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Cagayan de Oro City News January 2015

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Interactive Google Satellite Map of Cagayan de Oro City
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Cagayan de Oro City within Misamis Oriental
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How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm
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Cagayan de Oro City Public Market
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The river of cagayan de oro city
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St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral
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A Barangay Clearance is NEEDED in order to get a Business License.
So why is the barangay name not in most business addresses?
Ask your Barangay Captain/Chairman to create a Resolution to make it mandatory to put the barangay name in all Business addresses.
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Flood Waters in the streets of Cagayan de Oro City
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Cagayan de Oro City Buildings
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Bus Terminal, Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City

Contents

Redevelopment of Pelaez Sports Center will be thru PPP

(CDODev)

The proposed Pelaez Sports Center Redevelopment Project will be implemented thru the Public Private Partnership (PPP). This was revealed by Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny ‘Bambi’ Emano after a group of businessmen presented to him the perspective design for the said project.

If the plans will be realized, a world class sports and recreation facility will be experienced by residents of Misamis Oriental , Cagayan de Oro City and visitors. Governor Bambi Emano assured the people of Misamis Oriental that the partnership will be advantageous to the Provincial Government in the long run.

More Occupational Safety Health practitioners accredited

By Mildred E. Dablio (Labor Communications Officer, DOLE-X)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, January 30 -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) awarded on January 12 and 26 certificates for the accreditation of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) practitioners during its Monday Convocation programs.

This is in consonance with its continuous drive to strengthen the administration and enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS).

The accreditation of safety and health professionals and organizations is a venue to enhance the culture of safety and voluntary compliance to Labor Standards, particularly on occupational safety and health. This is pursuant to Department Order No. 16, Series of 2001.

DOLE aims to strengthen accreditation through increasing the number of competent individuals qualified to carry out the provisions of the OSHS, thereby reducing hazards and accidents in every workplace.

DOLE-X OIC assistant regional director, Rodrigo A. Deloso awarded OSH practitioners, Engr. June G. Blancaflor, electrical foreman, and Engr. Wenefredo L. Madera, Jr., control room operator, both of STEAG State Power Inc. in Balacanas, Villanueva, Misamis Oriental last January 12.

Also awarded was Engr. Alvin M. Villanueva, OIC safety and health section of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Bureau of Mines and Geosciences (MGB) in Macabalan, Cagayan de City as renewal of his certificate.

On January 26, regional director Raymundo G. Agravante awarded Agnes L. Sato, Sr. safety engineer of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), Mindanao Systems Operations in Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City.

Director Agravante believes that this award will be the practitioners’ edge in their respective offices, especially in the lobbying of safety and health policies will be faster, thus uncompromising safety.

Facilitating the awarding were technical services and support division head, Atheneus A. Vasallo, Engr. Nicanor F. Aguilar, Jr., Engr. Romeo B. Akut, and Evelyn J. Gallego of the DOLE-X.

Interested applicants may visit http://www.oshc.dole.gov.ph/ for details and the requirements or you may visit the DOLE-X Regional Office, through the Technical Support and Services Division, 3F Monte Carlo Building, RER Phase I, Kauswagan National Highway, Cagayan de Oro City or through telephone number (88) 8571931 and look for Evelyn J. Gallego.

GSIS grants emergency loan to members in Misamis Oriental

(APB/PIA-10)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, January 29 (PIA) --- The State-run Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is now granting emergency loan to active members residing or working in the province of Misamis Oriental after having been declared under a state of calamity due to Typhoon Seniang.

Members may avail of the loan if they are not on leave of absence without pay, have no pending criminal or administrative charges, have no arrearages in the payment of mandatory social insurance contributions, and have no loans that are declared in default.

First time borrowers are entitled to P20,000 in loanable amount while members with existing emergency loans may borrow up to P40,000 with the outstanding balance to be deducted from the net proceeds of the loan renewal.

The loan is payable in three years or 36 equal monthly installments at an interest rate of six percent per annum.

Qualified members may apply for the loan beginning January 27, 2015 until February 26, 2015.

They may apply using their eCard or Unified Multipurpose Identification (UMID) card through the GWAPS kiosks. Eligible members with temporary eCards may apply over the counter at the GSIS Members Assistance Unit of GSIS Cagayan de Oro City Branch.

The loan proceeds will be electronically credited to the borrower’s eCard or UMID card. (APB)

For details, visit GSIS Cagayan de Oro City Branch at Calamansi Drive, Carmen, this city, or call them at telephone number 724-091.

DTI sets business orientation, coaching to local MSMEs

(JMOR/PIA10)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, January 28 (PIA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry - Misamis Oriental (DTI-MOR) is reminding the public that the newly opened Negosyo Center here has scheduled business orientation and coaching sessions to would-be and existing local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

This is through Republic Act 10644 otherwise known as the “Go Negosyo Act” last July 15, 2014, where one of its salient features is the Establishment of Negosyo Centers in all provinces, cities and municipalities – which shall be responsible for promoting ease of doing business and facilitating access to services for micro, small and medium enterprises or MSMEs within its jurisdiction.

The Negosyo Center here provides services particularly Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Technology, Financial Management and Productivity and Efficiency. It also include Business registration services, Business consultancy/ coaching, Product Development, Packaging and Labeling, Market Development and Promotions and Business Information.

For February, trainings would include Year-end Tax Reminders and Handling BIR Tax Matters, Market Planning, Entrepreneurship Development Seminar, Food Packaging and Labeling and Product Trends & Forecasts 2015-2016, among others.

The Negosyo Center here is located at the Ground floor, Antolin Building, Tiano Street corner Akut Street, Cagayan de Oro City.

For more information, you may call Jesse or Roxy at (08822) 712473 or email them at negosyocenter10@dti.gov.ph.

Food chain to employ 50 students under SPES Program

(Aloha B. Jaudian,Western Misamis Oriental PFO/PIA10)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, January 27 -- The food giant company in the world famous for its all-beef patties and the iconic golden arch logo partners again with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES).

Fifty (50) students will be given employment to five McDonald stores in the city located at LimKetKai Center, Puregold, McDonald Divisoria, and Centrio Mall. First batch of students will commence work on March 1 to June 30, 2015 and second batch will be deployed on July 1 to October 31, 2015.

For 52 days, P15,912 will be disbursed to each beneficiaries at 40% and 60% sharing between DOLE and McDonalds. McDonalds will pay the amount in cash at P9,547.20. The remaining amount of P6,364.80 will be shouldered by DOLE through educational voucher for the tuition and book fees.

Along with the minimum pay of P306, free meals during working hours, uniform, and paid 20 minute break, and GSIS coverage will be provided by McDonalds, according to Britto Luis C. Alforque, operations consultant of McDonalds.

Applicants will be sourced by Public Employment Service Office (PESO), Cagayan de Oro, starting January 12 to 30, 2015. Examination and interview will follow on February 7, 2015 by McDonalds managers. The launching of SPES will be formalized on February 22, 2015 with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) at the local government unit (LGU)-Cagayan de Oro. The signing will be joined by mayor Oscar S. Moreno, DOLE Region 10 director Raymundo G. Agravante, and McDonalds representatives.

The SPES program aims to help poor and deserving students pursue and ultimately finish school by encouraging employment to cover the school fees.

In 2012, DOLE and Golden Arches Development Corporation, McDonald’s franchise holder inked a memorandum to partner in the implementation of SPES. This later rolled out to all branches nationwide including Cagayan de Oro with 80 beneficiaries.

Now on its 75th years, McDonalds food chain will not only see smiles in every Filipino faces as its slogan goes “We love to see you smile”. Also as well, being loved by Filipino students not only for its good food but also for venturing SPES Program as a corporate responsibility. McDonald’s SPES beneficiaries will have more reason to say “Love ko ‘to.”

DTI 10 attends seminars for ISO 9001:2015, ASEAN economic integration

(DTI/RCA/PIA10-Misamis Occidental)

OROQUIETA CITY, Misamis Occidental, Jan. 26 (PIA) – Almost 100 employees of the Department of Trade and Industry, region 10 (DTI-10), eight of whom, were from Misamis Occidental, have attended seminars on International Standards Organization (ISO) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), last Jan. 7-8.

Held in two batches, the seminars were held at Dynasty Court Hotel in Cagayan de Oro City, in preparation for the coming out of ISO 9001:2015 by end of the year that will eventually replace ISO 9001: 2008 by 2017.

