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Cebu Province News February 2013

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Province of Cebu - Archived News

Barangay anim 4500.gif
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.
Cebu metro.jpg
Aerial View of Metro Cebu
Herbal remedies for diabetes.JPG
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

Contents

Top bets arrive for Xterra triathlon

By Iste S. Leopoldo

FOREIGN triathletes and some of country’s top triathletes are already in Cebu for the 2013 Xterra Weekend Off Road Philippines Championship and Trail Run this weekend in Liloan.

The event gathered 460 foreign and local triathletes as well as 380 trail runners.

Xterra World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas said that this year’s off road triathlon offers a great deal of challenge to participants.

“I went to see the new bike course today, and it’s very different compared to last year. This has more climbs and is very technical,” said Nicholas who attended the kick-off of the 2013 Xterra World Tour in Cape Town, South Africa.

Some of the foreigners who have arrived are 2011 and 2012 Xterra world champion Leslie Paterson, 2011 Xterra Philippines champion Sam Gardner and defending champions Ben Allen and Renata Bucher.

The other pro competitors are Oliver Marceau, Matt O’Halloran, Rory Downie, Bradley Sean Weiss and Shahrom Abdullah of Malaysia.

4 cities in Cebu get new firetrucks

By Rene U. Borromeo and Flor Z. Perolina (JPM, The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is scheduled to give today four brand new firetrucks to Cebu City and three other cities in Cebu.

Aside from the Cebu City Fire Station, the cities of Lapulapu, Mandaue and Talisay will be also given one Rosenbauer TLF 4000-model fire truck each.

Mayor Michael Rama has been invited by Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Acting Director Carlito Romero to be present during the turnover of the new firefighting equipment at Camp Crame tomorrow.

City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete said the arrival of a new firetruck for Cebu City is very timely because of the report of Cebu City Fire Marshall William Tacaldo that some of the firetrucks in the city are unserviceable.

Tacaldo even asked the Police Coordinating and Advisory Council (PCAC) to help him facilitate the approval of his request for the purchase of additional firefighting equipment for his station.

One of Tacaldo’s requests is for the city to purchase a fire truck that is capable to combat fires in high-rise buildings.

Records showed that there are still several municipalities in Cebu that do not have firetrucks. The national government cannot afford to purchase brand new fire trucks for all towns because a fire truck cost about P20 million.

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and Fire Marshal Ronaldo Orbita leave for Manila today to receive the firetruck.

Aside from cities in Cebu, Bayawan city in Negros Oriental will also receive one together with another city in Panay island.

Orbita said that the arrival of the one unit of firetruck in Mandaue is good timing as the city will also celebrate the Fire Prevention Month this coming March .

Orbita earlier said that the city is in dire need of new fire trucks as most of its firetrucks are mostly dilapidated.

Cortes made a follow-up letter asking for one unit of firetruck after DILG Secretary Mar Roxas was installed into office. A letter asking for such was already sent before the death of former DILG secretary Robredo.

It was also learned that Cortes is more keen on buying additional firetrucks for the city rather than repairing the dilapidated ones.

Cebu traders group asks LGUs to help influence PEZA on Metro Cebu exclusion

(PNA), FPV/ EB/RE

CEBU CITY, Feb. 26 (PNA) -- The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) has asked local government units (LGUs) in Cebu to help convince the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) to exclude Metro Cebu from the removal of incentives for developers of information technology (IT) parks and buildings.

CCCI president Prudencio Gesta said the LGUs can use their influence to have PEZA change its position about excluding Metro Cebu from the areas that are no longer eligible for the five percent incentive granted to developers of IT parks and buildings.

Earlier, the CCCI sent a position paper to the PEZA board seeking their reconsideration in excluding Metro Cebu from the areas entitled to the incentive, saying Cebu has not saturated the market for such zones and buildings.

The PEZA board released Resolution 12-329 last year, removing the five percent tax holiday granted to developers of IT parks and buildings in Metro Cebu and Metro Manila in a bid to level the playing field among all areas in the country and encourage similar investments in other regions and spur economic development.

The incentives granted to companies occupying these buildings will remain.

Gesta said this would put areas in Metro Cebu at a disadvantage.

He said that even if the PEZA board should clarify that it is only Cebu City and not Metro Cebu that is excluded, they still believe the decision should be changed.

He said the concentration of IT buildings is in small parts of Cebu City.

Considering its land area, Gesta said there is much room for more areas in Cebu City to be developed to cater to the booming business process outsourcing and information and communication technology industry.

”Cebu City is not oversupplied with these businesses yet. There is much room for expansion,” he said.

Gesta said majority of the ICT and BPO businesses are in Cebu City and that the neighboring cities of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay can benefit from the incentives if they start developing to cater to this industry as well.

He believes that if these LGUs also write formally to the PEZA and other government agencies that have a say in it, they can use their influence to have the decision changed.

Project to improve Cebu’s image as top spot for BPOs

By Aileen Garcia-Yap (Cebu Daily News)

Cebu businessmen welcome P20B investment for Mactan development

The doubling of Megaworld Corp.’s investment for its Mactan Newtown Center project will help cement Cebu’s image as one of the world’s top outsourcing destinations.

Local businessmen and outsourcing stakeholders gave this observation after Megaworld recently inaugurated its 20-hectare property in Mactan and with Megaworld chief executive officer Andrew Tan’s commitment to double its investment for the project to P20 billion.

Joel Mari Yu, Cebu Investment Promotions Center’s managing director, said Megaworld’s Mactan Newton would be the best answer to worries of having too concentrated outsourcing offices in Cebu City.

“I would like to say congratulations to Megaworld and thank you for having faith and confidence in Cebu. CIPC has committed to support them in anyway we can,” Yu said.

CIPC is an organization established in 1994 with the purpose of promoting Cebu to foreign direct investments.

According to Yu, last year there were 17 outsourcing companies that opened office in Cebu and this year they would be looking at about 24 new companies to open in Cebu.

Yu said Mactan Newtown would help provide more options for these companies who would want to expand operations in Cebu.

1,000 Jobs

At least 1,000 jobs will be generated from the two new outsourcing companies that will be opening this April in One World Center, the first BPO building built in Mactan Newtown which already host the biggest McDonald’s restaurant in the Visayas.

On the sidelines of the grand launching held last Wednesday, Results Manila executives said that they would hire 600 people for their initial operations this April.

“We will grow that to at least a thousand over the next few years here,” said Results Manila director of accounts operations Justin Harmon.

Results Manila is a global company based in the US with three delivery centers in Metro Manila.

EnfraUSA, on the other, hand will need 400 people initially for their first office in Cebu, the third one in the country according to chief executive officer Ray Chiu.

Chiu said they would need people with experience on graphics and for voice and non-voice services.

REACTIONS

“The two new companies in Mactan Newtown is just the beginning of many more companies that we expect to come to Cebu especially with Cebu’s rise in ranking as 8th emerged outsourcing destination in the world as reported by Tholon’s Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations in the World for 2013,” Yu said.

