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Cebu Province News January 2013

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Province of Cebu - Archived News

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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
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Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
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Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm


Cebu grad lands in top 10 of nurse licensure exam


CEBU CITY, Jan. 31 (PNA) -- The eldest child of a carenderia owner in Mandaue City is the only Cebu graduate who topped the 2012 Nurse Licensure Examination administered last December.

Christina Ligaya Jalandoni Iway, 21, from the University of San Carlos (USC), got a score of 84, landing the ninth place of a total of 16,908 successful examinees.

Iway shared the ninth spot with 18 others.

Eighty examinees landed on the top 10 of the exam, which was taken by 49,066 nursing graduates all over the country, according to the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

The results of the exams were posted on the PRC website Wednesday.

The licensure exam was conducted simultaneously in December in testing centers in Manila, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Dagupan, Davao, Iloilo, Laoag, Legazpi, Lucena, Nueva Ecija, Pagadian, Pampanga, Tacloban, Tuguegarao and Zamboanga.

Iway said she plans to help her mother, Carmencita, with the schooling of her two younger siblings.

Her mother sells viand in their house in Barangay Opao in Mandaue City to support the family. Her father passed away three years ago.

She said her mother’s income could not pay for all their expenses, but she was able to finish her studies with the support of a cousin, who is a nurse in a hospital in the United States.

”I know she’s having a difficult time. That’s my motivation to do my best,” Iway said, adding that she reviewed every day for the exam after graduating in April last year.

She said she did not expect to land on the top 10. She added that she and her mother cried when they saw the results.

She thanked her teachers, clinical instructors and USC college of nursing dean Antonia Pascual.

Pascual said there were 412 USC students who took the exam for the first time and 127 re-takers. She added that 262 of the first-time takers passed but only 26 re-takers were successful.

”We have a very high passing rate with 63.59 percent, the national passing rate is only 34 percent,” said Pascual.

Cebu-based fruit processing firm wins international certifications


CEBU CITY, Jan. 30 (PNA) -- A Cebu-based fruit processing company has passed international standards for food manufacture, boosting its plans to reach more foreign buyers.

M. Lhuillier Food Products Inc. (MLFPI), a fruit processing company founded in 1989, was awarded the certifications for complying with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) System.

MLFPI marketing officer Divine S. Bantilan said preparations for the certification took almost a year and after they applied for it in November 2012, they were certified the next month.

The GMP and HACCP certifications, which are valid until Dec. 16, 2015, are so far the most significant for MLFPI, she said, in addition to food safety certifications previously acquired from the Natural Products Association (NPA).

The company’s products have also been certified as “halal” or food ritually fit according to Islamic law.

With most of their clients, especially in the US and Europe, inquiring if MLFPI is internationally certified, the next step for the company is to level up its certifications to reach a wider export market, said MLFPI general manager Perry Ong.

After GMP and HACCP, Ong said the company will work on their application for certification by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 22000, a global standard in food safety management.

Ong said their products are available in domestic outlets, but these are directed to tourists.

Exports to 11 countries translate to about 70 percent of their total sales.

Bantilan said they are eyeing an increase in market share in the US and Europe, and are encouraged by their positive reception in the United Kingdom and Germany.

Japan is MLFPI’s biggest market, accounting for 40 percent of expert receipts, followed by the US, Singapore and Malaysia.

Thailand is the country’s leading competitor, which was able to produce dried products that are 40 to 50 percent cheaper.

But Ong is confident that maintaining the unique quality of local mangoes and banking on hygienic standards will continue to be MLFPI’s edge over the competition.

MLFPI proprietors Michel and Amparito Lhuillier expressed their gratitude for the certifications and are optimistic that with GMP and HACCP’s certifications, it will be easier for MLFPI to channel products worldwide.

The company has around 8,200 employees.

MLFPI concentrates at present on dried fruit products, including mangoes, coconut, soursop, papaya, tamarind, jackfruit, melon and pineapple.

Central Visayas LGUs receive Presidential Awards as Child-Friendly city, towns

By Hazel F. Gloria (PIA-7/HFG/DSWD-7)

CEBU CITY, Jan 29 (PIA) -- The city of Talisay in Cebu and the towns of Tubigon in Bohol and Pilar in Cebu has received the Presidential Awards as Child-Friendly City and Municipalities in Central Visayas for 2012.

This award is conferred in recognition to the vital role of the Local Government Units (LGUs) in the promotion, protection and participation as well as child friendly governance.

Its objective is to institutionalize a child friendly environment in the country.

This Presidential Award for Child-Friendly Municipality and City which was launched in November l999 is a support activity of the Child Friendly Movement initiated by the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC), the government’s focal agency on children’s concern.

With the awards received, the Council hopes to have more LGUs learn to prioritize and address issues and concerns affecting the full realization of the rights of children and monitor and evaluate the implementation of the programs and services for children.

Awardees which were screened by the evaluation committee composed of regional representatives from Department of Interior and Local Government( DILG), Department of Education ( DepEd), Department of Health (DOH) and the National Economic, Development Authority ( NEDA) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) chaired by regional director Ma. Evelyn Macapobre of the DSWD.

The awardees received P50 thousand cash each and a Child-friendly Seal from the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC).

The tool for the selection includes the following indicators: Planning and Policy Formulation (15%); Resource allocation (15%); Service delivery (40% comprising of health and nutrition 20%, education 10%, social protection 10%); Institution Building 10%; Child Participation 10% ; and community participation 10%.

These regional winners will soon compete in the national search to be held in Manila this year.

Tourist arrivals in Cebu rose by 10.63% in 2012


CEBU CITY, Jan. 28 (PNA) -- Some two million visitors arrived in Cebu from January to November in 2012, the latest data from the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 show.

The arrivals grew by 10.63 percent from the 1.8 million arrivals recorded in the same period in 2011.

Arrivals from the top 10 foreign travel markets totaled 802,371, up by 14.93 percent.

Korea led the list with 386,322 arrivals, posting a 10.61-percent growth from 349,266 arrivals in 2011.

Among the key markets that posted significant growth was Russia, whose arrivals grew by 40.21 percent or 10,779 arrivals from 7,688 in 2011. It ranked fifth in the list, overtaking China, which is now in the sixth spot.

The increased number of Russian tourism in Cebu can be credited to the marketing efforts led by Russian Honorary Consul Armi Lopez-Garcia.

At least 487 Russian tourists visited Cebu in September last year.

According to the Russian Federation-Philippines, that was by far the largest group that arrived, a significant development in terms of tourism and relations with Russia.

Earlier, Garcia said Cebu should attract the Russian market as they are long-staying tourists and are big spenders.

Next to Korea with the most number of arrivals is Japan, whose arrivals grew by 24.30 percent. Japanese arrivals in the first 11 months of 2012 totaled 179,336, compared to the 144,275 arrivals in 2011.

This was followed by United States of America with 75,659 arrivals, which grew by 14.20 percent. Australia landed in the fourth spot with arrivals of 24,085, up by 13.61 percent.

Although overtaken by Russia, arrivals from China continued to grow. Their number grew by 11.07 percent or 26,597 arrivals.

Other markets that posted strong growth were Germany with 14.588 arrivals, growing at 13.27 percent; Singapore at 11,041 up by 8.55 percent; and United Kingdom, up by 16.01 percent for a total of 13,885 arrivals.

Arrivals from Canada, meanwhile, dropped from 9,996 in 2011 to 9,917 last year.

DOTC releases guidelines on Mactan airport bidding


MANILA, Jan. 27 (PNA) -- The government on Friday released the guidelines under which prospective bidders to the expanding Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) may get to physically inspect the facilities of the country’s second largest airport, starting today, January 28.

Prospective bidders consider such inspection of paramount importance and were told by the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) they have one month or until February 18 to do what they must.

In a supplemental bulletin issued on January 23, 2013, lawyer Jose Perpetuo M. Lotilla, undersecretary for legal affairs and chairman of the Pre-Qualification Bids and Awards Committee, acknowledged the exercise will allow interested parties to familiarize themselves with actual site conditions at the MCIA necessary for making an intelligent bid.