It was also held in preparation for the ASEAN economic integration, by the end of this year, when goods and services can be traded without tariff within its 10-member nations: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam,Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

The ISO lecture was handled by Kevin Castillon of the AJA Registrars Inc. while the ASEAN lecture was done by DTI 10 regional director Linda O. Boniao.

Meanwhile, eight employees from DTI MisOcc attended the seminars to join the other DTI employees from the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Camiguin and Lanao del Norte.

The first batch comprised of Jane Marie Tabucan, Nila M. Maape, Mario L. Cuezon and Rovel Dela Cruz, while the second batch included Delia M. Ayano, provincial director of DTI MisOcc, Maritess Alcampado, Methusael Lumantas and Angie M. Tapon.

Customs targets P9.8B for 2015

By Jigger J. Jerusalem

AFTER hitting its annual target in 2014, the Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Northern Mindanao has upped its collection for this year.

Last year, the BOC attained more than its P8 billion target by earning an excess of P188 million, or a .26 increase from its projected revenue, said lawyer Roswald Joseph Pague, BOC-Northern Mindanao administrative officer.

Pague said the BOC’s implementation of the strict policy on demanding importations to be properly and particularly described and declared, leading to the proper valuation of the imported goods at the same time, thus, maximizing the imposition of taxes and duties, has largely contributed to the increase in its collection.

One of the biggest collectors

Pague cited that the anti-smuggling efforts encouraged importers to religiously declare the products they were shipping in to the ports in Northern Mindanao, especially at Cagayan de Oro port and the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) sub-port in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, adding it paved the way to making BOC-Northern Mindanao as one of the highest collectors among the Customs offices in the country.

“They (importers) have seen that we have better facilities, and with this, the speedy release of their cargoes” which, he said, has helped the BOC-Northern Mindanao to collect appropriate import taxes and duties from consignees and traders.

For this year, Pague said the BOC regional office is targeting to collect P9.8 billion or more.

‘Aspirational’ target

“That target (P9.8 billion) is ‘aspirational,’ meaning we will do our best to reach it depending on the market trends,” he told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro, adding that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) integration this year will play a vital role in its collection efforts and how the BOC could top its financial performance in 2014.

“The Asean integration is also a factor to consider, that is why we will do our best to achieve the target that was specified to us (by Customs Commissioner John Phillip Sevilla),” he said.

The entry of new players in the power industry in Mindanao will be another contributing element to the increase in BOC’s collection.

Aside from the FDC Misamis Power Coporation, which is on its first phase of constructing its P30-billion, 405-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, another power generator will add to the bulk of imports that will pass through Cagayan de Oro and MCT ports in the coming weeks.

P50-B coal-fired power plant

Pague was referring to the P50-billion coal-fired power plant that is expected to produce 540 megawatts that will be added to the Mindanao grid located in Barangay Libertad in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.

In a previous article published in Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro, Kauswagan Mayor Rommel Arnado said the plant would use “state-of-the-art clean air technology under GN Power, an Oregon-based company from the United States.”

Its counterpart in the Philippines is PMR Incorporated in partnership with Ayala Corporation.

Once up and running, the Kauswagan plant would be the biggest and cheapest power facility in Mindanao that will cater to the 33 utilities under the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives.

Pague said that with this development, BOC-Northern Mindanao is hopeful it could likely reach its target for 2015.

No action yet from NHA on looming villages demolition

By Jigger J. Jerusalem

THE plight of the residents who will be booted out from their houses as the impending demolition nears is in the hands of the City Council, as the National Housing Authority (NHA)-Northern Mindanao waits for the legislative body’s resolution that would ask the court to defer the issuance of the writ of demolition that would leave more than 50 families homeless next week.

Ramon Medrozo, NHA-Northern Mindanao community relations officer, said once the councilors would issue the resolution, they could take action on the concerns of barangays Puntod and Macabalan residents who are members of Cagayan Integrated Landless Residents Association Incorporated (Cilrai).

The group wants NHA to consider its demand of putting off temporarily the implementation of the demolition order and provide an onsite relocation area for those who will be affected.

It has been learned that the writ of demolition will be enforced on January 28, and not today, January 24, as earlier reported.

Medrozo said they could not make any action yet if there is no resolution yet from the city council.

He said he could not give out the details of the resolution, but there were cases the demolition was delayed due to the request from the local government unit to the issuing court.

Cilrai president Basilio Lobino said they have been aware that the City Government has no more relocation site for displaced residents, and that is why their only hope is for the councilors to pass the resolution.

Lobino said the area that would be affected by the looming demolition is only about a hectare of the 12.5-hectare that Cilrai members are occupying but they could not allow some of them to lose their homes.

“Dili namo pasagdan nga makuhaan ang parte sa among yuta nga gipuy-an, kay sama ra ‘na nga makuhaan usab ang parte sa among lawas (We can’t let that a part of the land we are occupying be taken, as it’s just like a part of our body has been removed),” he told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro during the protest rally held at the NHA compound in Barangay Puntod Friday.

A dialogue between the residents and NHA ensued when Msgr. Elmer Abacahin volunteered as facilitator between the two parties.

Lobino said that for so long, they have been requesting the housing authority to have the land titled but decades have passed and still it was not granted to them.

Kept in the dark

He alleged they were kept in the dark by the agency, which failed to inform them that portions of the lot had already been sold to two companies when they were expecting all along that it was awarded to them.

Kalipunan ng Damayan Mahihirap-Northern Mindanao Region (Kadamay-NMR), an urban poor group that supported the struggle of Cilrai, said in a statement that Republic Act 7279 has provided that the less privileged (the homeless and the landless) must be included in the development and not only focused on “market forces.”

Mayor opts legal action on 2015 budget cut

By Jigger J. Jerusalem

BEFORE the people’s initiative 30-day timeframe could lapse, Mayor Oscar Moreno will also be taking legal action against the majority members of the City Council for reducing the executive budget he proposed, a City Hall official said.

Some of the items in the proposed executive budget were deleted, like the renewal of the PhilHealth indigency program in the amount of P240 million.

City Information Officer Maricel Casiño-Rivera said that while the group that spearheads the people’s initiative, Barug Kontra Abuso Movement, waits for the timeframe to get the required signatures to comply with the petition requirements, Moreno will resort to a legal remedy for the budget cut.

“At the moment, a legal action is being studied by the mayor’s legal team and we will announce it in due time,” Rivera said.

She said the legal remedy that Moreno will take would be separate from the people’s initiative.

On the people’s initiative, Rivera said it is the right of the residents of Cagayan de Oro to do something about an important issue that concerns them, such as the approval of the executive budget.

“Katungod kana sa katawhan (people’s initiative), if tan-aw nila nga napihig sila, tungod sa kalihukan sa mayorya nga ilang gikibhangan ang budget ug ang uban items gi-zerohan. Anaa ra ‘na kanila (It’s the right of the people to resort to people’s initiative, if they see that they are being deprived of what’s due them by the council’s majority members who slashed the budget and removed some of the items. It’s up to them),” she told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro recently.

Barug Kontra Abuso, composed of barangay leaders and residents, conducted mass actions twice on January 12 and 19, in front of the City Council session hall to protest the slashing of the executive budget from P3.8 billion to P2.08 billion, and removing some items in the process.

On Monday, January 20, the group submitted to the City Council secretariat the copy of the petition demanding the city’s lawmakers to discard the reduction and deletions they did in the executive budget and approve the mayor’s proposed version.

The group also attached more than 3,000 signatures of registered voters, although only 1,000 signatures were needed as attachment for the petition to be legitimate.

In a previous interview with Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro, Macasandig village councilor Aaron Neri Sr., the movement’s chairman, is optimistic that the people’s initiative, once it will take effect, will reverse the decision of the council’s majority bloc.

It can be recalled that Moreno vetoed some provisions in the executive budget calling them “illegal, ultra vires, prejudicial to public welfare, grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, encroachment of executive power.”

The majority members responded by overriding the mayor’s veto, prompting barangay folks to hold protest actions and the people’s initiative.

DepEd leads groundbreaking to start construction of school buildings in CDO

(PNA), FFC/CD/AR/EDS

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Jan. 22 (PNA) -- Undersecretary Francisco M. Varela of the Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday led the groundbreaking rites for the construction of eight public school buildings worth Php77 million in Cagayan De Oro City.

Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan De Oro City said that the school buildings will house a total of 66 classrooms in the eight urban and suburban villages of Cagayan De Oro City.

He said that the public elementary school buildings would be constructed each in the villages of Bugo, Puerto, Balubal, Agusan, Gusa, Nazareth, Macasandig, and Macabalan, all in the city’ second district.

Rodriguez said that his congressional district has taken the initiative to find the necessary funding for the construction of the various school buildings here.

The construction of the school buildings would be funded under the government’s Public Private Partnership (PPP), where a private contractor would construct the buildings and payments are made within five years upon completion of the project, he said.

Last week, the congressional district also had a groundbreaking for the construction of school buildings and classrooms in the city’s hinterland villages where the funds came from the national government’s general appropriation act, the solon said.

Rodriguez said that the fundings for the various school projects here are sourced out from the national government, the public private partnership and some organizations like the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc.

Undersecretary Varela was also accompanied by local education officials, private contractors and barangay officials during the Thursday groundbreaking ceremony, Rodriguez said.

City exec urges parents to get inspiration from Pope Francis' messages

(PNA), LAP/CD/EDS

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Jan. 21 (PNA) -- A lady official in this port capital of 900,000 people urged parents to get inspiration from the messages of Pope Francis to always translate love into action.

City Councilor Edna Dahino, chair of the City Council Committee on Women and Affairs, said on Wednesday that the Filipino families should act as role models for their children as what Pope Francis wants.

She said that “our children sometimes will not listen to our advice. As parents, however, our children will always emulate our actions or ways of life.”

Dahino said that the parents should always be consistent as role models for the children. “The fruit will never fall far from the trunk,” she said.

The lady councilor also joined her thoughts of national thanksgiving for the visit of Pope Francis and salute the men and women who contributed to the success of the event in spite of the rains.

Dahino also thanked the media who covered the event as she praises their efforts to bring the event to homes through “live coverage.”

“May all the challenges left by His Holiness to the Filipinos be realized. May his call for mercy and compassion be responded to,” Dahino said.

Pope Francis, head of the 1.2 billion Roman Catholics around the world, came to the Philippines last January 15 on a state and pastoral visit and flew to Tacloban City where he comforted the survivors of typhoon "Yolanda" which struck on Nov. 8, 2013.

Media, police, church affirm resolve to keep C. De Oro safe

(PNA), CTB /CD/SSC

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Jan. 20 (PNA) -– Members of the local media, the police, and the Church here on Tuesday signed a covenant to reaffirm the resolve of keeping the city safe and secure.

Pol. Supt. Faro Antonio Olaguera, head of the Cagayan De Oro City police, Church leaders led by Msgrs. Tex Legitimas, Elmer Abacahin, Rey Monsanto and representatives of the local media organizations, forged the agreement at the Archdiocese Palace here.

The signatories to the covenant agreed to fight together the proliferation of “illegal drugs and other illicit activities involving the powerful syndicate that continues to hound the citizens of Cagayan De Oro City.”

The media organizations also cited the difficulty and overly hazardous in the fulfillment of the media’s avowed role of providing factual information and informed opinions on issues of public concern due to “continued attacks and threats.”

It cited the recent threat received by a radio broadcaster who has been harping on the issue involving summary executions and killings allegedly perpetrated by the law enforcers.

The covenant also mentioned cases of failed targeted assassination attempts on broadcast commentators like Jo Pantoja on October 2007, Nilo Labares on March 2009 and James Licuanan on November 2012 and the recent threats of Junel Ucat of Bombo Radyo here.

The local media asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) to draft safety and security protocols so that journalists are able to carry out their jobs in a safer environment.

“Let us put an end to the wanton threats and attacks that perpetuate a culture of impunity for those who aim to stifle a free and unafraid press,” the covenant stated.

Olaguera said that the local police command is doing everything to resolve cases on threats involving media practitioners and is always willing to extend necessary assistance.

“We advise the media concern to properly report the threat to the nearest police station so that the process of investigation would also commence,” Olaguera said.

DOT invites Kagay-anons to Tapok 2015 in Vancouver, Canada

(JMOR/PIA10)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, January 19 (PIA) – The Department of Tourism (DOT) region 10 together with the Cagayan de Oro Association of British Council in Vancouver, Canada invites Kagay-anons to Tapok 2015, a gathering of Kagay-anons living in the Unites States of America and the rest of the world to foster camaraderie, build strong ties and bring in business and investment opportunities.

During a press conference on January 16, 2015, DOT regional director Catalino E. Chan III said that this year Tapok will be held and hosted in Vancouver, Canada on July 31 to August 2, 2015.

There are three purposes for this trip, according to Chan. One is to unite Kagay-anons in the US and Canada; second is to give them good business, (businessmen will be given time to sell their products and services, such as real estate among others); and third is to increase foreign arrivals.

He said that Tapok was created 20 years ago and the reason for starting it in America, specifically North America is because it is the second highest tourist country for most tourist arrival in the Philippines after South Korea.

He said that we campaign for more, and we educate ourselves by visiting other destination.

Meanwhile, Benny Rago, board of director of Cagayan de Oro Associations of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada said that they want to tie up with DOT and invite Kagay-anons not only participants but the business side to come to Tapok 2015.

There is a lot in store for the event including gala night, exhibits, and sightseeing, among others.

He said that since 1997, Vancouver has been one of the most liveable cities in the world. It is beautiful during summer with a lot of parks and fronting Pacific Ocean. Cagayan de Oro and Vancouver have almost the same population. Meanwhile sports like Kayaking and mountain climbing are famous there.

Ann Gora of the CDO Association of British Council on the other hand said that based on past Tapoks, they are expecting 300 people to come. She said for those interested, there is a registration fee of 135 Canadian dollars. She also said that application for visa is individual effort. Meanwhile there is no need to worry because this event is already made known to the Canadian Embassy.

She said on top of everything, Kagay-anons abroad want four things: one is retirement opportunities in Cagayan de Oro; second, they want to know more of opportunities in terms of investments, and safety here; third is adventure where they can promote eco-tourism and; fourth is helping the community (community involvement especially for the youth).

For more information on Tapok 2015 and how you can participate, you may inquire at DOT region 10 office at Pelaez Sports Center, Cagayan de Oro City or call them at 726-394 or 723-696 or visit www.tapok2015.org.

Youth urged: Go beyond ‘selfie’

By Jigger J. Jerusalem

THE generation of today must go beyond the “selfie” culture and contribute what they can to society even at a young age.

This was the challenge of Tulong Kabataan, a coalition of student and youth groups from all over Northern Mindanao that conducted a feeding activity and play therapy to around 1,000 children in two barangays in Cagayan de Oro City over the weekend.

Glyn Baunillo, coordinator of Tulong Kabataan, said a group around 100 students from the region went to barangays Cugman and Carmen to conduct the outreach program.

Coinciding with the visit of Pope Francis to the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban on Saturday, Baunillo said the group went to communities hit by Sendong and other calamities that followed to do their share in “being with the poor.”

The students were from Xavier University, Mindanao University of Science and Technology, Saint Peter’s College, Mindanao State University (MSU), MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology, and Bukidnon State University.

Called the “Oplan 10,000,” Baunillo said Tulong Kabataan wants to feed 10,000 children in Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Marawi City and Bukidnon in one month.

She said last Saturday’s feeding and play therapy was just the first wave, as the group will conduct the same activities in the coming weeks.

In Cugman and Carmen, she reported some 1,000 kids were fed with arroz caldo (porridge) and had participated in the play therapy, an activity composed of games aimed at helping the young survivors of the recent calamities cope with trauma.

With today’s technologies and trends distracting the young people and keeping them out of the loop in the present social situations, Baunillo hopes these pro-poor undertakings would awaken the awareness of the youth.

Get involved

“Today’s students are confined in the four corners of the classroom with all the selfies, puro self na lang ilang gihuna-huna, despite the calamities that happened. What should students do to do their share and help those who are in need? There is now a need for them to get involved,” she told reporters.

Selfie refers to the taking of photograph of oneself, usually using a smartphone and shared via social media.

But, she added, it could also mean being individualistic and uncaring in the face of so much suffering and poverty.

