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Cebu Province News July 2013

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Province of Cebu - Archived News

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Aerial View of Metro Cebu
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How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm

Contents

Cebu-based developer launches new Mactan project

(PNA), LAP/EB/

CEBU CITY, July 31 (PNA) -- Cebu-based property developer Primary Homes Inc. (PHI) has launched its newest project in Mactan Island this year, a suburban community designed to complement the local tourism sector.

Dubbed as the Astele, the new project is an exclusive gated housing development of 64 single detached units in a three-hectare lot on Buyong Road in Barangay Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City.

PHI earlier launched the Alegria Palms Uno, Brookfield and Collinwood, also in Mactan Island.

The project showcases six model houses, namely, Myrtle, Hazel, Mahogany, Aspen, Linden and Lombardy.

Floor areas and lot measurements range from 56 to 288 square meters and 150 to 251 square meters, respectively.

Each house and lot combo is sold for P3 million to P15 million.

“The development is nestled in Mactan to reflect the island’s modern and vibrant international community,” said PHI vice president for sales and marketing Ramero Espina.

Espina said that based on PHI’s latest market study, Mactan has emerged as a progressive address or a second-home destination sought after by long-stay tourists like Koreans, Japanese and Europeans.

He said majority of these foreigners intend to move to Mactan for investment or retirement purposes.

“Lapu-Lapu’s preserved nature and culture and also its developing modernity lure visitors to come. There’s no stopping the growing affluence of foreigners to the city or to Cebu province in general. Eventually, the industry is a primary recipient of the upbeat tourism in southern Philippines,” Espina said.

Espina identified the Mactan-Cebu International Airport as the “ground zero” for Cebu’s commerce and “gateway to business opportunities.”

Espina said Astele is included in the P1.5-billion budget for PHI’s seven projects in Mactan for 2013.

He said the company, which has about 23 existing subdivisions and eight condominium developments in Cebu, is targeting one project a month to match the evolving demands of the market.

Astele, set for completion in 18 months, bears the concept of Asian contemporary living and displays a clean minimalist approach in its exterior.

Architectural features include floating steps on a Zen pond, huge windows and upper verandas.

Its amenities include a fitness gym, swimming pool and playground.

IT services provider sees potential market in Cebu

By Ehda M. Dagooc /JOB (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The dynamic economy in Cebu which pushes the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) has prompted cloud computing

and IT services provider DataOne to make its strong presence here.

The globalized environment for business today brings a compulsory requirement for businesses, from micro to large enterprises to professionally enter the cloud computing trend, otherwise profitability and opportunity for global expansion will be limited.

In an interview with DataOne Asia (Philippines) Inc. marketing manager Jesse V. Divinagracia, Cebu which is exposed to international trade should be given a professional cloud computing tool, and DataOne is serious in its bid to improve awareness among Cebuano SMEs on the important of adopting professional cloud computing services.

Unlike in the old days, a company’s face, or representation will no longer be based on physical impression, but largely on the online impression, such as the impact of a simple email address, or other online presence.

“Now, we can’t always meet face to face with our clients. Their [companies] now is their address—the first impression of their credibility, worthiness to global market,” said Divinagracia.

Professional sounding email address is now becoming very important, and professional email address for companies is considered as a must, he said.

Among other professional cloud computing services, DataOne is providing secure and dedicated email address for companies that will professionally represent their [companies] in the global market.

In an interview with DataONe Asia president and chief executive officer (CEO) Cyril Rocke, he said that although most Cebuano SMEs are still largely using unsecured cloud services, such as free email portals, and other communication channels in the cloud that offers free-of-charge services, business owners are now starting to realize that efficiency, productivity and competitiveness should be managed in the most secured way.

The partnership between the DataOne and Microsoft Philippines to offer hosted productivity packages for SMBs (Small and Medium Businesses) has cemented this interest of business owners, making their businesses world-class especially in the technology adoption.

Rocke said despite the entry of several secured cloud computing services in the Philippines, SMBs still has to understand its benefits and factors that will contribute to the businesses’ profitability, security and efficiency.

He said most, if not all businesses are now in the cloud, what needs to be explained is that businesses should not “throw” their communication, important information over the “un-secured” cloud portals.

DataONe Asia and Microsoft Philippines officially brought to Cebu the CloudSecure technology.

Specifically tailored for Filipino small and medium businesses, DataOne Asia offers Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Lync and Microsoft SharePoint through their latest Cloud product, CloudSecure™. CloudSecure™ provides reliable and secure packages that SMBs can easily subscribe to through a very simple ordering process.

DataOne Asia, is one of the leading independent providers of IT services in the Philippines. The company aims at providing cloud-based options for businesses who want to use technology to professionalize how they communicate and improve collaboration. This particular technology designed for Filipino SMBs allows them to access the latest innovations without capital expenditure.

According to Rocke, SMB owners usually faced problems when it comes to using free email hosting for their operations.

Despite being free and easily acquired, these personal email addresses do not exude a professional business image.

“For one, using a personal email account reduces the credibility of a business. Since people nowadays are wary of scammers and fly-by-night operations, many customers hesitate to transact with someone using a personal email,” he explained.

“When they sign up for Microsoft Exchange through CloudSecure™, business owners and their employees are provided with a professional email domain of their choice, which adds up to the credibility and professionalism of any business,” he added.

Philexport pre-selects firmsto qualify for P150M grant

By Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Philexport Cebu has already started selecting export companies who can avail of the P150 million grant from the Dutch government through the Center for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI-Netherlands).

In an interview with Philexport Cebu executive director Fred Escalona, he said that the grant will be distributed equally among three selected sectors, and that CBI-Netherlands, and PhilExport-Cebu will lead the selection of the company beneficiaries from across the Philippines.

Initially, there are already 12 pre-selected firms under the food ingredients sector, seven from engineering and metal industry, while ongoing selection is being done for the tourism sector.

In Cebu, three firms in the engineering and metal sector are now being pre-selected, said Escalona.

In the next few months, Philexport Cebu targets to pick 15 companies to get technical support from CBI-Netherlands, including consultancy, development and business support, among others.

Escalona added that although this grant is intended to help a total of 45 companies, 15 from each sector nationwide, PhilExport-Cebu is commissioned to lead this new program.

He said these sectors need to get technical help from the European experts, considering that the quality system in the European Union is high, and that exporters need to understand the standard of the market.

Part of the program’s component is to find buyers from Europe for these beneficiary companies, through a matching system based on the database of CBI-Netherlands.

Qualified companies are those that employ not more than 50 employees, and must be wholly Filipino-owned.

CBI-Netherlands has been supporting the export sector through its partnership with Philexport Cebu since 2006, and had already given an average of half a billion pesos in grant to the sector, said Escalona.

The selected companies will also be able to participate in the ExPro training under the program that will include an all-expense-paid workshop to be held in Netherlands this coming November 2013.

CBI-Netherlands is an agency of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Established in 1971 in order to support producers/ exporters to get foothold in the Netherlands market, support to Business Support organizations in improving their capabilities and to act as a matchmaker between suppliers and buyers.

In 1991, the activities were expanded to EU and since 1998 it has become an Agency.

Youth commission, fund for province in the works

(BRP,Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu Provincial Board has started creating a youth commission in response to the call of Governor Hilario Davide III during his inaugural address.

PB Member Jose Ribomapil Holganza Jr. sponsored the proposed ordinance creating the Provincial Youth Commission and its secretariat, and establishing the Provincial Youth Development Fund.

The proposed measure was already passed in first reading during its regular session last week.

The PYC shall be composed of the governor as the chairman with eight commissioners who are the presidents of the provincial Sangguniang Kabataan Federation, federations of organizations of students, community-based youths, working youths, out-of-school youths, youths with special needs, religious youths and youths serving organizations and institutions.