But rules specify only those who have purchased so-called invitation documents known as Instructions To Prospective Bidders or ITPB may get to inspect the airport facilities and only those who have formally requested may do so under as set of strictures issued by the PQBA.

For instance, ocular inspections happen only on Thursdays and Friday from 8:00 in the morning to 5:00 in the afternoon for a team of authorized representatives no more than five.

Video recorders are prohibited although photos may be taken subject to prior MCIA permission.

The government also reserved the right to deny access to certain areas of the airport under relevant restrictions issued by the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation, Bureau of Customs, the Bureau of Quarantine, the Civil Aviation Authority and other lawful authorities at the airport.

The guidelines were silent on the matter of allowing groups with interests, regardless of extent, in airline operations to participate in the exercise.

Prospective participants such as the JG Summit Group and San Miguel Corp. have been initially excluded from participation although their executives told reporters the exclusion provision is under appeal.

Unless the government is convinced otherwise, only the Ayala Corp.-Aboitiz Equity Ventures tandem and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. may participate at the February 18, 2013 submission and opening of the qualification documents.

Cebu tourism players brace for Chinese market rebound

By Ehda M. Dagooc

CEBU, Philippines - While bookings from the Chinese market has started to pick-up in Cebu as the Chinese new year approaches, industry players expressed concern of uncertainty of receiving more bookings from this particular market.

“There is still a degree of uncertainty, issuing VISA to the Philippines [from the Chinese government]. And the question of mobilizing sufficient flights in a relatively short time [17 days left] is a concern,” said Hotel, Resort an Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) president Hans Hauri.

Hauri, the general manager for Marco Polo Plaza Cebu said that his hotel have received bookings from different groups from mainland China, from Guangzhou Province, Shanghai and Taiwan.

Other hotels in the City reported have good booking status from the Chinese market this year, compared to the almost-zero booking in 2012.

Cebu Parklane International Hotel general manager Cenelyn Manguilimotan said that the hotel has blocked 100 rooms for its Chinese guests that will spend their Chinese New Year vacation in Cebu this year.

According to Manguilimotan the Chinese visitors are booked to stay in 241-rooms from February 10 to 14. Last year, she said the hotel got no booking from this particular market for the Chinese new year season.

Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu director for sales and marketing Ann Olalo reported that the hotel is preparing to host 10 groups to come by batches, on a tour series package that will be brought by the Dong Fang Chartered Flights.

“China market is picking up. February is a good gauge for the market’s come back, starting with the Chinese New Year,” said Olalo in an interview.

Hauri said that Cebu hotels are generally preparing for the Chinese market rebound.

“We are ready to welcome back our friends from China to show them why ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines.’ There will be the Xin Nien Festival at Ayala Center Cebu to celebrate Chinese new year, the start of the water snake,” he said adding that HRRAC-member hotels make special efforts to decorate their lobbies with the traditional colors of red and gold.

“Marco Polo is adding firecrackers, lion-dance, ushering out dragon and welcoming the snake, tossing of the Yee sang for prosperity, sharing red packets/laycees and all the delicacies of the occasion at the Cafe Marco Buffet,” added Hauri.

Prior to the travel ban of the Republic of China government against the Philippines middle of this year, due to “territorial dispute, the DOT has announced its plan to attract considerable number of Chinese tourist getting a bigger chunk of the 88 million Chinese who are expected to travel outside of their country in the next four years.

According to DOT, the Philippines is counting the Chinese market as one of the top growth drivers for tourism arrivals in the Philippines, while it has seen a significant turn-around of arrivals from China in the last few months.

Cebu eyes growth in creative industries


Enjoying hefty gains from shipbuilding the information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO), Cebu is setting it sights on another growth area: the design sector.

“Cebu in terms of economic growth has outpaced NCR [National Capital Region] due to relatively lower economic base and very strong economic drivers – IT-BPO, shipbuilding,” Francis Monera, vice president for Visayas of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told reporters in an interview Thursday.

The IT-BPO industry pays the province P12-billion in annual salaries, and 80 percent of national shippers have set up headquarters in Cebu.

IT-BPO and shipbuilding rely on a talented human resource pool, largely Filipinos in the Visayas and Mindanao who flock to Cebu instead of studying and then working in Manila.

“We are rich in the pool of talents, producing about 25,000 graduates a year. And the schools... focus on the needs of the present sector,” said Prudencio Gesta, president Cebu Chamber of Commerce & Industry (CCCI).

Gesta noted that Cebu also offers talents for design sector, particularly in furniture, accessory, web design, and animation.

“There are also vast talents and opportunities for this sector,” he said, adding that the chamber wants to focus on growing this sector in the next years.

“Focus on the creative or design sector started last year,” Lito Maderazo, CCCI vice president for finance and administration, noted.

“And we would like to see this improve in terms of investment exports volume,” he added.

The CCCI is setting up a creative sector booth for the Annual Conference of the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) on March 14 to 15 at Radisson Blu Hotel in Cebu City.

CCCI snagged the conference hosting last year – after a fierce, competitive bidding.

Maderazo said the conference, with 500 delegates coming in from different national chambers of commerce from 27 nations of CACCI, is an opportunity for businessmen to shore up investments and build ties with potential foreign investors.

During the conference sessions issues and opportunities on textiles and garments, tourism, chemicals, food and agriculture, water, energy and environment, contracting and construction, SME development, women entrepreneurship, and youth entrepreneurship will be tackled.

Talisay, Pilar win presidential awards for being child-friendly

By Garry B. Lao (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez will receive the Presidential Awards for the city after it was chosen as one of the child-friendly cities and municipalities in the region for 2012.

Pilar town in Camotes Island has also been named a child-friendly town.

Both Talisay and Pilar will represent Cebu in the national search for the most child-friendly municipalities and cities.

Talisay City will also receive P50,000 as prize.

“We would like to invite you and your City Social Welfare and Development Officer to share this joyful occasion with us and receive your cash prize of P50,000 and child friendly seal as the regional winner under the component city category of the search,” the letter from DSWD-region VII read.

Aside from Talisay City, the Presidential Awards for Child Friendly Cities and Municipalities will also be given to Bohol (1st-3rd class municipality category) and Pilar in Camotes, Island, Cebu (4th-6th class category).

Pilar was also included in the national finals last year while this is Talisay City’s first nomination.

Last October 13, both local government units were recognized by the Cebu Provincial Government, through the Provincial Council for the Welfare of Children, for this feat.

Talisay City also emerged as the top-placer in the provincial level for the component city category.

However, despite being a consistent regional and provincial winner in the past years, the municipality of Pilar was outdone by the municipality of Oslob, which won in the fourth to sixth-class municipality category in the province search.

Cebu Provincial Board okays P3.259-B 2013 budget


CEBU CITY, Jan. 22 (PNA) -- The Cebu Provincial Board (PB) Monday approved a P3.259-billion budget for this year, but it is P400 million less than the proposed budget.

Among the items whose appropriations were cut are non-office expenditures, maintenance and other operating expenses and that of the Provincial Information Office.

PB members also decided to reduce their P5-million Legislative Assistance Fund (LAF) by P1 million. This brings down each PB member’s LAF to P4 million.

The approved budget is about P400 million lower than the P3.67 billion proposed by the executive branch.

PB Member Peter John Calderon, committee on budget and appropriation chairman, said this year’s budget is 11 percent lower than last year’s P3.659 billion.

He assured that the appropriations for hospitals and basic services have not been reduced.

He said the proposed budget had to be reduced because the Capitol’s revenues decreased.

Calderon also pointed out that the Province has P1 billion in payables.

Cebu Capitol gets P119-M partial IRA for January


CEBU CITY, Jan. 21 (PNA) -- The Cebu Provincial Government has received P119.7 million or 80 percent of its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for January 2013.