Her call to other youth is for them to join cause-oriented organizations that would help them become an example to others.

“Go beyond selfie and face the social realities. Naay gigutom, naay mga biktima sa kalamidad. It’s time for us to rise and become agents of change,” Baunillo said, adding that an activity like feeding may be a small act but it has a big impact to those who make it happen.

For Noreen Joy Pepito, 17, an AB-International Studes at Xavier University, the feeding of the children was eye-opening.

“The feeding has made me realize that there are so many issues that are happening around us that I would not have known had I stayed in my comfort zone,” Pepito said.

“Daghan diay poor and oppressed pero dili gakakita kay blind kaayo ta,” she said, adding that her eyes and heart have been opened to the marginalized members of society.

“My challenge to my co-students is go and live with poor so you will know what poverty and suffering really mean,” she added.

After the feeding and therapy, Tulong Kabataan, during the program, held a “kalampag,” where some of the volunteers banged on cooking pots as a way of letting others know of the problem of hunger and poverty.

Mayor: P3.8B budget ambitious for 'momentum year'

By Jigger J. Jerusalem

THE local government has decided on a P3.8 billion budget, because it has been ambitious enough that 2015 is its “momentum year,” Mayor Oscar Moreno said.

When he sat as the city’s new local chief executive in 2013, Moreno said that it was a period of adjustment and transformation since it would take some time before the changes he introduced could be adopted by the people.

“I thought 2013 was the most difficult kay naandan pa ang old culture. The challenge of that year was to let the people understand the culture of reform,” he said, “by 2014, you start doing things, hopefully adjusted na ang kultura.”

That’s why, he added, he proposed P3.8 billion, an ambitious goal, due to that momentum.

But he said the city’s legislative body doesn’t share his vision when the majority bloc trimmed down the P3.8 billion executive budget for this year and even deleted a few of its items, some of which were allocated for services such as the PhilHealth indigency program.

It can be recalled that Moreno provided P240 million for the PhilHealth renewal for some 200,000 residents of the city but was zeroed by the majority members of the council.

“Di nila gusto maningkamot kita kay we will be able to elevate the condition, the welfare of the people to a higher level. Di nila gusto ‘na,” he said, referring to the majority councilors. “Gusto nila permanente pobre, permanente unserved or underserved ang katawhan.”

He said the agenda of PaDayon Pilipino-dominated council is suppressing the present administration “para di makaserbisyo ang city government. Kay nagtuo sila kung di maalaagaran ang katawhan, the people will miss them. But they’re wrong. Nakasabot na ang mga tawo.”

He added the P3.8 billion is achievable, as he noted that other cities of similar size and population in Metro Manila would consider the P5 billion budget as “payat” (insufficient).

Cagayan de Oro ranked second in the "most competitive" cities in the country in 2014.

Moreno said if the city government would only strive to reach its goal, then the executive budget he proposed could be attained.

In a press conference on January 13, city treasurer Glenn Bañez told reporters the city can afford the P3.8 billion budget.

“The budget is your blueprint. If you want to build a house, [for instance like a shanty], mao ra sad na imong buhaton nga blueprint. The choice is yours how much revenues you can generate. It’s up to you if you want to be ambitious or you want to be conservative, or magtinapulan ka,” he furthered.

Reduction of seniors’ budget

Meanwhile, City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) chief Teddy Sabuga-a lambasted the majority bloc for reducing the budget allotted for the Office of the Senior Citizen’s Affair from P15 million to P5.850 million, P5.500 million of which is for burial assistance.

“The amount approved by the [majority] is only good for the burial assistance to the bereaved families of indigent senior citizens. And that act is obviously not valuing self-worth,” Sabuga-a on his Facebook post said.

He said the senior citizens are not retiring “but they shall retire themselves to continue their passionate undertaking. This is what they need to maintain their self-worth, the attitude of selfless service.”

Northern Mindanao describes Pope Francis as ‘People’s Pope’

By Aida Raut [(PNA), CTB/CD/AR/EDS]

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Jan. 16 (PNA) -– The “People’s Welcome Committee” in Northern Mindanao rejoices the visit of Pope Francis and described the leader of the 1.2 billion Roman Catholics around the world as “People’s Pope.”

The “People’s Welcome Committee” opens here Thursday during the arrival of the Pope Francis and would have a “peoples’ vigil” and daily programs until January 19 at the Freedom Kiosks at Plaza Divisoria, Rev. Father June Mark Yañez, one of the conveners, said on Friday.

He said that the people in the region appreciate the Pope’s sympathy of and solidarity with the Filipino people which truly radiates hope and inspiration to all, especially the poor, Yañez said.

He said that Pope Francis has been a steady symbol of unity, reconciliation and dialogue with and respect for other faiths and religions around the world.

It is no wonder that the people continue to embrace Pope Francis as the “People’s Pope” and “Pope for the Poor”, given his pro-people and peace advocacy, Yañez said.

He said that Pope Francis even declared the year 2015 as “Year of the Poor”, paving the way for the church to engage in open dialogue with and advocating for the peasantry, workers and all marginalized sectors.

Yañez said that the Filipino people should therefore embrace the rare presence of the Pope and make it as opportunity of seeking his intercession so that the hopes and cries of our people will be heard, and more importantly addressed by the leaders of our nation.

Let us appeal to the Pope’s deep sense of solidarity with the basic and marginalized sectors, particularly in the long-time standing problem among our landless farmers, work exploitation among workers, demolitions among urban poor, unchecked cases of grave human rights violation among activists, and lack of basic social services for the majority.

Yañez said that the young people can use this time to echo their experience of deprivation of their rights to education, livelihood, and decent job.

Lastly, let us also seek the Pope’s support in the people’s call for the government of the Philippines resumes peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and to forge “genuine” peace agreements with other groups such as the MILF, Yañez said.

Oro and Harbin sisterhood ties reconnected

(CIO)

A DELEGATION headed by Mayor Oscar Moreno left recently to Harbin City in the People’s Republic of China to strengthen the sisterhood ties between Cagayan de Oro and Harbin City.

Several members of local Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and some members of the business community joined with Mayor Moreno on the said foreign trip.

The travel of Mayor Moreno and party came after Harbin City Mayor Song Xibin sent formal invitation to the city government in order to deepen the sister-city relationship between the two cities.

Mayor Xibin likewise wanted Mayor Moreno and the rest of the city delegation to witness the 31st China Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, which can’t be seen in Cagayan de Oro.

On the other hand, Mayor Moreno is thankful and hopeful that the relationship ties between Cagayan de Oro and Harbin will grow stronger and deeper, especially on areas along business and trade, tourism, education and technological sharing on environmental protection and preservation.

As sister city, Harbin government shouldered the delegation’s expenses for food, accommodation and local transportation during their stay in China.

The sisterhood relationship between Cagayan de Oro and Harbin City, China was formally forged in 2005.

Historical marker acknowledging CDO revolutionary role unveiled

(PNA), LGI/CD/ERCEL MAANDIG/JSD

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Jan. 14 (PNA) -- The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) unveiled a historical marker here on Tuesday to acknowledge the city government’s revolutionary role in the 1800s.

Ludovico D. Badoy, Executive Director of the NHCP, who led the unveiling of the marker, said that marker depicts the “raising of the revolutionary flag” on January 10, 1899 at the “Casa Real of Cagayan De Misamis.”

The Cagayan De Misamis was later renamed as Cagayan De Oro City.

The marker is located in front of the City Hall building along General Capistrano and Jose Gaerlan Streets.

Among those who witnessed the unveiling ceremonies were the new generation of known native Cagayanon families who were introduced by Catalino Chan, regional director of the Department of Tourism.

Php 101-M school bldg project breaks ground in Cagayan de Oro

(PNA), RMA/CD/CD/EDS

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Jan. 13 (PNA) -– The groundbreaking of school projects worth Php 101 million would start in various barangays here on Wednesday, a lawmaker said.

Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, of Cagayan De Oro City, said on Tuesday that the project involved the construction of seven public elementary and high school buildings here.

He said that the construction of the seven school buildings would have a total of 72 classrooms.

Rodriguez said that the project, funded by the Department of Education, would be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

The public school division has submitted the proposed school building project in the congressional district, which also endorsed the approval and funding to the appropriate government agencies, Rodriguez said.