Other business group leaders agreed .

“It will definitely create jobs and development opportunities for Cebu. I do hope however that Lapu-Lapu City is ready for more developments and for the increased inflow of workers to the city,” Cebu Business Club president Gordon Alan Joseph said.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Prudencio Gesta said that Cebu would need more major developers investing for big ticket investments like Mactan Newtown in order to sustain the vibrant economic activities benefiting all sectors.

‘Little Flower’ in Cebu

By Ador Vincent Mayol (Cebu Daily News)

A wooden chest with the mortal remains of St. Therese of the Child Jesus will arrive in Cebu today.

The reliquary of one of the most beloved saints in the Catholic Church is expected to land at the Benito Ebuen Airbase in Mactan at 7 a.m.

Marie Françoise Thérèse Martin was 15 years old when she entered the Carmelite convent. She encouraged spirituality through simple means, later refered to as “The Little Way.”

The French nun, also known as “The Little Flower of Jesus” or simply, “The Little Flower”, is the patron of missions.

Her traveling relics, composed of bone fragments, arrived in Manila last December from the Basilica of St. Therese in Lisieux, France, for a four-month tour of dicoeses in the Philippines.

Today a welcome Mass will be officiated by Bishop Leopoldo Tumulak at the Air Force Chapel in Mactan before the relics will be brought in a motorcade to the Central Command in Camp Lapu-Lapu , barangay Lahug, Cebu City.

At 12 noon, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma will preside over a Mass at the Central Command Chapel where the saint’s remains will stay overnight.

Early morning tomorrow, the relics will be brought to the Police Regional Office, passing by the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Lahug.

At 8:30 a.m., the relics will be brought to the Carmelite Monastery in Mabolo passing by the San Carlos Seminary College.

St. Therese’ relics will stay for four days at the monastery. At 7 p.m. on Thursday, a grand procession will bring the reliquary to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral where Archbishop Palma will preside over a 9 p.m. Mass.

After the Mass, the relics will be brought back to the Carmelite Monastery.

It will depart for Bohol at 7 a.m. Friday.

The last time her relics were brought to Cebu was in February 2008

Known for her childlike devotion, St. Therese often offered flowers to Jesus Christ.

She never left the convent, but the influence of the young nun, born in 1873, has reached far beyond with her reflections written down in “The Story of a Soul”.

‘I want to spend my Heaven doing good on earth,’ she once said.

She died of tuberculosis at the age of 24. The nun was later declared one of the doctors of the Catholic Church.

Cebu PB passes ordinance adopting suspended gov's program

(PNA), LAP/EB/BH

CEBU CITY, Feb. 22 (PNA) -- The Cebu Provincial Board (PB) has passed an ordinance adopting the Expanded Green and Wholesome Environment (eGwen), suspended Governor Gwen Garcia’s sustainable development program.

The Provincial Government started eGwen in 2007 with the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi) as private sector representative.

When Garcia was suspended last December 19 as penalty for grave abuse of authority, Acting Governor Agnes Magpale decided to change the name of the program to Our Sustainable Cebu Program.

The ordinance was authored by PB Member Thadeo Ouano and Jose Ribomaphil Holganza, Jr.

Magpale serves as chairperson of the Our Sustainable Cebu Program with acting Vice Governor Julian Daan as vice chairperson.

Rafi continues to represent the private sector.

The renamed program will continue to build “sustainable cities and municipalities in the province” and institute the seven dimensions of sustainable development.

These are spiritual, human, social, cultural, political, economic and ecological.

The technical committee, or evaluation team, will prepare the performance scorecard, criteria, standards and guidelines for evaluation and assessment.

The criteria involves cleanliness, sanitation and health; creativity, environment protection, heritage and culture; and good governance.

Like in the eGwen, the program management unit, or executive committee, will be responsible for the overall management of the program to ensure it is aligned with the goals of the Our Sustainable Cebu Program.

The Our Sustainable Cebu Program Council will set guidelines for the conferment of the recognitions and awards.

Among the existing categories are Green Champion Award, Model Town Award and Good Neighbor Award.

Funding will come from the annual budget allocated for it.

Over 500 youths in Visayas to attend ‘Greeneration Summit’ in Cebu on Feb. 26 ‘to initiate climate change mitigation efforts’

By Fayette C. Riñen (PIA 7)

CEBU CITY, February 21 (PIA) -- Over 500 youths from all over the Visayas Region will gather on Tuesday, February 26 in Cebu for the ‘Greeneration Summit-Visayas.’

The event is a gathering for youth empowerment that aims to raise the consciousness of today’s generation on the causes and impact of climate change.

Sec. Lucille Sering of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) will lead the one-day event and will brief the youths on ‘Understanding Climate Change and Its Impact on the Youth.’

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes will welcome and deliver the opening remarks of the event.

Visayas Commissioner Erwin Andaya of the National Youth Commission (NYC) will also orient the youths on their role in addressing climate change.

Topics for discussion include on ‘Youth-led Climate Change Initiative,’ ‘Addressing the Climate Change Challenge Through Responsible Media,’ and ‘Government’s Initiatives on Education and Climate Change.’

San Vicente Mayor Ma. Carmela Alvarez will also talk on ‘Government’s Initiative: The Eco-Town Experience of San Vicente, Palawan.’

The summit will be attended by officials from the NYC, Dep Ed, Commission on Higher Education, the Greeneration envoys of CCC and the Greeneration ambassadors among others.

Government working to improve Cebu’s infrastructures, tourism sector, says Aquino

(PNA)/PCOO/SSC

TALISAY CITY, Feb. 20 (PNA) -- The government has set its eyes on Cebu to improve its infrastructure for the benefit of the province’s trade and tourism sectors, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Tuesday.

The President, who arrived in Cebu Tuesday, said his administration has been working to improve Cebu’s road networks as well as its international airport so that the province could move forward.

He also reported that since he assumed office in 2010, the anti-corruption fight of the government made it possible for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to save around P12 billion.

“Hindi nga po nagpapahuli ang DPWH sa pag-aasikaso ng makabuluhang imprastraktura dito sa Cebu upang lalo pang mapaunlad ang inyong turismo at komersiyo,” the President said in his speech during a meeting with local officials of Cebu Tuesday night.

Among the ongoing construction works in Cebu include the construction of the North Hagnaya Wharf Road, which serves as the gateway to the popular Bantayan Island in the province.

The North Hagnaya Wharf Road will be completed this month, according to the President.

This June, the President said he expects that rehabilitation works of Ouano Avenue will be finished, cutting the travel time from Cebu to Mactan International Airport from one hour to 30 minutes.

The widening of the Mactan Circumferential Road will also start soon, the President said adding that this will make travel from one place to another within the island easier and more convenient especially for tourists.

In his last state-of-the-nation address (SONA), the President said the upgrade of the Mactan International Airport will also start soon. He said his administration eyes to complete the upgrading of the airport before he steps down from power in 2016.

