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Cebu Province News June 2013

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Province of Cebu - Archived News

Barangay anim 4500.gif
A Barangay Clearance is NEEDED in order to get a Business License.
So why is the barangay name not in most business addresses?
Ask your Barangay Captain/Chairman to create a Resolution to make it mandatory to put the barangay name in all Business addresses.
Cebu metro.jpg
Aerial View of Metro Cebu
Herbal remedies for diabetes.JPG
How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm


Mandaue, Dumaguete to ink sister-city relationship

By Flor Z. Perolina (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Mandaue City council has approved a resolution which seeks to establish a sisterhood pact with Dumaguete City.

The resolution, proposed by Mandaue City Councilor Diosdado Suico, was approved last Wednesday.

It states that Mayor Jonas Cortes is convinced that many things can be learned from Dumaguete that can be be adopted by Mandaue.

Last June 14, Dumaguete City Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria and 23 other elected officials and department heads made a courtesy call to Mayor Jonas Cortes.

“The two local chief executives conceived an idea of forging a sister-city relationship for mutual benefits among the two local government units,” the Suico resolution states.

The visitors were oriented about Mandaue City’s development approaches, as well as the city’s economic, social, physical, administrative, and political profile.

“For the plan to start moving, a legislative measure to guarantee the validity of action is substantially required to manifest and seal our intention justifying the idea to forge a sister-city relation with Dumaguete City,” the resolution said.

8th Grand Chamber Awards: CCCI names Benedicto Entrepreneur of the Year

By Ehda M. Dagooc /JMD (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - This year’s Grand Chamber Awards recognized the exemplary contribution of Cebuano legendary business icon and diplomat Consul Enrique L. Benedicto on his successful helm as the father of one of Cebu’s largest cement manufacturing firms—Mabuhay Filcement Inc.

Benedicto was awarded last night at the 18th Grand Chamber Awards held at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino to culminate the month-long celebration of the Cebu Business Month (CMB 20013) in the major “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, which is given annually by the Chamber to honor the men and women in Cebu business sector who contributed to the economic strength of the booming second largest city in the Philippines.

Benedicto, the current Honorary Consul for Belgium in Cebu, has held significant positions in the various successful companies, such as the Benedicto & Sons Co., Inc.; Berben Wood Industries, Inc.; Enrison Holdings, Inc.; Benedicto Ventures, Inc.; Cebu Grand Industries Corporation Grand Steel, Inc.; Enrison Land, Inc.; and Bernardo Benedicto Foundation.

He was also the former trustee of Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and has also been an independent director of Cebu Holdings, Inc. and Salcon Power Corporation since September 2008.

Mabuhay Filcement, Inc. is a Board of Investment (BOI) registered firm with the latest state-of-the-art technology in manufacturing and engineering design. The company stands in its priority commitment to deliver excellent cement products and related services through its three brands—Mabuhay Portland; Mabuhay Premium; and Mabuhay Pozzolan cement.

Shamrock Bakery & Restaurant Corporation, Cebu’s pride in “delicacy” pasalubong making, made it as this year’s “Countryside Entrepreneur of the Year” awardee, given to the person who is at the helm of Shamrock’s brand success—Sergio Antonio V. Paras Jr.,

Chilo James P. Delantor’s Chilen’s Chicharon made him as the 2013 “Small Business Entrepreneur” awardee, as the brand continues to identify Cebu’s unique taste of chicharon making, which is not only patronized by Cebuanos and Filipinos alike for years, but also by the international market.

The spotlight also directed to Vito Angelo D. Selma in excelling as the “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” awardee bannering his example in making waves as young businessman through his company—Stonesets International Inc.

The Chamber’s board of judges was composed of the past president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) led by Geromino D. Sta. Ana as chairman.

Emphasizing the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) to every business organization, this year’s Grand Chamber Awards put the spotlight to the exemplary social works of local pharmaceutical company—International Pharmaceutical Inc. (IPI).

IPI Foundation, Inc. got the “CSR Institution of the Year” award.