Misamis Oriental sends relief to 10,000 stranded IPs

(PNA), CTB/CD/AR/EDS

MISAMIS ORIENTAL, Jan. 12 (PNA) -– Provincial Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano on Monday said that the province has sent foods and medicines to about 10,000 members of indigenous people in the four hinterlands of the province’s east district after losing contacts last Saturday.

He said that he received reports on Saturday that the residents of tribal communities in the hinterland villages of Eureka, Kamanikan, Malibod, and Kalipay have been isolated after strong currents and flash flood destroyed the spillway bridge in Malibod.

Emano said that the provincial disaster risk, reduction and management council (PDRRMC), the social welfare department and the provincial health office have distributed foods and medicines to more than 10,000 families displaced due to storm “Seniang” last December.

According to Emano, the province evacuated more than 44,000 individuals to 139 evacuation centers in the 15 municipal towns due to flash floods and landslides at the height of storm “Seniang.”

Provincial Administrator Edmundo Pacamalan, Jr., said that the problem was exacerbated as intermittent rains occurred last week due to low pressure area (LPA).

The LPA last week destroyed detour bridges which marooned some 10,000 commuters in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental, Pacamalan said.

He said that the Mambayaan Bridge in Balingasag tilted when its middle pier sunk due to rampaging flood waters at the height of “Seniang” last week of December 2014.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) constructed a spillway about 60 meters from the Mambayaan Bridge, the major bridge that connects Cagayan De Oro City and Misamis Oriental’s western district to Butuan City and Agusan Del Norte, as temporary passage, Pacamalan said.

He said that Governor Emano has ordered the provincial capitol’s satellite office in Gingoog City to distribute foods and medicines to residents of the province’s eastern towns, particularly in Lagonglong, Talisayan, Kinoguitan, Gingoog, and Magsaysay since last week.

Ex-councilor: Budget cut to backfire

By Butch D. Enerio

WHEN the majority bloc of the City Council decided to reduce Mayor Oscar Moreno’s executive budget for this year from P3.8 billion to P2.08 billion and zeroed some of its provisions, especially basic services, they actually repeated an act that backfired and achieved the opposite of what was originally planned, a former councilor said.

“This whole budget episode unfolding before our eyes at City Hall brings back to mind a familiar setting in the Provincial Capitol after then Governor [Vicente or Dongkoy] Emano’s last term election,” lawyer and former councilor Edgar Cabanlas said in an analysis posted on his Facebook page over the weekend.

Cabanlas used to be Emano’s partymate when the latter was still the governor of Misamis Oriental in the ‘90s.

At the time, the provincial legislative branch was dominated by the opposition headed by the late Vice Governor Danilo Lagbas.

“While Emano won (as governor), the rest of his slate lost except me for the second district and the late Vic Seriña for the first district. Lagbas and the remaining eight board members ruled the Provincial Board with a clear overriding veto power,” he said.

For political reasons, Cabanlas added, Emano and the provincial legislators “could not see eye to eye,” thus, when Emano submitted his executive budget, the board “mangled it beyond recognition.”

One of the changes made by the Provincial Board was Emano’s intelligence fund which, he noted, was reduced to “a mere pittance” -- from P6 million to a measly P300,000.

“The 20 percent development fund was placed under the strict surveillance that Emano could not touch without the [board] flicking his fingers away,” he said.

Except for personal services and statutory obligations, not a single item was left undisturbed -- it’s either reduced or deleted. “Capital outlay remained an empty budgetary parlance. Basic services were totally ignored for reasons of political expediency,” he added.

Played role well

“But then Emano played his role well,” Cabanlas observed. “He emerged a victim and an underdog. Before the bar of public opinion, he appeared as the battered governor. Dongkoy knew that people love the underdog.”

The sympathy Emano generated from appearing as the oppressed and disadvantaged in the eyes of the general public was translated into votes when he emerged victorious in the mayoralty in 1998, he added.

With the majority members of the present City Council’s slashing the budget and deleting some provisions that are vital to the projects and programs of Moreno, Cabanlas said the same scenario is happening all over again.

“Back to the present, we are seeing the same brutal behavior the majority bloc of the City Council is exhibiting against Moreno's executive budget. The same persecution that Emano experienced in 1995… No amount of denial could erase the perception that he is behind all these unrestrained folly of the majority councilors,” he said, referring to the former mayor.

Among the items in the executive budget the majority bloc had zeroed were PhilHealth Indigency Program with a proposed budget of P240 million; establishment of a sanitary landfill, P30.920 million; social services under the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD), P35.670 million; assistance to indigents, P8.357 million; “Tabang Medico,” P5 million; and maternal care package, P6.120 million.

Political backlash

Cabanlas said this ploy of almost depriving the Moreno administration of funds needed for its operations will produce a political backlash that would ensure the incumbent mayor a second term in office.

“Emano, being a seasoned politician, should know from experience that this kind of political beatings against Moreno wouldn’t work. It’s a boomerang in the making,” he said, adding that Emano is “handing the mayorship again to Moreno [on] a silver platter, for sure.”


US firm to produce medical encoders in Oro

By Butch D. Enerio

THE second largest healthcare association in the United States visited Cagayan de Oro City on Thursday to encourage nurses and graduates of other science related courses who are jobless or under employed to be trained for a high paying job.

American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), a company advancing the business of healthcare, said they want to source certified medical encoders (ME) in other areas as the US and other developed countries are experiencing severe shortage of highly trained encoders, essential to keep hospitals and health institutions to operate efficiently.

Cagayan de Oro has been chosen by AAPC, the first outside Manila, to locate and train interested parties to become MEs especially those who are with medical training and experiences.

Dan Schwebach, AAPC vice president during his meeting and visit with city officials here said they chose to establish training areas in the city in collaboration with the schools and universities.

“We prefer CdeO after Manila and establish a chapter here since the city exhibits a strong belief in education and the wealth of professionals, especially nurses, is huge, which would make a good match for medical coding industry,” Schwebach said, adding that CdeO ranks second among the competitive cities in the country and for having the needed technology and infrastructure.

Optimum Outsource Partners Inc. (OOPI) said that it would handle AAPC’s trainings initially in partnership with Capitol University where they already have the facilities.

Dean E. Toro, OOPI chairman, said that CdeO based on studies conducted has around 28,000 nurses who are currently not employed or are working, but outside their field of discipline.

Toro said that coming of AAPC is a big boost in the employment program of the city as well as the nearby areas.

He said that OOPI will be in charge of training and is currently coordinating with schools and universities, endorsing the inclusion of medical coding in the curriculum.

AAPC will certify a trainee and whose certification is going to be recognized worldwide.

The company was founded in 1988 to provide education and professional certification to physician-based medical coders and elevate the standards of medical coding by providing student training, certification, ongoing education, networking, and job opportunities. It has more than 143,000 members in the US and 10,000 plus members internationally that include India, Philippines, United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Bahamas, Germany, Canada and South Africa.

P16.7 M earmarked to aid national govt agencies in Oro

(EOR/PIA10)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Jan 9 – The amount of P16.7 million has been earmarked as the city’s aid to different government entities this year.

This is provided for in Ordinance No. 12903-2014, which was approved by the City Council headed by vice mayor Caesar Ian E. Acenas on December 15, 2014.

Of the amount P9.5 million will be spent for the city’s subsidy to national government agencies (NGAs) in the form of honoraria/allowances for their services.

This year, the city budgeted P1.6 million as allowance to Court of Appeals Justice at P15,000 per month.

Meanwhile, the city is allocating P144,000 for the honoraria of Asst Exec Clerk of Court; P360,000 for the Clerk of Court; P1.6 million to Regional Trial Court judges; P96,000 to Exec Clerk of Court; and P1.2 million to Clerk of Courts.

Meanwhile, the city’s subsidy for allowance of the Regional State Prosecutor is P120,000; Deputy Prosecutor, P168,000; Asst. Regional Prosecutors, P252,000; Municipal Judge, P600,000; Clerk of Court, P96,000; while the five branches of the Clerk of Court will receive P420,000 from the city this year.

Funds were also earmarked for the City Prosecutor; Deputy City Prosecutor; Sr. Assistant City Prosecutor; and Assistant City Prosecutor.

The increase in the city’s assistance to some NGAs was supported by councilor Ramon Tabor, chair of the committee on police, fire and public safety and on laws and rules and councilor President Elipe, chair of the committee on finance, who presided over the budget deliberations, and other legislators.