Aside from focusing on improving the province’s infrastructure, the President said he is also working on expanding the social services to the people of Cebu as well as the entire country.

At the national level, the number of poor families benefiting from the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program of the government is around three million as of December last year. The government targets to make it 3.8 million households this year.

“Dito po sa Cebu, namumuhunan na tayo sa kinabukasan ng mahigit 97,000 kabahayan upang umagapay sa kanila palayo sa kahirapan at palapit sa kaunlaran,” he said noting that the important thing is to ensure that kids remain in school, graduate and find jobs eventually.

“Ito nga po ang mga pinipitas nating positibong bunga ng pagtahak sa tuwid na daan,” he said.

The President asked Cebu residents to support the coalition candidates so that the reform agenda of his administration could continue in the next three years.

The President was accompanied in his Talisay City visit by Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Sen. Franklin Drilon and the coalition candidates for senators and their representatives.

Airline employee at Mactan airport returns tourist's bag containing cash

(PNA), DSP/EB/RE

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu, Feb. 18 (PNA) -- An employee of Cebu Pacific Air at the Mactan Airport in Cebu has returned a bag containing cash he found at the pre-boarding area of the airport.

Kim George Salutillo, a passenger service agent of Cebu Pacific Air, found the bag behind the pre-boarding area at Gate 5 of the airport at 10:30 a.m. last Feb. 7.

When he found that the bag contained money, Salutillo immediately turned it over to his superiors at Cebu Pacific Air, who in turn reported the matter to the airport police.

Corporal Benjamin Buagas Jr., airport police investigator, and Melvin Gayotin, manager of MCIAA Emergency and Security Services Department, said the bag contained 249,000 Japanese yen; US$ 30; 14,330 Thailand Baht and P1,330. It was owned by Ryoji Morimoto of 1378 Minamitahara Cho Ikomashi, Japan.

MCIAA General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete said the airport management will honor Salutillo for his honesty.

”We will honor him (Salutillo) for being honest. His act gives a good name not only to Cebu but to the entire country as well,” Villarete said.

Villarete said there had been several people at the Mactan airport who returned valuable items left by passengers and Salutillo is now among them in the list.

Morimoto, a passenger of Cebu Pacific Flight No. 5J564, got back his bag through Cebu Pacific Manager Johnny Yap with its contents intact as shown in the police inventory.

2 BPO locators in The Mactan Newtown to hire 2,000 workers

(PNA), FFC/EB/RE

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu, Feb. 18 (PNA) -- Two business process outsourcing locators of The Mactan Newtown in Lapu-Lapu City of Megaworld Corp. is set to hire some 2,000 workers as they begin operations in April, officials said.

EnfraUSA and Results Manila Inc. will occupy the five-storey One World Center, the first BPO office tower that opened early this year.

President Benigno S. Aquino III has been invited to unveil The Mactan Newtown, Megaworld Corp.’s (Megaworld) flagship project, in Lapu-Lapu City on Wednesday, according to Megaworld first vice president Jericho Go.

President Aquino will be joined by the company’s top executives, including its chairman and chief executive officer Andrew Tan during the inauguration.

Aquino will have a brief tour on the township development.

Go said the event on Wednesday will also highlight the groundbreaking of the firm’s second BPO building.

Go said they are honored that Aquino will be joining the ceremonies as this signaled “more exciting events” to happen within the firm’s biggest mixed-used special economic zone outside Metro Manila.

Harold Geronimo, Megaworld’s director for strategic marketing and communications, said the company already increased its P10 billion investment for the project.

He said the capital expenditures (capex) will be disclosed by Tan on Wednesday.

Go said these two companies are first-time locators of Cebu and they are set to start operations this April.

EnfraUSA is a BPO service provider to a wide range of services, including finance and accounting, collections and customer service, health care, software development, insurance, supply chain and procurement, analytics, enterprise application, IT infrastructure and management.

Results Manila Inc., on the other hand, is a customer contact solutions provider for many Fortune 500 companies.

They offer call center solutions from IT, telephony, data and reporting to training and center management needs.

Two to three more BPO companies are expected to open offices at The Mactan Newtown this year, said Go.

Due to the growing demand of office spaces and increased interests of their Manila-based tenants to expand operations in Cebu, Go said a second BPO tower called Two World Center will start construction this year.

Two World Center will have a floor area of 7,200 square meters and is expected to house 2,000 more BPO employees.

Go said they will “accelerate the completion of the tower” as they target completion by the fourth quarter this year or first quarter of 2014.

“This is a low-rise structure so we don’t see any delays in the completion,” he said.

Go said that in two to three years, more office spaces will be available for lease as 8 Newtown Boulevard and Pacific World Tower will open for business.

Both towers will be able to accommodate around 13,000 BPO seats.

The 8 Newtown Boulevard and Pacific World Tower are residential and office towers at The Mactan Newtown.

“In five to seven years, we foresee IT Park development to generate 25,000 employees,” he said.

To “accelerate their going live,” Go said Megaworld will set up job fair booths at One World Center on Wednesday to help their tenants find employees.

Go said they are now in close coordination with various universities in Cebu so these companies can tap into Cebu’s labor market.

He said the job fair is not limited to BPO careers as they also invited the recruitment staff of Resorts World Manila and McDonalds.

Megaworld Corp. is also setting up a booth as they look for property consultants for their Cebu projects.

Geronimo announced they have already sold out the condo units of 8 Newtown Boulevard, while units at One Pacific Residence are already 90 percent sold.

Geronimo said given the strong sales takeup of their residential projects, the firm will launch another condo cluster this first semester.

The four towers of 8 Newtown Boulevard and two towers of One Pacific Residence were all sold to the Japanese market.

Go said they involved Philippine Economic Zone Authority and the Philippine Retirement Authority for the seamless business and special resident retiree visa processing to the Japanese retirees.

Geronimo said they will also open opportunities for local buyers in their succeeding projects.

They also considered putting up condo towers for the European and Korean markets.

Badian town to start building 2nd 500KW hydropower plant

By Tweeny M. Malinao (Correspondent, Cebu Daily News)

POWER firms continue to harness the power of Badian town’s river.

Cebu Electric Cooperative (Cebeco) 1 is set to start another P70 million hydropower plant in barangay Basak, its second mini-hydro-power plant in the village.

This will add 500 kilowatts (KW) of power to the existing 500 KW mini-hydro power plant.

¨Badian (about 80 kilometers from Cebu city) is the only province in Cebu which has two mini-hydro plants in one barangay,¨ said Michael Cañete, president and chief operations officer of Meadowlands Inc., one of the firms in the project.

The project had its groundbreaking yesterday. Cebeco will operate the mini-hydropower plant which is scheduled to operate in 2014.

Meadowland officials said that they used the run-of-river type scheme which exploits the normal base flow of the river for power generation as opposed to the storage type used by bigger dams to store large volumes of water for power generation.

Cost effective

Mario Marasigan, geologist and director of renewable energy management bureau of the Dept. of Energy, said hydropwer is the most cost-effective and reliable energy technology for providing clean electricity.

