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Zamboanga City News July 2012

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DENR-IX joins the 38th National Nutrition Month (NNM) Celebration

(H. A. Ascura/DENR-IX PR)

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region -IX, has conducted various activities in support to the observance of the National Nutrition Month (NNM) pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 491 or the Nutrition Act of the Philippines with this year’s theme “Pagkain ng gulay ugaliin, araw-araw itong ihain”.

Regional Executive Director (RED) Arleigh J. Adorable led his officials and employees in attending a Nutrition Seminar which was held last July 9, 2012 at the Office of the RED Covered Court –DENR, Sta. Maria, Pagadian City, Zamboanga Del Sur.

Nutrition Officer III Nimfa D. Ekong from the National Nutrition Council- Zamboanga City was the resource speaker. According to her, the month long observance aims to increase vegetable consumption; promote vegetable gardening as a source of additional food and income; and increase demand for vegetables can help local vegetable farmers.

In her power point presentation, Ms. Ekong explained the rationale of the NNM theme: 1) Filipinos are eating less and less vegetables. Based on food consumption surveys conducted by Dept. of Science & Technology (DOST) – Food & Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), Filipinos on average are eating less and less vegetables per day in the last three (3) decades. From 145 grams per day of vegetables in 1978, consumption has decreased to 110 grams per day in 2008. Based on the 2012 NNM Talking Points, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating a minimum of 400 grams of vegetables and fruits per day which is equivalent to five (5) servings per day with 3 servings of vegetables per day. 2) Vegetables as part of a healthy diet can help prevent major non-communicable disease. Adequate consumption of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk for cardiovascular diseases, stomach cancer, and colorectal cancer. 3) Consumption of vegetables can help micronutrient deficiencies. Eating a variety of vegetables together with fruits ensures an adequate intake of most micronutrients, dietary fibers and a host of essential non-nutrient substances. 4) Having vegetable gardens in the household can increase supply and availability of vegetables for families. Only 67.7% or 7 out of every 10 households had vegetable gardens or fruit trees based on the 2008 National Nutrition Survey. Ms. Ekong made mention that malunggay plant (from its roots, barks, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds) contains more nutritional value compared to other vegetables. She also shared technique on how to cook vegetables mixed with malunggay fruits.

The display of NNM streamer, press release as well as the conduct of radio program and guesting over DXKP-RPN in Pagadian City were undertaken by DENR’s public affairs office to raise public awareness and participation while the livehood training-workshop was sponsored by DENR’s Gender and Development (GAD) in cooperation with Technical Education and Skills Development Administration (TESDA) -ZDS Provincial Office.

Bedans in US raise funds for schoolchildren in remote Zamboanga village

By Cristina DC Pastor (The FilAm)

In a remote village in Zamboanga City, public school children thought nothing of wading waist-deep into the muddy river just so they could go to school.

Wearing street clothes and rubber shoes, they would cross the shallow waters for about two kilometers to get to Talon-Talon Elementary School, their white uniforms safely tucked in their backpacks which they carried over their heads.

It was all water-play and fun for the kids, but for the teachers a sense of helplessness that nothing was being done to make education accessible — if not safe – for the children.

Thousands of miles away, the Benedictine Abbey School Class of ‘85 thought of the children of Layag-Layag at their reunion in Las Vegas.

Amid the never-ending reminiscences, the parlor games and the warmhearted fellowship, the alumni decided to pass the hat. They were able to collect $800 for the Yellow Boat of Hope project.

“I was watching CNN and came across the Yellow Boat of Hope,” Marie Pangilinan Reyes, a travel agency entrepreneur from Holmdel, New Jersey, told The FilAm. “It’s about the children of Zamboanga who have to swim so they could go to school. Naiyak ako, sobrang naawa ako. I thought, we need to help and send money to these kids.”

At their May 25 reunion, the Class of ’85 was able to raise funds from the alumni and their families.

They solicited cash from companies they worked in or owned and raffled off prizes, such as Apple iPods and MLB jerseys. Bedan batchmates in the Philippines did their share of fundraising. The combined cash was turned over to the Yellow Boat project.

The project was started by blogger Jay Michael Jaboneta, a Zamboanga native, who was moved by the children’s plight. He began to raise awareness about the pitiful and incomprehensible way the children got to their classrooms — by swimming a possibly crocodile-infested river.

The project, which has caught the attention of CNN, has raised enough funds to build 150 motorized bancas which they painted yellow and called “Ang Bagong Pag-asa” (The new hope). Today, the children no longer arrive in their classrooms dripping wet and late.

“It’s our small way of giving back to our motherland,” said Maia Neri, a co-organizer of the reunion and fundraiser.

The Class of ’85 of Benedictine Abbey is a close-knit bunch of people, about 240 of them distributed into six sections when they were in school. They’ve remained tight long after they’ve graduated and led their own independent lives.

The batch mates look out for each other, said Marie, and it’s common to tap into their big hearts when former classmates need help, as in medical or financial. (Benedictine Abbey – now known as San Beda College Alabang – is a private Catholic school located in the middle-class enclave of Alabang where many Philippine government officials and celebrities live.)

“We’re very close, we grew up together since grade school,” she said. “This reunion brought unity, camaraderie, love and support for one another.”

Jesuit-run university declares 3 century trees

(PNA), scs/TPG/utb

ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU) has declared three Acacia trees inside its campus in this city as century trees, signifying its commitment to protect the environment.

ADZU president Fr. Antonio Moreno, Fr. Willie Samson and Mayor Celso Lobregat spearheaded on Friday the tagging of the century trees with metal plates, highlighting the start of the ADZU’s centennial celebration.

According to Moreno, the declaration and tagging of the trees “is a statement of our commitment to protect the environment.”

Moreno said the event adds color to ADZU’s centennial celebration themed “Living 100 Years of Excellence, Spirituality and Citizenship.”

Lobregat said the tagging of trees inside the ADZU campus is pursuant to Executive Order 460 he issued on June 25 declaring 16 trees -- three of which are located inside the university campus -- either as century trees or heritage trees.

The city government has enacted Ordinance No. 341, a city regulation that declares trees that are more than 100 years old as “Century Trees” and those that are “considered ecologically, historically or culturally valuable or belonging to a rare species or are adjacent or near a water source, spring or well and whose cutting or destruction will disrupt or destroy the water source” as “Heritage Trees.”

The ordinance prohibits subjecting such trees to “any cutting or any form of destruction, except for medical, public emergency, public safety and botanical reasons.”

Lobregat thanked the ADZU for its commitment to environmental protection and for sharing in the city government’s goal of a better future for Zamboanga through quality education.

He likewise hailed the ADZU, a Jesuit-run university, for its commitment to excellence, spirituality and citizenship.

Order of Amaranth, Naval reserve group coastal clean-up on July 29

(Zamboanga Today)

On July 29, 2012 at 8:00 in the morning, Zamboanga Court No. 30 Order of the Amaranth, headed by its Royal Patron, Mr. Eugyne A. Peñaflor & Royal Matron, Mrs. Angelita D. Serrano in partnership with the 611th NAVAL RESERVE SQUADRON of the Philippne Navy Reserve Command stationed in Zamboanga City, headed by its Office-in-Charge, Ens Benzar Punio, PN (RES) will conduct a “COASTAL CLEAN-UP DRIVE” along R.T. Lim boulevard (fronting Brent Hospital), in line with the Order of the Amaranth's "SAGIP KALIKASAN PROGRAM" & of the 611th NRS's nation-building activities in times of peace through civic action activities.