The Chamber also recognized the contributions of the major players in the academe sector, in a “Special Citations” award. These are the Center of International Education Global Colleges, Inc.; Cebu Doctors University; Velez College; University of Cebu; Sacred Heart School—Hijas de Jesus; Sacred Heart School—Ateneo de Cebu; Philippines Christian Gospel School; University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R); Southwestern University; Cebu Institute of Technology—University; St. Theresa’s College; University of Southern Philippines-Foundation; University of the Visayas; Cebu Eastern University; College de la Inmaculada Conception and the University of San Carlos.

DOT to strengthen Phl tourism workforce

By Ehda M. Dagooc /JMD (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of Tourism (DOT) targets to train at least 5,000 tourism workers and to certify 500 tourism professionals under the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA), following the technical assistance program financed by the Government of Canada in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

This is among the several targets DOT is trying to achieve by 2016, under the “Competitiveness in Tourism” program through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and ADB as the administering agencies.

In his presentation during the official launching of the project, DOT assistant secretary for tourism development planning Rolando Canizal said that among the objectives of the program is to develop a strong tourism workforce in the Philippines and make the country as well as its tourism professionals ready for the ASEAN integration.

With the help of international experts that will be deployed under the US$7.1 million program in tourism competitiveness, the Philippines tourism workforce is expected to enter into the international playing field standard.

Canizal said part of the proposed technical assistance is the “tourism industry skills development program” that will include the upgrading of vocational skills and competency in the industry.

Local government units (LGUs) and civil society organizations are also part of the target beneficiaries of the training grants.

Canizal said DOT will lead in the analysis and planning in consultation with the industry stakeholders to review and suggest revisions to the quality and management of tourism industry training.

Experts will also assist DOT in strengthening industry and institutional links, such as developing human resource development plan that can be updated annually, and establish the financial management system, operations manual and grant agreements with recipients, and administer the pilot skills grant scheme.

The skills grant scheme will provide two windows through which industry partnered with accredited training providers can access grants to skills development initiatives.

The scheme aims to provide employers and training providers with resources to improve skills and services.

The first window will be the private sector window for tourism employers in hotels, resorts, tour agencies and other tourism providers. The second window will be for LGUs and civil society groups.

Funding for LGUs will relate to tourism planning, LGU support services and regulatory review programs. Funding for civil society groups, meanwhile, will relate to training workers and informal workers in community-based tourism projects and youth for life skills program.

The skills grant will be allocated on a competitive basis, based on project proposals to be evaluated using agreed indicators.

According to Canizal, DOT will establish a national skills tourism project committee to oversee implementation of the skills development program and selection of grant recipients. The skills development program will be piloted in Bohol, Cebu, Davao and Palawan.

In each pilot, regional tourism skills project committee will be established, comprising staff from DOT offices in the localities and industry representatives to champion skills development in the pilot regions.

Also included is the pilot implementation of the new system of accreditation and the development of standards for service quality.

The ADB-CIDA project is envisioned to create more employment opportunities and advancement for the local workforce, as well as provide LGUs with better capacity to improve regulations in attracting more investments and tourism activities.

Cebu among best in world to retire

By AJ de la Torre /LPM (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu has been hailed one of the best places in the world to retire.

An article appeared in “Yahoo! Finance” specified Cebu as one of the six places in the world that retiring Americans can live without spending too much.

In his article entitled “the world’s most affordable places to retire,” Ilyce Glink of CBS MoneyWatch said Live and Invest Overseas listed down the six top places that Americans “could live well on the cheap.”

A publication and research firm specializing in overseas living, Live and Invest Overseas’ Retire Overseas index “uses 12 factors, including climate, whether English is spoken, cost of living, health care and infrastructure, to determine the best cities to retire,” Glink said.

The article placed Cebu on top of the list of “some of the most affordable, but still appealing, cities in the world” where a foreigner can live with just $1,250 per month.

According to the article, “Cebu, 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.”

It also stated that the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) would make it easy for retired Americans who would want to fly back to the United States anytime they want.

“It is just as easy for family and friends to fly in for a visit. The cost of living here is extremely low, so your dollar goes four times as far. To top it off, the Philippines offer generous residency visas for retirees,” the article said.