The remaining 20 percent of Cebu province's IRA share will be released on Jan. 24, said Acting Cebu Gov. Agnes Magpale.

Cebu Province's monthly IRA is P149,635,672.

But even with the entry of fresh funds, Magpale said, casual employees of the Capitol, whose contracts were extended until the end of this month, will have to wait until the 2013 annual budget is approved this week for their salaries.

"We are using the funds for operating expenses and the barangay sand and gravel share first," said Magpale.

Capitol gets a share of the revenues from barangay sand and gravel permits.

Magpale said even with the IRA share, Capitol still cannot pay all its payables.

She said earlier that Capitol's payables reached more than P900 million.

She said Capitol will be paying the payables on a staggered basis, starting with the more immediate ones.

She said Capitol issued a check to pay for Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center patients' care under its medical assistance program.

New shipyard in Cebu town employs 300 workers, to earn USD70M exports


CEBU CITY, Jan. 20 (PNA) -- Austal Philippines Shipyard in the western Cebu town of Balamban has provided jobs to at least 300 workers and expects to generate an estimated U.S. million in export income.

Joey Turano, president and general manager of Austal Philippines, said their operations will provide substantial benefits to Cebu and the shipbuilding industry.

”This is something we, as individuals and as a nation, can all be proud of,” Turano said.

He said Austal Philippines recently completed its first ship, a trimaran designed for the European wind farm market.

”Our next ship, which is well underway, is a car and passenger ferry, which we believe will be the largest ferry ever built in the Philippines. Another three wind farm vessels will follow it, ensuring work for the shipyard until at least the end of the year,” Turano said.

Turano said they have three shipbuilding facilities in the world located in the United States, Australia and the Philippines.

The shipyard in the Philippines will focus on building commercial vessels, while those in the US and Australia will be building military vessels.

He said they started operations in February 2012 at the West Industrial Park of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority in Balamban, and they finished one ship that will be delivered to a customer abroad by the end of the month.

The vessel is a 35-meter high speed passenger ferry, which was ordered by Mary D. Enterprises in New Caledonia.

Another project is a 41-meter catamaran passenger ferry, which was ordered by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago; a 65-meter catamaran Ro-Pax fast ferry ordered by the Sultan of Oman; and a 50-meter live-aboard dive cruise vessel ordered by the North Star Cruise of Australia.

Turano said the work that takes place in Cebu will continue to enable Austal to meet the needs of the international commercial vessel market, hopefully with larger projects.

He said that while it is exciting that people all over the world will get to experience state-of-the-art ships built by Filipinos, Austal also looks forward to the local staff building and supporting more ships that will be used by Filipinos.

”We see potential not only in the commercial vessel market for which we are currently licensed, but also for government customers such as the Navy and Coast Guard. I hope His Excellency (President Benigno Aquino III) would agree that it would be a very proud day for the Philippines to have modern locally-produced ships that are as good as those anywhere in the world effectively protecting our shores: ferrying our people in safety and comfort; and transporting our cargo reliably and efficiently,” Turano said.

President led the unveiling of the shipyard in Barangay Arpili, Balamban, Cebu recently.

Millions join Sto. Niño procession in Cebu

BY Ron Gagalac (ANC, ABS-CBN News)

CEBU – Millions of devotees gathered to greet the holy image of the Santo Niño when it came out from the basilica shortly after noon Saturday.

The 492-year-old image is believed to have been brought by Ferdinand Magellan from Europe and gave it as a gift to then queen of Cebu, Queen Juana.

One of the millions who joined was Juliet Quejada, who started her devotion to the holy child when the kidney disease of her 4-year-old grandchild was cured after she brought her to the basilica.

On Sunday, Cebu will hold the Sinulog Grand Parade.

A total of 42 groups are set to dance along the streets of the city in a grand production.

Suspended Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia has also brought her Santo Niño to her office, where she has been staying for a month.

This may be an indication that she will dance in the Sinulog parade for the 9th and last time as governor of the province.

The organizers showcased the festival queens Friday night, a prelude to the grand productions that are set to grace the Sinulog festival whole day on Sunday.

Day care pupils get new school, playground


CEBU CITY, Jan. 18 -- The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), through its Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund (DACF), recently turned-over a day-care center and a playground funded by Vereniging Haarlemmermeer Cebu (VHC) to Barangay Pooc, Talisay City.

The day-care center, built to meet DSWD accreditation standards, will benefit 58 three- to four-year-old pupils of the barangay. The classroom features elements that foster independence and self-sufficiency such as child-sized toilets, sinks, doorknobs, and windows at children's height.

Recognizing the importance of play in child development, a playground was built within the facility. The playground, built by local laborers, is made of bamboo, used tires, and nipa.

The project is an example of various institutions and individuals collaborating to support children―the design and materials were donated by DACF, while the local government unit of Talisay and the barangay shouldered the labor cost and ensured that the standards were followed. International organization VHC donated the playground. This collaboration was marked by a hand-printing ceremony, where everyone involved in the said endeavor placed their handprint on the wall of the day care center.

“Recognizing the long-term effect that early childhood care and education can have on both the individual and society as a whole, DACF is committed to supporting communities as they prepare young children to become successful students and responsible citizens of the Philippines," Amaya Aboitiz, RAFI–DACF executive director, said.

The completion of the center and the playground in Pooc, Talisay City now brings RAFI-DACF's coverage to a total of five classrooms and playgrounds in four towns in Cebu, benefitting 255 pupils since it started early 2012.

“I'm very thankful to have this kind of facility in our barangay, the building is spacious and conducive for learning. The playground is safe for my pupils to play in while they develop their psychomotor skills. As a teacher, I will also strengthen the day care service parents group in order for the parents to be active in helping out in the maintenance of the facility given to us,” Jocelyn Maneja, day care center teacher, said.

For more information on how you or your organization can help build more day care centers and playground, please contact 418-7234 loc. 512 and look for Engr. May Reah Cuevas.

DACF is under RAFI's Education focus area, believing that shaping the next generation of talents begins with nurturing the love for learning. Other focus areas of RAFI are Integrated Development, Micro-finance & Entrepreneurship, Culture & Heritage, and Leadership & Citizenship.

For more information about DACF, please contact 255-5630 and look for Joem de Gracia, or visit or

MPIC eyes int’l partner for Cebu airport bid

By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - Infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), a unit of First Pacific Group of Hong Kong, is talking with a potential foreign partner to boost its bid for the P17-billion Mactan Cebu International Airport project.

MPIC chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said in an interview with reporters that the conglomerate is scouting for a foreign partner with expertise in airport operations in line with the scheduled bidding for the contract to undertake the airport project.

“Yes, we are talking to potential partner for the technical or what you call an airport operator,” Pangilinan stressed.

MPIC has expressed interest in the country’s second largest international airport.

“We have to have the right partner that will qualify with respect to our bid,” he added.

According to him, the company would form a special purpose vehicle including other members of a consortium that would bid for the airport project. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) decided to stick to its earlier decision barring owners of airlines to bid for major airport projects such as the Mactan-Cebu International Airport due to conflict of interest.

DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya earlier said the agency would push through with the public bidding for the airport project based on the guidelines issued late last month.

According to terms of reference issued by the DOTC last month, “an individual, partnership, corporation, or any other juridical entity, and if the prospective bidder is a consortium, any consortium member or such consortium members’ affiliates for the duration of the bidding process cannot be an entity providing air transport services in the Philippines, be they domestic or international.”

Also, the bidders cannot have any interest, direct or indirect, in such entity; or cannot be owned by such entity.

The guidelines prevent diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) that bought a 49 percent stake in national flag carrier Philippines Airlines (PAL) for $500 million last year as well as JG Summit Holdings that owns Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) from joining the public bidding.

PNoy: Filipinos are world-class shipbuilders

By Rachelle M. Nessia (RMN/PIA-7 Cebu)

'Phils 4th largest shipbuilding nation worldwide'

CEBU CITY, Jan. 16 (PIA) -- The opening of the shipyard operations of a global defence prime contractor in Balamban town, Cebu today highlighted the growing reputation of Filipino workers as world-class ship builders.