The presidents of the respective federations of youth organizations shall be appointed by the governor upon their election and shall continue to serve the PYC until their successors shall have been elected.

Among the objectives of the PYC are to develop and harness the full potential of the young Cebuanos as responsible partners in nation-building and to encourage active participation in all youth development programs, projects and activities.

Its functions include the formulation and recommendation of youth development policies to the Provincial Government, national agencies and local government units.

Holganza’s proposal also identified seven positions to compose the secretariat headed by an executive director and chief operation officer equivalent to a department head.

Holganza also proposed the amount of P10 million for the initial operations of the PYC and shall be part of the Provincial Youth Development Fund.

The PYDF shall include all appropriations provided by the provincial government for youth development purposes, all donations and grants, allocations from the national government agencies, local government units and the Priority Development Assistance Fund.

DAR distributes agri lands in Cebu

(PNA), LAM/CJT/DAR PR/PJN

MANILA, July 27 (PNA) -- The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) distributed 161.6 hectares of agricultural land to 78 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) in Barangay Colonia in Tuburan, Cebu province.

Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer Isaganie Yee said the distributed landholdings, previously owned by V.A. Cabahug Agro Industrial Development Corporation, were acquired through the voluntary offer to sell option under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

“Landowners offering their properties to CARP for distribution to farmers is an indication they recognize the role of government’s land reform program in improving lives of people in the countryside,” Yee said.

Yee also reminded the ARBs of their rights and obligations to pay real estate taxes and their annual amortization aside from encouraging them to make their newly-acquired land productive to help uplift their lives.

“I urge you to strengthen your organization as well because it will serve as your primary vehicle in building up your social capital, your asset in winning government assistance and private investors’ confidence to do business with you," Yee said.

Provision of support services in the form of measures like basic rural infrastructure, credit assistance and livelihood training is among major CARP components under the Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Services, a comprehensive alternative development approach that directly deals with farmers’ organizations.

On behalf of his fellow farmer-beneficiaries, ARB Donald Pacaña expressed his gratitude to government through DAR for helping them realize their dream of owning land to cultivate.

Police officers visit schools

By Rebelander S. Basilan

A POLICE official in Mandaue City yesterday stressed the need to educate children about the law against human trafficking, after six minors from the city were rescued in separate anti-trafficking operations this month.

Senior Insp. Mercy Villaro, chief of the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD), said police personnel have been visiting schools and orienting Grade 4 to 6 pupils about human trafficking and child abuse.

Villaro said they started the awareness campaign last week at the Mandaue City Central School.

“Our goal is to do this in all public and private elementary and high schools,” she said in a press briefing yesterday.

Recent rescues

Last July 12, authorities rescued five boys, ages nine to 14, from an alleged Australian pedophile and human trafficker in a beach resort in the northern town of Compostela. All boys are from Mandaue.

Less than two weeks later, authorities rescued two girls who were allegedly forced to work as entertainers in a bar in Antique Province. One of the victims came from Mandaue.

Chief Insp. Oscar Monterroyo, head of the MCPO Police Community Relations, said his office will assist the WCPD for the awareness campaign in the communities.

Villaro said conducting orientations help the police get information about trafficking activities, as they ask the pupils to share their experiences.

“We are able to educate and at the same time we get information from them,” she said.

Parental monitoring

She urged parents to monitor their children’s activities so they will not end up in the hands of traffickers.

Earlier, Councilor Nenita Ceniza-Layese said the City’s Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking (Iacat) identified seven barangays where trafficking activities are most common.

She said awareness campaign will be intensified in Barangays Opao, Umapad, Subangdaku, Guizo, Tipolo, Cambaro and Paknaan.

Layese, vice chair of Iacat and chair of the City’s committee on women and family affairs, said barangay officials have to be oriented about the anti-trafficking law.

Cebu Information Officers renew dedication to be bearers of good news

By Ferliza C. Contratista (rmn/FCC/PIA Cebu)

CEBU CITY, July 25 (PIA) -- Public Information Officers of local government units (LGUs) in Cebu recently renewed their dedication to be bearers of good news.

More than 20 members of the Cebu Association of City and Municipal Public Information Officers (CAOCAMPIO) recently renewed their dedication to be an essential partner in efficient governance of their respective LGUs during their recent meeting held at the Cebu Capitol.

This was CAOCAMPIO's first meeting after the May elections. The city and municipal information officers were recently designated or re-designated by their new and re-elected Mayors.

During the meeting, Philippine Information Agency-7 Regional Director Minerva BC Newman and Cebu Information Center Manager Rachelle Nessia briefed CAOCAMPIO members on their role as government information officers.

“Government Information Officers are not mere propagandists, we are crucial partners in governance especially in our thrust for transparency,” Newman said.

She reminded CAOCAMPIO on their duties to promote their LGUs and the services they offer for their constituents.

Engracia Birondo, Municipal Information Officer of Argao, said she has been with CAOCAMPIO for several years now and it is never too late to re-learn their duties as Information Officers.

Vince Monterde, Talisay City Information Officer, said the PIA presentation made him realize the crucial and diverse roles of being a government communicator.

“I learned that we are information managers that wear different hats. We are situation analyzers, planners, directors or coordinators, monitoring officers, evaluators and organizers ourselves,” Monterde said.

Monterde said he benefitted from the talks since he has been covering government activities as a a part of the mainstream media prior to working for Talisay City. He said it is only now that he will be looking at it from a developmental point of view.

Nino Ybanez, Municipal Information Officer of San Remegio, said the meeting gave him a lot of useful information about his role and good news he can initially share to his townsmen.

He said he is looking forward to the next and every meeting of CAOCAMPIO.

Carlo Dugaduga, president of CAOCAMPIO, said they will increase the momentum of the group in terms of interests and dedication this year.

“This meeting is already a start, we are very grateful that there are 21 LGU’s represented and we are aiming to reach out again to the remaining localities. Information is empowering and there are many good news in government,” Dugaduga said.

The members were encouraged to mount their own communication plans and to tap diverse avenue where they can expose their stories and advocacies.

Other than the refresher on the role of government media, CAOCAMPIO members were also briefed on the thrust of newly elected Governor of the Province of Cebu Atty. Hilario “Junjun” Davide III by Provincial Information Officer Ethel Natera.

“We just want to assure you that you will have an honest and transparent provincial government under Governor Davide,” Natera said.

The CAOCAMPIO members were also briefed on the essentials during calamities and disasters by Neil Angelo Sanchez of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Center (PDRRMC).

“An information center is a valuable tool in situations like this and it has been proven. There has to be free flowing and accurate information,” Sanchez said.

Farina Sanchez of the National Dairy Authority (NDA) also distributed information materials to the information officers on how the municipalities can access funding and assistance for milk production and cattle raising.

CAOCAMPIO started in 1988 with PIA as its Secretariat.

Its major aim is to foster a strong cohesive fellowship and cooperation among those involved in public relations, development, information, and communication services at the local government level.

It will also assist the local bureaucracy in building communities and bringing national government thru information.

DENR-7 issues stern warning vs corrupt personnel

By Juju Manubag-Empuerto(rmn/JSME/PIA-Cebu/DENR-7)

CEBU CITY, July 24 (PIA) --- Department of Environment and Natural Resources-7 (DENR) Regional Director Dr. Isabelo Montejo issued a stern warning against the department's officials and personnel who may be engaged in "irregular" activities particularly in the implementation of the National Greening Program (NGP).

The warning came in the heels of reports that some of DENR-7's employees are allegedly involved in corrupt activities relative to NGP's seedling production.

DENR-7 Information Officer Dr. Eddie Llamedo said these employees make money reportedly by selling the seedlings to a people's organization or to private partners who have existing contracts with the department.

Last July 17, Montejo issued a memorandum addressed to four provincial environment and natural resources officers (PENROs) and six community environment and natural resources officers (CENROs) citing certain provisions of Republic Act No. 6713 or the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.”

