ship arrived in Zamboanga City.

According to Francisco Barredo, Department of Social Welfare and Development head that among the 117 there are 4 deportees suffering from Tuberculosis.

The 3 patients diagnosed with tuberculosis will undergo medical treatment at the Zamboanga City Medical Center. The disease they acquired inside Malaysian Jail.

Malaysian Government is clearing illegal entries made on their territorial responsibility.

DOLE-9 launches job coaching center to assist job jobseekers

(DOLE9/PIA9-ZDS/BST)

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Office 9 recently established and launched the DOLE ZamPen Testing and Job Coaching Center. DOLE-9 Regional Director Ponciano Ligutom said the agency pledged to mitigate the perennial problem of job and skills mismatch in the region.

With this development, Ligutom said both jobseekers and employers in the Zamboanga Peninsula region are now assured of a strong and skills-matched workforce.

The establishment of the testing and job coaching center at the DOLE regional office in Zamboanga Peninsula has been part of DOLE’s campaign to establish a jobs-fit and productive labor force through the proactive measures of educating and steering jobseekers to the right place in the labor market towards a job-rich, inclusive growth in all regions.

The center will serve as the ‘labor guide hub’ easily accessible to jobseekers and other entrants to the workforce in the region.

Ligutom reported to the labor and employment Secretary that the region’s network of guidance counselors, coaches, and Public Employment Service Office (PESO) managers will provide free career counseling, employment coaching, and psychological testing, services to applicants of both private and government offices as aid in the hiring and selection process.

The job coaching center is DOLE’s channel in reinforcing the employability, utilization, and productivity of the country’s pool of human resources down to the grassroots level, driven by the mission to lessen the problem of job mismatch and disparity of employment opportunities, so as to also alleviate the brain drain phenomenon.

DOLE Undersecretary Danilo P. Cruz graced the center’s launching, together with vice chairmen Engr. George Ledesma, representing the management sector, and Jose Suan for the labor sector, respectively of the ZamPen Tripartite Industrial Peace Council.

The DOLE has established the center in partnership with the ZamPen Guidance Counselor’s and Career Coaches Network (ZGCCNet) headed by president Ermah Roble, TESDA Region 9, headed by Regional Director Buen Mondejar, together with the regional heads of the Civil Service Commission and ZamPen Association of PESO Managers, who all have pledged to commit towards the holistic operation of the job coaching center.

Ligutom said that the center’s operation is fueled by DOLE’s strengthened linkages with the Local Government Units (LGUs), tripartite partners, and other essential government departments, and reflects an all-out effort to achieve the twin goal of equipping jobseekers with the suitable skills and cultivating productive employment in a competitive environment in the ZamPen region.

“The testing and job coaching center will ensure impartiality in the selection and hiring system of employers, eliminate the ‘palakasan system’, and develop workers’ aptitude and appropriate attitude and competitiveness,” Liguton said.

The center, which costs P250,000.00 including equipment and other facilities provides free tests and services to workers and jobseekers as they enter the world of work.

WESMINCOM commander wants to personally teach soldiers on human rights

(DOLE9/PIA9-ZDS/BST)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Aug. 12 (PIA) –- No less than the commander of the Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM) will teach our soldiers on the application of the International Human Rights Law (IHL) and our own human rights law, WESMINCOM Spokesperson Col. Randolph Cabangbang said.

Cabangbang said Lt. General Raymundo Ferrer told him his plan to personally lead and teach the soldiers on the practical application of human rights and IHL during a meeting last Wednesday.

Ferrer admitted that some soldiers do have problems applying human rights and IHL and that there is a need to teach them the basics of the laws.

The military were put into a negative position after the alleged cases of torture in Basilan province was reported, one of them a minor.

Gen. Ferrer also sent his orders to his commanders to teach their subordinates on the laws he mentioned to include command responsibility.

ZCHRD is an organization that optimizes the use of research to help alleviate the health and nutrition problems of the people in Region IX.