President Benigno S. Aquino III, who graced the grand opening of Austal Philippines’ shipyard facility in Brgy. Arpili, Balamban, said the Philippines is now the fourth largest shipbuilding country in the world.

“In 2011, our ship exports reached $638 million,” said Aquino, adding that this is 57.9 percent higher from the previous year.

Currently, around 45,000 Filipinos are employed by shipbuilding companies, he said.

Of the total, 250 are employed by Austal Philippines’ shipyard operations in Balamban town here.

The President today led the unveiling of a marker outside the production facility of said company’s shipyard in Balamban, signaling the grand opening of the Australian shipbuilding company’s operations in the country.

In 2011, Austal identified Philippines as their preferred location to develop a manufacturing facility in the region.

The company in the same year acquired the facility in Balamban town.

“We saw the potential for creating a center of excellence in delivering world-class ships and support services for local and international markets,” said Joey Turano, Austal Philippines Shipyard Operations President and General Manager.

Austal has committed 15US$ million into its operations in Balamban, with the goal of developing a world-class, high technology manufacturing operation in the area.

Aquino in his speech welcomed Austal as the company’s presence in the country will help accelerate the growth of this sector in the Philippines.

The Austal facility here has recently finished construction of a patrol vessel for export to the United Kingdom costing £5 million.

Four more ships are pegged to be completed before the end of this year.

These vessels are seen to rake in $70 million and generate jobs to nearly 300 Filipino workers.

Austal, has already invested an additional $4.8 million to improve the Balamban shipyard, Aquino said.

The President said he takes this as a sign that the company is in the country for the long haul.

“Perhaps, one day, you will consider further expanding your operations here and hiring even more of our people,” he told Austal officials.

Feature: Priest expresses environmental advocacy through music

By Ferliza C. Contratista (rmn/FCC /PIA7)

“The environment is a gift, let’s put our minds together and we can still save it.” This is the direct message of the song composed by a Cebuano priest, his offering to the patron of Cebu, Sr. Sto. Nino.

For so long and even in his homilies, Rev. Father Charles Louis Jayme has always been passionate in encouraging the public to act on the urgency of the call of nature. And there is no other opportune time than to make the call by means of a song in time for the Holy Child’s - the Sto. Nino - feast celebrated by Cebuanos worldwide every January.

It has been told that all forms of prayers of thanks, worship, and even pleadings are most welcomed and heard by the Sto. Nino specially within the time his presence is celebrated.

He said everyone should realize the essence of time and the value of acting now as there is hope in preventing man-made calamities as well as the extreme effects of natural disasters.

“May adlaw pa ug panahon/Sa paghatag ug paglaum/Panalipdan tang kalibutan ta karon!/Busa, magkuyog ta, panalipdan ta. (There is still day and time/To give hope/Let's protect the world now/And so let's join together, lets protect),” goes the song composed by Jayme entitled “Magkuyog ta. Panalipdan Ta."

Fr. Charles said he began writing the song early last year and put it to rest as he was already busy preparing for the canonization of the first Cebuano saint, Pedro Calungsod.

He was appointed by the Cebu Archdiocese as the official custodian of San Pedro’s icon during its canonization and in all its trips here and abroad.

In July, he had the piece arranged and then submitted it as the 112th and last entry to the Cebu Pop Music Festival.

“Despite my hectic sched, I really find time to complete it because there was no other way for my cause to be made public than to have it entered into the annual Sinulog competition,” Fr. Charles said.

He was all the more inspired and looking forward to have the song heard when the Philippines experienced the wrath of typhoon Sendong (International name: Ketsana) in September, which caused a lot of damage to the country September of last year.

“Sendong” alone claimed almost 300 lives and displaced a lot of residents who were submerged in deep flood.

Prior to his trip to Rome for San Pedro’s canonization, he was jubilant upon learning that his song was among the finalists for the competition.

For Fr. Charles, the call was re-echoed in its loudest form with the onslaught of typhoons Pablo (Bopha) and Ondoy ( Washi) in December where more than a thousand Filipinos' lives were claimed by floods and landslides.

“Ang panahon mao na ang karon — the urgency, and this is manifested in the song’s musicality, its upbeat, nga angay na ta nga molihok karon, kitang tanan, og panalipdan ang kalikupan nga gasa sa kahitas-an (The time is now — the urgency, we should act now, all of us, we protect the environment which is a gift from the heavens),” Charles said.

Win or lose, Fr. Charles said this song is an offering, government, church, all religions all sectors, just like the theme of the Sinulog Festival, “One Beat, One Dance, One Vision” he hopes that everyone, government, religious and private will also say in chorus, “Magkuyog ta, panalipdan ta (Let's go together lets protect),”.

The Cebu Pop Music Festival is part of the Sinulog Festival which translated into artistic and cultural activities the feast of the Sto. Nino.

It started as a mere procession of the Sto. Nino icon, with the participants dancing to the beat of “sinug/sulog” or flow of waves surrounding the Basilica del Sto. Nino.

Now on its 33rd year, the Sinulog Festival is now regarded as the mother of all festivals in the Philippines.

Cultural heritage programs await Cebuano balikbayans coming home for Sinulog


CEBU CITY, Jan. 14 (PNA) -- Organizers of this year's "Balik Cebu" program said they have lined up cultural heritage programs for Cebuanos who are returning to the province, especially for the Sinulog festival, one of the country's biggest cultural celebrations.

Balik Cebu program chairperson Tetta Baad said they will show the balikbayan groups Cebu's cultural attractions such as "Suroy-Suroy Sugbu" and the Paseo sa Kabilin or Heritage Walk.

Entrepreneurs Wilson and Melanie Ng sponsored one of the tour activities, the modern cultural show "Biyahe" in their newly-opened Lakwatsa Resto lounge.

Baad said they have tied up with the Cebu Association of Tour Operators on the tour programs, including the quick excursion in Panglao, Bohol.

More balikbayans are also expected to arrive in Cebu in time for the Sinulog celebration.

On Jan. 17, Baad said, the Balik Cebu Committee will welcome the arrival of the balikbayans from the United States at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

Ayala Center Cebu will also make room for more seats for the Balik Cebu dinner party for the expected influx of balikbayans who arrived last December.

The welcome dinner party is scheduled on Wednesday, Jan. 16.

"From the 200 seats for balikbayans, we are expanding it to 500 to 600 seats so those who arrived last month can join the welcome party," Baad said.

The group opened the Balik Cebu booth at the Ayala Center Cebu over the weekend.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 is expecting some 300 retired Filipino-Americans with families to arrive in Cebu on Jan. 20, according to DOT 7 Director Rowena Montecillo.

She said the balikbayans will join the grand parade and participate in other Sinulog events.

"We are happy with the arrangements because the group that handled these returnees said they wanted to sell Manila but they also received more inquiries about Cebu, that's why they are coming here," she said.

The Balik Cebu program is sponsored by the Ayala Center Cebu and Cebu Holdings Inc., in partnership with the Cebu City Tourism Council, Department of Tourism, Sinulog Foundation Inc., and some volunteers from the private sector.

The booth at the Ayala Center will serve as an information center for Sinulog events.

Tickets for some Sinulog events such as the grand parade and the Balik Cebu dinner party will be made available at the booth.

Sinulog sa kabataan sa lalawigan

By Joy C. Quito (Cebu Daily News)

Carcar, Talisay win with books, angels

Fresh concepts, colorful props, smooth execution, and unique choreography are what made the Carcar City division and the Talisay City Central School the top winners in yesterday’s annual Sinulog dancing contest among public schools in Cebu province.

Carcar students wearing checkered baro at saya danced on stage with books in their arms against a backdrop of huge bookshelves.

The Sto. Niño was still the central figure as the performance ended with graduates receiving their diplomas, a powerful message of the value of education and the power of reading.

Carcar City Division choreographer Kathryn Estenzo credited the students’ discipline for their victory in the high school division.