Similarly, Dr. Montejo stressed the prohibited acts, transactions and penalties in particular under Section 7A of said law that states “public officials and employees shall not directly or indirectly have any financial or material interest in any transaction requiring the approval of their office.”

“I am duty-bound to exercise the full extent of the law and to impose administrative sanctions against erring employees without prejudice to the filing of criminal charges against the offenders if found guilty,” Montejo said.

“There is now an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Legal Division on this matter,” he added.

In a related development, Montejo ordered the creation of a five-member team to conduct a continuous monitoring on the status of implementation of NGP on the plantations establishment.

“We are exerting our efforts not just to double but even triple to really meet our balance of 19,610.43 hectares as we have already accomplished 20 percent of our target of 24,361 hectares as of July 19,” Montejo said.

Mandaue City eyes e-billboards for advisories during calamities

(PNA), PDS/EB

CEBU CITY, July 23 (PNA) -- The local government of Mandaue is planning to put up electronic billboards in different parts of the city to disseminate public advisories, especially during calamities.

Mandaue City Administrator James Abadia said the city plans to procure five electronic billboards at a cost of P6 million next year. The amount will be taken from the city’s disaster risk and reduction management fund.

Abadia said the billboards will be installed on the skywalks on U.N. Ave.; in Barangays Jagobiao, Subangdaku and Centro; and near the first Mactan-Mandaue Bridge.

“The billboards will show traffic and public advisories, especially during typhoons or floods,” Abadia said.

On ordinary days, the billboards will show the time and date, as well as temperature.

The advisories that will flash on the billboards will come from the city’s "Bantay Command Center", which is located beside the Mandaue City Hall.

Metro Cebu population will grow to 5M by 2050 -- JICA study

(PNA), JBP/EB

CEBU CITY, July 22 (PNA) -- Metro Cebu’s population is expected to double from 2.5 million this year to 5 million in 2050, a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said.

The study was released through the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB).

MCDCB groups the cities of Cebu, Carcar, Danao, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Naga and Talisay and the municipalities of Compostela, Consolacion, Cordova, Liloan, Minglanilla and San Fernando.

“With its rich cultural, religious, historic and natural heritage of the region combined with its highly educated and skilled citizens, Metro Cebu continues and will continue to be a magnet for people, function and enterprise,” said Jica study team leader Shigehisa Matsumura.

According to the JICA study, the projected increase is one reason why Cebu’s communities should work together, especially on problems that cross boundaries, like traffic jams and flash floods.

Matsumura said most issues in Metro Cebu are “transboundary,” like drainage, traffic and other problems that interlink local government units (LGUs).

“Now more than ever, it is necessary for the LGUs, National Government agencies, private sector and civil society to come together in a collective effort to collaborate and cooperate,” Matsumura said.

Matsumura’s remarks appear in a brochure on the MCDCB’s project Mega Cebu 2050: Making WAVES.

The acronym WAVES stands for wholesome, advanced, vibrant, equitable, sustainable.

The project is aimed at creating a sustainable life for all residents of Cebu by 2050.

Among the projects it envisions are the creation of attractive urban centers, parks and open spaces, as well as the strengthening of Cebu’s gateway functions and ecology.

The aim is to make Metro Cebu at par with Yokohama and Kyoto in Japan, Singapore, London, Chicago, and Paris.

Mandaue eyes speedboat

By Flor Z. Perolina (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Mandaue City government is set to purchase a speedboat for Bantay Dagat in response to claims by the city’s fishermen that fishermen from other places intrude into the city’s seawaters.

Roger Paller, the city’s information officer, said fishermen from the city have claimed that the intruders, who come from neighboring towns and cities in their motorized boats, use fine fish nets and are armed, not easy for anyone to confront. Hence, the city has decided to protect its seawaters.

The city’s Bantay Dagat is an inter-agency task force composed of representatives from the fishermen, the Dept. of Agriculture, the city council, and the PNP.

8th sari-sari store festival: Prince Warehouse continues to promote entrepreneurship

By Grace Melanie I. Lacamiento /JOB (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - A local retail chain aims to promote entrepreneurial spirit and strengthen the growing sari-sari store community with the annual celebration of its Sari-Sari Store Festival that is slated tomorrow at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) in Mandaue City.

Now on its 8th year, Prince Warehouse Club that is known for its concept geared towards volume and cheap prices will hold its yearly Sari-Sari Store Festival with the theme “Pakiglambigit: Sari-Sari Store Festival W8w Na!”

According to Prince Warehouse Club supply chain manager Rina Go, the festival is intended to give back and extend its gratitude to its loyal customers taking into account its significant contribution to the vibrant growth of the company.

Out of the 70,000 members of Prince Warehouse Club in the Visayas and Mindanao regions, 40,000 sari-sari store owners are located in Cebu.

The 8th Sari-Sari Store Festival further aims to gather sari-sari store owners in Cebu to take advantage of the various activities lined up for the club members.

These include regular product exhibition, entrepreneurial talks in basic accounting, microfinance, and basic business principles, and sharing of success stories among others that are designed to help sari-sari store owners grow their business.

Speakers during the event include RJ7Microfinance finance manager Jedd Ryan Go who will talk about microfinance support services and other incentives, Nestle Phils Inc. area sales manager Loewen Fuentes who will discuss about space management, Virginia Foods Inc. vice president for marketing Stanley Go who will tackle on the basics of entrepreneurship, Prince Warehouse Club accounting manager Feliza Tambago who will talk about financial literacy, Unilever key accounts manager Clarissa Luna who will discuss about business, and Google Developers Group Cebu co-community manager Ka Bino Guerrero who will tackle on how sari--sari store owners could possibly use social media in their businesses.

The local retail chain expects to draw around 2,000 sari-sari store owners during the event.

This year’s Sari-Sari Store Festival will be graced with the presence of re-elected senator Allan Peter Cayetano along with Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

Suppliers, distributors, sponsors and other exhibitors shall showcase their goods and trade their products at wholesale prices in the 1,500-square meter plenary exhibition hall of CICC.

The whole-day affair will be capped off with the awarding of the Best in Booth Display, Most Outstanding Principals, Most Outstanding Distributors, Most Improved Distributors, and the Top Sellers of the Year.

Prince Warehouse Club president and chief executive officer Robert Go said that the traditional retail industry which is represented by the sari-sari store community is seen to continuously boost the economy as more Filipinos are attracted to the fastest and easiest business venture they can get into.

Given the sachet-driven economy of the Philippines, he added that sari-sari store owners account a significant contribution to the economy as part of the retail industry.

Although these entrepreneurs have less capital, he said that sari-sari store owners who comprise the majority of the retail sector is likewise considered as one of the main entrepreneurial growth drivers that pushes the economy to be on the upward trend.

The traditional retail sector that includes the sari-sari stores comprises 60 percent of the retail industry.

The retail chain has branches in North Reclamation Area, old MCWD building, Bulacao, Danao City, Minglanilla, and Argao.

Prince Warehouse Club also has branches in Baybay and Maasin in Leyte, Naval in Biliran, and Cabadbaran City in Agusan del Norte to extend its services to the neighboring provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Mandaue, Talisay to enter into sisterhood agreement

By Jose P. Sollano (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Mandaue City and the City of Talisay will soon establish a sisterhood agreement to strengthen their relations.

Mayor Jonas Cortes and Mayor Johnny Delos Reyes agreed in principle to establish a sisterhood agreement between Mandaue and Talisay cities citing its importance during calamities and emergencies.

Delos Reyes visited Cortes and asked for advice in addressing problems such as running public markets.

Cortes, on the other hand, welcomed Delos Reyes citing that Mandaue City wants to have a good relationship with Talisay City.