Other places on the list are Chiang Mai in Thailand, Cuenca in Ecuador, Granada in Nicaragua, Hoi An in Vietnam and El Poblado, Medellin in Colombia

Good news

Governor-elect Hilario “Junjun” Davide III hailed as good news the inclusion of Cebu on the list of world’s retirement havens.

“It shows that Cebu has a lot of potential when it comes to tourism,” Davide said.

Davide said tourism is one of the areas that his administration would prioritize.

“As I said in my speech during the Tourism Congress last week, tourism is one important factor in Cebu’s development. It has made great strides in promoting Cebu and the countryside, and in attracting tourist and guests, both local and foreign,” he said

Davide added that both the local government units and the private sector should unite to make a difference for Cebu.

Comelec to registrants: Plan your schedule

By AJ de la Torre/BRP (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Commission on Election is reminding all those who will be registering in time for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections to take note of the dates for registration which will only run for a few days.

Ferdinand Gujilde of the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor said they are starting preliminary preparations for the registration of voters this coming July 22 to 30.

Based on a memorandum from Comelec Manila, election offices have been tasked to make an inventory of registration forms that will be used by new and transferee voters.

With lesser time to register compared to the national elections, Gujilde said they hope the registrants themselves will maximize the time well so there will be no need to extend registration dates.

"It's a fact of Filipino culture. Unya basulon ang Comelec," said Gujilde, pertaining to late registrants or those who wait for the last day before they head to Comelec offices to register.

Gujilde added that if there is a need seen by the Comelec en banc for the extension of the registration, it might happen. Although they hope that it would not reach that.

"I hope dili nata maabot sa inana na mangayo pa ta og extension. Dapat the first day palang naa na ta."

While the suggestion to use the Precinct Count Optical Scan machines has been raised, Gujilde said this will be highly be unlikely considering that the PCOS machines would not be that useful in the barangay election since the manual election would not need transmission.

He explained that the manual election process would only include counting of votes by the Barangay Board of Canvassers who can even proclaim winners within 24 hours.

With this, he said that they will be empowering the BBOC soon for their responsibilities on the election this October.

Also, he said lines in polling precincts during the October 28 elections should not be that long since there will be no clustering compared to the national elections.

This means there would only be around 200 voters in one polling precinct compared to the national elections which have at least 1,000 voters in each precinct.

DTI to help integrate green strategies to MSME sector

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

CEBU, Philippines - Seeing how slow and reluctant the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in adopting efficiency measures to improve their production systems and practices, the trade department has incorporated the green MSME agenda in its department to facilitate the integration of green growth strategies for the sector.

This is according to Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provincial director Nelia Navarro during the Eko Fest Entrepreneurship Conference that was held at Radisson Blu Hotel. She is also the chairperson of the committee on entrepreneurship for this year’s Cebu Business Month.

Navarro expressed concern for the MSME sector that is increasingly exposed to competitive pressure as well as to the negative effects attributed to climate change. MSMEs account a major contribution to the economy and employment in the country.

Based in the World Risk Report 2011, the Philippines was listed as the 3rd most affected country by the climate change in the world.

“Environmental stress such as pollution of water, air, soil, deforestation among others, erodes the very basis of economic development. The MSME sector exerts considerable pressure on the environment because of its sheer number. Ultimately, the long-term competitiveness of these MSMEs will be greatly affected,” she said.

However, Navarro acknowledged the reluctance and lack of enthusiasm of these small-scale businesses to integrate greening strategies into their policies, processes and operations.

She cited that this could be attributed to the lack of awareness of MSMEs on the environmental impact and environmental laws that affect them.

If the sector is aware, she added, it lacks the in-house expertise to identify and even properly implement environmental mitigating and adaptation technologies.

She also said that these businesses lack the resources to invest in these technologies given the difficulty to access loans and credit due to the stiff collateral requirements set by financial institutions.

“It also does not help that MSMEs has short-term economic perspective and is not inclined to look at positively to the long-term payback period of investments in environmental technologies,” Navarro continued.

In order to enable the integration of green growth strategies for the sector, the green MSME agenda has been incorporated in the MSME Development Plan, Philippine Development Plan and in the National Climate Change Action Plan.