Marvey Caño, Talisay city’s choreographer, said being original was worth it for the elementary school division. (See complete table of inners on page 4.)

Crowning Niño

“Talisay won because of the unique concept. It’s the first time in the Sinulog to have a giant Sto. Niño crowned and live angels hanging in the air,” he said.

Caño said he got the idea from watching a similar scene of angel figures hugging the Sto. Niño in -the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.

Talisay City and Carcar City contingents will receive P300,000 each for topping the compettion.

They also won P50,000 each for Best in Musicality and another P50,000 each for Best in Costume.

Their victory means they get to perform along with the top four placers next Sunday in the Sinulog Grand Parade.

Rethinking Cebu’s development strategy

By Fernando Fajardo (Inquirer Visayas)

AYALA Center Cebu inside Cebu Business Park is undergoing expansion which is expected to be completed by last quarter of 2013. Cebu’s vibrant economy has triggered expansion in retail, trade and other allied services. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

There is no single measure at the local level that we can use to measure Cebu’s economic performance. In the Philippines, the gross domestic product (GDP), the most widely used measure of economic performance, is disaggregated only down to the regional level, not the local level.

But if we were to believe Cebu’s business personalities, provincial growth in 2012 was phenomenal in at least three sectors—real estate, business process outsourcing (BPO) and tourism.

Cebu Holdings Inc. (CHI) president Francis Monera was quoted in a local paper as saying that the real estate sector in Cebu saw a revenue growth of 18.8 percent in the third quarter alone, which made it the fastest among the growth industries in Cebu.

Controlled by the Ayalas, CHI is the developer of the 50-hectare Cebu Business Park, which was built out of the golf course previously owned by the province. But then Gov. Lito Osmeña saw it fit to dispose of the property to create more jobs for Cebuanos instead of just keeping it as a playground of the rich.

The move greatly contributed to the “Ceboom” that came in the 1990s.

Last year, Cebu Business Park itself and its nearby surrounding areas, including Cebu IT Park that was developed out of the former

Cebu Domestic Airport, hosted several buildings being constructed to meet the growing demand for commercial, office and residential spaces in the fast-growing Metro Cebu.

Local developer Jose Soberano III agreed with Monera, saying the real estate sector experienced unprecedented growth last year in terms of new projects launched and completed, increasing booked sales take-up and rental income, both in sheer volume and upward price movements.

THE CEBU Business Park is a 50-hectare premier business and commercial district being operated by Ayala-owned Cebu Holdings Inc. Real estate, business process outsourcing and tourism fuel Cebu’s growth in 2012. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The past year was also good for the BPO industry.

Cebu Investment Promotion Center managing director Joel Mari Yu cited 17 BPO companies that set up shops out of the 56 inquiries the center received. It turned out that the new BPOs were mostly of the knowledge-based (nonvoice) kind that uses more talents of the workers and pays more instead of the usual call centers that pay less.

About 11,000 jobs were created by the BPOs that came last year.

Rapid growth also characterized the local tourism sector.

Total tourist arrivals grew by 13 percent from 972,575 in the first half of 2011 alone to 1,098,634 in the first half of 2012, with foreign tourist arrivals growing much faster at 16.7 percent from 401,592 in the first half of 2011 to 468,529 in the first half of 2012.

In comparison, reports from Manila mentioned that the 11-month period of 2012 recorded 3,830,723 visitor arrivals to the country. This represented an 8.73-percent increase compared to the previous year’s volume of 3,522,887 for the same months. The higher foreign tourist arrival growth figure for Cebu once more proved its being the most attractive and fun to visit in the country.

Together, the growth of the three sectors fuels expansion in the rest of the local economy, particularly in retail trade and other allied services.

Retail giant SM Prime Holdings Inc. opened its second mall in Cebu, SM City Consolacion, on Cebu North Road in Barangay Lamac, Consolacion town, in northern Cebu, on June 1, 2012. It is currently constructing its biggest mall in Cebu at South Road Properties, which is scheduled to be completed in 2014.

Many observers agreed that the three fast-growing sectors would continue to soar in 2013. Indeed they will as the local export sector, Cebu’s key growth driver in the last century, is still hampered by the slowing global economy and continuing appreciation of the peso that made Philippine exports less competitive globally.

But more of the same is not necessarily always good for Cebu.

The real estate, BPO and tourism industries will still grow even beyond 2013, but they may not be enough to give a better life to all Cebuanos in the long run.

Concentrating in a few areas in Metro Cebu and requiring higher education and new skills, the sectors exclude from work many people who live elsewhere or do not possess the required qualifications.

The export firms, which used to hire plenty of workers directly in their own shops or indirectly through their many contract suppliers throughout the province, can no longer absorb them as the peso remains high, making it doubly hard for them to compete in the shrinking global market.

This is the time to rethink Cebu’s local development strategy, given that it now has about 2 million workers to employ out of its projected 4.3 million in population this year.

In 2013 alone, Cebu has to create 40,000 new jobs just to employ the new entrants to the labor force. Add to this the 400,000 to 500,000 workers (20-25 percent of the present labor force) who are still unemployed or underemployed, the need to create more jobs in Cebu is even more pressing.

Fernando Fajardo is a professor of economics at the University of San Carlos and former assistant regional director of the National Economic and Development Authority in Central Visayas.

For bravery, girl gets free school

By Justin K. Vestil and Princess Dawn H. Felicitas

DESPITE her small features, nine-year-old Rhea Tisoy never thought of herself as a hero.

Until one fateful Monday night, when a fire struck her village, Sitio Hawod, Barangay Bulacao in Talisay City that destroyed about five houses, including that of Rhea’s family. The blaze also killed Rhea’s three-year-old cousin, Mark Lester.

Rhea, a Grade 3 student of the Bulacao Elementary School, became an unlikely hero in the face of a family tragedy after she rescued her year-old brother, Rayven Anthony, from being trapped from their burning house.

In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu yesterday, Rhea revealed that just before the fire started, she was playing inside her mother’s room. Her room was adjacent to the room of her twin brothers Mark Lester and Mark Anthony.

When she heard the twins shouting for help, Rhea noticed that fire was coming out from the ceiling. While her father, Antonio, and other members of the family immediately took out water buckets to douse the flames, Rhea immediately carried her sleeping brother and brought him outside.

Outside their house, Rhea saw the flames growing. While her father and relatives were carrying the children, she noticed that Mark Lester was not with them. But Mark Anthony was able to escape the house after she tagged along with his adopted mother.

Alarmed, she and her older relatives returned to the burning house in an attempt to rescue Mark Lester, but they weren’t able to after the fire tried to push them back.

“Ang kayo murag nipurma og tawo. Musige ra ug dasmag para dili mi kasulod (The flames looked like people. It pushed us, keeping us out),” said Rhea’s father Antonio, in a separate interview.

Rhea said that she cried when she heard Mark Lester cried out just before the fire totally engulfed him.


Four days since the fire, Rhea said she tried to live normally without remembering what had occurred. She said she had not gone to school for two days, but explained that she was just helping her family in salvaging what’s left of their house.

Yesteday, Cebu City Councilor Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba met Rhea, who is an incoming Grave 4 student in Quiot Elementary School, and her family in his office in City Hall and vowed to shoulder Rhea’s education from elementary to college.

She will be transferred by Alcoseba from Quiot to Southwestern University the next school year where the councilor also has a pool of scholars.

When she reaches college, Alcoseba said Tisoy can take whatever course she wants.

“And if she needs allowances and other expenses such as buying books, ato ra pod siyang tabangan,” the councilor added.

Asked what she wants to be, the nine-year-old child said she wants to be a teacher so she can help and enhance the knowledge of other kids.


In granting her scholarship, Alcoseba said he only wants to help Tisoy and her family and make sure that she will have a better future.

The three-term councilor is running for Provincial Board member in this year’s elections in the first district of Cebu Province where Talisay City is part of.