Gov’t pours in P480M tourism infra support for MisOr

(EOR/PIA10)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Jan. 8 (PIA) – Noting that Misamis Oriental is prioritizing tourism development, the government has allocated more than P480 million infrastructure support for the province.

Director Catalino E. Chan III said this is in line with the government’s tourism road convergence programs of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the construction of local road projects in priority tourism destinations in the province.

He cited that there are some spots that are not accessible for tourists.

Chan further said during the opening of the 2nd Kuyamis Festival that the government has vowed to support in the pursuit of Misamis Oriental on its tourism program and commended the province for holding such activity as he echoed the statement of Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr that it is best to have more activities like this rather than promoting violence in Mindanao.

Further, he said, “Let us make this province the coconut destination of the country!”

Among the DOT-DPWH Convergence Program for Tourism Road Infrastructure Project Prioritization (TRIPP) for the province include access road for Sagpulon springs in Jasaan, falls in Naawan, and junction road from Opol town to Laguindingan airport. Talisayan and Magsaysy nesting grounds will have their share also.

Meanwhile, Chan said that northern Mindanao is set to launch Visit Philippine 2015 aimed at promoting the islands of the Philippines to the world including festivals and events, among others. Through this, we are developing, organizing and shall be promoting a year-round calendar of events and activities that will make international and domestic visitors tour our country and truly experience that “It’s more fun in the Philippines.” These events consist of traditional festivities, commercial events, rural activities and special tourism projects. He said this is an opportune time for the province to promote its tourist destinations.

We hope this year, Misamis Oriental will join us to the World Travel Mart in London, with the Tourism Promotion Board (TPB), to promote destinations in the country not only in tourism and also for investment. We have done in Camiguin and MisOcc, said Chan.

As the province commemorates its 85th Founding Anniversary, the provincial government opened its weeklong 2nd Kuyamis Festival on January 5, 2015 with the theme “Panagdait alang sa Mauswagaon, Malambuon ug Malipayong Misamis Oriental,” to perk up the local business and tourism industry.

Kuyamis Festival is an occasion associated with the founding of the province of Misamis Oriental since it became a separate and independent local government unit on January 1, 1930, by virtue of Republic Act 3537.

Historical jottings and sources reveal that Kuyamis is the orignal name of Misamis. It is a variety of sweet coconut, which was a staple food of the earliest known Negrito settlers of Misamis. The word "Kuyamis" later named to "Misamis" when the Spanish colonizers came.

The highlight of the Kuyamis Festival, an agro-tourism festival, is the showcasing of products and by-products made out of the tree of life—the coconut. Items, handicrafts, articles, stuffs and food of Filipino delicacies that necessarily use coconut and its parts are sold by different participating municipalities. Art exhibits are also conducted by local artists from the province.

We aimed to establish a unique character for Misamis Oriental through featuring our own variety of coconut, the “kuyamis” that is abundant in our province, said governor Yevgeny Vincente B. Emano.

Following are the lined-up events for the Kuyamis Festival 2015: Opening Program on January 05 at the Provincial Capitol Grounds.

For January 5-9, Booth Competition, Meat and Livestock Show, Tiangge sa Capitolyo, Partners Bazaar. These will be held at the Provincial Capitol.

Sports Competition is set on January 5-9 at Pelaez Sports Center. Visual Arts Festival will be on January 6-9 at Centrio Ayala Mall; Tree Planting of 200 kuyamis seedlings on Jan. 6 at Talisayan Municipal Plaza; Interpretative Dance and Festival Queen Contest, January 7, at Centrio Ayala Mall; Tourism Kiosk Launching at Laguindingan Airport; and Black Nazarene Vigil at Pelaez Sports Center on January 8.

Black Nazarene Translacion at Pelaez Sports Complex (PSC) to Nazareno Church; and MisOr Food Festival, Centrio Mall, January 09; Kapamilya caravan on the 10th at Libertad National High School.

For his part, vice governor Jose Mari G. Pelaez said as a support of the provincial board, the members have approved on December 29, 2014 an ordinance institutionalizing the Kuyamis festival as the festival that will make Misamis Oriental known all over the country. As we all know we need to really create our very own festival for the identity of the province, said Pelaez.

DOT-NorMin launches VPY 2015

By Roshelle Novie L. Cabrido (MUST intern)

AS THE Philippines targets to bring in 10 million foreign tourists this year, the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Northern Mindanao launched the agency’s yearlong strategic campaign -- Visit Philippines Year (VPY) 2015 -- at Ayala Centrio mall on January 6.

The campaign will reinforce the agency’s famous slogan “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” to lure foreign tourists to explore and fall in love with the country’s varied tourist destinations. Its grand launch was held during the Philippine Travel Exchange (PhiTEx) in Pasay City on September 4 last year.

To bring it internationally, the country joined the World Travel Mart (WTM) at Excel Exhibition Center in London on November 3 to 6 and launched VPY there to promote the country’s international profile.

VPY encourages the influx of foreign tourists in the country and aims at intensifying information dissemination and awareness to the different stakeholders, key players, private sectors, Local Government Units (LGUs), and regional offices around the Philippines.

The VPY launch in the region coincided with Misamis Oriental’s Kuyamis festival aimed at promoting the province’s coconut industry and tourism. Kuyamis opened on January 5.

Dancing before guests and DOT-10 Director Catalino Chan III who led the unveiling here for the region, Kagayan Performing Arts presented cultural dances such as the Meranaw’s uses of Malong, a traditional tube skirt.

VPY Website

To make VPY 2015 more interesting, the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) has advanced a microsite inside www.itsmorefuninthephilippines.com that is www.visitph2015.com to serve as directory to everything the Philippines has to offer to international audience.

Interested parties can register their events at www.visitph2015com so that the events will have a year-round local and international promotional exposure via the official calendar of events. This also encourages public-private partnerships, community participation and activation so that visitors will not run out of reasons to visit the country.

The DOT-Northern Mindanao said the registration does not only endorses specific event, but also helps in promoting Philippines as a viable and attractive destination.

DOT also banks cooperation from private sectors for the success of VPY for the world to know that the Philippines is the best place to be on the planet next year.

VPY themes

VPY banners five themes, which are business meetings, history and culture, lifestyle and entertainment, music and the arts, sports, adventure and eco tourism.

The apostolic visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines this January 2015 is one of the major events marking the 20th anniversary of World Youth Day under history and culture. The 70th anniversary of the liberation of the country to commemorate the friendship of United States and Philippines following World War II is also enlisted in the same theme.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) as the largest meeting of economic leaders is a major event that is enlisted under the category Meeting in VPY 2015 website.

Chan said the VPY was launched in Northern Mindanao to introduce Mindanao’s best and finest.

Palay, coconut production in Northern Mindanao increases

(PNA), FPV/CD/MARK FRANCISCO/SSC

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Jan. 6 (PNA) -- Palay production in Northern Mindanao has grown by 5.79 percent equivalent to 190,930 metric tons during the third quarter of 2014 as compared to the same period in 2013.

In the quarterly report released by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) 10 on Tuesday, the agency noted an increase in farm output in irrigated areas in Bukidnon during the quarter.

The absence of infestation and good weather contributed much to the increase. Misamis Occidental also posted a 44 percent increase, contributing to the overall Palay production in Northern Mindanao, the NEDA report said.

In Misamis Oriental, sufficient rainfall and more usage of seeds also contributed to the prolific yields.

NEDA said that the rice sufficiency level during the third quarter of last year reached 83.63 percent or 1.53 percentage points higher than the level recorded in the same period of 2013.

The region’s total rice inventory as of September 2014 went up by 20 percent reaching 1,553,403 bags.

Coconut and root crops.

Other products like matured coconut, reached 494,948,967 during the third quarter, higher by 1.11 percent or 5.4 million nuts than the 2013 level.

All provinces in the region recorded positive growths led by Bukidnon at 3.61 percent. This is largely due to the salt fertilization intervention by the government, NEDA said.

Along this line, copra production slightly increased by 0.20 percent over the 2013 output reaching 119,192 metric tons.

Bukidnon made the highest gain of almost 1.2 percent. The average farm gate price of copra increased to Php25.70 per kilogram. Average mill gate price also automatically increased by 29 percent to Php28.25 per kilogram.