Health Research Summit set

by Jocelyn P. Alvarez(JPA - PIA9 Zambo City).

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Aug. 11 (PIA) - The Zamboanga Consortium for Health Research and Development (ZCHRD) gears up for the conduct of its first “Regional Health Research Summit” set on Aug. 17 to 18 in one of the local hotels here.

The two day activity will be participated in by people who are interested or involved in health research or study.

The summit will be highlighted with presentation of around 25 papers and posters of completed researches generated by researchers, students, practitioners of health community based interventions, public health and medical education.

Significance of the said research papers to be presented such as generation of proceedings on recently conducted studies to explore areas for agency collaboration, networking and resource sharing among member research and development institutions will also be shared during the summit .

The summit will also include the conduct of Grand Proposal Write shop for new health research proposals using the research format and guidelines of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Technology-Grants-in-Aid (GIA).

ZCHRD is an organization that optimizes the use of research to help alleviate the health and nutrition problems of the people in Region IX.

ZCHRD gets technical and financial support from DOST’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD).

City ready with development plan of Sta. Cruz island says Mayor

By R.G. A A. Go

Mayor Celso Lobregat has revealed that the City is ready with not only a management and development plan for the Sta. Cruz Island, but also a plan for the protection and conservation of the same.

Lobregat said, “the City Government will submit a management and development plan not only for tourism but also for the protection and conservation of the Sta. Cruz.”

According to Lobregat, the city government is set to submit the plan to Department of Tourism Secretary Albert Lim. “We will be submitting the plan by this month. Hopefully that will be approved.”

He said the City is planning to turn the island into a daytime resort with picnic huts, a marine laboratory, pavilion, watch tower and others. According to Lobregat, the plan might take three to five years to complete.

However, the Mayor immediately clarified that “what will be placed is not a massive type of infrastructure. The materials to be used will be indigenous and there will be as little and minimum effect on the environment.”

The mayor said he wants the island to become a developed ecosystem within the context of a protected area, “meaning to say we will protect, we will rehabilitate, and we will conserve Sta Cruz Island at the same time develop its eco-tourism potentials.”

Aside from this, the visitors will also be oriented about biodiversity while enjoying the island.

He assured, “we will have to make sure the island is accessible, the island is protected, and there will be no destruction on the biodiversity.”

The plans came after the City Government and the Department of Tourism earlier signed a memorandum of agreement on the management and administration of the Sta. Cruz Island. Mayor Celso Lobregat, Tourism Secretary Albert Lim, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) chief operating officer Mark Lapid and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-9 Regional Executive Director Arleigh Adorable were the signatories of the said memorandum.

The MOA specifically aims “to develop, operate, manage, maintain, protect and preserve the Great and Little Sta. Cruz Islands. Protect the landscape and seascape in Zamboanga City as eco-tourism destination”.

City gov’t consults public schools on 2012 budget

by Sheila Covarrubias

Consultations concerning the city’s 2012 Executive Budget resumed yesterday with discussions focused on the requirements for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) of different national high schools in the city.

Mayor Celso Lobregat who presided over the budget hearing together with members of the City Finance Committee said national high schools form part of the groups being consulted every year as these institutions receive funds from the city government.

School principals and administrators presented their budgets and targets for consideration in the proposed 2012 budget. The technical budget hearing will continue until the middle of this week to cover all sectors and agencies or offices concerned. Today will be the turn of the different city departments to present their budget proposals.

Budget hearings for next year’s executive budget kicked off July 6 with the hope of finalizing the proposal and consequently its submission to the City Council in due time.

Though their operation is funded by the Department of Education (DePEd), public secondary as well as elementary schools in the city get assistance and support from the city government in the form of school buildings and other education-related projects as well as cash allowances for the teachers.

Since improving the city’s financial condition in 2007, Mayor Lobregat has prioritized the construction of school buildings and other education-related projects on the premise that the education will help give the youth a better future.