“Mas maayo man gud ning pa-eskwalahon nato siya kaysa hatagan nato ug financial assistance kay ang kwarta mawa ra man pero ang scholarship makatabang gyud sa iyang kaugmaon (It’s better to send her to school instead of giving financial assistance since it will help her future),” he said.

Alcoseba then asked the child to maintain her grades at school so the scholarship will be sustained.

Aside from granting her a scholarship, Alcoseba also gave Tisoy yesterday P2,000 and relief goods. They are among the five families who lost their homes.

Oslob butanding featured in fashion shoot with int'l models

By Ruth Sindico (

MANILA, Philippines - The butanding (whale sharks) of Oslob, Cebu are featured in an underwater fashion shoot with international models. The photos appear in the online edition of the United Kingdom's The Telegraph.

According to The Telegraph, the models "dived up to 25 feet deep into the ocean to pose with the world's largest fish - measuring 30 feet long and weighing 20,000 pounds."

The photo shoot was the "brainchild" of American photographers Shawn Heinrichs and Kristian Schmidt.

"People are blown away by the images. Most find it hard to believe they are actually real - many people assume the models are Photoshopped into the pictures," Heinrichs told The Telegraph.

Politicians told to 'behave' during Sinulog Festival in Cebu

By Rachelle M. Nessia (RMN/PIA-7 Cebu)

CEBU CITY, Jan 9 (PIA) -- With the 2013 midterm elections a few months away, organizers of the Sinulog 2013 Festival warned politicians to “behave” during the Sinulog festivities.

The Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) have received calls from several politicians, especially from the national level, requesting to be invited during the celebration.

“This is understandable since it’s now election season,” said SFI Executive Director Ricky Ballesteros during a Kapihan forum held by the Philippine Information Agency here.

SFI has come up with guidelines for politicians to strictly follow if they attend the celebration.

“They are prohibited from distributing campaign materials during the activities,” said Ballesteros.

Putting up of streamers with politicians’ faces printed on them are also banned.

“We make sure to remind them of the do’s and don’ts. If they violate the rules, they will be dealt with accordingly. They should follow the rules as model politicians,” he added.

Requests from politicians asking to be invited, said Ballesteros, are referred to the office of Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama.

Some government officials from other provinces also send their staff to Cebu to observe how the SFI organizes the annual festival.

The Sinulog Festival in Cebu is one of the biggest crowd-drawing events in the country.

Reports indicate that hotels in the city are bracing for the influx of foreign and local tourists as the Department of Tourism in the region have earlier announced they are expecting an increase in tourist arrivals this month.

DOT-7 Regional Director Rowena Montecillo pegs the current hotel occupancy in the city at already 90%.

DSWD-7 calls for more civil society participation in poverty alleviation programs

By Ferliza C. Contratista (mbcn/FCC/PIA-Cebu)

4Ps now include families of streetchildren, victims of crimes

CEBU CITY, Jan 8 (PIA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development in CV (DSWD-7) reiterated its call for civil society organizations (CSO’s) to participate in government's poverty reduction programs.

The department needs more groups who will help in the implementation of the modified version of the conditional cash transfer popularly known as the 4 P’s “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program,” Nemia Antipala , DSWD-7 assistant regional director, said during a program briefing for CSO members.

“We want to reduce hunger and poverty but DSWD cannot do it alone but together we can make a difference,” Antipala said. The agency needs help in the conduct of Family Development Sessions (FDS) for beneficiaries of the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT).

DSWD-7 4Ps focal person Aileen Lariba said there is a need for more private participating groups because the needs of the household beneficiaries under MCCT are more complex than those of the original conditional cash transfer beneficiaries.

MCCT covers families whose children were victims of child trafficking and violence; and children with disabilities and street children.

“These are not ordinary families and they have special needs so we are encouraging these NGO’s to partner with us because they are already handling these type of clients,” Lariba said.

Identification of beneficiaries are done through the accredited NGO’s and CSO’s. However unlike the original 4 P’s, MCCT identified beneficiaries have more frequent meetings called Family Development Sessions (FDS). Lariba said they are required to meet every week instead of the once a month FDS.

“Aside from that, the meeting is not only attended by the social worker but there is also a psychologist, from the education sector,” Lariba said.

On the financial side, Lariba said there is no difference; each family received P500 for the head and P300 for every child, maximum of three children for every family.

“It is really very personalized, there is close monitoring because we have to make sure that all the needs are met, we have to take them out from the streets if they are “libud-suroy’s,” Lariba said.

Private organizations who are interested must submit Updated Work and Financial Plan, Monthly Monitoring Report, Quarterly Accomplishment Report, Financial Reports as prescribed in Commission On Audit Circular 2007-001 or based on the requirements of external funding organizations, Project Documentation Report at the end of the project period.

They also need to be registered with government agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, Cooperative Development Authority and others or accredited with DSWD.

Antipala said there are 17 CSOs that have shown interest in DSWD’s call for public-private partnership specifically in strengthening the promotion of family life among household beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilya program.

The Conditional Cash Transfer program started in 2009 with 10 identified barangays in Cebu City and some municipalities in Negros Oriental.

Preservation of Calungsod thanksgiving mass site eyed


Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma has called for the preservation of the site where a thanksgiving mass was held for the canonization of San Pedro Calungsod.

“The event should be immortalized, remembered,” he said.

The Prelate was worried that the templete, which was built with bamboo, cloth and other indigenous materials, will soon deteriorate.

“The ground is not ours. Sooner or later, the template will be gone and considering its material, it will not last,” he said.

The Templete de San Pedro was built specifically for the national thanksgiving celebration last Nov. 30 in Cebu City’s South Road Properties.

The celebration came a month after the official declaration in Rome of the second saint from the Philippines.

Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal had celebrated the mass within the template, which is located inside a 27 hectare area of the SRP

The templete itself has a floor area of 1,200 square meters.

Fr. Brian Brigoli, templete construction chairman, said there are no instructions yet on what to do with the structure.

A memorandum of agreement between church officials and Cebu City government representatives is being discussed.

Late last year, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama issued an executive order declaring the template as a heritage structure. He also formed a team of government and church representatives to ensure the preservation and maintenance of the structure.

The move is important as part of efforts to preserve the culture and history of Cebu, said Brigoli, adding the moveto declare the template as a heritage structure is for a living memory imbued in the structure of the template.

It will be “a living reminder for all generations on the value of the celebration on Nov. 30, 2012.

Liloan bares plan for reclamation project

By Jose P. Sollano (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Officials of Liloan town, through a resolution, have informed the provincial government of its intention to undertake a reclamation project.

Liloan Municipal Mayor Vincent Franco “Duke” Frasco signed the resolution and forwarded it to the Capitol.

The resolution states that the town of Liloan, while endowed with vast landholding, has no proprietary land of its own from whence big projects benefiting its large constituency could be launched.

Vice Mayor Lucilito Pilapil and members of the Sangguniang Bayan said the price of land even in this town has soared that owning a piece of it has become prohibitive, not to say the least a dream-come-true for the less financially gifted individuals or entities.

“Ever-searching for goods that redound to the benefit of the greater mass, the municipal government, under its present leadership, has mulled the reclamation of a portion of its seashore to accommodate monumental and publicly needed projects that enhances public service-delivery as well as raises revenue for its public coffers,” the resolution stated.

In 2008, the municipal government had already envisioned the reclamation of a track of foreshore land situated in barangay Poblacion.

Cebu to host two stages of Ronda Pilipinas cycling

By Dale G. Rosal

Ronda Pilipinas, the biggest cycling event in the country, will hold two of its 16 stages in Cebu on Jan. 17 and 18.

After the third stage from Pagadian to Iligan on Jan. 14, the race visits Cebu for its fourth and fifth stages. The fourth leg will start at the Plaza Independencia en route to Dumanjug town southwestern Cebu and back. The next leg the following day will start at the Lapu-Lapu City Hall grounds covering the northern part of Cebu.