Marasigan said the mini hydropower plant would provide 300 jobs as well as have a peso for every kilowatt hour to be sold which would be used for electrification.

Cebu province has three hydro-power plants: Mantayupan in Barili, Matutinao and Basak 1 both in Badian mini hydropower plants with an aggregate capacity of 1.72 megawatts.

PB lays rules on scuba diving

By Dale G. Israel (Reporter, Cebu Daily News)

THE Cebu Provincial Board wants to regulate scuba diving activities in the province in response to reports of accidents involving tourists.

“The sport continues to remain popular despite the fact there have been many reported unfortunate incidents related to diving activities in the Province of Cebu,” Provincial Board Member Arleigh Jay Sitoy said.

In his proposed ordinance that was passed on first reading last Monday, no diver may be allowed to join any open water diving activity without completing 10 hours of combined classroom and pool water training activities.

The trainings to be done by a certified diving instructor and dive master should also include proper use, preventive maintenance and care of diving equipment and demonstration of first aid, mouth-to-mouth and CPR capabilities.

Divers must also be told about diving hazards related to the marine animals present and terrain of the area.

Penalties for violation of the ordinance is pegged at P5,000 or imprisonment of at least one year upon the discretion of the court.

“If the divers are professionals and they are diving not related to scuba school diving activities but for leisure, pleasure, entertainment, research they should also comply with the 10 hour requirement.

They should also be accompanied by a diving master. No one is also allowed to dive alone as the ordinance also requires a diving buddy.

Those operating scuba diving schools must also present a valid license from a government agency.

The ordinance will only take effect in component cities and towns of the province which excludes Lapu-Lapu City where most scuba diving activities are prevalent.

Waterfront airport hotel starts P100-M face-lift

By Aileen Garcia-Yap (Cebu Daily News)


New MCIA terminal seen to bring in more airport traffic


Anticipating more tourists and foot traffic at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) when the new airport terminal gets completed, the Waterfront Airport Hotel and Casino (WAHC) will pour in at least P100 million for renovations starting with upgrading of all 164 rooms this year.

When the airport expansion is done, more flights would be added to Cebu and this would mean high traffic in the area, Maria Teresa Fernandez WAHC general manager said yesterday.

“Because of that we are preparing ourselves. We are the only hotel that have the advantage of proximity to the airport. With high traffic soon we are also looking at expanding our rooms,” said Fernandez.

She said they could expand up to 250 rooms in their property if they would see the need to do so in the next two years.

At present, the hotel is enjoying a 75 percent occupancy rate which was high compared to the industry rate of only 60 percent, she said.

“We don’t want to be complacent that is why we are investing this much to upgrade and continue to be a well preferred hotel by the travelers,” Fernandez said.

upgrade

The hotel upgrade has already started.

“Piping upgrading project is ongoing right now because we are going towards environment-friendly operations which will require that we install the best equipment that will help us achieve efficiency,” said Fernandez.

She added that aside from the piping system, they had already started replacing the halogen lights with LED lights as well as LED television sets are energy efficient.

The hotel is now on it’s 17th year this year and the owners think it would be the right time to upgrade their properties including Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino which had started its P300 million facelift in 2011.

Fernandez also said that the hotel was financing its own renovations through revenues it was generating.

By second quarter, the UNO which the hotel’s main restaurant will start its makeover.

“For that we will have to move it temporarily to one of the function rooms near the entrance of the Casino. The entire area will be boarded up to make sure that the hotel operations will not be hampered,” said Fernandez.

MCIA bidders

Meanwhile, more companies have publicly expressed their interest to bid for the P17.5 billion MCIA expansion project.

In last Wednesday’s pre-qualification conference held at the Edsa Shangri-la Hotel, four more companies expressed their intention to bid by purchasing pre-qualification documents.

These are First Philippines Holdings Corp. (FPHC), Premier Airport Group of the SM Investments Corp. (SMIC), Megawide Construction Corp. (MCC) and GMR Infrastructure Ltd.

FPHC is a holding company of the Lopez Group with core businesses into power generation and distribution, manufacturing, property and infrastructure.

MCC on the other hand is a listed construction company with work portfolios in residential developments and commercial buildings.

GMR Infrastructure Ltd. is an Indian firm with a global presence and interests in airport projects, energy, highways and urban infrastructure developments while SMIC is the holding firm of the SM Group founded by the Sy family which already have existing projects in Cebu including three full service malls and pocket retail chains under their Save More brand.

After the prequalification (PQ) conference, the submission of qualification documents by the companies is set on Feb. 27.

Other companies who participated in the bidding includes Filinvest Development Corp., Macro Asia Corp., Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. partnership, Prime Power Holdings Corp., South Korean company Samsung C&T Corp. and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB).

Cebu Capitol re-launches monthly Capitol magazine

(PNA), HBC/EB/RE

CEBU CITY, Feb. 14 (PNA) -- The Cebu Provincial Government Thursday re-launched its new magazine under a new name, “Cebu Monthly.”

Cebu Provincial Board Member Arleigh Sitoy, who heads the Capitol’s TV channel and news magazine, said they reduced the monthly magazine’s circulation by half from 60,000 to 30,000, bringing down printing costs per issue to P200,000 from P600,000.

He said the Capitol’s news magazine was re-launched on Valentine’s Day to “show Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale’s love for the freedom of the press.”

Among Magpale’s first actions upon taking over the duties of suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia last month were to shut down the Capitol news magazine, “Sugbo News,” and the cable TV channel “Sugbo TV.”

Magpale also decided to allow the Capitol cable TV channel to resume broadcast under the name “Cebu TV Ato Ni.”

Cebu TV will be led by Sitoy’s daughter, Natileigh Sitoy.

PB Member Sitoy said Capitol will no longer renew its contract with the satellite feed service provider after June, as it has not found a need for it.

The contract was supposed to end in May but Capitol convinced the private firm to extend the contract until June as the TV channel was off air from late December 2012 until middle of this month, he said.

He said the Capitol pays USD14,000 for the satellite feed for the TV channel.

He added that they have requested the cable TV carrier to expand the broadcast coverage of the Cebu TV to barangays in the province.

The Capitol TV channel airs a weekly 30-minute news program and other shows featuring festivals and other activities.

The Capitol employs 35 persons for the news magazine and TV channel.

When Magpale ordered the publication and TV channel shut, some of the affected personnel filed charges against the acting governor before the Ombudsman.

Cebu unites with the world in a dance vs violence to women

(PR)

“ONE woman somewhere in this country is beaten every 43 minutes. One in five at least once in their lifetime,” said Gabriela Women’s Party nominee and Gabriela Cebu chairperson Leny G. Ocasiones. "This is why we are rising."

Gabriela Cebu and Gabriela Women’s Party Cebu have partnered with the UP Cebu Gender and Development Office in organizing Cebu’s participation in the global movement “One Billion Rising.”