The ORDER OF THE AMARANTH, is an appendant body of the Free & Accepted Masons, composed of Master Masons and their qualified female relatives, whose primary purpose is to encourage, undertake and extend charitable activities to the community by actively participating in the Fight for Diabetes, Medical Missions, Feeding Programs, Blood Letting & Environmental Awareness campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emission to mitigate climate change.

The 611th NAVAL RESERVE SQUADRON, comprises of non-regular forces of the AFP, who are graduates of basic or Advance ROTC, professionals working either in government or private companies, & retired military personnel who are still fit to serve. The mandate of a Reservists (alternately referred to as Citizen Soldiers) are to assist the regular forces in times of war, invasion or rebellion but also to assist in the search, rescue & relief distributions during disasters or calamities, & to assist in socio-developments in times of peace.

The reason why the Order of the Amaranth and the 611th reservists are joining forces, is because we need to be reminded time & time again regarding our responsibilities in the protections & preservations of our environment. The 611th Naval Reserve Squadron would also likewise to inform all naval ROTC graduates to serve the people by becoming a 611th Naval Reservist.

Weekly formations of the 611th is held at ZSCMST school every Sunday morning. For inquiry look for PO1 Don A Dondoyano, PN (Res), PO3 Glowil B Del Rio, PN (Res) & PO3 Walter C Serrano, PN (Res).

SCAA MOA Signing

(Zamboanga Today)

With Rear Admiral ARMANDO L. GUZMAN AFP, Commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao as Presiding the Officer, the Signing of Memorandum of Agreement between the Navy, The Southern Philippines (SOPHIL) Deep Sea Fishing Association, Inc. and other owners of fishing corporations took place last July 12, 2012 at the NFWM Officers Club, ROMULO ESPALDON, Naval Station.

In the short program that was held for the occasion, Capt EUGENE P CASTILLA, the command chaplain gave the Invocation while CDR CARLITO C LOMBOY PN (GSC) AC of S for Operation gave the Welcome Remarks and the backgrounder of the SCAA activation.

Naval Forces Western Mindanao was tasked by Southern Command now Western Mindanao Command since July 1992 to administer and supervise the 1st Zamboanga City Special Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit Active Auxiliary (SCAA) Company. On February 2006, the administration and supervision of the 7th Zamboanga City SCAA company composed of 88 SCAA personnel formerly under the Special Forces Regiment was transferred to NFWM per Southcom Letter Directive Nr. OU3-0102-003-006 dated February 2009. On December 11, 2007 Western Mindanao Command transferred the Administrative Control and Supervision of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Zamboanga City SCAA company composed of two hundred sixty-four (264) SCAA personnel. However, with this pool of SCAA units and their personnel transferred to NFWM, it was found that there is no Memorandum of Agreement signed between NFWM and Southern Philippines Deep Sea Fishing Association, Inc. (SOPHIL), which is the legal requirement in the activation of the SCAA unit that will likewise cover SCAA Units that were transferred from the 1st ID, PA to the Command.

NFWM prepared a MOA based on the existing provisions of the AFP LOI 09-2005 (Tanggol Bayan Delta). It was submitted to HPN on May 2, 2012 for comments and approval and was approved on June 19, 2012 thru a reply letter from Flag Officer In Command (FOIC). The MOA was found to be legally in order both in form and substance and is in accordance with the existing policies and provisions pertaining to the organization and activation of SCAA’s, thus, with the blessing of Higher Headquarters the SCAA MOA ( a guide for the respective parties responsibilities) was singed by the concerned parties on July 12, 2012.

Present during the signing were: NFWM Commander RADM ARMANDO L GUZMAN AFP, Western Mindanao Command Deputy Comander and Chairman of the WMC SCAA Oversight Committee BGen EUGENIO N CLEMEN AFP, Deputy Commander for Naval Operations, Capt BAYANI R GAERLAN PN (GSC) Deputy Commander for Marine Operations COL ARMANDO V. BANEZ PN (M) (GSC) Commander Reserve Center for Western Mindanao Col RAMON MABALOT PN (GSC) SOPHIL President STEPHEN LEE KAW, MELINA REQUINTO, MALCOLM LIM, NELSON FLORES, LEONARDO TAN, EUGENE FREDERICK YAP and other fishing representatives.

Zambo’s senior citizens get P2.2 M pension

(PNA), FFC/FMS/ebp

ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 26 (PNA) -– The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) provided a total of P2.2 million as pension benefits for the city’s qualified 1,468 senior citizens for the second quarter of the year in this city.

City Social Welfare and Development Officer Francisco Barredo said distribution of pension at P1,500 per qualified pensioners started last Tuesday and will be completed within the week.

Barredo said that only living senior citizens aged 77 years and above are entitled to the P500 per month pension to be released quarterly by the DSWD.

Senior citizens who are already receiving pensions from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the Social Security System (SSS) and other agencies are disqualified from the DSWD assistance.

The remaining thousands of registered and unregistered with the CSWD senior citizens are still being assessed and listed by the National Housing Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), a data bank and information management system that identified who and where the poor are in the Philippines.

Barredo said his office in coordination with DSWD is now in the process of updating the NHTS list of elderly pensioners in the city to accommodate those who were not previously included in the list.

The amount released to the pensioners came from the DSWD and were coursed only through the city government.

Vinta Sail' gains overwhelming response from locals & visitors

by Jocelyn P. Alvarez

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Barely a week after the “Vinta Sail” launch on Saturday, July 21, the news spread and photos enchanted people to look forward to this activity.

“We are getting good responses not only from our locals but also from people outside Zamboanga that they also want to try to sail on our vinta,” said DOT Regional Director Mary June Bugante.

She said the photos of the colorful Vinta Sail launch posted online by members of the camera club helped a lot in spreading the “good news” to neighboring provinces and cities.

Bugante said the office has been receiving positive reactions from people after they’ve seen these pictures on Facebook, blog sites, and other social networking sites.

This latest activity is expected to boost local tourism as this will give the people a new kind of “vinta sailing” experience.

“Zamboanga City is known for its colorful vintas. It is the city’s icon. When visitors come to Zamboanga, they always look for our vinta, but we always end up showing them the souvenir item-vinta or bring them to la Vista del Mar where we have the colorful ‘layag’ of the vinta, but not the real thing,” Bugante said.

“So after deliberations, we came up with the idea of having vintas readily available not only for viewing but for real-life vinta sail experience--- so, came the vinta sail launching,” she added.

As of the moment, there are five vintas on standby at the Paseo Del Mar, four of which can accommodate two passengers and a “bangkero (boatman)” and one can accommodate three passengers and two boatmen.

The Vinta Sailing activity is a “weekend delight” as it will take the passengers on cruise during Saturdays and Sundays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“But depending on the clamor of the public, we might also have it during weekdays,” Bugante hoped.