The mayor has always emphasized that the city government cannot wait for DepEd to acquire the needed funds to construct school buildings and other education-related projects. With sufficient wherewithal, the city government has invested over P700 million for education-related projects during the last four years.

When he was first elected into office in 2004, the annual budget of the city was P1.034 billion. In 2010 the budget was P1.997 billion and in 2011 the budget was P2.110 billion. The 2012 budget is expected to surpass the 2011 record.

Present during the technical hearing yesterday were Councilors Nonong Guingona and Rudy Lim, City Budget Officer Virginia Gara, City Accountant Sylvia Binarao, City Treasurer Soledad Li, City Planning and Development Officer Melinda Cabato, General Services Officer Engr. Rene de la Cruz, Prof. Bert Torres and other members and staff of the City Finance Committee.

Zambo City, champion in implementing MDG – ILO

by Michael Vincent D. Cajulao(ALT/MVC/PIA9-Zambo City)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Aug. 8 (PIA) – Zamboanga City local government received recognition from the International Labor Organization (ILO) calling it a “champion” in achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG).

ILO head of the technical working group on MGD - Expanded Breast Feeding Program Ana Valencia said they were pleased to see that the city is right on track in the implementation of MDG programs particularly on breastfeeding in workplace with an ordinance already in place.

“Our visit to Zamboanga City has been very fruitful. In fact, we were surprised that the city government has passed a local ordinance promoting breastfeeding in workplace”, Valencia said.

What’s more laudable, Valencia said, is the fact that the city came up with the ordinance even before they even asked LGUs to do so.

“This came even before we reached out to LGUs”, she said.

Valencia praised the local government saying it is proactive, and has taken the initiatives even when not told, and is serious in taking up issues under the MDG.

ILO National Coordinator Jonas Madagia called the city government a champion in adhering to the MDG.

“We are very happy that Zamboanga City is actually a champion in achieving the MDG”, he said.

DPWH bares completion of Fabian’s various projects

By Allen Abastillas

The Department of Public Works and Highways District Office has announced the completion of various projects initiated by District 2 Rep. Erbie A. Fabian. District Engineer Merham Acas identified the completed projects in the barangays as a covered court in Barangay Guiwan, barangay road in Putik and farm to market roads in Barangay Cabaluay and Mercedes.

Acas said he is waiting for word from Rep. Fabian for the schedule of inauguration of the various projects. Meanwhile, Acas disclosed that a barangay road concreting projects was sponsored and implemented by the A-Teachers Partlist at Amor St. in Barangay Tetuan and some barangays in District 1.

On the other hand, the continuation of the expansion project at R.T. Lim Boulevard will continue up to the area in front of the Sangguniang Panlungsod building.. Acas said that construction materials and the landfill will be poured into the coastal areas of the boulevard to reclaim the area.

The project is an initiative of District 1 Rep. Beng Climaco. The beautification part of the project will be shouldered by the city government, Acas said.

Can this oldest Zamboangueno compete in Guinness?

By Monina Alian & Sarah Albiso

"Si puede pa iyo alcansa 200 anos, mas bueno." (If given the chance, I want to reach 200 years old).

This was declared by 115-year-old Ongonan Gumandao, believed to be the oldest Zamboanga City resident when recently interviewed by Discovery Zamboanga.

Gumandao, a farmer from Barangay Limpapa, the last barangay of Zamboanga City which is about 47 kilometers west coast bordering Zamboanga del Norte, could be feted as the oldest man in the world through the World's Guiness Book of Records if properly documented.

Discovery Zamboanga, a local group of development communicators headed by its chairman Prof. Jose Maria Bue, recently visited Limpapa and one of its discoveries is the presence of Lolo Ongonan, who belongs to the Subanen tribe. The Subanens, who are the first tribe of people of Zamboanga Peninsula before the coming of the Spaniards, are also known for their long years of lives.