Green nut production in the third quarter also exceeded the 2013 level by almost 16 percent. Coconut commodities exported during the third quarter increased by 11.5 percent to 93,816 metric tons equating to USD7.751 million in value.

Single digit production growths were reported on root crops (six percent) and fruits (three percent) while industrial crops posted a significant 15 percent growth during the quarter.

Gainers included cabbage, pechay, eggplant, calamansi, abaca and cabbage. Meanwhile, most fruit crops recorded output increases with papaya having the highest growth at 164 percent.

Livestock and poultry production reached 87,835 metric tons (live weight) in the third quarter of 2014, up by three percent over the same period in 2013.

But fish production declined by two percent due largely to lesser appearance of migratory species as a result of low pressure area occurrences.

DOT Launches Visit Philippines 2015 in Normin

By Mike Baños

The Department of Tourism in Region X today launches 2015 as “Visit the Philippines Year” (VPY) in Northern Mindanao at the Activity Center of upscale Centrio Mall in Cagayan de Oro City.

“This launch is a response to Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr.’s directive to move tourism out of Manila and urge people to visit other places such as Northern Mindanao,” said Catalino E. Chan III, DOT-X regional director.

Earlier Jimenez cited the key role of local government units (LGUs) in spurring tourism outside Metro Manila.

“Kung saan masigasig talaga ang local [government], doon malakas ang tourism. Pag aktibista sa tourism ang LGU, magsa-succeed,” Jimenez stressed.

The DOT andthe Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), its marketing and promotions arm, launched its new campaign during the Philippine Travel Exchange (PHITEX) at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City last September 4, 2014.

For today’s launch in Northern Mindanao, Milo Oropesa, TPB promotions specialist, is slated to present the salient points of the VPY 2015 program to tourism stakeholders from around the region.

Jimenez said the new campaign will not replace “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” but is meant to refresh and sustain the original campaign. DOT also launched a microsite (http://phl2015.itsmorefuninthephilippines.com/) as a directory of the various events around the country under the recently improved DOT website (http://itsmorefuninthephilippines.com/).

Domingo Ramon C. Enerio III, TBP chief operating officer said the agency will stress five main themes for 2015: 1) history and culture, 2) music and arts, 3) lifestyle and entertainment, 4) business meetings, and 5) sports, adventure, and eco-tourism.

To kick off History and Culture in January 2015 is Pope Francis’ 40-day pilgrimage to the Philippines. September will mark the 70th anniversary of the final battles of World War II in the country.

For Music and the Arts, Enerio said some of the biggest acts in the entertainment world such as One Direction and Justin Timberlake will visit the country in March 2015 for live performances and shows.

In the fields of lifestyle and entertainment, the Philippines will host Madrid Fusion Manila, billed as the biggest culinary event in the world, in April 2015. Enerio said this event would bring national and international chefs, journalists, and food companies from all over which should encourage local tourism stakeholders to raise themselves up to global standards.

By November 2015, the country would host Asia the Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meetings and Leaders’ Summit with over 25,000 international delegates expected to attend.

The APEC meetings would also be hosted by Boracay and Iloilo City in the Western Visayas; Tagaytay City in Southern Tagalog; Metro Cebu in the Central Visayas; Bagac, Bataan and Clark, Pampanga in Central Luzon; and Legazpi City, and Albay in Bicol.

Not the least, the country will host international sporting events such as triathlons, martial arts, eco-marathons, yacht races, beach volleyball tournaments, and tennis exhibition matches. Among these is the international white water rafting competition to be hosted by Cagayan de Oro City, the Diving Resort Travel Expo in Manila in April and the Siargao International Surfing Competition in August.

“What will truly sustain Visit the Philippines Year 2015 campaign are the people themselves. I enjoin the businesses, communities, and locals to play an active part in spreading and amplifying our messages, enticing would-be visitors to come visit our shores,” Jimenez said.

The DOT already launched VPY 2015 at the Conrad Centennial Hotel Singapore on October 28 and at the Lotte Hotel in Jung-gu, central Seoul, South Korea last Nov. 4.

The Philippines was one of only five countries (with China, Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong) which had over 1 million Korean visitors annually, with 1,165,789 Koreans arriving in 2013, a figure that represents a quarter of the country’s total arrivals of 4,681,307 in 2013, the highest of any single country but which represented only 8 percent of the total 15 million overseas Korean travelers in 2013.

2014 stories at a glance

By Grace Cantal-Albasin

WHILE the province is reeling off from the aftermath of Tropical Storm Seniang before 2014 ended, it also started with the two-week low pressure area (LPA) that intensified into Tropical Depression Agaton wreaking millions worth of havoc on agriculture and infrastructure.

In the middle of January 2014, Agaton hit the region, Misamis Oriental pegged TD Agaton’s damage on agriculture at more than P20 million and P100 million on infrastructure after several bridges collapsed including the Larapan steel bridge in Linamon, which hampered trading and commuting as Lanao del Norte connects to the other parts of western Mindanao. The LPA that brought incessant rains for almost two weeks softened parts of the earth which TD Agaton amplified when it hovered through northern Mindanao.

Disasters brought about by typhoons and other weather disturbances comprised some of the major stories that saw print in the paper.

With climate change, disasters stories and the triumphs and lows of responses that come with them. Every time the DRRMCs prepare for looming disasters and how the outcomes of the responses vary would be vital information to the communities as they face the challenges brought about by this natural phenomenon intensified by man’s environmental negligence.

Security

Security in Mindanao has remained erratic. The recent bus bombing in front of the main gate of Central Mindanao University (CMU) on December 9 that killed 10 and injured more than 40 passengers has been attributed by the law enforcers as extortion allegedly perpetrated by a member of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF), the breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The probe is still ongoing while the police has charged in court the suspect Macmod Manibpil.

On November 6, a Rural Transit Mindanao Inc. (RTMI) bus was planted with an improvised explosive device that was detonated along Maramag town, a kilometer away from CMU, while in transit to Cagayan de Oro from Tacurong. The blast wounded four. The suspect, Dawtin Gendang, is facing charges of frustrated murder at a court in Bukidnon.

Several explosions also rocked the other parts of Mindanao after the November 6 bus blast in Bukidnon.

Members of the New People’s Army launched massive raids against multinational companies, the military, sentenced politicians they identified as anti-revolutionary movement who they alleged had committed crimes against the people and captured soldiers or police as their “prisoners of war” (POWs).

On July 2, the NPA rebels in Bukidnon ambushed and killed Impasug-ong town mayor Mario Okinlay.

The NPA accused Okinlay for violating the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) since the mayor failed to recognize and give respect to the civilians by allowing the military's presence in facilities where the latter should not be.

On December 11, Iligan City lone district representative Vicente “Varf” Belmonte and his security escorts and drivers were waylaid outside Laguindingan airport at around 1:30 p.m.

Right after the ambush, Belmonte hinted politics as the motive on the attempt on his life, however, days after the ambush, reports said illegal drugs could be involved. Belmonte is on his last term as the Iligan’s representative to Congress.

Oro summary killings

This year marked some prominence on the alleged summary executions in the city especially after Jim Jamaca survived the attempt on his life on December 11. Jamaca accused four Cagayan de Oro policemen as alleged shooters of the slaying of his two cousins, Arnold and Harold Jamaca and Jim’s girlfriend.

Fortunately, Jim cheated death after he was shot several times. The four policemen are now facing administrative charges. The two officers voluntarily submitted their guns for examination while the two police officers involved went AWOL (absence without leave) before they finally yielded to City Police Director Faro Antonio Olaguera and submitted their guns also for examination.

Jim is now under the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group for his safety.

Authorities said the alleged summary killings could be illegal drugs related dealings.

Anti-illegal drugs bust operations

In its fight against illegal drugs proliferation and dealings in the region, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in northern Mindanao (PDEA-10) busted millions worth of illegal drugs in 2014 in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.

These operations resulted to arresting some police officers in the city and prominent persons in the region.

In a recent incident, a PDEA agent, Joel Genita, died in an anti-illegal drugs bust operation in Barangay 31 on December 15 after Ibrahim Zafar allegedly shot him dead. However, on December 22, Zafar died after his surgery which the family members claimed “they were never informed” and has accused the PDEA for torturing Zafar that could’ve caused his death.