Bugante said, "The boatmen are local fishermen who fish in the morning and sail in the afternoon.”

“All of the five vintas are duly registered with DOT, the boatmen have undergone basic orientation, and they have gone through the proper registration process,” she said.

Passengers who want to ride on the vinta will have to pay P50 per head for a 15-30 minute ride within the buoy area as identified by the Philippine Coast Guard.

“The passengers can also do the rowing or paddling themselves if they opt to,” Bugante said.

Passengers ages seven and up may take the vinta sail.

For their safety, passengers will be asked to wear a life jacket and a coast guard rescue team on board a rubber boat will be on standby.

Bizmen to support mayoral candidate who makes Zamboanga a safe place

By Nonong santiago

The support of the business community here for a mayoralty aspirant of the City of Zamboanga in the May 2013 elections can only come if it gives importance to solving the peace and order problem, according to a business group.

“The midterm elections will be defined as to who can resolve the alarming increase of criminalities in the city, particularly the occurrence of shooting incidents that already claimed the lives of several people,” said Cholo Soliven, president of the Zamboanga City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Incorporated.

Based on police incident reports, the shooting incidents which occured moslty in the different barangays in the city proper from January 1, 2012 to present show more than a hundred persons were victims of gun shooting.

Most of these incidents remain unsolved and the families of these victims are left in the dark but local police officials blame the unsolved cases over lack of witness cooperation.

“If there is going to be a three-cornered fight in the coming elections then the business community will be behind the mayoral bet who will promise to make Zamboanga a safe place. So far there is one person here that does not believe that peace and order problem exist in the city,” Soliven stressed.

The ZCCCFI president said the city needs a strong leader who has a better security plan patterned from Davao City.

“We need somebody who fits the personality of Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who made Davao City a very peaceful and safe place to live. Everything starts and ends up with peace. We are not looking for miracle but it will depend on the mayor who can look for a clear cut solution to our problem of peace,” he said.

Soliven said one foremost challenge is for the chief executive to understand and accept that there is indeed peace and order drawback that needs to be resolved.

“We have been voicing this out for so many times, that indeed we have a peace and order problem existing in our midst but nobody cares to listen. We sound like a broken record already the killings are rising and something needs to be done,” Soliven continued.

It remains to be seen as to who, among the three mayoral contenders, will push hard to resolve this very elusive question, Soliven said.

Bizmen to support mayoral candidate who makes Zamboanga a safe place

By Nonong Santiago

The support of the business community here for a mayoralty aspirant of the City of Zamboanga in the May 2013 elections can only come if it gives importance to solving the peace and order problem, according to a business group.

“The midterm elections will be defined as to who can resolve the alarming increase of criminalities in the city, particularly the occurrence of shooting incidents that already claimed the lives of several people,” said Cholo Soliven, president of the Zamboanga City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Incorporated.

Based on police incident reports, the shooting incidents which occured moslty in the different barangays in the city proper from January 1, 2012 to present show more than a hundred persons were victims of gun shooting.

Most of these incidents remain unsolved and the families of these victims are left in the dark but local police officials blame the unsolved cases over lack of witness cooperation.

“If there is going to be a three-cornered fight in the coming elections then the business community will be behind the mayoral bet who will promise to make Zamboanga a safe place. So far there is one person here that does not believe that peace and order problem exist in the city,” Soliven stressed.

The ZCCCFI president said the city needs a strong leader who has a better security plan patterned from Davao City.

“We need somebody who fits the personality of Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who made Davao City a very peaceful and safe place to live. Everything starts and ends up with peace. We are not looking for miracle but it will depend on the mayor who can look for a clear cut solution to our problem of peace,” he said.

Soliven said one foremost challenge is for the chief executive to understand and accept that there is indeed peace and order drawback that needs to be resolved.

“We have been voicing this out for so many times, that indeed we have a peace and order problem existing in our midst but nobody cares to listen. We sound like a broken record already the killings are rising and something needs to be done,” Soliven continued.

It remains to be seen as to who, among the three mayoral contenders, will push hard to resolve this very elusive question, Soliven said.

DOT IX launch Vinta Sailing at Paseo del Mar

By Clyde Mariano

The weather fully cooperated as the Department of Tourism IX (DOT) has launched its Vinta Sailing at Paseo to give an added attraction to the city last Saturday afternoon at Paseo del Mar.

Five colorful vintas awaits the guest and the pubic who experienced a vinta ride around Paseo del Mar.

Vinta has been an icon of the City and the Department of Tourism is very confident that this will add spice for those who would like to visit the city.

Before the maiden ride, a program was conducted where local dances were danced to include the pangalay.

Present during the said activity were Mayor Celso Lobregat and DOT IX Acting Regional Director Mary June Bugante who had a maiden ride.

After the maiden ride, the public immediately flocked the area to experience a free vinta ride last Saturday and today.

Normally vintas can only be seen during the regatta but this will now be a regular program every weekend. The public can now experience a vinta ride every Saturday and Sunday from 4pm to 6pm for only P50 per head.

P 100,000 support

By Clyde Mariano

Manila, Philippines – Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat has given P100,000 to young weightlifter John Kyle Macrohon as financial assistance for his trip to the London Olympics.

“Mayor Lobregat gave the amount as a gesture of support to Macrohon who will be going to London with 10 other young athletes to watch the Olympics,“ said former weightlifting secretary general Roger Dullano.

Macrohon and the other ath letes have been given the rare opportunity by the British Council with the help of British embassy in Manila to the watch the 30th edition of the quadrennial meet hosted by London for the third time since 1908 and 1948.

The 10 other young Filipino athletes are archer Bianca Cristina Gotuaco, tracksters Garry Santiago and Mary Anthony Diesto, badminton players John Edgar Reyes and Joella Geva de Vera boxer Roberto Miguel Jalnaiz, judoka Floyd Derek Rillera, swimmer Ariana Herranz, taekwondo jin Irene Therese Bermejo, and triathlete Gabriel Allen Santiago.

ZCMC on alert against EV71

By R.G. A A. Go

The Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) has revealed that the hospital is prepared for the possible entry of the Enterovirus (EV 71), which caused the death of more than 50 children in Cambodia.

“DOH Central Office has two instructions regarding Enterovirus: ZCMC is monitoring just in case there will be an admission. And to reinforce our infection control measures such as hand hygiene," Dr. Maribel Felisario, ZCMC information officer, said in an interview.

Aside from these, the hospital has isolation rooms to isolate the patients infected with the said disease, according to Felisario.

The hospital already managed similar disease such as the Influenza A (H1N1) and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). It will constantly monitor the situation.

Earlier, an advisory from DOH earlier was received by the hospital informing about the description of Hand, Foot, and Mouth, Disease (HFMD) which is a common infectious disease caused by a group of Enteroviruses including Coxsackievirus A 16 (CA 16), and EV 71.

EV 71 can cause severe disease in children, sometimes resulting to death, the advisory said.

The surveillance is needed to provide timely data and information for risk assessment and subsequent decision-making about appropriate public health interventions.

The intensive case-based surveillance is used to detect, investigate and confirm every suspected HFMD case in the community.