Bue said Lolo Ongonan may be one of the oldest men in the world as the oldest woman, a 114-year old American woman, reportedly died in US last year.

Lolo Ongonan's father reportedly died at the age of 120.

Asked what could be the secret of his long life, Lolo Ongonan said: "Ta comme lang comida de kaingin." (I just eat foods--mostly vegetables-- from the farm.)

At present, Lolo Ongonan is being taken cared by his youngest son in Limpapa, a Subanen-dominated village. The son told Discovery Zamboanga that their father was born on March 19, 1896. However, this date is based on testimonial accounts older family members as Subanens in the past were not keen of registering births.

The only complaints of this 115-year-old Subanen kainginero are his poor eyesight, could hardly hear one talking and that he cannot walk anymore.

But the family members said Lolo Ongonan still eats regularly and spends most of his day sitting at the veranda watching people passing by in a neighborhood of Limpapa.

DOH recognizes allies for breastfeeding promotion

Jocelyn P. Alvarez(JPA/ PIA9 Zambo City).

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Aug. 05 (PIA) –- Schools, hospitals and private companies who are allies of the Department of Health (DOH) in the promotion of breastfeeding in the city were awarded by the health department in recognition of their efforts.

The awarding ceremony was conducted during the “breastfeeding Symposium” held this week in one of the local hotels here.

Awarded for “Mother-Baby Friendly Hospitals” were: Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC), Brent Hospital and Colleges, Inc. (BHCI), Ciudad Medical Zamboanga (CMZ), Western Mindanao Medical Center (WMMC), and Zamboanga Puericulture Center Maternity Lying in Hospital (ZPCMLH).

For having their respective breastfeeding station, awards of recognition were given to: canning corporations such as Universal Canning, Columbus Canning and Permex.

Same awards were also given to Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (ZAMCELCO), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), City Health Office (CHO), CMZ, WMMC, ZCMC and Mein College.

Recognition were also given to schools such as the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU), Universidad de Zamboanga (UZ) , BHCI, Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU), Mein College, Systems Technology Institute (STI), Pilar College, and St. Agustine School of Nursing for its “Infant and Young Children Feeding Integrated Curriculum.”

For Infant and Young Children Feeding in the Community,” the recognition was given to CHO.

BFAR holds RFLP 4th National Coordination Committee meeting

By R.G. A A. Go

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) IX have conducted its Regional Fisheries Livelihood Program (RFLP) for South and Southeast Asia, 4th National Coordination Committee meeting yesterday morning at a local hotel, this city.

RFLP, Philippines Project Coordinator, Benjamin Francisco said the importance of the meeting was the approval of their work plan for the second half of the year.

RFLP is a four year program in six countries in the South and Southeast Asia including Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Srilanka, Timor Leste, and Vietnam. The program is funded by the Kingdom of Spain which has a funding of 2.4$ Million.

In this Region, the beneficiary for the said program is the province of Zamboanga del Norte.

The aim of the program is to bring sustainable fisheries and to help the small fisherfolks though livelihood trainings and providing loans through their partner banks.

Aside from this, the program also includes the protection of coastal communities and disaster preparedness.

After the meeting, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, and two Rural Banks.

The meeting was attended by Mayor Celso Lobregat, Zamboanga del Norte Governor Rolando Yebes, BFAR Regional Director Ahadulla Sajili and the FAO Representative in the Philippines Kazuyuki Tsurumi.

Air Force gets P1.3M multipurpose gazebo from Zambo city gov't

by Jocelyn P. Alvarez (JPA/ PIA9 Zambo City)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Aug. 03 (PIA) – - Philippine Air Force (PAF) received this morning a P1.3 million multi-purpose gazebo turned over to the 6th Air Reserve Center at the Edwin Andrews Air Base (EAAB) by the city government.

The turned over ceremony conducted 10:30 this morning was lead by City Mayor Celso Lobregat. It was preceded by the unveiling of the marker, ribbon cutting and blessing of the multi-purpose gazebo.