Navarro cited that the key aspects of these plans include the climate smart industries, eco towns, adaptive mitigation for competitiveness enhancement, and job creation-strategies that would achieve an inclusive sustainable development, otherwise known as green economic development.

“Indeed, sustainability is today’s trend as we face climate change and the gradual depletion of the world’s resources because of the insatiable material demands of civilization,” she said.

Navarro also extended gratitude to the European Union and the Federal Ministry of European Cooperation and Development for the SWITCH-Asia project, the SMEs for Environment Accountability, Responsibility, and Transparency (SMART-Cebu) program.

The project aims to increase the competitiveness of SMEs and contribute to a cleaner environment of Cebu. It is co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Now that is implemented in Cebu, twenty five companies in the home and lifestyle industries successfully learned to align to current market realities through sustainable clean production (SCP) principles.

“SMART-Cebu also assisted them with gain access to a nicheof high-end design, quality and a “green” image market in Europe,” Navarro said.

Greening strategies pushed to sustain MSME operations

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

CEBU, Philippines - Since micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are considered among the most vulnerable to the impact of climate change due to their limited resources, the prime movers of the Philippine economy are encouraged to integrate greening strategies into their policies, processes and operations to enhance their competitiveness and ensure sustainable growth.

Dr. Volker Steigerwald, project manager of the Promotion of Green Economic Development of Deutsche Gesellschaftfür Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ ProGED) said that the long-term competitiveness of enterprises will be greatly affected by its ability to adapt to climate change and incorporate green growth strategies.

Steigerwald was one of the resource speakers during the Eko Fest Entrepreneurship Conference held last June 19 at Radisson Blu Hotel in line with this year’s Cebu Business Month.

In his presentation entitled “Enhancing MSMEs Competitiveness through Greening Strategies”, he said that the MSME sector is very much affected by the availability and fluctuations of prices of power, fuel, water and production inputs that could eventually cause serious implications in their businesses.

“If we continue with “business as usual”that could actually be affected with social and economic impacts of climate change, we may not be able to sustain the competitiveness of our enterprises and the country as a whole,” he said.

Such impacts, he cited, include the recurrence of droughts that will cause a drop in our agricultural productivity, sudden changes in temperature which may lead to massive fishkills, and increased rainfall that can cause extensive damage on crops, property, and infrastructure among others.

“All of these in turn, would translate to social and economic issues pertaining to livelihood, access to basic services, availability of infrastructure and others that would exacerbate poverty in the country,” he added.

According to the World Risk Report 2011 that was published by the United Nations University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security and the German Alliance Development Works, Philippines ranked third in the list of most vulnerable to climate change, following only Vanatu and Tonga, out of the 173 countries studied for disaster risk.

The Philippines experiences 20 typhoons per year on average. From 1990 to 2008, the annual cost of damage related to extreme weather events in the Philippines is estimated at 1 percent of the GDP.

Steigerwald further noted that the adaptation of green business strategies can address the negative impacts of climate change on the MSME sector, thus enhancing their competitiveness and ensuring their sustainability and survival in the industry.

“A transition to Green Economic Development can be a driver for competitiveness, innovation, new markets, and job generation which then lead towards inclusive growth and poverty reduction,” he stated.

He explained that these greening strategies include the use of technologies, processes, and business practices that could improve the efficiency in the use of power, water and resources, reduce adverse impacts on the environment, improve solid and waste water management, reduce water and air pollution, lessen climate-related risks and produce green products and services.

Steigerwald then urged MSME players and government institutions to implement environment-friendly, climate-smart and inclusive strategies and measures in their operations.

First “green” day care center launched in Mandaue City

(Contributed, The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Philippine Institute of Engineers (PICE)-Cebu, Cebu Contractors Association (CCA), Inc., and the city government of Mandaue yesterday launched the first green day care center in Cebu at the 6.5-hectare relocation area, in barangay Paknaan, Mandaue City.

The 63-square meter one story building is designed by PICE-Cebu to be environment-friendly. The design which won the national search organized by the national PICE is adopted as the official PICE design using green technology.