The signs and symptoms of HFMD are febrile illness with papulovesticular rash on palms and soles, with or without vesicles or ulcers in the mouth. Rash may occasionally be maculopapular without vesicular lesions and may also involve buttocks, knees, or elbows, particularly in younger children and infants. The complications includes: aseptic Meningitis, AFP or Acute Flaccid Paralysis, Death, Encephalitis, and Cardiorespiratory Failure.

HFMD is moderately contagious and the infection can be spread from person to person by direct contact with nose, throat discharges, saliva, fluid from blisters, or stool of infected persons.

To prevent HFMD, health officials said one should practice proper hand washing, observe strict personal hygiene, toys or teaching tools shared with other children should be washed and disinfected, avoid sharing of utensils for drinking and eating, towels, and personal items with infected person.

MSCFI meets with science consortia to help MinDA create MKRPC

by Kates Allas

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- After three years the Mindanao Studies Consortia Foundation Incorporated or MSCFI meets again with the Science Consortia in Mindanao. The first meeting was in Misamis State University and talked about complementation regarding research on mining.

Participants were; Welcome Remarks/Opening Statement by Dr. Ricardo de Ungria, Chairperson MSCFI. Dr. de Ungria welcomed the participants and cited the relevance and importance of the meeting. The Presentors; For Overview of the activity - Reyzaldy Tan, OIC - Office for Research and Advocacy, For Presentation of the MKRPC - Dr. Ricardo de Ungria, Chairperson, MSCFI, For Discussion on the MKRPC (Questions about the MKRC Program discussed here), For Presentation of the MindaNow (Questions about the MindaNOW Program discussed here), For Presentation and Discussion of the Economy and Environment Research and Policy Agenda -- Dr. Ricardo de Ungria, Chairperson, MSCFI, For Discussion on the Next Steps and Crafting of the Action Plan, Moderated Mr. Reyzaldy Tan, OIC Office for Research and Advocacy and For Closing Statement by Dr. Ricardo de Ungria, Chairperson, MSCFI.

This time, as headed by the UP Mindanao Professor Ricardo M. de Ungria, MSCFI meets with research-based institutions to talk about what they can provide to aid the Mindanao Development Authority or MinDA organize what will become a Mindanao Knowledge Research and Policy Center or MKRPC.

The gathering was hosted by the Western Mindanao State University or WMSU through the leadership its new president Dr. Mirabel E. Ho on July 18, 2012 and was held in Waling-waling conference room at the Garden Orchids Hotel, Zamboanga City.

Participants came from various universities in throughout the Mindanao regions.

SP lauds Zambo body builder 2nd placer in int’l tourney

By Nonong Santiago

The Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) on its regular session yesterday approved a resolution commending Zamboangueño body builder Mariel Garganera for giving honor to Zamboanga City when he won second place in the recently concluded international body building competition held in Hong Kong last July 15, 2012.

Garganera capped the silver in the professional 85 kg. division of the tournament dubbed “Hong Kong Body Building Fitness 2012 International Body Building Invitation Championship” from the more than 100 participants from other countries who joined in the contest.

The august body unanimously approved the edict and also called on the city government to study the possibility of rewarding the strongman with cash under the reward system of the sports ordinance.

Garganera, 41, resident of Divisoria, disclosed he won several body building competitions to include winning the Mr. Philippines tournament in 2003 and many others.

The Zamboangueño muscle man is now working as a body building coach in one of the fitness gyms in the Middle East.

“Every time I join these kind of tournament I always represents Zamboanga City as my home place. I would like to thank the councilors for passing the resolution commending me for the honor I gave the city,” Garganera said.

Zamboanga City gov’t distributes more vehicles to barangays

(PNA), LAP/TPG/utb

ZAMBOANGA CITY — At least 54 of 90 barangays on the mainland of this city have already received the 4x4 pick-up vehicles for the implementation of Community, Environment, Livelihood, Security and Order programs of the local government under the stewardship of Mayor Celso Lobregat.

This, after Lobregat turned over anew yesterday nine 4x4 pick-up vehicles to six barangays in the first district and three barangays in the second district.

Tuesday’s turnover of vehicles was witnessed by Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara of Aurora Province, who commended Lobregat for providing the barangays with 4x4 vehicles, which no other local government units (LGUs) in the country even his province can do.

Thirty-eight of the 54 barangays provided with 4x4 pick-up vehicles are from the second district while 16 are in the first district.

The 36 remaining mainland barangays and the eight island barangays will receive their vehicles in the coming days, Lobregat announced.

All of the 90 mainland barangays of this city will receive the 4x4 pick-up vehicles while the eight island barangays will receive a multicab and a motorized banca each.

The distribution of vehicles to barangays by the city government is aimed at hastening mobility and ultimately accelerating public service.

Each 4x4 vehicle costs the city government P997,500 while the multicab and motorized banca costs P290,000 and P150,000 each, respectively.

Funds for the purchase of the transportation facilities are taken from the 2011 and 2012 budgets of the city government.

2 kids burned in Zamboanga

  • Source:By Roel Pareño The Philippine Star
  • Tuesday, July 17, 2012
By Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star)

ZAMBOANGA CITY , Philippines – The charred remains of two children were found in an abandoned house in this city Saturday night.

Police identified the victims as John Larry Mendoza, nine; and his niece 11-year-old Jessidel Manalo, both scavengers and residents of Barangay Tugbungan.

Rosanna, the mother of Jessidel and the sister of John Larry, said they learned of the incident when her daughter and brother did not return home.

One of the victims’ companions, who managed to escape, said Alfredo Miranda, 42, the owner of the house captured Jessidel and John Larry when they entered the house to collect scraps.

“The house was really scary but I went inside with barangay tanods who carried flashlights. We found bloodstains. We also found their bloodstained slippers,” Rosanna said.

Police Station 6 commander Chief Inspector Elmer Acuña said the police later found the charred remains of the two victims.

Acuña said police also recovered iron pipes with bloodstains, which the suspect could have used to beat the victims before burning them. He said they found Miranda hidden in a dark corner of the house.

“There was no doubt he was the one behind the gruesome killing,” Acuña said.

Public high school gets new bldg from city govt

(Sheila Covarrubias/CIO/JPA/PIA9-ZBST)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 16 (PIA) -- Classroom shortage in Zamboanga City National High School – main in Tetuan has been partially eased with the inauguration of a government-funded three-storey 27 classroom building.

The three-storey 27 classroom building is the biggest school building yet constructed by the Lobregat administration since the massive school building program started in 2007.

The unveiling ceremony was graced by Education Sec. Bro. Armin Luistro, who accepted the project from Mayor Celso Lobregat.

Luistro thanked the mayor and members of the city council for putting highest priority on education through construction of school buildings and other education-related projects.

He said building classrooms is not just about having money “but it’s about vision, transparency and dignity.”

“Mayor Lobregat is the only mayor who places the cost of every project being undertaken,” Luistro added.

He said by being transparent, people are informed and they can keep track of government funds.

Meanwhile, Lobregat vowed that the city government will continue to invest in education to ensure that quality education.

The mayor also requested the secretary to provide necessary teachers and desks to complement the schools buildings being constructed by the city government.