“One Billion Rising” was organized by VDAY, a group founded by Eve Ensler of the famous Vagina Monologues. It is an invitation for women and men all over the world to rise up and dance as a form of protest against unabated violence to women and children. Already, there are over 5,000 organizations from 184 countries who have committed to join the dance.

“In the Philippines, participants from key cities will be dancing. Aside from Cebu, there will be dancing in Quezon City, Baguio, Davao, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Kalibo, Albay, and many more,” said Ocasiones.

Central Visayas posted the third highest number of VAW cases last year in the country. While 1,447 cases seem to suggest that more women are coming out to report violence, we know that hundreds of women in the region still suffer in silence. With the social stigma and shame associated with rape and sexual abuse, and the lack of education on women's rights, the majority of victims are still out there.

Here in Cebu, the “One Billion Rising” event will be held at The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu at 3-5 p.m. of February 14. This day marks the simultaneous dancing of women, children, and all those who love them from all over the world.

Video messages from “One Billion Rising” national convenors like Monique Wilson and celebrity supporters shall be shown while local politicians will be giving their support statements.

Acting Cebu Governor Agnes Magpale and Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama are expected to join and give solidarity messages, as well as Vice Mayor Augustus Young and Cebu City Councilor Leah Japson.

There will also be presentations from the UP Cebu theater and dance troupes, as well as poetry readings from local poets.

Other conveners of One Billion Rising Cebu include the Bisdak Pride, Sidlak GRC 7, Good Shepherd Welcome House, Antonia de Oviedo Center, Nagkahiusang Kusog sa Estudyante (UP-Cebu), Student Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (USC), Legal Alternatives for Women Inc., The Fair Trade Shop Cebu and the Cebu Urban Poor Women’s League.

Capitol aid sought for biz confab

By Ador Mayol, Aileen Garcia-Yap (Cebu Daily News)

Now that the Capitol impasse is over, officials of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) found it ripe to call on the governor in her office.

Business leaders yesterday met Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale to seek the Capitol’s help in financing Cebu’s hosting of the 27th Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry to be next month.

CCCI president Prudencio Gesta said the event set on March 14 and 15 at the Radisson Blu Hotel would be a rare opportunity for Cebu to market itself as an investment hub in the Asia-Pacific region.

He said Magpale was supportive but did not commit a specific amount. “We told her about the initial arrangements we had with (suspended) Governor Gwen (Garcia) to host a welcome party for at least 500 delegates from Southeast Asia.”

“The acting governor said that the province will still extend that support. She is very open and supportive of the events,” he said.

“No matter how small, we will always consider the (provincial government) a major partner for the event and for other events like Cebu Business Month and the Chamber’s Centennial celebration this year as well,” Gesta said.

Other LGUs

Gesta said chamber officials will work hard to secure support from other local government units.

“Whatever it is, we should not limit our concern to the financial aspect,” he told reporters after the meeting.

Gesta said CCCI is also seeking support from Cebu City and other Metro Cebu LGUs.

Gesta said the political scenario in the Capitol hasn’t affected business in Cebu.

“As long as investors make money and they can get a return on their investment, that’s it,” he said.

The business conference will present proposals that would enable each country in the Asian region to be more resilient in the face of economic downturns and help local businessmen network with counterparts from other countries.

Metro Cebu board tackles bridge repairs

By Carmel Loise Matus (Correspondent, Cebu Daily News)

ACTING Gov. Agnes Magpale will meet with the Metro Cebu Bridge Management Board (MCBMB) on Wednesday to discuss plans for the repair of the Marcelo Fernan and old Mandaue-Mactan bridges.

“The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will do the repairs. But first the board should meet. Then work can start anytime after that date,” she said.

She said the agency will advance P774,000 to start repairs on the two bridges.

The DPWH-7 entered into an P18-million contract with contractor PLD Construction to replace the asphalt and corroded bars and steel trusses on the old Mactan-Mandaue Bridge.

About P27 million was set aside to replace the asphalt and two damaged expansion joints of the Fernan bridge.


‘It will rain money in Cebu’

By Aileen Garcia-Yap, Anabelle Lim-Balanzar (Cebu Daily News)

The year of the black water snake will be a “good year” for Cebu.

It will be so good that “it will literally rain money this year,” a geomancer and a “feng shui economist” said.

“The feng shui of Cebu is perfectly like Hong Kong’s. This is a good year for Cebu,” Master Aldric Dalumpines said ahead of today’s celebration of the Chinese New Year.

The year of the black water snake runs through Jan. 31, 2014.

“It will literally rain money this year,” Dalumpines said.

He said the coming into play of the sin tax and the reproductive health law as well as election-spending will fire up economic engines in the country this year with construction and real estate continuing as magnifiers of growth.

Dalumpines advised those who want to go into business to venture into anything related with water and to shun fire-related ones like restaurants.

To start the year right and attract more luck, feng shui expert Marites Allen is advising people to wear something “auspicious” and mystic knot blouses during the first day of the year.

Critical days

Allen said the first 15 days of the year are also very critical for one’s fortune for the rest of the year

She said people should be happier especially on these days.

Allen said that with today being the luckiest day of the year coincides with the number 8 prosperity star . One should wake up early and wear new clothes preferably with mystic knot prints or symbols of your Chinese zodiac sign.

“Play loud and happy music. Wish every member of the family a ‘Happy New Year’ and give children and young adults their angpaws (red money envelopes). From 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. everyone should gather as a family for breakfast. At the start of the meal, young children and young adults should offer sweet tea to their elders,” Allen wrote.

According to Harbour City Dimsum House Co., Inc. marketing manager Steven Kokseng, in Chinese tradition, all family members should be together especially during the first day of the year.

“It is said that you shouldn’t sweep, mop or vacuum nor do laundry as you might sweep away your luck,” Kokseng said.

Philippine Retailers Association past president and this year’s Cebu Business Month chairman Melanie Chua Ng said the Year of the Water Snake holds a lot of promise and prospects for businesses considering that the snake is known to be resourceful which implies that businesses are expected to survive and grow this year.

“Every year we gather with our family during the eve of the New Year. It’s considered our bonding day and we usually give each other the prosperity bread to wish all of our family members a prosperous year ahead,” Ng said.

She said they give out tikoy and huat kueh to family members and colleagues in the business.

“Huat kueh is considered the prosperity cake while tikoy is best given to families because of its sticky texture and sweet taste for an abundant and sweet year ahead,” Ng said.

Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry past president Eric Ng Mendoza also said they gather during the eve of the New Year and eat as one family in a big round table.

“We serve fish, Peking duck, prawns and prosperity cakes, and sweet round fruits which are considered lucky,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said the business community in general is expecting a good year ahead this year.

“The snake is a stable and strong animal with a strong survival instinct which implies that businesses this year will flourish and survive and just keep growing. Snakes always possess material wealth and symbolizing grace,” Mendoza said.

International Pharmaceuticals, Inc vice president for sales and marketing Stanley Uang said that they follow certain traditions like giving of angpao and wearing red.