In Iligan City also in December, around 12 persons were massacred in two different locations which the authorities tagged as “drug dens” and suspected the killings could also be illegal drugs related deals.

Politics

It took time before the 2014 Oro Executive Budget was approved by the majority members of city council as they accused the Moreno administration for causing the delay due to the non-submission of requirements such as the programs of work for each department deemed by the council as necessary for the deliberation of the budget. When the majority of the city councilors approved and slashed it by P300 million, Mayor Oscar Moreno vetoed some of the items, but the city council nullified them by overriding the vetoed items.

The Moreno administration vowed to the public it would serve its constituents especially the marginalized at all cost by tapping nongovernment organizations and the private sector to find means to fund the projects and programs they believed could uplift the city’s poor and economic growth of the city.

This year, the 2015 executive budget was approved by the majority members of the city council on December 15, but again it has been slashed by P1.72 billion. The Moreno administration has yet to finalize the possible remedies it has to push for its P3.8 billion proposed executive budget.

Economy

The National Economic and Development Authority in region 10 (NEDA-10) said in its year-end report that northern Mindanao remains the fastest growing economy in the island and furthered the unemployment rate is the lowest in Mindanao.

Ombuds to assess procedures of GSC, CDO permits

By Ruji Peter S. Abat

THE Investment Ombudsman (IO) Team of the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao is set to conduct an assessment in Cagayan de Oro and General Santos Cities this month.

Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao public assistance center head Maria Corazon Arancon, who is part of the IO Team, told Sun.Star Davao in an interview recently that their team is set to conduct the Blue Certificate assessment on the different public offices in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and General Santos.

"A team of assessors will be going to these LGUs to assess and study the procedure in the issuance of permits and licenses. We will be doing it in January since this will be the time when the offices issue permits or renew licenses," Arancon said.

The IO Team member said the assessment is intended to improve the processes in the issuance of permits, clearances and licenses.

Among the issue that they will be focusing on include the reported delays in the issuance of permits and Arancon said they will have to study the process before they could make the recommendations.

“But definitely we are driven to conduct these assessments because we want more investors to come in once they know that the processes are fast and efficient. And if there are more investors, this could improve our economy,” Arancon said.

But other than the blue certificate assessment, she said they will resume with the regular seminars with the different LGU officials in Mindanao as part of their graft and corruption prevention campaign.

New Year revelry in NorMin ‘peaceful’

By Jigger J. Jerusalem (With a report from PNA)

NORTHERN Mindanao was peaceful during the celebration of the New Year, the Philippine National Police (PNP)-Northern Mindanao reported Friday.

“The crime situation in Region 10 is generally peaceful as the year ended without significant incident that transpired,” Superintendent Gervacio Balmaceda Jr., PNP-Northern Mindanao information officer, said in a statement.

Balmaceda said all unit commanders in the region were ordered to properly supervise police officers under their command in the different police operations and activities.

“The crime incidents in this period reduced compared to last year including the [firecracker-related] incidents as the police maximized their effort in catching illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics,” the statement added.

PNP-Northern Mindanao added that there was no report of illegal discharge of firearms and related incidents in its area of responsibility.

Balmaceda said all the police officers were ordered to seal the muzzle of their issued firearms last December 22.

On Friday, all the taped firearms were unsealed simultaneously in all police offices and precincts in the region.

So far, he added, the PNP has noted no violation of the said order. If there was an incident of indiscriminate firing of weapons from law enforcers and civilians, it would have been reported right away.

“We have been monitoring any incident of illegal discharge, even those not by police officers,” Balmaceda told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro in a phone interview.

He added the PNP still has to consolidate the reports from all police units in Northern Mindanao.

Even after the Yuletide season and New Year’s Day celebration, Balmaceda said the full alert status is still being observed by the PNP. This means no vacation or break for police officers yet, he said.

“The full alert status has not been downgraded yet,” he said, adding they will only change it once the PNP national headquarters issues a new directive.

In a text message, Senior Superintendent Faro Antonio Olaguera, head of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo), is hoping the full alert status will be lowered by January 10.

Low firecracker incidents

Meanwhile, a television report quoted the Department of Health (DOH)-Northern Mindanao as saying the number of victims of firecracker incidents has gone down for this year.

The report said the DOH reported 44 firecracker injuries for 2015, while last year it was 132.

In Manila, the DOH central office reported that the 351 fireworks-related injuries (FWRI) recorded since December 21 until 6 a.m. January 1 were lower compared to the same period in 2013 and the five-year average from 2009 to 2013.

“There is a reduction of 39 percent in comparison to last year. It is also 31 percent lower than the previous five year annual average of 511 injuries per year for that period,” DOH Acting Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin said in a press briefing at the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in Quezon City on Thursday.

According to Garin, there were 578 cases of FWRI recorded during the same period in 2013.

Of the 351 FWRI, she said 346 or 98.5 percent were due to fireworks explosion, two or 0.6 percent from firework ingestion and three or 0.9 percent from stray bullet.

Drop of stray bullet cases

Garin also reported that there was a drop on stray bullets cases from 11 recorded last year to just only three cases now.

“The good news is that stray bullets cases dropped to 73 percent and we thank Philippine National Police and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for massive campaign,” she added.

Garin added that the count on the total number of injuries is not yet final and may still change until January 5 as other reports from the 50 sentinel hospitals (both public and private hospitals were most number of FWRI patients usually seek treatment) are still collected and verified. “Final report will be released by January 6.”

As the health campaigns shifts to prevention of tetanus among the injured, Garin reminded those injured to get their anti-tetanus shots in hospitals right away.

Listened, acted on awareness campaign vs use of firecrackers

Garin said the drop can be attributed to the fact that more people are now listening to the call of their conscience against using firecrackers and the massive anti-firecrackers campaign of the government in collaboration with the media and local government units (LGUs).

She said the DOH is encouraged with seeing more Filipinos heeding the call of its campaign against firecrackers. "Mas maraming Pilipino ang nakonsensya ngayon, at sila ay nagdesisyon pabor sa kanilang kaligtasan."

Garin added the bad news is that 14 of those injured from firecrackers were with amputations or 75 percent increase compared to eight last year.

The health acting chief said this can be attributed to the two major factors: one factor is the shift of age of users from adults to children.

"Since the hands of children are too small in handling firecracker, they are prone to damage in explosion," she said.

Another factor, she added, is the widespread selling of affordable firecrackers (piccolo) wherein some children even share them that led to increased number of hands amputated.

In the case of eye injuries due to firecrackers, Garin said that from 72 last year; it went down to 59 or 18 percent lower.

“This can be attributed with the gaining of awareness wherein parents of the victims come forward to seek treatment, leading to proper cleansing of the affected eye area, examination to prevent further complications,” she added.

From the total number of fireworks injuries, “piccolo” is still the undisputed the “topnotch” cause of injuries with 166 or 49 percent, followed by Kwitis with 35 cases or 10 percent, Luces 21 or 6 percent and Five Star with 12 or 3 percent.

Garin also said most of the reported injuries came from the National Capital Region with 168 or 48 percent, Manila with 31 percent, Pasig 14 percent, Quezon City 13 percent, Navotas 7 percent and Caloocan also 7 percent.

A total FWRI, 91 were children less than 10 years old or 26 percent.

The DOH acting chief also said of the total FWRI this year, 234 got injured because they handled the firecrackers themselves while 112 were bystanders or "nahagisan lang."

Girls in Manila and Ormoc, boy in CDO among 2015’s New Year babies

By Joel Locsin / KG (GMA News)

Girls born in Manila and in Ormoc City in Leyte, and a boy born in Cagayan de Oro City were among the New Year babies for 2015.

In Manila, Daniella Amparado was born at 12:01 a.m. Thursday at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, GMA News' Isay Reyes reported.

Another girl, Irma Tan, was born in Ormoc City in Leyte to Nilo Platero and his partner Liza Tan at 12:17 a.m. at the Ormoc District Hospital.

"Hindi namin expected. Ang expectation namin ay December talaga, mga 21 to 26," Platero told GMA News stringer Ronnie Roa.

The newborn baby and her parents, however, had to stay in the hallway as there was no vacancy at the hospital.

Meanwhile, in Cagayan de Oro City, a baby boy was born at 12:16 a.m., GMA Northern Mindanao's Jeik Compo tweeted.