Since 2007, the city government has already invested over P940 million in education, and it will reach the P1billion mark in 2013, the mayor said.

The ZCHS-main community, headed by Principal Felisa Munar presented Mayor Lobregat with a plaque and a certificate expressing highest regard on the chief executive for his unfaltering commitment to education.

Also present during the inauguration were Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde, Councilors Rudy Lim, Mike Alavar, Nonong Guingona and Luis Biel III, City Schools OIC Superintendent Pedro Natividad, Tetuan barangay chairman Nonong Natividad, the different district supervisors, secondary school principals, other city officials, Zamcelco president Bong Atilano, the mayor’s brother Jomar Lobregat and ZCHS-main students, teachers and parents.

Zamboanga Hermosa Chorale bags 3 medals in 7th World Choir Games in US

(Mindanao Examiner)

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / July 15, 2012) – Philippines’ pride Zamboanga Hermosa Chorale bagged two silver and one bronze medals in the 7th World Choir Games in the United States.

Choirs from all over the world gathered at the 7th World Choir Games in Cincinnati to contribute their share to international understanding and peace among nations.

Together you are going to celebrate a great festival of music, song and joie de vivre and Cincinnati will be a prestigious host city for the 7th World Choir Games.

Last month, President Benigno Aquino praised the Zamboanga Hermosa Chorale for winning in the 1st Vietnam International Choir Competition and Festival.

“Music has always reflected our country’s rich cultural heritage and history, including our struggles and triumphs as one people. Thus we in government take pride in your achievements on the local and international stage, for these demonstrate the Filipino’s dedication, confidence, and excellence in the performing arts.”

“We stand by our pledge to empower our artists—singers, composers, and musicians among them—and trust that the Zamboanga Hermosa Chorale will continue nurturing your gift of voice and creativity, as you stand as banner men of our multifaceted culture, in which your city is a distinct contributor,” Aquino said.

The Zamboanga Hermosa Chorale, a community choir composed of talented college students and few young professionals in Zamboanga City, was formed in 2001. And its members were trained by the Philippine Madrigal Singers through the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Zambo police nets 2 drug pushers


ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 13 – The Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) of the local police here scored anew in its campaign against prohibited drugs following the arrest of two people in a buy-bust operation in this southern port city.

Senior Police Officer 2 (SPO2) Angel Paclibar, case officer, said the buy-bust operation was carried out around 3:40 a.m. Thursday in Barangay Putik, some 5 kilometers east of the city.

Paclibar identified the arrested suspects as Peter Manantan, 48, a teacher, and Ronald Lazo, 41, both residents of Barangay Putik.

He disclosed that the AIDSOTF headed by Senior Insp. Elmer Solon carried out the buy-bust operation after receiving information about the activities of the suspects.

The suspects were arrested after Lazo handed over a small heat-sealed plastic sachet of suspected shabu to a policeman who pretended to be a buyer in exchange for P300, Paclibar said.

He said Lazo is allegedly the drug pusher while Manantan owns the house that serves as the pot session area of Lazo’s customers.

The AIDSOTF personnel seized from the suspects' possession the P300 marked money, four small sachets of suspected shabu and several paraphernalia being used for the prohibited drugs, he said.

The suspects were brought to the City Prosecutor’s Office for inquest proceedings, he added.

DOLE set for July 17-23 disability prevention and rehab week

(PNA), LAM/TPG/utb

ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Regional Council on Disability Affairs (RCDA) has lined up several activities to drumbeat the week-long celebration of the 34th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) week in this southern port city.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will be the lead agency and coordinator of the activities on July 17-23.

The celebration will kick off July 17 with a motorcade starting at the Philippine Red Cross (PRC)-Zamboanga City Chapter compound along Rizal Street and end at the Zamboanga City High School (ZCHS) main campus in Barangay Tetuan where a short program will be held.

It will be followed with a free vaccine against flu and pneumonia for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) aged 18 and up by the Department of Health (DOH).

A Media Forum will also be conducted July 17 at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) office to widen awareness on the NDPR week celebration.

The PWDs will share their “contribution” in the celebration by conducting a tree planting activity on July 17.

The Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center (AVRC) will conduct a three-day skills training for PWDs on haircut, foot and hand spa.

The DOLE will also turn over “Kabuhayan starter kits” to beneficiaries and conduct orientation on “employees compensation program” on July 17.

A PWD congress is slated on July 19 organized by the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) in partnership with the Gender and Development (GAD) focal point.

The DOH and the Department of Education (DepEd) will conduct a psychological test for children with learning disabilities on July 20 at the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC).

On the same day, the PWDs will also be given skills demonstration on siomai and tocino making by the DSWD and Department of Agriculture (DA).

The DSWD and DOLE will also award with certificates and plaques of appreciation to establishments, government and non-government, employing PWDs.

The Commission on Election (Comelec) will have its PWD voter’s registration on July 21 while an ecumenical mass for PWDs is set on the next day.

On July 23, the DepEd through the ZCHS will be conducting a PWD sports festival at the Sta. Maria Elementary School.

The theme for this year’s celebration of NDPR week is “Mainstreaming persons with Disabilities in Economic Development.”

The celebration aims to promote the full employment of PWDs, tackle barriers and gaps, facilitate stakeholder’s cooperation, develop innovative approaches and support human rights-based initiatives for the economic development of the PWDs.

Zamcelco sets special elections in Districts II, V & X on Aug. 5

(Press Release)

The Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (ZAMCELCO) yesterday announced that it will conduct special elections in Districts II, V and X simultaneously on August 5, 2012 (Sunday).

ZAMCELCO OIC Mr. Charito C. Mabitazan said the Board of Directors in their regular meeting on July 6, 2012, adopted a Resolution No. 60-12 calling for the conduct of special district elections in the mentioned districts.

It will be recalled that on May 13, 2012, District II had its regular election, but the same was considered a failure as the total number of voters failed to meet the quorum requirement, hence, the need to call for a special election.

In Districts V and X, the special election is to fill the vacancy following the disqualification of the incumbent board members per Order from the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

"A special election is called by the Board, through a resolution- as in the above mentioned districts- to fill any vacancy due to resignation, disqualification, death and similar causes, and if the unexpired term is two years or more; the last election in districts V and X was on May 2011 and the vacancy occurred in the same year, hence, the unexpired term is still more than two years until the next regular election in 2014," Mabitazan said.

Election refers to the process of choosing a director in a district to represent its members in the Coop's Board of Directors through secret balloting, and Board of Directors is the body composed of representatives elected in every district to promulgate policies, rules and regulations necessary for the operation of the electric cooperative.

Bonafide coop members in the mentioned electing districts who are interested to run for a seat in the board, may secure the official form of the Certificate of Candidacy at the ZAMCELCO office during office hours.

The last day of filing of the Certificate of Candidacy is on July 26, 2012 or ten days before the scheduled election through the Member Services Division (MSD), Institutional Services Department at Putik Office.

Management also advises Coop members who do not have their Coop ID cards to see the MSD office for more details on how to secure and/or replace ID cards.