“Samtang duna ta’y sisterhood agreement sa ubang mga dakbayan sa laing mga probinsya, importante lang usab kaayo nga sa atong silingan nga dakbayan maayo ang atong relasyon,” Cortes said.

Delos Reyes said the city of Talisay will be proud to enter into a sisterhood pact with Mandaue.

Cebuanos invited to donate blood during Grand Bloodletting event in Cebu

By Juju Manubag-Empuerto (rmn/JSME/PIA-Cebu)

CEBU CITY, July 18 (PIA) -- Organizers of the Grand Bloodletting Day this year are inviting Cebuanos to donate blood during the simultaneous mass blood donation drive on July 27.

The bloodletting will be from 8 am to 5 pm at the Cebu City Sports Center and the University of Cebu Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue campuses.

Blood donors should be in good health, between 18 to 65 yeas old, (16 and 17-year olds need parents' consent), weighs at least 110 lbs or 50 kilos, hemoglobin level must be at least 125g/l (not anemic), blood pressure must be between 90-160 mmHG for systolic & 60-110 mmHG for diastolic, the pulse is equal 50 to 100 beats/min. regular rhythm.

They should also pass the physical and health history assessments.

Women can donate blood even if they are menstruating as long as the hemoglobin concentration is normal.

Blood donors must not miss these before donating blood: have enough rest and sleep, no alcohol intake and medications at least 24 hrs prior to blood donation, eat light meals, avoid fatty foods, drink plenty of fluids like water and juices.

“Every blood donation is a Gift of Life,” is the theme of the July 27 Grand Bloodletting Day this year which is now on its 2nd year.

The Grand Bloodletting Day is a mass donation of safe blood from healthy volunteers coming from various sectors of the society convened by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), Department of Health Regional Blood Center (DOH-RBC) and the Philippine Red Cross Cebu Chapter (PRC) annually.

Expected major donors during the event are the personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) –7, Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command (AFP CENTCOM), Naval Forces Central (NAVFORCEN), Philippine Air Force 2nd Air Division and the University of Cebu-Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue Campus Reserved Officers’ Training Cours (UCLM ROTC).

This year’s bloodletting is also supported by the Rotary International Cebu Fuente and Cebu Gloria Maris & Community Based, Cebu City Sports Commission and the Association of Barangay Councils.

Cebu retailers brace for Asean integration

By Ehda M. Dagooc /JMD (Banat)

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu retail players are now working on strengthening hold in the Philippine market in preparation for the borderless Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) market in 2015.

This is one of the important discussions that will be tackled on tomorrow's 7th Philippine Retail Association (PRA) Regional Conference to be held at Oakridge Business Park on A.S. Fortuna St. in Banilad, Mandaue City.

This year's conference chairman Edmund Liu said that retailers have no choice but to strengthen their grip in the local market and protect their turf in order not to be swallowed by the international brands that are starting to enter the Philippines while preparing for the 2015 Asean integration as well.

Carrying the theme "Back to Basics: Timeless Principles in Retailing," Liu said in this time and complex age, retailers tend to forget the basic principles in retailing, which shouldn't be taken for granted in the first place.

"Taking all the technical jargons, we would like to bring back the basic principles which are important regardless of generation," Liu said.

Liu, together with other PRA officials, including Melanie Ng, PRA chairman; Jun Yap, PRA president; and Robert Go, PRA board member, said that the aim is to focus on techniques on starting and running successful companies featuring pillars in the industry as key speakers during the event.

Speakers include Max's Group of Companies and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts director Jim Fuentebella; Edgar Sia, founder of Mang Inasal; Paulo Campos III of Zalora Philippines; Atty. Paul Santos, PRA national vice president and president of Picture City; senior consultant and chief brand advisor of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. Benedicto Cid, Jr.; and Armando Bartolome, GMB Franchise Developers president.

The speakers will talk about their success, challenges, as well as failures in their businesses, according to Liu.

Local retailers will also be sharing their experiences to the participants which include Ng, Yap, Jay Aldeguer of Islands Group and Raki Urbina of Laguna Group of Restaurants.

Topics include timeless principles in marketing and successful retail brand, operating successful retail company, the basics in retailing from startup business to large enterprise and applying the basics in retailing from generation to generation.

Go, who is also the past president of PRA-Cebu and owns the Prince Warehouse chain of department stores, said that the retail sector has never been so exciting until this time, wherein the industry saw encouraging performance in the recent years, brought about by increasing purchasing power of Filipinos and economic dynamism of the country as a whole.

While the sector is enjoying quite brisker business, he said the upcoming Asean integration come 2015 poses a threat for the local retail players, specifically that Asia Pacific is now considered as the fast growing region for retail in the world.

About 40 percent of the world's retail market is now in the Asia Pacific.

"We have to protect our turf and develop further our hold in the local market," said Go.

In Central Visayas: Cebu sustains lead in tourism growth

By Ehda M. Dagooc /JOB (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - While Cebu sustains its lead in terms of generating tourism growth in the Central Visayas region, the provinces of Siquijor and Negros Oriental have likewise gained interest from both local and foreign tourists.

Record from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-7) showed that while Cebu continues to dominate over other Central Visayas provinces in terms of visitor arrivals, Siquijor and Negros Oriental are fast becoming favorite destinations of tourists in the region.

Except for Bohol, all provinces in the region posted double-digit increases in visitor arrivals.

While the province of Bohol remains a favorite destination of tourists in Central Visayas next to Cebu, there was a noticeable slowing down in visitor arrivals to the province in the last two years.

According to the report, the reduction of visitors could be partly due to the reduction in the number of flights serving the province starting in the third quarter of 2012.

However, in order to regain the growth momentum of tourism in Bohol, the government worked hand-in-hand with the private sector to come up with new strategies to draw in more tourists into the province. One of these strategies involved developing and packaging a variety of activities and projects to attract all types of tourists into the province.

In 2012, the province conducted the First International Wakeboarding Fest in the Municipality of Getafe, Bohol. The varied attractions of Bohol were also featured in one of the episodes of the Kris TV program.

Korean nationals continue to dominate foreign arrivals, accounting for 38 percent of total foreign visitors into the region in 2012. Japanese nationals constitute the second biggest group, accounting for 17 percent of total foreign arrivals.

Overall, the tourism industry expanded even further in 2012 as the region continued to draw in more foreign and local tourists. Central Visayas recorded a 14.6 per cent increase in visitor arrivals, following double-digit growths in both foreign and domestic visitor arrivals.

Central Visayas benefited from sustained growth of international tourism. After recovering in 2010, international tourism gained momentum in the succeeding years, allowing the region to post accelerated growth in foreign visitor arrivals in 2012.

Foreign visitor arrivals were up by 16.8 percent in 2012, better than the 15.9 per cent growth recorded in 2011.

Domestic tourism in the region also picked up during the year. For the first time since 2007, the region posted a double digit increase in domestic visitor arrivals.

Jap businessmen eye Cebu as main test market in Phl

By Grace Melanie I. Lacamiento /JMD (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - A locally-based corporation of Japanese businessmen considers Cebu as their main and test market in the Philippines given the fast-paced economic growth of the province and the high foot traffic of foreign and domestic tourists.

This was manifested as Aqua Marine Ocean Tours opened the second outlet of its subsidiary business venture, the Izakaya Goku Japanese Restaurant.

Aqua Marine Ocean Tours, which is primarily headquartered at Cebu Beach Club, Buyong, Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City, is a holding company of two other tourism-related businesses namely the OnSite Outward Expedition at Portofino Beach Resort, Barangay Angasil, Mactan in Lapu-Lapu City and AquaNaut Voyage in Manila Ocean Park, Quirino Grandstand, in Luneta, Manila.

Two years ago, the Japanese corporation ventured into its first business in the food industry and opened its first outlet of Izakaya Goku at Banilad Town Center in Cebu City.