In a press statement, City Information Officer (IO) Sheila Covarrubias said, the project which was funded and initiated by the city government is in support of the city government to the PAF members who are serving the city and its people.

“The gazebo is just but one of the many projects that the city government implemented inside the Air Base in line with the Zamboanga City’s local government’s thrust to look after the welfare of Philippine Air Force members,” said Covarrubias.

The active lady IO said over P5 million worth of projects implemented inside the Air Base since 2008 “which include the rehabilitation/improvement of the 2-storey 6 classrooms building at the EAAB Elementary School worth P1.24million; concreting of road and construction of two drainage systems in 2009, worth P1.7million and the rehabilitation of comfort rooms at the EAAB Elementary school,” she enumerated.

Covarrubias further shared; the city also funded in 2010 the concreting of the 358 linear meters road worth P1.38million.

“Mayor Lobregat has time and again assured members of the PAF of his continued cooperation and support as he assured that the airmen’s sterling services and sacrifices for the love of country, flag and people have not gone unnoticed,” Covarrubias concluded.

Zamboanga anti-trafficking hero cited by PNoy

(PIA/RG Alama)

DAVAO CITY Aug. 2 (PIA)--Zamboanga City assistant City Prosecutor Darlene Pajarito was cited by no less than President Benigno Aquino III last July 29 in a testimonial dinner held at the Malacanang.

President Aquino hailed Pajarito for her effort in registering the first trafficking –in-person conviction in the country in 2005, aside from handling the most number of successful trafficking-in- persons cases in the country.

She has scored five anti-trafficking convictions since the first case conviction in 2005. Just this year she secured the Philippines’ first labor trafficking conviction.

Despite handling a caseload of 300 cases as an assistant city prosecutor, Pajarito has managed to prepare strong cases against suspected human traffickers. In 2010 she was designated as head of the Region IX Anti-Trafficking Task Force, her area encompasses the country’s backdoor with Malaysia.

Pajarito earned her global distinction earlier as she was cited by the U.S. State Department for her competent and dedicated handling of anti-trafficking cases in Zamboanga City.

No less than U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton handed the award to Pajarito last June 27 as one of the 10 TIP or Trafficking-in-Persons Heroes around the world.

Pajarito is taken as one of the symbols of intensified efforts by the country to stop human trafficking. Aside from having a TIP hero, the Philippines was taken off from TIER 2 watchlist and upgraded to TIER2 standing.

This meant the country is out of the human trafficking blacklist or states which do not comply with international standards to combat the scourge of human trafficking.

Aside from handling cases, Pajarito is active in sharing her experience and tips to fellow anti-trafficking colleagues and stakeholders around Mindanao. Last July 13 she graced the Mindanao Speakers’ Bureau Trainors Training on Anti-Human Trafficking Advocacy organized by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) which was held in Cagayan de Oro City.

During the training Pajarito urged better preparation and coordination between various sectors in the fight against human trafficking particularly in the building up of cases against suspected traffickers and the treatment and protection of vital witnesses.

Zamboangueño boxer wins gold in world boxing championship

By Nonong Santiago

A Zamboangueño boxer brought honor to the Philippines by capturing the gold medal in the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) Junior World Boxing Championship held Saturday in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Light Bantamweight Eumir Marcial of barangay Lunzuran defeated Cengiz Onat of Turkey to win the overall championship in the 52-kg. division.

The 15-year old Marcial is the first Filipino to win a gold medal in the event, since its staging in 2001.

Marcial is the product of Congressman Erbie Fabian's Golpe Golpe na Barangay.

Fabian who learned about the spectacular win of Marcial vowed to give the Zamboangueño pug a heroes welcome during his return to this city.

Two years ago, Yoyong Tañamor another Zamboangueño participated in the same event and brought home the bronze medal.

Among the 48 countries that sent their boxers to participate in this event, only 15 nations were able to send boxers to the finals.

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