BFP-9, ZCFD, EMRS/SRU bag best 'emergency response uniform' team

By R.G. Antonet A. Go

The Bureau of Fire Protection-9 (BFP-9) and the Zamboanga City Fire District (ZCFD) and the Emergency Medical and Rescue Service/Special Rescue Unit (EMRS/SRU) have won the "Best Emergency Response Uniform" during the kick-off program of the National Disaster Consciousness Month last July 2, 2012 at Zamcelco compound.

Zamboanga City Fire District, District Fire Marshall F/ Supt. Dominador Zabala Jr. disclosed this, saying that the mentioned team bested other national and local response team in this city.

Zabala said the winning team is under his office and BFP IX Regional Director, F/Sr. Supt. Carlito B. Ocena.

The Office of Civil Defense IX, Regional Director, Adriano Fuego presented the award to the team.

The activity was in line with the government’s program and effort aimed at promoting awareness and instill consciousness to the people especially in times of natural or man-made disasters.

At present, the ZCFD has 7 fire stations located in Barangays Sta. Maria, Tetuan, Ayala, Manicahan, Quiniput, Vitali, and the City Fire Station.

Aside from these, they also have 7 fire sub-stations in Barangays Guiwan, Boalan, Sta. Catalina, Upper Calarian, Recodo, Talisayan, Mercedes.

City water district office conducts LWD-MACRO training seminar

By R.G. Antonet A. Go

The Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) has conducted an orientation seminar on Local Water District Manual on Categorization, and Other Related Matters or (LWD-MACRO) last July 5 and 6 at a local hotel located in this city.

ZCWD Information Officer Dolly Galvan said that “Poreso man orient kanila on the categorization kay man affect el structure del water districts.”

The activity was participated in by water districts coming from Western Mindanao to include general managers, division managers, and department heads.

The topics discussed during the seminar were the background of the LWD-MACRO, role of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on the LWD-MACRO, LWD categorization, and presentation of LWD-MACRO.

The speakers during the seminar were Engr. Anselmo L. Sang Tian, chairman of the PAWD Oversight Committee and the general manager of Butuan City Water District and DBM regional director Atty. Nilda Cemine.

The classification of water districts at present is small, average, medium, big, large, and very large. When the new categorization will come in it will be downed to just Category A, B, C, and D.

The new categorization, according to Galvan, will be implemented slowly for three years.

The basis for the categorization are 40% Gross Revenue, 40% Total Assets, 15% Net Income, and Staff Production 5%.

For Category A the Water District must have a service connection of at least 30,000, B at least 10,000, C at 3,000 and D below 3,000.

The ZCWD belongs to category A since the ZCWD has some 51,417 water concessioners who are serving some 55 out of the 98 barangays.

PHIVOLCS to install tsunami sensor in Zambo City

By R.G. Antonet Go

The Philippine Volcanola tsunami sensor this year at the local wharf to help in the monitoring of possible tsunami that may hit the city.

Officer in Charge PHIVOLCS Zamboanga City Allan Labayog said that throughout the Philippines for this year they will be installing a tsunami sensor in the city of Zamboanga.

"We will have a collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA),” he added.

The tsunami sensor, according to Labayog, will cost millions of pesos that is why the office will have a collaboration with JICA.

Part of the sensor will be pointing to the water where it will be laser guided to record a change in tide and its type.

The equipment will be housed inside the PPA compound consisting of sensor, transmitter, and a satellite dish which all came from Japan.

He also said that the equipment can stand alone and it will not rely on the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative for power it will have its own power system and solar panels.

Sometimes after an earthquake a tsunami might also follow. The tsunami alert are as follows: Alert Zero, no tsunami, Alert one needs confirmation, Alert two, confirmed and in effect precautionary measures while Alert three means full evacuation.

The warning time for tsunami are for a local tsunami, the maximum time is 20 minutes to evacuate while more than an hour for a distant tsunami.

Labayog said there is always a probability for earthquake because the city and the region is surrounded by two tectonic trenches the Sulu and Cotabato trench which could trigger an earthquake and tsunami.

The Sulu trench last moved during September 21, 1897 while the Cotabato trench last moved last August 17, 1976.

The whole country is also at risk as the Philippines is one of the countries located along Pacific Ring of Fire.

Zamboanga folk find queen ‘ordinary person’: City’s poor expected member of Spanish royalty to be wearing gown, crown

By Julie S. Alipala (Inquirer Mindanao)

ZAMBOANGA CITY—When told that members of a poor community here would get to see a real queen, 8-year-old Jenny Asurin immediately thought of a woman in a gown and wearing a crown.

Waiting in a multipurpose hall where beneficiaries of a Spanish aid agency’s were gathered to greet Queen Sofia, Jenny expressed surprise at what she saw.

A tall woman, wearing a printed blouse and light brown slacks, emerged from a heavily tinted vehicle and casually entered the hall to be met by two toddlers who offered her a bouquet of flowers.

“Is that the queen?” Jenny asked her 39-year-old mother, Geraldine, whose nod didn’t satisfy her child’s search for answers.

“Where’s her crown? Why isn’t she wearing a gown?” Jenny continued to ask soon after Queen Sofia smiled at her and briefly touched her face.

TV images

Jenny, like many others in the urban poor group Kalinaw Homeowners Association (KHA), had associated royalty with images they see on TV.

Laundry woman Arsenia Cabigting, 42, said when she rushed to Kalinaw Community Hall to see the queen, she was expecting images of kings and queens that she sees on TV to come to life.

“I was expecting a queen that we see on TV. She looks like an ordinary person, like us, only that she is white,” Cabigting told the Inquirer.

Juanita Cabugatan, head of KHA and of another urban poor group called Pakasa, said Queen Sofia turned out to be “down-to-earth.”

“We didn’t expect that someone like her would come down and mingle with us,” said Cabugatan, whose groups were among the beneficiaries of Manos Unidas, a Spanish nongovernment organization that implements aid programs of the Spanish government.

Spanish projects

Clara Pardo, who handles projects in Asia of Manos Unidas, said Queen Sofia was in the city to see the projects that the Spanish government, through Manos Unidas, had helped build.

“She likes to see where the money went and was spent, and she is very committed to development projects,” Pardo said in an interview with the Inquirer.

“Queen Sofia also wants to meet and interact with children and women because she is always very worried about the situation of children in the world,” she added.

A DOWN-TO-EARTH queen takes children of the poor in Zamboanga City in her arms for a souvenir picture. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Fr. Angel Calvo, of the Claretian Missionary, who heads Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance Inc. (Zabida), said the Spanish government has been helping his group for 13 years now and has so far poured in about 5 million euros into projects launched by Zabida, another group that helps the poor in Zamboanga and Basilan through livelihood and other projects.

Zabida implements Manos Unidas projects for education, housing, youth, livelihood, water, agriculture and shelter for the homeless and street children.

Meet the poor

Calvo said Queen Sofia was here to visit urban poor communities.

“It’s not a state visit. She was even scheduled to meet the homeless and street children, but according to authorities from Malacañang and local government officials, there were security issues,” Calvo said.

Queen Sofia was supposed to visit an orphanage in the city, Akay Kalinga, but this was canceled supposedly for security reasons.

Akay Kalinga is located on RT Lim Boulevard, where the city jail and the police’s Camp Batalla are.