“We usually celebrate it by dining together with the closest of relatives and with those who happens to be here. The most common ritual is dressing up oneself in red or wearing red garments and of course the favorites among the children is the receiving angpaos from the older relatives,” he said.

Uang added that the Chinese consider the snake as a lucky animal hence, this year is generally regarded as a good year for the economy.

“Plus the water element connotes money,” he said.

Some businessmen however, said that pne should not just rely on lucky charms and traditional practices to attract good luck.

“It will always help if one works hard for their business to grow and not totally rely on what the stars say.

“Blindly believing in prosperity in every new year by doing nothing will not make any difference. Hard work coupled with innovation and kindness in our lives are keys to peace and continuous blessing in everything we do,” said Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Philip N. Tan.

Cebu, CV sustain growth for 3rd year

By Aileen Garcia-Yap (Cebu Daily News)

Central Visayas sustained growth rate in at least the last three years with last year’s Gross Regional Domestic Production higher than the 6.6 percent national average.

For this growth to be inclusive a senior economist at the National Economic Development Authority in Region 7 (Neda 7) said that more investments are still needed in the manufacturing sector.

“Manufacturing should be revitalized to develop a ‘two-legged’ economy that is not only dependent to industry and services sector,” said Efren Carreon, asst. regional director of Neda 7.

To sustain the growth, Carreon said that we need to push for more manufacturing investments which will help balance the industries that fuel the economy of the region.

Employment also improved based on figures as of October 2012 with 93.5 percent employment in the region which according to Carreon will validate the improvement in the region’s economic condition fueled by the outsourcing and construction boom, retail expansion and solid outsourcing sector.

Although employment rates are higher in Central Visayas, sustained growth will further increase its capacity to absorb unemployment in neighboring regions.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Prudencio Gesta agrees on the need to expand Cebu’s and the CV’region’s manufacturing and agriculture sectors to create more jobs.

“I strongly believe that Central Visayas can sustain its GDP growth momentum this year as its economic growth drivers like ICT/BPOs, tourism, construction, real estate development, OFW deployment. Trading and other economic activities remain on its upward trend and can generate more employment opportunities,” said Gesta.

Underemployment also improved from 22 percent in April 2012 to 18.4 percent in October last year.

“Construction grew by 21.5 percent which is the highest among all sectors. The construction boom provided jobs for those who cannot land jobs in the outsourcing sector,” said Carreon.

“This was helped by the entrance of KPO or knowledge process outsourcing companies which allows those who feel underemployed in call centers now land a job that better suit them in the KPO companies which pays more,” said Carreon.

RETAIL EXPANSION

While the outsourcing sector has been doing so much for the economy, Carreon said that developing the manufacturing sector can help solve unemployment and stimulate higher spending capacity among the population thus resulting to a more vibrant economy.

Based on partial 2012 data, the Central Visayas, whose economic hub is Cebu, will surpass the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 6.6 percent and will remain on the top five fastest growing economy in the country.

Carreon estimates real Gross Regional Domestic Production (GRDP) growth rate in the region between 7 to 8 percent.

“In 2012 we have sustained economic growth as preliminary indicators show that most likely we’ll have higher than the national GDP. We have always surpassed the national average,” said Carreon.

Central Visayas had the highest growth rate in 2010 with 12.5 percent compared to national average of 7.6 percent. In 2011, the national GDP growth was 3.9 percent, but Central Visayas, composed of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor provinces registered a GRDP growth of 7.5 percent.

In 2011 the services sector was the biggest contributor of the GRDP at 56 percent at P336 billion while industry followed with 36 percent contribution at P214 billion.

“Total GRDP in 2011 was P602 billion. In 2012 the target was 6.5 percent to 7 percent growth or a GRDP of P641 billion,” said Carreon.

Industry sector includes mining and quarrying, manufacturing, construction, electricity, gas and water supply.

Services sector includes transport, storage and communication; trade; real estate renting and business services which includes the outsourcing sector and the tourism sector.

“The real estate renting and business services is one of the highest growing sector which grew by 10.9 percent in 2011, this is a good indicator and we expect the same trend for 2012,” said Carreon.

In 2012, there were 17 new outsourcing companies that set shop in Cebu. The employment is now estimated at 90,000 concentrated in IT parks and IT accredited buildings in the region.

Tourism grew by 12.2 percent as of first quarter of 2012 with 565,898 foreign tourists and 891,006 domestic travelers.

2013 Target

This year, the target GRDP growth is 6.7 percent to 7.3 percent which according to Carreon is achievable especially that 2013 is an election year.

According to Cebu Business Club president Gordon Alan Joseph “we need to once and for all breakdown the barriers that have made the Philippines an Asian laggard in attracting foreign investments. We are moving there but too slowly. Our people need jobs – today. Foreign Direct Investment creates jobs. And jobs are a major tool in fighting poverty.”

Cebu’s tourism players back VAT exemption for tourists

(PNA), PDS/EB/BH

CEBU CITY, Feb. 8 (PNA) -- Cebu’s tourism players have supported the retailers’ move to ask Congress to exempt foreign tourists from paying value-added tax (VAT).

Entrepreneur Jonathan Jay Aldeguer on Friday said the move would show that the country was serious about its tourism.

”This is a wonderful move to signal and convey the message to visitors that we appreciate their business. Just like liberalizing visa requirements, these tax incentives will be an added lure to make the Philippines, indeed, more than,” said Aldeguer, president and chief executive officer of The Islands Group.

The Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) earlier announced plans to seek VAT exemption for foreign tourists to encourage them to shop more in their stay in the country.

PRA chairman emeritus Samie Lim was quoted in news reports as saying other countries already exempt foreign tourists from having to pay VAT.

”It is not right to tax tourists because they only stay here for a while, so they don’t really make use of the basic services that government gives locals from revenues generated,” Lim said.

Hans Hauri, vice president of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines for the Visayas, said he would support the move because it would encourage foreign tourists to spend more.

But, he said,regulations need to be put in place in terms of quality of goods, minimum purchase, refund mechanism and even location of refund counters.

”We might start with Duty-Free shops first on a trial basis. Let’s do some math to evaluate the potential expenses of the scheme,” Hauri said.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) tourism chairperson Dr. Milagros Espina echoed the sentiment saying the initiative should be carefully studied.

She said foreign tourists would still shop with or without VAT exemption, given the Philippine products were relatively cheaper and varied.

”Perhaps we should look for other incentives for both local and foreign buyers. That is how other countries attract shoppers,” she said.

Cebu Business Club president Gordon Allan Joseph said the move should be considered urgent because this was already done in almost every major tourism-oriented country, including Singapore and Thailand.

”We should do it and do it well as it will strengthen our tourism product,” Joseph said.

SB Corporation OKs P3M fund for creative industries in Cebu

(DTI)

QUEZON CITY, Feb. 7 -- The Small Business Corporation (SB Corp.) approved the P3 million seed fund for the special financing program for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the creative industries in Cebu.