Naoki Ono, president of Aqua Marine Ocean Tours, said that they assess the reception of the Cebu market first before the corporation lays out its expansion strategies for the Japanese restaurant.

He added that they identified Cebu as their primary market in the country given its huge potential base in terms of economy, investment, growth and foot traffic particularly for Japanese and Filipinos.

The company, he said, has invested P5 million for the second branch of Izakaya Goku that was officially opened last Thursday.

The 170-square meter outlet situated at Gagfa Building, Sitio Kasambagan, Mabolo, Cebu City can accommodate 70 persons with 15 employees serving them.

Ono cited that the second outlet was strategically located in an area where call center agents and young professionals work for five to six Japanese companies that occupy the same building.

He added that there are also city hotels nearby Izakaya Goku which makes it accessible for foreign and local tourists to dine in the Japanese restaurant.

He noted that the newly-opened outlet was primarily intended for the Filipino market particularly the young working professionals and domestic travellers.

Ono also said that although they are similar with other Japanese restaurants in Cebu that provide truly authentic cuisines, Izakaya Goku commits itself to ensure the affordability of what they offer in the menu without compromising the authenticity of the Japanese dishes.

“We want to make it Japanese and at the same time, Filipinize it. Izakaya Goku will be the center of both nationalities,” he said.

He said that the Goku Tendon which is composed of two large shrimps and a sticky rice bowl is the main attraction of Izakaya Goku and is priced at P449.

Other specialties that are a hit to both the Filipino and Japanese markets include the shrimp tempura, Japanese cuisine starter course, sashimi salmon and ramen.

Ono further revealed that they eyeing to open the third branch of Izakaya Goku anytime this year along with their planned expansion of Aqua Marine Ocean Tours in Bohol.

For construction of people’s center: Banks willing to lend money to Mandaue

By Flor Z. Perolina /MIT (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Four banks have shown interest in extending loans to Mandaue City government for the construction of the” People’s Center.”

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, during an interview with reporters, said that after the city announced that it will build a “People’s Center which will house city hall offices, national agencies, and commercial establishments in the city, these four banks have been calling him to express their intention to provide the city with loans for the construction of the building which is estimated to cost from P800 million to P1 billion.

“Getting loans from banks will not be a problem, especially with the city’s increasing assets,” Cortes said.

The People’s Center will be constructed at the old public market located in barangay Centro and he believes that this building will be finished before his last term ends.

Cortes said since his first term of office, the city has been acquiring properties, especially land.

Cortes said the city has strengthened its partnerships with the private sector, such as the Cebu Contractors’ Association, which provides the city with filling materials for free to develop the lots which the city had acquired.

During his inaugural address last Wednesday, Cortes said building the Mandaue City People Center and a reclamation development called the Mandaue Global Central Project are the major projects he will pursue in his last term.

He envisions the Mandaue City People Center as a one-stop shop for investors.

Aside from city hall, the building will house local branches of national government agencies and the City Investment Promotions Action Center.

Cebu has strong chance of hosting APEC

By Annie Fe Perez /MIT (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu has a strong fighting chance to host the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit in 2015 according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

This was confirmed by DFA spokesperson Asec. Raul Hernandez who was in Cebu yesterday to give a lecture-seminar before students of the University of San Carlos on the promotion of Philippine foreign policy.

“Cebu is a very beautiful place. You have adequate infrastructure here. I’m sure they will consider,” says Hernandez.

However, Hernandez pointed out that there is no confirmation yet of the provinces who will host the APEC. He further explained that as of today, the APEC National Organizing Council (NOC) is still screening all the provinces who bid for the event.

As far as accommodation is concerned, Cebu has a number of hotels. The province will also be upgrading the facilities in the Cebu International Convention Center. There might also be a possibility of a second runway in the Mactan-Cebu International Airport if congress will approve Rep. Raul del Mar’s proposal.

The APEC in 2015 will consist of sectoral ministerial meetings on education, energy, food security, small and medium scale industry, oceans, science and technology, transportation and women and the economy. An estimated number of about 24,000 participants from around Asia-Pacific will be attending the event. Among the world leaders who might be gracing the summit is United States of America president Barack Obama.

Cebu City Michael Rama confirmed in an earlier report that they have submitted all the necessary papers to the APEC NOC, including video clippings. Gordon Alan Joseph and the Mega Cebu project team gained positive feedback from the APEC NOC secretariat during their presentation.

Cebu’s bid is in partnership with the province through Governor Junjun Davide and the Mayors of Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Talisay and Mandaue.

Joseph also said that if Cebu gets chosen, it will be a major shot for Cebu since the National Government will be investing a lot for the infrastructure needed to host the summit.

The APEC NOC is looking for host cities that have enough facilities and infrastructure such as airports, roads, hotels, and convention space, security and public safety. Disaster preparedness, power and water availability and medical services are also considered.

Apart from Cebu, other tourist destination provinces also bid for the APEC such as Tagaytay, Iloilo, Davao, Albay, Clark and Subic.

The APEC is a forum for 21-member economies that seek to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Cebu to develop eco-tourism attractions in the countryside

By Ehda M. Dagooc /JOB (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Although Bohol may now be the preferred eco-tourism destination in the Philippines, Cebu likewise has the potential to prosper in this particular tourism aspect especially in the countryside areas.

Department of Tourism (DOT-7) regional director Rowena Montecillo said that Cebu will complement Bohol in terms of eco-tourism related attractions, and is currently helping some municipalities in the province that has the potential to maximize the eco-tourism advantage, in a parallel move to push adventure tourism in the province.

Montecillo said DOT-7 is now slowly working with the respective local government units (LGUs) and tourism prime movers and stakeholders to promote both the eco-tourism and adventure tourism destinations in Cebu.

Cebu is widely known as the gateway and urban tourism hub in the Southern Philippines because of its rich heritage, culture, shopping, night life, fine and world-class hotels and resorts, beaches. This time, the promotion efforts will also be reinforced to help the community-based tourism sectors, through identifying the areas that have good potential for eco and adventure tourism attractions, and activities.

Montecillo said that it is important for Cebu to develop its resources in the eco-tourism sector, considering that the province is going to be the host for this year’s 5th World Economic Forum, this coming November.

Although Cebu is recognizing the success of Bohol in terms of capitalizing on its eco-tourism advantage, Cebu on the other hand, will not entirely compete with its sister province, however, it will complement and add up to tourists’ options of this kind of destinations, and tourists’ demand.

In an earlier interview with UN-WTO regional vice president for Asia Pacific Lee Choon Loong, he said that eco-tourism component in the world tourism sector is one of the fastest growing sectors.

“The eco-tourism is now a very important buzz-word in the tourism sector. The Philippines has huge and beautiful natural resources," Lee added.

Lee suggested that Cebu will maximize its rich marine resources in the eco-tourism component, with careful implementation of marine resource preservation, and implementing strongly involvement of the community.

In the Philippines, DOT assistant secretary for tourism development planning Rolando Canizal said the department has identified four top eco-tourism destinations and these are: Bohol, Palawan, Cagayan Valley and Mt. Apo in Davao.

At present, Costa Rica is the number one eco-tourism destination in the world because of its organized and systematic policies to promote eco-tourism heavily involving the community to participate reaping the opportunities of tourism.

From Belgium, Netherlands Foreign teenagers visit Cebu for youth exchange program

By Annie Fe Perez (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - To foster relations with sister cities Kortrijk and Haarlemmermeer, 20 teenagers from Belgium and the Netherlands arrived in Cebu yesterday as part of the multi-youth exchange program, primarily organized by the Young Heroes of Cebu (YHC).

The YHC wanted the youth of these cities to interact with our own youth.YHC is supported by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Incorporated.

“We are building relationships and understanding others’ culture,” said Ruby Langeweld, the program’s adult leader.