The security arrangement that Malacañang officials prepared for Queen Sofia’s visit in the city apparently made the queen “a little bit upset,” said Calvo.

Prior to her arrival at another poor community called Katilingban Para sa Panaghiusa, also in a poor village in the city, an organizer announced inside the chapel that only “direct beneficiaries are allowed to meet with the queen of Spain.”

Upset by protocol

The unidentified organizer announced the rules:

“No hand shaking, no unnecessary noise, taking of pictures is not allowed inside the chapel, clapping of hands is allowed if there’s a signal for you to clap your hands.”

Calvo explained that the rules did not come from them.

“The activity was supposed to be open to everyone. There’s a program prepared for the queen, but somehow, the program was altered in Malacañang and several activities were scrapped. I know the queen was a bit upset,” Calvo said.

AFP joins “National Disaster Observance Month”


On the occasion of the National Disaster Awareness Month this whole month of July, the military under the Western Mindanao Command joins the whole nation in its observance through various disaster awareness activities here in Zamboanga peninsula.

Army Lt. Col. Erwin Alea, 4th Civil Relations Group (4CRG) commander, said that series of activities in line with disaster preparedness led by the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) BASULTA kicked off this week in partnership with its headquarters, the Bureau of Fire Protection and other stakeholders, both in the government and private sectors.

Series of activities are lined-up in selected areas of Zamboanga City, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. Among these activities are the Disaster Awareness Campaign, Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) Caravan, DRRM Mural Painting, First Responder Training, Tree Planting activities, Earthquake Drills, and Disaster Risk Reduction video presentation in schools.

“These activities, which are in line with Executive Order 137 of 1999, aim to increase public awareness on natural and man-made disasters and at the same time to equip them with information and skills on what to do at time of these occurrences,” said Alea.

He added that one cannot tell as to when disasters like earthquake and tsunami will happen, hence, emergency preparedness is critical to mitigate the effects of such circumstances.

Meanwhile, the 4CRG will distribute assorted posters on disaster awareness to the different selected areas that are prone to natural disasters to further enhance awareness of this campaign.

Lobregat thanks Zamboangueños for Queen Sofia’s warm welcome

(PNA), LAP/TPG/utb

ZAMBOANGA CITY, July 6 (PNA) – Mayor Celso Lobregat has expressed gratitude to residents of Zamboanga City for the rousing welcome accorded on Thursday to Queen Sofia of Spain.

Lobregat likewise thanked the military and police and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and all offices of the city government that helped in the successful turnout of the historical visit of the Queen to Zamboanga City.

In particular, Lobregat thanked Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) Chief Lt. Gen. Noel Coballes, Police Regional Office-9 (PRO-9) director Chief Supt. Napoleon Estilles, Zamboanga City Police officer-in-charge Chief Supt. Mario Yanga, 3rd Air Division Commander Brig. Gen. Emeraldo Magnaye and Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) commander Rear Admiral Armando Guzman.

Lobregat also cited the participation and contribution of the different schools to the successful visit of Queen Sofia, specifically the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology, Southern City Colleges, Sinunuc Elementary School, Sinunuc National High School, Claret School, Don Pablo Lorenzo Memorial High School and the Sta. Maria Elementary School.

He said the Queen’s visit to Zamboanga City the whole day on Thursday turned out smooth, peaceful and well-organized.

“The rousing welcome we accorded the Queen is definitely a big boost to the peaceful image of the city of Zamboanga,” he stressed.

He described the visit of the Queen Sofia, the first high foreign dignitary to visit this city was a monumental event for Zamboanga City.

Finally, Lobregat said gratitude also goes out to Queen Sofia herself, for making Zamboanga City one of the sites to be visited during her visit to the Philippines.

“It is truly an honor for the City of Zamboanga to be visited by the Queen of Spain. I don’t think there was any other foreign dignitary of such stature that ever visited Zamboanga in the past,” Lobregat added.

Queen of Spain visits Zamboanga

By Vic Larato

The entire city officialdom of Zamboanga headed by Mayor Celso Lobregat will roll out the red carpet today to welcome for the first time in history Majesty, the Queen of Spain, the first highest foreign dignitary to visit Zamboanga, Asia’s Latin City.

Mayor Lobregat, who presided over a high level meeting yesterday in preparation for the royal visit, told reporters that everything was ready for Queen Sofia’s arrival this morning.

“Let us all welcome the Queen to Zamboanga City. It is indeed an honor for the city of Zamboanga to be visited by the Queen of Spain. I don’t think there was any other foreign dignitary of such stature that ever visited Zamboanga in the past,” Lobregat said.

Queen Sofia and party that includes Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Domecq are expected to arrive at 9:15 a.m. at the Edwin Andrews Air Base in Sta. Maria.

She will be welcomed by Mayor Lobregat, Deputy House Speaker and District 1 Rep. Beng Climaco-Salazar, District 2 Rep. Erico Basilio A. Fabian, Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen Noel Coballes, 3rd Air Division commander Major Gen. Jose Tony Villarete, and Police Regional Director-9 Chief Supt. Napoleon Estilles.

From EAAB, a convoy will usher the Queen to Barangay Sinunuc in the west coast where she will inspect the “Kalambuan, Katilingban and Kalinaw” housing project funded by the Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional (AECI) and managed by Spanish non-government organization “Manos Unidas” and the Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance, Inc. (ZaBIDA) headed by Claretian priest Fr. Angel Clavo.

From Sinunuc, the Queen will visit the Claret School at San Jose Road, which is a beneficiary of a school building project funded by the Spanish government. Then, the Queen will proceed to the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC), which had availed of a soft loan amounting to US$9 million (Php450 million) from the Spanish government for upgrading and modernization of medical facilities.

From the ZCMC, the Queen will proceed to the National Museum at the historic Fort Pilar, passing by the shrine of the miraculous Lady of the Pillar, for lunch that the city government will host.

To recall, the Royal Fort of Our Virgin Lady of the Pillar of Zaragoza (commonly known as Fort Pilar) is a 17th century military defense fortress built by the Spanish colonial government in Zamboanga City. The fort, which is now a regional museum of the National Museum, is a major landmark and a symbol of the city's cultural heritage.

After lunch, the Queen will visit the Don Pablo Lorenzo Memorial High School at Gov. Ramos Ave. in Sta. Maria. The school’s speech laboratory and about 3,060 armchairs were donated by a Spanish aid agency, the Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional (AECI) in coordination with the Fundacion Humanismo Y Democracia (H+D) and the Philippine Business for Social Progress.

The Queen will fly back to Manila in the afternoon.

Lobregat, who was invited by P-Noy to a state dinner for the Queen at Malacañang Tuesday night, said he and Cong. Climaco had the singular honor to be called to the presidential table and introduced by the President to the Queen. Also invited was Rep. Climaco.

He said the living link of Zamboanga to Spain is the city’s Spanish derivative language called Chabacano, which is 65% Spanish. “No other city in the Philippines and Asia where the majority of the population speaks, understands and converses Chabacano on a daily basis except in Zamboanga,” he said.