“We really intend to include Cebu as part of the route in this edition of Ronda Pilipinas,” said Ronda Pilipinas project director Moe Chulani. “We are glad that it’s scheduled during the Sinulog festival season.”

After the two stages in Cebu, the sixth leg brings riders to Luzon for the Malolos to Tarlac route. A total of 2,142.2-kilometers will cover the entire race. The average distance for each leg is 146 kilometers. The race’s longest route will be from Tuguegarao to Solano, which covers 204 kilometers.

Markjohn Galedo, the defending overall individual champion, is considered to be the top contender for the P1 million cash prize. His team, the Roadbike Philippines, is also a top contender for the team competition.

Teams competing for the 16-stage race are the American Vinyl, Philippine Navy/Standard Insurance, V.Mobile/Smart, PLDT/Spyder, Pangasinan-Hundred Islands, Ilocos Sur, One Tarlac, Metro Manila-San Miguel, Team Enrile, Cebu’s Y101 and Cycle Line Butuan. The individual stage champion will receive P130,000.

The first leg of the race starts Jan. 12 in Zamboanga. The last stage will be in Baguio City.

Meanwhile, Jonjie Gonzales, consultant of the Lapu-Lapu City mayor Paz Radaza, said they are ready to host the prestigious race.

“We will be providing enough traffic marshalls along the route and we will be implementing half-road closure in the city’s major roads including the Marcelo Fernan Bridge,” he said.

The race is presented by LBC and sponsored by Total Gas, MVP sports foundation, Smart Communications, Radio One Telecommunications, Maynilad, North Luzon Expressway and Standard Insurance.

3rd Sinulog Football Cup to kick off CFA-sanctioned events this year


THE 3RD Sinulog Football Cup slated next weekend will kick off this year’s football tournaments sanctioned by the Cebu Football Association (CFA).

After the Sinulog Football Cup, tournaments being plotted aside from the ongoing 15th Aboitiz Football Cup are the Thirsty Cup this February, the Cebu International School tournament in March and the BRO festival tournament in April.

Glenn Quisido, who heads the tournament committee of the CFA, said that as much as possible, they do not want to turn away groups who want to organize a tournament.

However, since most schedules are already taken up until April, those who want to organize a tournament this year will first be asked to write an official letter to the CFA.

They will then be called to a meeting with the CFA Board to agree on the schedule.

Quisido said that they do not want to hold tournaments simultaneously to avoid conflicts. But if it is just a festival, they are willing to give leeway.

Quisido also said that Cebu may host another international friendly match in March or April pitting the Philippine Azkals against either Thailand or Vietnam aside from one match of the Group E of the 2014 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup qualifiers.

According to Quisido, the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) now has three areas to choose from to hold international football matches—Manila, Bacolod and Cebu.

“As soon as PFF gives us the confirmation, then we will readily accept,” said Quisido.

2013: A make or break year for Cebu tourism

By Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Although there are dozens of reasons why Cebu is anticipating another exciting year for tourism, the year 2013 may be the sector’s “make or break” year while competition is surging, and infrastructure and services supplementation is not properly balanced.

Cebu Business Club (CBC) president Gordon Alan “Dondi” Joseph said that tourism sector may experience more pressure this year, saying “it’s a mistake to assume that things stay the same.”

According to Joseph, Cebu is obviously lacking proper soft and hard infrastructure to complement the bullish tourism industry here.

Cebu as the center for the Philippine tourism, should create its own effective tourism roadmap or masterplan. Otherwise, its edge in tourism will be outsmarted by other provinces, or regions that are now desperately working hard to improve their tourism advantages.

Nevertheless, Joseph said tourism will continue to offer good opportunities for capitalists—big or small in Cebu. However, government and private sector also should world together in providing good infrastructure and services that will complement the robust growth in the sector this year.

Joseph also expressed confidence of the government’s effort to make tourism the country’s major revenue contributor, saying the government vowed to spend more money in tourism developments. “Definitely, there is still opportunity for tourism.”

Tourism capitalists and business leader Jay P. Aldeguer said that Cebu will always be on top in the tourism sector in the Philippines, and 2013 is another year that tourism stakeholders in Cebu will be excited about.

“I think the momentum is on our side. Philippine tourism is on the upswing and Cebu will definitely benefit from this. The airport expansion, more flights domestic and international, interest from local businessmen in the sector, whale shark attraction, St. Pedro Calungsod’s canonization are factors that will revitalize Cebu’s tourism even more,’ Aldeguer said.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) chairperson for tourism committee, Milagros Espina, likewise emphasized Cebu’s need to strengthen the tourism support services, such as infrastructure and others.

“We should increase budget for services and infrastructure and human resources by cultivating further the culture of tourism in Cebu,” Espina said.

This June’s Cebu Business Month (CBM 2013), the event will once again highlight the tourism advantage of Cebu by promoting the province as the preferred tourism destination globally.

Espina said the CBM 2013 Tourism theme is dubbed “Power Up Cebu—in the global market.” This aims to define Cebu’s cutting–edge advantage in the tourism sector.

Overall, Espina said Cebu’s 2013 will steadily increase because it will expand to prolific areas like architecture tourism, medical tourism, real estate, fashion and lifestyle.

Moreover, Cebu must sustain its zeal to make the place safe, clean and beautiful devoid of political undertones.

Expat hoteliers also joined the Cebuano tourism stakeholders’ sentiment to improve the infrastructure support in tourism, in order to ride-on the market’s sustained interest for Cebu tourism.

Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu general manager Lyle Lewis said that Cebu has all what it takes to attract travelers across social status segment, and luring the high end market can be easily achieved if infrastructure and attraction development will be improved.

“Infrastructure and attraction is vital for a destination to succeed. Airport access in particular is very important,” Lewis said in an interview.

Likewise, in a separate interview with Cebu City Waterfront Hotel and Casino general manager Alfred Portenschlager, he said that Cebu has all the charm to attract the wealthy travelers providing the proper infrastructure should be in place.

Portenschlager said that if Cebu is going to take advantage of its potential to get the high-end business and leisure travelers all over the world, it has to work hard on putting on right infrastructure and providing travel accessibility should be the first priority.

The expatriates tourism players believe that while the province is already well-known as a destination that offers both business and leisure attractions, it has to move further in seizing the high-spending travelers, and offer what this particular market is looking for.

Portenschlager added that aside from putting off support services for the high end market such as offering world-class accommodation facilities and services, travel accessibility is very important.

Although there are a number of low-cost airlines providing travel access to different destinations in Asia Portenschlager said business and the wealthy travelers prefer convenience over cost.

The foreigner hotelier said hat Cebu should not cheapen itself as a destination, because it has huge potential to attract the middle to high-end market, which can afford to spend more on transportation cost, leisure, and others.

He added that it is “hard” for the business market to be forced to transfer to low-cost just to get to Cebu. Otherwise, there are wide alternatives for a business and leisure destination among the Asian countries.

According to Portenschlager competition is tough, Cebu or the Philippines should trail the blaze in seizing the opportunity to further boost tourism.

Also, seeing Cebu’s capability to lure the affluent traveling market around the world, National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (Naitas) chairman emeritys Bobby Lim Joseph said that Cebu should attract tourism capitalists that would build six-star hotel and resort facilities.

“Cebu needs more five star or six star hotel and resort facilities. It needs for signature brand shops, nicer and bigger museums, and more attractions that could entice the high end foreign tourist market,” said Joseph.

“We have to develop Cebu as high end destination, thereby attracting the big MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Exhibition] market from all over the world,” Joseph said.

Therefore, the year 2013 will define Cebu’s edge in tourism sector, and implementation of infrastructure support projects for tourism, will play a critical role in the growth and sustain vitality of the sector.

Economic experts say: 2013 to bring more growth

By Ehda M. Dagooc (JPM, The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The year of the “water snake” brings heightened confidence for Cebu economy and the Philippines in general, as businessmen and economic experts believe a much better growth and livelier 2013 are up ahead.