For less than a month, the foreign youths will be exposed to different communities and non-government organizations. Among those that they will be visiting are FORGE foundation, the Badjao communities in Cebu, Missionaries of the Poor, SOS Children’s Village, and Cebu Technological University’s agricultural campus in Barili.

The most highlighted activity of this program is the house-building outreach program at Gawad Kalinga (GK). In the previous years, they built houses in Lilo-an, Bogo, Talisay, Dumanjug and Badian. This year, they will be immersing at GK Mandaue.

The youths will also experience living as a Cebuano under foster families in Cebu City. They will be in the city until July 31.

The organizers are hoping that the rest of the City will be aware of their program and the city’s tie-up with these European countries.


Cebu men, women’s volleyball team to represent PH in Thailand July 18-21

(PNA), PDS/EB/MJT/

CEBU CITY, July 10 (PNA) -- Cebu’s men's and women’s beach volleyball teams are all set to represent the country in the Southeast Asia Volleyball Championships this July 18-21 in Thailand.

The Cebuano teams earned the right to represent the country after winning the 2013 Philippine National Games (PNG) in Manila.

The teams are the two-time PNG men’s champion duo of Jonrey Sasing and Edward Ybanez and the women’s champion of Jusabelle Brillo and Apple Saraum.

The team will leave for Thailand on Monday.

Brillo, a former beach volleyball national team member, is already getting excited to play in the tournament.

“This will be the first time Saraum and I will face foreign foes. I believe we make a good team. I am glad and happy to be given this opportunity,” said Brillo.

Sasing, also a former national team member, said they only learned about the trip last Friday.

“I am so excited that I will be competing again in this level. We are hoping to earn a medal in beach volley,” said Sasing, who competed in the 2009 Southeast Asian Games before coming back to Cebu to find a stable job.

Although this has been the long-time dream of Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) beach volley consultant Eric Lecain for Cebu to play in a top caliber tournament like this, he said he is excited and pressured at the same time because they want to perform well in the tournament.

Pressure mounted after Lecain assured PSC chairman Richie Garcia that the teams will have a good performance.

“He asked me if Cebu could win some games at tournament. I said I have no doubt. Now I will have to pray a lot,” Lecain said.

DOT vows to prioritize long-term tourism plans

By Ehda M. Dagooc /JMD (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - In response to the private sector's demands for structural reforms to specific sectors that hold promise for economic growth, the government through the Department of Tourism (DOT) vows to prioritize support for tourism development.

“The government and private sector identified tourism for longer-term development based on recent sector growth performance, job creation possibilities across the archipelago, and positive externalities to other sectors,” said DOT assistant secretary for tourism development planning Rolando Canizal.

In his report, Canizal said tourism employs more than 3.7 million and many of these jobs are outside the main urban centers of Manila and Cebu.

Employment through community-based tourism projects has also been growing rapidly, he said. Employment incomes generated through tourism help families [slowly] escape poverty.

According to Canizal, the government is aware of these structural and policy constraints on longer-term growth in tourism.

In 2012, DOT endorsed the National Tourism Development Plan 2011-2016. The new plan shifts away from the traditional approach of public provisioning of services to the industry to greater private sector participation.

Features of the plan include the adoption of a public-private-partnership (PPP) framework for hotel and resort quality assurance accreditation; a PPP in tourism industry skills development and funding; and a regulatory review of the tourism industry and the promotion of PPPs in infrastructure.

Compared to its neighbors in the Asian region, the Philippines has lagged behind, Canizal admitted.

In 2010, about 3.5 million foreign tourists arrived in the Philippines compared with the 20 million for Malaysia, 16 million for Thailand and five million for Indonesia.

In his report, Canizal said that the Philippines also performed poorly in global surveys of tourism competitiveness. In 2011 alone, World Economic Forum travel and tourism competitiveness index ranked the Philippines 94th of 139 countries due to its poor regulatory framework, business environment, tourism infrastructure and poor service standards.

“These factors have contributed to lower international tourist arrivals and tourism revenues relative to regional neighbors,” he said.

Canizal said DOT and tourism providers are especially concerned about relatively lower service standards and employers complaining about the skills mismatch of many school leavers entering the industry.

Currently, the hotel and resorts quality assurance rating system is based on outdated standards and is poorly implemented, thereby not serving its purpose as signaling quality benchmarked against international standards.

“Many young people entering the tourism industry are not considered to be adequately trained. Vocational training curriculum of occupations in the industry is not frequently updated to meet changing international standards and practices, and skills development in tourism is underfunded,” he said.

In Cebu, the tourism stakeholders, through the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) Tourism Committee, is strengthening programs and advocacy towards taking advantage of tourism as employment generator and economic driver for the province.

The committee, vowed to work closer with the DOT and other concerned government agencies, including the local government units (LGUs) to accelerate implementation of tourism development programs.

DOH’s WOW targets Cebu school kids

(PNA), PDS/EB

CEBU CITY, July 8 (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH) will start its "War on Worms (WOW)" by distributing candy-flavored chewable deworming tablets to elementary and high school students of Cebu City next month for free, a health official said.

Dr. Vicente Belizario Jr. said a 2007 study conducted by the University of the Philippines National Institute of Health (NIH) showed that one out of two Cebuanos play host to parasitic worms.

Belizario said nine out of ten children in Sitio Alaska, Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City, are worm-infested.

"This is an often neglected disease, experts call it a disease of poor people due to improper sanitation and open defecation," he said.

Belizario, who met Sunday with officials from both the Cebu city and provincial governments, said the high occurrence of parasitic worms or "helminths" is "no longer acceptable."

The rate is way past the World Health Organization's (WHO) standards which stand at one out of five persons, he said.

Among those who attended the meeting were Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) officer Cynthia Genesolango, Provincial Board (PB) Member Peter John Calderon and Cebu City Councilors Lea Japson and Noel Wenceslao, head of the committees on health and education, respectively.

"Children diagnosed with parasitic worms often perform poorly in school. The abdominal pain caused by the organisms led to absenteeism," he added.

Belizario said DOH's WOW program sees Cebu as a model of worm control in the country together with other focus areas set by the NIH.

He said DOH has yet to gather data on the occurrence of parasitic worms in the whole province of Cebu.

"That's what we need to establish, the baseline data for us to know the timetable of this program," he said.

Magpale said the provincial government is ready to provide manpower for the distribution of the tablets.

"We always conduct feeding programs but the kids are still malnourished, there must be something wrong," she said.

Metro Cebu board seeks private-public sector help to address flooding, traffic woes

(PNA), JBP/EB

CEBU CITY, July 7 (PNA) -- The Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB) has encourage public and private stakeholders to take part in the campaign for a better Cebu and help address floods and traffic issues in the metropolis.

“Flooding in the metropolis is an old problem, which flows with our economic progress. There is a need to mobilize Cebu as soon as possible to realize the Metro Cebu drainage master plan for sustainable development,” said MCDCB-Research Program and Organizational Development (RPOD) vice chair Dominica Chua.

Chua, who is also the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI) chief operating officer, recently addressed the EKO Conference: Promoting Green Economic Development at Radisson Blu Hotel in Cebu City.

She presented “Mega Cebu: A platform for creating a green city-region” and said the urban vision incorporates doable and practical approaches to make sure most stakeholders participate.

The Local Government Code allows local government units (LGUs) and non-government organizations to coordinate with each other for economic and social development, Chua pointed out.

LGUs and private players were urged to collaborate with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on the drainage program.

The MCDCB has ongoing discussions with DPWH for a comprehensive study and report on the planning and development of the Metro Cebu Integrated Flood and Drainage System, scheduled for execution late next year or early 2015.

Cities evolving into smart mega-cities and city-regions will have more chances to prosper faster than cities that are isolated in their regional spaces, Chua said.

She said this type of urban atmosphere will attract and retain investments, as well as meet associated demands in traffic and waste management.