“This special program is the first institutional financing program for creative entrepreneurs in the country. It seeks to address the challenges on financing access of MSMEs in the creative industries and creative services sector,” Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Merly M. Cruz said in a statement.

The creative sectors include music, visual arts, film, animation, graphic design, fashion design, industrial design, multimedia, writing-based industries, and the performing arts. These sectors also cuts across the creative, high-value, intellectual property (IP) industries such as information and communication technology (ICT) and design; and creative services such as advertising and architecture.

This special financing program have two types of financing facilities: (1) direct lending to creative entrepreneurs; and (2) soft and transaction loan for creative services, which is a business to business scheme where MSMEs are encouraged to tap the services of creative firms to spur innovation and creativity.

“Through this financing program, the DTI intends to support and complement SB Corporation’s programs and services, and improve the viability and global competitiveness of MSMEs in the creative sectors by increasing their access to appropriate and affordable financing,” Cruz said.

SB Corp. is a government financial institution (GFI) attached to the DTI that provides financing aid to MSMEs.

“Together with SB Corp., other institutional partners and industry stakeholders, our provincial office in Cebu looks forward to implement this financing program in the province this year,” DTI- Cebu Provincial Director Nelia V. F. Navarro said.

BOC Cebu surpasses P8.6 billion target in 2012

By Joy Cherry Quito (Correspondent, Cebu Daily News), FFC/EB/BH

Despite a sharp decrease in revenue collection in the last four months of 2012, the Bureau of Customs Cebu District was able to surpass its P8.6 billion target.

Behind this solid revenue collection was Kepco-SPC Power Corp. which operates a 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Naga City and SteelAsia Manufacturing Corporation, Cebu Customs District Collector Ronnie Silvestre said.

Also notable in 2012 is the entry of a food processing company in the top 20 importers – the Virginia Food Corp.

He added, the performance of Customs Cebu District would have been higher had Seaoil Philippines, Inc. maintained its operations here. Last September, Seaoil, Inc. which was the top importer in 2011 moved their operations to Bacolod.

Last year’s revenue collection performance is an improvement to 2011′s performance where the Cebu District had a shortfall of P100-million.

“We are hopeful that they would increase their importation volume this year,” Silvestre said, who admitted that smuggling in the Cebu International Port is still a problem.

To address this, Silvestre said, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has to strengthen the law enforcement operations of the Customs Police.

Silvestre will turn over the reign of the Customs Cebu District to Edward dela Cuesta, who was reassigned from the Clark International Airpor in Pampanga, today.

The Customs Cebu District will host today the BOC’s 111th anniversary at the old Customs Building near Plaza Independencia.

This the first time the BOC will celebrate its anniversary outside Manila.

The reshuffling of district collectors according to Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon is one of the measures the agency is undertaking to meet 2013 revenue collection target of P394 billion.

“We are now doing a re-configuration of our organizational structure, especially among our frontline officials, to re-position our district collectors where they can be most productive.” Biazon said in a statement in the BOC website, www.customs.gov.ph.

PHL can attract tourists with infra development, Thai official says

(PNA), FFC/EB/BH

CEBU CITY, Feb. 5 (PNA) -- Infrastructure development can help the Philippines attract more tourists, a top tourism official from Thailand said.

Phanom Kaributa, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) executive director for Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), South Asia and South Pacific Region department, said aggressive tourism promotions and improved infrastructure and tourism services drew tourists to Thailand.

He said that if the Philippines and other Asian countries do the same things, they will also have a surge in tourist arrivals.

”You have an advantage because you are an English-speaking nation. You also have nice and hospitable people but your country needs to develop infrastructure and service,” Kaributa said.

Infrastructure development has long been a concern among tourism players in Cebu.

Plantation Bay Resorts and Spa general manager Efren Belarmino said that aside from developing more products, the government should also address pressing problems on infrastructure, particularly road improvements.

He said that although hotels and resorts in Lapu-Lapu have enjoyed the boom in sports activities, bad roads that are causing traffic have inconvenienced tourists.

Kaributa said that when people go on vacation, they look for places that are safe with good tourism services like great food and leisure destinations.

They also prefer places where people are hospitable, honest and friendly.

TAT officials were in Cebu for their promotional roadshow in the Philippines.

This year, the organization will also visit Davao City, aside from Manila and Cebu.

Officials said the objective of the roadshow is to promote Thailand to Filipinos in the hope of increasing Filipino arrivals in Thailand by 13 percent this year.

According to TAT director Kanokkittika Kritwutikon, 288,000 Filipinos visited Thailand in 2012, up by 6.7 percent compared to the figure in 2011.

Although the Philippines is not included in Thailand’s top 10 travel markets, Kritwutikon said the country is an attractive market because of its proximity to Thailand, which is about three and a half hour of travel time.

”Hitting the 13 percent growth for Filipino arrivals in quite difficult that is why we need to join hands with the various travel agencies in the Philippines,” she said.

Thailand achieved a record-breaking visitor arrivals of 22 million for the first time last year. The figure is a 15.98 percent growth over 2011.

A strong growth is seen from China with projected arrivals of 2.7 million this year, surpassing Thailand’s top market, Malaysia, with only 2.5 million in projected arrivals.

TAT governor Suraphon Svetasreni said the primary contributor of the growth was the “prevalence of global, regional and local peace and stability.”

”Travel and tourism can only flourish worldwide if the underlying conditions that support it remain free of disturbance and disruption. That is one of the most important lessons for the entire industry to learn worldwide,” Svetasreni said.

Kaributa said Thailand has an influx of tourists every year because the country has a lot to offer in terms of food, culture, shopping, destination and entertainment. The country has also strengthened beauty, health and wellness and eco-tourism programs.

”You get your money’s worth in Thailand,” he said.

But despite Thailand’s progressive tourism industry, Kaributa said they are not in competition with the Philippines.

He said both countries can work together to lure more tourists to visit the ASEAN region.

By 2015 all 21 ASEAN economies will be integrated, creating a single market and distribution base with full economic integration.

”We are now becoming borderless with flow of human resources becoming seamless so countries, like Thailand and the Philippines, should work together as one ASEAN nation and should not consider each other as competitors,” he said.

TAT is confident of increasing tourism arrivals of Thailand to 24.5 million this year, with a projected tourism income of 1,149 billion baht.

Real estate giant, subsidiary to add P5-B investments in Cebu

(PNA), LGI/EB/GB

CEBU CITY, Feb. 3 (PNA) -- Property developer Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) and its subsidiary Cebu Holdings Inc. (CHI), which have invested a total of P14 billion in Cebu in the last three years, are pouring in a fresh investment of P5 billion for its various projects in the province this year.

Included in the capital expenditure (capex) for Cebu is the P1.6-billion ACC Corporate Center, which will soon rise on the western side of the Ayala Center Cebu property along Bohol Street at the Cebu Business District, and other residential and retail projects.

ALI president Antonio Aquino said this new investment for Cebu is a testament of their optimism and confidence in Cebu’s thriving economy, as shown by the performance of Cebu Park District, which covers the Cebu IT Park and Cebu Business Park (CBP).