Queen Sofía is both a great-great-granddaughter (paternally) and a great-great-great-granddaughter (maternally) of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and is, through several lines, her husband's third cousin. She is a first cousin of Ernst August of Hanover, and through her great-grandfather George I of Greece, she is a second cousin to Charles, Prince of Wales.

Through Christian IX of Denmark and Queen Victoria, Queen Sofia is also related to Elizabeth II and thereby related to all the royal families of Europe. She is also a first cousin once removed of Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Queen Sofia is of Hohenzollern descent through her mother, Frederica of Hanover, and through her paternal grandmother, Sophia of Prussia, and of Romanov descent through her father's paternal grandmother, Olga Constantinovna of Russia.

Security forces assure safety for Queen Sofia in Zambo City

By Roel Pareño

ZAMBOANGA CITY - Police and military have virtually sealed off all the engagement points of Queen Sofia of Spain, who will visit the southern port city on Thursday.

The military and the police have been holding security briefings for the past days to prepare for the arrival of Queen Sofia in the city, where she will check the Spain-funded projects.

“We have implemented tighter security for the visit of the Queen of Spain in all her engagement point,” said Lt. Col. Randolf Cabangbang, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom).

Queen Sofia of Spain arrived Monday and paid a courtesy call on President Benigno Aquino III in Malacañang. She has visited various projects initiated by Spain through its Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarollo (AECID).

The queen flew to Legazpi Wednesday as part of her five-day visit in connection with the week-long celebration of Philippines-Spain Friendship Day.

The military and police disclosed there has been no threat so far uncovered against the Queen and her visit in Zamboanga, a former Spanish port city in southern Philippines now dubbed as the Asia’s Latin City.

Cabangbang said securities are to be deployed in the places that Queen will visit while intelligence units have been monitoring movements of the threat groups operating in southern Philippines.

Queen Sofia will check on Thursday the housing project sites of the Kalambuan, Katilingban and Kalinaw funded by the AECID and managed by Manos Unidas, a Spanish non-government organization, and local NGO Zabida under Fr. Angel Calvo.

Queen Sofia will also unveil the commemorative marker at the Fort Pilar Museum with City Mayor Celso Lobregat.

Thousands join Nat’l Disaster Consciousness Month kickoff

by Jocelyn P. Alvarez

ZAMBOANGA CITY — About 2,000 persons actively participated in the launching of the National Disaster Consciousness Month (NDCM) held Monday morning here.

The celebration started with a 7 a.m. mass at the Pasonanca Parish Church, followed by a two-hour motorcade from Brgy. Pasonanca to the covered court of the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative.

At least 60 various offices from both private and public sector participated in the motorcade, with some of them wearing their complete emergency response uniform and showing their emergency gadgets.

Meanwhile, during the program that followed the motorcade, Office of Civil Defense regional director Adriano Fuego gave focus on this year’s theme “Ligtas na Bayan, Maunlad na Pamayanan,” which underscores the important role of managing the risks involved in both natural and man-made disasters in securing economic development.

“Economic growth is not simply a question of production and distribution of goods, but rather it is a question of the maintenance of the safety of the population, the source of the workforce, from the dangers of calamities,” he said.

Fuego also emphasized on maximizing citizen involvement through education to promote awareness on hazards and safety.

He said it is better to invest in disaster preparedness and prevention rather than on response.

“Preparedness and prevention is usually cheaper than response expenses, which is way beyond existing budget intended for it,” he said.

The NDCM kicked off activity also emphasized on the three other activities being celebrated this July namely Nutrition Month, Blood Donor Month and Science and Technology Week.

“We are here gathered, showing that different activities can be launched in unity, collaboratively,” he said.

The program ended with the distribution of five awards to the following: Philippine Red Cross – Zamboanga City chapter for the Biggest Participation (in the motorcade) and Most Jovial Troop; Bureau of Fire Protection for the Best Emergency Response Uniform; Philippine Air Force for the Philippine Best Emergency Gadget Display Force; and the Labuan District Hospital for Most Orderly Group.

Valesco promotes Latuan caves

By Ram Arcillas

Councilor Rogelio “Gerky” Valesco, Jr, said Latuan barangay located in the east coast of Zamboanga City has several scenic caves. While one cave has an almost kilometer stretch of rocky labyrinth with an underground river, another cave deemed as anancient burial ground.

Valesco visited the Latuan cave and later had a dialogue with barangay officials ofsaid place to coordinate with the Department of Environment and NaturalResources (DENR) and the Office of the Environment and Natural Resources(OCENR) to help safeguard and preserve the faultless caves.

“The caves at Latuan are GOD-given natural treasures. It needs to be saved from destruction and vandalism. I have encouraged the barangay officials thereat tocoordinate with the government agencies for it (the caves) will actually be aneco-tourism attractions, thus an income potential for the people in said barangay”.Valesco said.

With Valesco in Latuan were City Councilor Miguel “Mike” Alavar, and youngenvironmentalist BG Guingona who met with the residents of Latuan headed by itsbarangay chairperson Rosita Macarandan. Macarandan claimed Latuan has about 50 caves and a waterfalls.

Councilor Alavar said Latuan has some of the best caves in Zamboanga City and perhaps hasthe biggest cave in Zamboanga City. “The place is magnificent. It is beautiful,idle for adventure and eco-trekking activities”.

Meanwhile, young management executive and environmentalist BG Guingona said he will extendefforts to bring in some adventurers to Latuan and experience spelunking insidethe cave which has great features like high walled cliffs and underground river.

Alsoduring the visit, Councilor Alavar donated some learning materials for theschoolchildren in Latuan. Chairperson Macaranda said she is thankful for thevisit of the concerned councilors because of promotion and second because ofassistance her barangay will get from the visit.

TheLatuan visit was also sponsored by Radyo Mo Nationwide and SkyCable whosemission is to offer Zamboanguenos a glimpse of new eco-tourism destinations ofZamboanga to help the tourism potentials of the city.

Marine park to rise in Zamboanga City


ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews) – After the dancing fountain, the city government is set to establish a marine park at the Paseo del Mar, this city’s newest number one attraction.

Mayor Celso Lobregat said the marine park will be built with the support of the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST), the only school in Western Mindanao that offers courses related to marine studies.

Lobregat said the marine park will feature variety of fish species that are currently being grown at the aquaculture laboratory of ZSCMST.

The project is expected to give residents and visitors the chance to see up close several species of fish, turtles and other forms of marine life, he said.

He said the marine park will be an added attraction at the Paseo del Mar, which has been teeming with people since its opening two years ago.

The city government opened last March 23 the musically gyrating dancing fountain at the Paseo del Mar, which is located just next to the oldest hotel in the city, Lantaka Hotel by the Sea, and the historic Forth Pilar Shrine.

Hordes of people flock to the Paseo del Mar at night time to dine and unwind with families and friends. The park hosts several food establishments.

Lobregat said the marine park project is underway and will be a collaborative effort of the city government, ZSCMST, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the City Agriculture Office.

Another project, a multi-purpose building, is undergoing construction at the Paseo del Mar, which is a former urban poor colony.

The multi-purpose building houses a fully-equipped theatre-type hall, conference room to include an area for fine dining for concessionaires and a huge assembly hall intended to host exhibits, trade fairs and gatherings.

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