Chua also emphasized the urgency of public-private cooperation to combat related challenges such inadequate and aging infrastructure; the decline of the social fabric; continued in-migration; complex trans-boundary urban issues; and slow growth, resulting in Metro Cebu lagging behind other cities worldwide.

The MCDCB was founded in 2011 as a public-private partnership that involves LGUs, national government agencies, business players and civil society groups. It also works in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency Study Team for the Mega Cebu project.

The group’s working definition of Metro Cebu stretches from Cebu City to Carcar City in the south and Danao City in the north, including San Fernando, Naga City, Minglanilla, Talisay City, Lapu-Lapu City, Cordova, Mandaue City, Consolacion, Liloan and Compostela.

Cebu traders want PNoy to get down to business

By Ehda M. Dagooc /JOB (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippine s- For his upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22, the Cebu business sector wants President Benigno Aquino III to get down to business and make concrete directions in making the country more competitive.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Lito Maderazo said that the greatest achievement of the Aquino administration so far, is on having built a good reputation for the country within the international business community. However, this should be complemented with concrete plans and programs to realize investments coming to the Philippines.

“I did not see any major project being done in Cebu [under the current administration], except for the airport. Cebu as an economic hub, creates its own development. But, the goodwill of the Philippine government as a country has benefited Cebu in terms of Foreign Direct Investors confidence,” said Maderazo.

“He should really get down to business this time,” said Maderazo.

The Philippines’ competitiveness within the region should be seriously taken into consideration specifically that the ASEAN integration is nearing.

The Cebu business sector wants the PNoy government to amend some of the economic provisions in the constitution such as the foreigners land ownership provision, among others.

The judiciary and military institutions should be well fixed and other concerns that make the Philippines less competitive to other countries within the region, and even in the global setting.

Maderazo said the business sector would want the President to make concrete plans on how the Philippines will be able to compete especially on the ASEAN integration this coming 2015.

“Would we allow ourselves to be swallowed by our ASEAN neighbors?” said Maderazo.

He said the Philippines right now, is too far away from its neighbors in terms of competitiveness. In the tourism sector alone, the Philippines is at the tail-end when it comes to attracting volumes of tourists. Thailand and Vietnam are on top of the international tourists’ list as preferred destinations. While the Philippines is aiming to hit 10 million foreign arrivals, Thailand on the other hand, is reaching over 25 million tourists a year.

Cebu Business Club (CBC) president Gordon Alan “Dondi” Joseph said that although it has been a good start for the PNoy administration, still everyone has to realize that there are still significant steps required to move forward.

“We need to create more jobs and these can only come from local investments and foreign direct investments. Our FDI performance remains pretty poor,” Joseph stressed.

Another area of focus, that Cebuano businessmen would like to hear on the upcoming SONA is the administration’s serious implementation on infrastructure development, “not just the major PPP [Public-Private-Partnership], but throughout the country. There should also be continued focus on improving the quality of education.”

In Cebu, Joseph said the private and public sector are currently working on developing the global competitiveness and liveability.

“We are in fact about to begin the master plan for this with the assistance of JICA [Japan International Cooperation Agency]. We will continue focusing on this with the 14 LGUs that comprise MEGA Cebu. They have been excellent partners in the entire process,” said Joseph.

Mandaue set to host world arnis tourney

By PR (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Hundreds of Filipino stickfighters will converge in Mandaue City on July 26-27 for the Doce Pares World Invitational Championship 2013.

The event is billed as “Road to Hungray” as participants will be vying for national training pool slots for next year's World Eskrima Kali Arnis Championships in Debrecen, Hungary.

The two-day tournament features foreign competitors from perennial visitors Reunion Island of France, United States, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Kingdom, South Korea and Australia.

“We are giving full support on this sport and martial art since this is ours. We want Mandaue City through the sports commission to spearhead the revival of local, national and international arnis tournaments,” said Mandaue sports commissioner Engr. Gaga Mendoza.

Teams from the Armed Forces of the Philippines - Army, Air Force and Navy are expected to compete together with arnisadors from Davao, General Santos City, Laguna and Muntinlupa.

At least five teams from Cebu including host Mandaue have also confirmed their entry.

Aside from the fighters, the MCSC will also invite Grandmasters and Masters who have stepped out of the limelight.

“It is long overdue that these great grandmasters and masters will be honored for they have helped develop our very own martial art,” said Mendoza.

Local developer pioneers child-friendly condo in Phl

By John M. Destacamento (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - A local-based developer is positioning the safety of children at the core of its condominium venture as it tries to penetrate the buoyant real estate market here in Cebu.

Worldwide Central Properties (WCP) intends to tap the lively industry experienced by local real estate players with its formal launching last week of the first tower of Sundance Residences.

WCP president and chief executive officer Kent Ong, an engineer, said that Sundance Residences will put the security of the kids at the forefront of its plan while allowing their “busy” parents to work at the same time.

Ong said Sundance Residences will cater to the needs of the “young, modern Filipino family”.

“The parents are so much preoccupied with their work already that they should not bother where to send their kids for tutorial classes, for example, or where to find leisure activities for them,” said Ong.

“As a parent myself, I can relate to other parents wanting a place where they could work while having that peace of mind that their kids are safe,” he said.

Company officials pointed out that Sundance Residences will be the first child-friendly condominium in the Philippines.

Among the features that would support this claim are its anti-mosquito environment, kiddie toilets and urinals, columns with rounded corners and balconies with higher than standard railings.

They are also proposing to house and prioritize kid-related commercial establishments such as a pre-school and offer kid-related services like tutorial classes.

Sundance Residences is a mid-rise development composed of two towers. The first tower is 16 storeys high while the second one is just about the same height.

The units in the first tower are expected to be turned over to the tenants within the second quarter of 2015.

Officials also said a cutting edge for Sundance is its accessibility. Located in a 3,200-square meter property along S. Duterte St. in Barangay Banawa, Cebu City, Sundance Residences is some three-minute drive to grocery stores and five to 10 minutes away from hospitals, schools, universities and the central business district.

Ong mentioned that WCP is going to pour in P600 million for this investment, which is their first bid to vertical development. WCP is one of three companies comprising the Worldwide Group founded by couple Francisco and Lina Ong, who are both Cebuanos.

Ann Leslie Ngo, president of Worldwide Group, shared that before deciding to step into the real estate business with this particular project, it took them two years to do all the research and planning.

“It’s a well thought out project,” Ngo said. “Since it’s our first project, we wanted to make sure that we hire the best consultants in town.”

For this development, WCP has hired the technical assistance of celebrated furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue for the building’s interior design, while Antonio Trillanes, the older brother of the senator, serves as the project architect.

The studio units, taking up a total area of 29 square meters including the balcony space, are currently selling at P1.9 million. One-, two- and three-bedroom units are also obtainable.

WCP, an affiliate of Worldwide Steel and Worldwide Home Depot, is also eyeing to go on horizontal development towards the end of the year with its project in Lapu-Lapu City already on the drawing board.

Tourism advocates laud Cebu’s latest accolade

By Grace Melanie I. Lacamiento /JOB (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Local tourism advocates seemed not surprised but rather expressed pride as Cebu was hailed as one of the best and most affordable places in the world to retire.

According to an article from “Yahoo! Finance”, Cebu is one of the six cities in the world that are recommended for Americans to retire without having to spend too much.

Based on Live and Invest Overseas’ Retire Overseas, the publication and research firm specializing in overseas living used 12 factors as an index to determine the best cities to retire such as “climate, whether English is spoken, cost of living, health care and infrastructure, to determine the best cities to retire.”

The list of the six top places also include Chiang Mai in Thailand, Cuenca in Ecuador, Granada in Nicaragua, Hoi An in Vietnam and El Poblado, Medellin in Colombia.