He said the establishment of the ACC Corporate Center will now make the Cebu Business Park development fully-integrated with elements like hotel, retail, residential and corporate officers in place.

”This will be a new home to business process outsourcing (BPO) locators,” Aquino said during the project’s ground-breaking ceremony.

The ACC Corporate Center, which sits on a 3,424-square-meter property, is envisioned to be a 20-storey, Grade A building, which will cater to the office space requirements of BPO locators and will complete the “live, work, play” concept at the CBP.

The building will have 12 floors of office spaces with a total gross leasable area of 28,574 sq.m., two floors for retail establishments which will operate 24/7 and six levels of parking.

”This is the first of its kind here and is completely attached to the Ayala Center Cebu. It is located near the terminal, the proposed bus rapid transit and its situated in the very center of things,” said Aquino.

He noted that new and existing BPO firms have already expressed interest in the building, but no formal agreements have been signed yet.

“One unique element of our products that has attracted buyers is that our products are right in the middle of a thriving community,” he said.

ACC Corporate Center’s completion is slated in the second quarter of 2015.

As for its other projects, Aquino reported brisk sales of its residential projects both at the CBP and Cebu IT Park.

He said the units of high-end 1016 Residences and two towers of Solinea condominium projects are already sold out.

The company is now preparing the flow-through of the third tower of Solinea and Avida Riala at the Cebu IT Park.

CBP and Cebu IT Park have five residential projects each that are still under construction.

Top 20 importers pay more than half of P8.8B Cebu Customs collection in 2012

(PNA), HBC/EB/BH

CEBU CITY, Feb. 2 (PNA) -- Cebu’s top 20 importers contributed more than 50 percent of the P8.8 billion duties and taxes collected for 2012 by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) Port of Cebu, a senior official said.

Outgoing Cebu Customs District Collector Ronnie Silvestre said these 20 top importers also provided jobs to the Cebuanos and taxes to local government units (LGUs).

The companies are Kepco-SPC Power Corp., which paid P771.9 million in duties and taxes; Steel Asia Manufacturing Corp., P691.2 million;

Seaoil Philippines Inc., P481.5 million; TWA Inc., P211.1 million; CMK Trading, P192.2 million; Tridharma Marketing Corp. P189 million; Carmen Copper Corp., P166.6 million;

Apo Cement Corp., P159 million; Maxima Machineries Inc., P148.2 million; Cebu Energy Development Corp., P145.5 million; Petron Corp., P141.3 million; Taiheiyo Cement Phils. Inc., P131.8 million;

Adelc Trading, P127.4 million; Petronas Energy Phils. Inc., P125 million; Ajinomoto Phils. Corp., P109.4 million; JM-ARS Trading, P108.6 million; International Pharmaceuticals Inc., P94.8 million; A.D. Gothong Manufacturing Corp., P79.3 million; Pryce Gases Inc., P78 million; and Virginia Foods Inc., P77.3 million.

Of the P8.8 billion in collections of the Port of Cebu, P4.228 billion came from these 20 importers.

The P3.861 billion was paid by other importers, P428 million came from the Sub-Port of Mactan under Collector Paul Alcazaren, while the P79 million came from the Port of Dumaguete.

Of the top importers, Kepco-SPC , which is number one, and Cebu Energy Development Corp., which is number 10, are in power generation.

Apo, which is number eight, and Taheiyo, which is number 12, are engaged in cement production.

Seaoil, which is in number three, Petron, which is in number 11, and Petronas which is number 14, are engaged in fuel distribution.

Silvestre said the P8.8 billion collection in 2012 is higher than that in 2011, which was P8.7 billion.

He said the volume of importation decreased but the revenue collections went up because of the correct computation of duties and increasing vigilance of customs personnel.

CA upholds ruling on CICC payments

By Gerome M. Dalipe and Oscar C. Pineda

THE Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the lower court’s ruling directing the Cebu Provincial Government to pay a private contractor P257.4 million for more work done on the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC).

The appeals court denied the appeal filed by Capitol, which questioned the order of the Cebu City Regional Trial Court (RTC) finding them liable to pay WT Construction Inc. (WTCI) for the extra construction cost.

“The Province of Cebu, in failing to promptly pay WTCI and attempting to evade its liability, acted maliciously and in bad faith,” read the decision written by Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando for the CA’s 20th Division.

Acting Governor Agnes Magpale’s office has yet to receive a copy of the CA decision.

Lawyer Czareem Joseph Estella, Magpale’s consultant, declined from commenting on the decision until they receive the notice from the CA.

Without pre-empting Magpale’s move, Estella assured that there are legal remedies available to the Province, such as filing a motion for reconsideration or appealing it before the Supreme Court.

WTCI filed a civil case for sum of money against Capitol for its refusal to pay for works made on Phase 2 of the CICC in 2006.

On Feb. 26, 2006, WTCI won the bidding for the construction of the CICC, which was used as one of the venues of the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit.

When the construction of Phase 1 of the CICC was completed, the Province requested WTCI to complete Phase 2 of the project.

When Phase 2 was nearing completion, Capitol later contracted WTCI to perform additional works such as site development, structural, architectural, electrical and plumbing works. When all the works were completed, the contractor said Capitol refused to pay.

Replying to the suit, the Province argued that the additional works being claimed by WTCI were not acknowledged and did not pass the bids and awards committee (BAC) of the Province.

Since there was no contract for additional works, the Province said payment to WTCI would be questionable and illegal.

On May 20, 2009, Judge Ester Veloso of the RTC Branch 6 ordered Capitol to pay WTCI P263,263,261.41 for the site development, structural, architectural, plumbing and electrical work done by the contractor.

The Province was also directed to pay 12 percent legal interest per year from Jan. 22, 2008 and P50,000 as lawyer’s fees.

Judge Veloso ruled that an “oral contract” was perfected between WTCI and Capitol for the additional works.

Denying payment to WTCI would be tantamount to “unjust enrichment” on Capitol’s part, the judge said.

The Province filed a motion for reconsideration and contested the awarded amount.

Veloso partially granted Capitol’s appeal and reduced the liability from P263,263,261.41 to P257,413,911.73.

In the decision, the appeals court upheld with modification the trial court’s ruling, saying the awards were “definitely justified.”

“Concededly, it has already been established that the Province of Cebu is obligated to pay WTCI for the additional construction work, which it satisfactorily rendered,” the CA said.

The CA reduced legal interest per year from 12 percent to six percent, to be computed from Jan. 22, 2008 until full payment is made.

Earlier, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has approved the filing of formal criminal and administrative cases against suspended governor Gwendolyn Garcia and six Capitol officials for allegedly giving WTCI unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference.

The six co-accused in the case, who compose the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), are identified in the final evaluation report as chairman Eduardo Habin, vice chairman Marino Martinquilla, and members Roy Salubre, Emmy Hingoyon, Ernesto Biernes and Eulogio Pelayre.

The respondents are facing charges for alleged violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.