Undoubtedly, Cebu enjoyed the start of economic “turn-around” in 2012, and this momentum is expected to gain strength—even better. Starting 2012, the Philippines, through the magnified thrust of Aquino-led government in curbing corruption, enjoyed good ratings, thus international investors are zooming in their interest to the Philippines, once again, said businessman Dondi Joseph.

Cebu, with its well-known economic stability despite crises and calamities, benefited from the good Philippine economic landscape, in fact, it has been able to soar higher economically, while tangible indicators in real estate, tourism, and BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), and retail cannot be denied even by the most sceptical observers.

Number of real estate projects soared, constructions for hotels, commercial buildings, shopping malls, condominiums, subdivisions, among others have doubled in number in 2012, and this is seen to triple in 2013.

Businessman and tourism advocate Jay P. Aldeguer also expressed confidence on the right economic track the country is heading, saying the economic turn-around is no longer a mere “perception”, but is already happening.

“It seems that Cebu will continue to thrive in 2013. The momentum is very apparent. Not only is there immense interest from outside investors but also a lot of investments coming from the Cebuano community which I think is best indication,” Aldeguer said.

Tourism, real estate, BPO and retail are some of the more dynamic industries that will continue to dominate Cebu’s economy, Aldeguer emphasized, adding that another exciting development is the number of small businesses sprouting up everywhere. “This is a very good sign that business is good and confidence is up.”

While in the past, businessmen showed off their fears, with a clear “wait and see” attitude, this time, fear and cautiousness were no longer part of their business “vocabulary,” while the evidence of opportunities are showing and even more profound.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Prudencio Gesta confirmed this positive outlook for Cebu and the Philippines in general in 2013, saying “we’ve seen good signs of growth in 2011, as long as the trend will continue, we should expect increased financial and economic opportunities.’

The 7.1 GDP (Gross Domestic Product) performance of the Philippines based on the latest report cemented the confidence of local and international investors to pour in more investments for the Philippines by 2013, Gesta said.

Artificial GDP growth is expected in the first half of 2013 due to the election season and this will bolster more strength to the country’s economy and improve further the purchasing power of Filipinos.

Gesta urged local capitalists and businessmen to take advantage of the opportunities and holding to the confidence that the Philippines is out of the ‘razor’s edge’ in terms of economic fragility.

“We are calling the local investors to start their positioning now, if they haven’t positioned yet,” he said, otherwise, outside capitalists will take the golden opportunity of Cebu and ultimately take over and siphon the wealth readily available.

Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) president Philip Tan echoed the Cebuano business leaders’ economic optimism, saying growth is expected for 2013, and that’s “no doubt.’

Cebu Investment and Promotions Center (CIPC) supported the high-powered optimism of the Cebu business community, saying the revival of global manufacturing investors’ interest to the Philippines will bring thousands of employment opportunity for Cebu starting this year.

CIPC managing director Joel Mari S. Yu said that his office had already received dozens of inquiries from foreign investors expressing interest to locate in Cebu to set up huge light engineering facilities.

With the manufacturing renaissance, employment opportunities in Cebu will not only be limited to “college graduates,” or the professionals, but also jobs for the undergrads, as most manufacturing companies do not require higher educational attainment for their rank and file employees.

Renowned Filipino economist Bernardo Villegas also painted a rosier economic picture for the Philippines in 2013, saying the country is facing brighter prospects even in the next 10 to 15 years, “the best it has ever faced.’

According to Villegas the Philippines’ remarkable economic foundation gained praises from outside economic rating agencies and experts who do not have self-serving reasons to include the Philippines as the country to watch out for in Southeast Asia in the next few years.

Villegas, who is a professor from the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) said that his bright prospects for the Philippines is not just because he is known as the “prophet of boom” economist, but he is just confirming what economic experts in the world have been projecting for the Philippines.

The HSBC for instance recently named the Philippines as the 16th largest economy in 2050 based on its Wider World in 2050 report.

“We will see a different Philippines in terms of growth in the next 10 to 20 years,” said Villegas.

Now, if Filipinos will refuse to believe their own country’s positive economic journey, “it’s another story.”

“What the Philippines has achieved right now, and where it will go economically has been the result of the positive contributions of the past Presidents, including what the Pnoy government is building at present,” he said.

Villegas is confident of the positive road the country is headed regardless of who will sit as the President after Pnoy.

“It doesn’t matter who the next President will be. He will have very little freedom to be tempted to be corrupt—because he will be constantly watched,” Villegas said.

The famous economist mentioned what international bestseller “Breakout Nations” author Ruchir Sharma, head of the emerging markets division at Morgan Stanley stressed in his book, saying that the Philippines is among the upcoming stars in the international economic scene, together with Turkey and Indonesia.

Sharma said the TIP (Turkey, Indonesia, Philippines) are the countries that should be watched out for in the next few years, while the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) are losing steam.

The Philippines’ surprising growth in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of 6.4 percent is a good start to convince Filipino capitalists and even ordinary Filipino to believe in the brighter economic future of the country, despite some negative attributes.

“We are different, in a way that we are being favored. Labor unrest in China right now? The Philippines had been able to experience and overcame it during the 1990s, and even social unrest in other countries,” said Villegas, explaining that what other countries are experiencing right now, the Philippines experienced these already.

In terms of GDP growth, the Philippines is even better than Russia and Brazil.

However, aside from establishing good environment for governance, curbing corruption, and pursuing PPP (Private-Public-Partnership), Villegas recommended that the present administration should also take serious look in changing the constitution as some rules are already obsolete and do not attract foreign direct investments (FDI) in volumes which the country is desperately needing to complement the rosy prospects.

Gov’t to award P10-B Mactan, Cebu airport project in Sept

By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - The Aquino administration is set to award the P10-billion contract for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport project in September to cope with the growing number of tourists using the gateway to enter the country.

The Department of Transportation and Communications and Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority has invited prospective bidders to apply to pre-qualify and bid for the construction of a new passenger terminal; rehabilitation and expansion of the existing terminal; operation, maintenance and management of the terminals.

The project involves the construction of the new passenger terminal, apron for the new passenger terminal, rehabilitation and expansion of the existing terminal, installation of all the required equipment and other associated facilities, installation of the required information technology and other equipment commensurate with the operations as well as operation and maintenance of both the new and existing passenger terminals.

The pre-qualification, bids, and awards committee (PBAC) is set to hold a pre-qualification conference on Jan. 28 and prospective bidders are required to submit their qualification documents on or before Feb. 28.

The PBAC would then require pre-qualified bidders to submit both technical and financial proposals, a bid security, as well as other supporting documents on Aug. 2 that would be evaluated by the committee.

The PBAC would first review the bidders’ technical proposals afterwhich the committee would then evaluate the financial proposals of bidders whose technical proposals were rated passed. Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

The committee would then issue the notice of award to the winning bidder in Sept. 17 and the winner would have to comply with all the requirements within 20 days from official receipt of the notice.

Based on a PPP Center briefing paper, the Mactan-Cebu airport project involves the construction of a world-class passenger terminal building with a capacity of eight million passengers a year as well as the operation and maintenance of the old and new facilities.

The Mactan-Cebu international airport is situated in a 797-hectare property and has a single 3,300 meter runway that is complemented by a full-length taxiway.

The terminal building has a capacity of handling 4.5 million passengers annually on two wings, the domestic wing and the international wing. It is a major trade center in the south for both domestic and international traffic.

The passenger traffic for year 2011 was around 6.2 million passengers. The deterioration in the level of convenience and lack of ability to handle more passengers may hinder further development and growth of international airport.

To solve the problem, DOTC is set to bid a contract for the construction of a new world-class passenger terminal building with a capacity of about eight million passengers per year; and the operation of the old and new facilities.

The construction of a new world-class passenger terminal, including all related facilities, is proposed to separately cater to domestic and international operations with an initial investment of P10.3 billion and a future expansion of P12 billion.

Several companies including diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp., the tandem of Ayala Corp. and Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. as well as Metro Pacific Investments Corp. have expressed interest in the airport project.