These cities that offer both affordability and luxury, as the article cited, require only $1,250 per month to cover all the living expenses

Former secretary of the Department of Tourism and 5th district congressional post winner Joseph “Ace” Durano said that Cebuanos can testify themselves how Cebu has been proclaimed as one of the retirement hubs given its small town ambience, pristine nature, and cosmopolitan amenities to name a few.

“All of us here in Cebu can easily relate to this article. Why we Cebuanos can’t imagine living elsewhere is probably the same reason Cebu is cited as a great place to retire,” he stated.

Durano’s statements were supported by National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (NAITAS) chairman emeritus and tourism prime mover Bobby Lim Joseph who said that the good news was already expected as more locals are building their homes in Cebu where they can enjoy their retirement in the future.

Joseph further noted that the attraction of Cebu to foreign residents could be attributed to the accessibility of the area to other foreign cities through the Mactan Cebu International Airport, international flights available to and from Cebu, tourist influx, expansion of housing developments in Cebu that meet the global standards, improved medical industry, resort-living inspired residential projects, economic growth, low cost of living and progressive countryside and urban developments.

He also cited that Cebuanos possess better English-speaking capabilities which in return, make foreign retirees to get comfortable living in Cebu without worrying with the language barrier.

“To top everything, Cebuanos are very friendly, industrious, creative and truly attractive,” he told The FREEMAN.

In an earlier report, Governor-elect Hilario “Junjun” Davide III considered the inclusion of Cebu on the list of world’s retirement havens as a true manifestation of the potential of the province in terms of tourism.

Davide, in a recently-concluded tourism congress last month, emphasized tourism as one of the priority areas that his administration would focus on.

The international article described Cebu as “a developed province in the Philippines, has some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world: narrow coastlines with bright blue waters and limestone plateaus offset by rolling hills and rugged mountains.”

Mega Cebu project: USJ-R studes showcase youth’s role in progress

By Grace Melanie I. Lacamiento /JOB (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Young and idealistic as they are, students of the University of San Jose – Recoletos (USJ-R) firmly believed that there should be a balance between urbanization and preservation of the environment in order to achieve progress, emphasizing the significant role that the youth can contribute towards the sustainable development of Cebu.

To involve the youth and the academe, stakeholders of the Mega Cebu project recently organized a video making contest among universities and colleges in Metro Cebu.

The Mega Cebu 2050 development strategy is envisioned towards a vibrant, equitable, sustainable and competitive environment that embraces Cebu’s creativity and its cultural, historical and natural resources, with strong citizen participation and responsive governance.

Each participating school are required to send a minimum of two entries and a maximum of six. The first two entries must be based on the Mega Cebu attributes assigned to each group via draw by lot system.

The deadline for the submission of entries was extended last June 22 and winners were proclaimed last June 25 at Ayala Center Cebu. The criteria included creativity and originality, clarity of message, viewers’ appeal, and overall presentation.

Out of its six entries, the University of San Carlos bagged four awards for the categories in cultural and historic, innovative, creative and competitive, inclusive, equitable and liveable, and integrated, coordinated and participative while the University of the Philippines – Cebu won the best entry for the interconnected and compact attribute.

USJ-R, on the other hand, was proclaimed as the winner for the best entry in the green category and was declared as the awardee for the viewers’ choice as a special award for getting the highest number of likes in their video entries.

Their first entry for the innovative, creative and competitive category earned 2,177 likes. It is futuristic-themed video of pre-school students from Gawad Kalinga in Mananga, Talisay City in traditional schooling at present followed by a vision of college students in advanced educational system in the future.

Meanwhile, the entry for the green attribute comparative which is a split-screen video showing the comparison of good and bad environmental practices gained 2,165 likes.

The winning entries were products of collaboration between two different colleges of USJ-R, the College of Commerce and College of Arts and Sciences. Members of the Josenian team involved students taking up Bachelor of Science in Business Administration major in Marketing Management and Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication. They are Jenny Mae Rellon, Samona Garzota, Mechelle Florita, Aubry Lerio, Niño Justin Tecson and Nimrod Shem Aro.

Towards a better Cebu

In an interview with The FREEMAN, Rellon admitted that the Mega Cebu 2050 vision seemed too idealistic for the youth’s perspective since it involves a long-term plan. However, she said that the group realized the purpose of the project in order to have a better Cebu in the years ahead.

She noted that progress in a particular city is not based on how many skyscrapers one can find in the area. She added that a city could actually achieve growth and development by both coping with industrialization and maintaining the beauty of nature.

“When you start to think of innovation, also think of the environment. Aiming for success is good but in the end, who’s to be blamed? It is not the people at present who will suffer, it is the next generations ahead of us who will,” she said.

Rellon shared that since she and Garzota are business administration students, they decided to seek help from the mass communication students who had a background on film production. They had one night of brainstorming and three days of preparation. They used their own resources and played as actors themselves.

Florita emphasized the need for balance between urbanization and preservation of the environment, saying that the former does not imply the deterioration of the latter.

Florita who lives in downtown Cebu said that she is a bare witness of the urbanized lifestyle in the city. She particularly cited that amid the real estate boom, the public should continue to plant trees. She added that proper zoning and effective drainage system should also be observed to avoid floods from the uphill barangays to lowlands.

She said that the youth could actually help the society by carrying out environment-friendly practices and exploiting the social media to promote awareness to the public.

“We may be still in school but we can actually contribute to the sustainable development of Cebu. Yes, we have all these ideas but what we lack is the execution,” she stated.

The Josenian team remained optimistic that the Mega Cebu 2050 plan will come to realization and expressed willingness to cooperate with the government and private sector towards the accomplishment of the project.

They received a total of P22,000 cash prize, plaques and three medals. The group expressed gratitude to the support extended by the Department of Communications, Languages and Literature, College of Arts and Sciences, Junior Entrepreneurs and Marketers Society, College of Commerce and Student Affairs Office.

Socially-conscious youth

USJ-R College of Commerce Dean Dr. Edgar Detoya lauded the creativity and innovation showed by the Josenian team during the Mega Cebu video-making competition. He pointed out that the youth at present has evolved to become socially-conscious on environmental issues and concerns.

He said that both the public and private sectors could benefit from the innovative ideas of the young generation and incorporate them in their plans for a better Cebu.

He said that responsible urbanization is actually doable for Cebu, adding that it is possible to meet the demands of the present without compromising the needs of the future generation.

“We can urbanize in such a way that it is not detrimental to the environment. That is sustainable development. If other countries can make it, why can’t we? We just need to have that discipline,” he said.

In response to the timely call for environmental conservation, USJ-R implemented the Win on Waste (WOW) program, a self-sustaining project that aims to make Josenians engage in resource conservation, ecological care and protection, and waste management.

Cebu cement plant mulls use of trash for its kiln

(PNA), HBC/EB/

CEBU CITY, July 1 (PNA) -- A cement company in Naga City in southern Cebu is planning to use solid waste to fire its kiln and reduce Cebu’s garbage by at least 15 percent this year, an official said.

Rolando Vera Cruz, Cemex Philippines sustainability director, said the company invested in technology to generate alternative energy to replace fossil fuels, like coal, for its kiln at the APO Cement Plant in Barangay, Tinaan, Naga City.

Cemex hopes to process 300 tons of garbage a day, which is equivalent to 15 percent of the total wastes generated by Cebu province.

Vera Cruz said the program was implemented in line with the National Government’s Philippine Energy Plan, which stresses energy self-sufficiency and promotes waste-to-energy projects.

Vera Cruz said Cemex has partnered with two material recover facilities, one of which is in Naga City and the other in Cebu City.

He said among their possible sources of solid waste are Naga with some 40 tons a day, Minglanilla with 70 tons, Consolacion with 300 to 400 tons and Cebu City with 400 tons a day.

Vera Cruz said the ideal type of waste for processing is those with the least moisture and chlorine.