Engr. Daisy Toledo, president of PICE-Cebu, said during the groundbreaking ceremony yesterday that recycled materials will be used as well as utilize natural light and ventilation so as to do away with electric fans and air-conditioning units.

Toledo said a rain collector will be installed to minimize runoff water and cover the roofing with grasses to create a cold effect inside the building.

“The facility is very much needed in the area,” Toledo said.

Engr. Peter Paul Dy, president of CCA, said the building will cost P400,000. Part of the money will be taken from the proceeds of the June 9 “Phil-Construct Run.”

He said the construction will start immediately and will be completed in 45 working days.

“The facility to be constructed in partnership with the engineers’ group is a great help in the early childhood education program,” Mayor Jonas Cortes in his message said.

The mayor through Violy Cavada of the City Social Welfare and Services has immediately appointed a teacher for the center.

Once completed, it will be the 39th day care center in Mandaue City.

“We have already enrolled 42 students and classes will start on Monday to be temporarily held in the barangay gym,” said Jinky Guevarra, teacher of the center.

Leopoldo Chavez, president of the Homeless People’s Organization in the area expressed gratitude for the donation saying this will benefit the present 84 families who chose to be relocated from the danger zones located along Butuanon River and Mahiga Creek.

Barangay Paknaan captain Malaquias Soco for his part said security will be provided.

Cebu poll exec urges voters to register for barangay, SK elections


CEBU CITY, June 22 (PNA) -- A ranking election official in Cebu is urging voters who failed to register in the last elections to register during the voters’ registration from July 22 to 31 for the October 28 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

Cebu Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano also reminded those who registered for the SK elections 2010 to once again register this year.

Castillano said that every election, there are new votes for the SK elections as citizens reach the voting age for the regular elections.

The SK election is not considered a regular election.

Filipino citizens from 15 to 17 years old can register and vote during the SK elections.

Castillano said those who turned 18 also need to register as they already qualify to vote for the barangay elections.

”We need to update the voters’ list for those who have turned 18 years old,” he said.

Registrants need to present their school records, baptismal and birth certificates.

Registration for the barangay elections is open to new voters, transferees, and those who need entry corrections and reactivation.

Voters with deactivated status are those who have not voted in two previous regular elections.

The barangay and SK elections period will start on Sept. 28 and end on Nov. 12, during which a gun ban will also be enforced.

The filing of certificates of candidacy will be on Oct. 15 to 17 at Comelec offices. The campaign period will be from Oct. 18 to 26.

Castillano said barangay and SK election candidates are not allowed to campaign the day prior to the election, similar to those in the mid-term elections.

Candidates are also required to submit their statements of election contributions and expenditures 30 days after election day.

Castillano said candidates are allowed to spend up to P5 per registered voter, the same as independent candidates in the midterm elections.

3rd Run 2 Plant 4 Greenin Philippines set on June 29 to attract 50,000 participants


CEBU CITY, June 21 (PNA) -- Some 50,000 participants from all over Cebu are expected to join the 3rd Run 2 Plant 4 Greenin Philippines on June 29.

The event, spearheaded by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi), features a 5K distance run.

It will not be a competitive run, but runners reaching the winners’ podium at the finish line will instead be asked to plant a tree.

This event will be held simultaneously in the 40 municipalities and component cities of the province of Cebu.

This year, Naga City and the Municipality of Cordova will anchor the central events.

Rafi Integrated Development executive director Marge Gravador said they want to raise public awareness in relation to climate change and disaster risk reduction program through running and planting trees.

”This is a unique approach because this is also advocating for good health in commemoration of the World Environment Day,” Gravador said.

This year’s run supports the ridge of Naga City to reef of Cordova perspective in biodiversity enhancement that takes into account enhancing not only upland vegetation but also coastal areas.

According to Rafi, the coasts and oceans have experienced severe irreversible depletion resulting to the reduction of fish.

That is why they will also be planting mangroves in Cordova.

In Naga, participants will run a five-kilometer distance from Naga City Hall, to the 10-hectare planting site in Barangay Tuyan.

In Cordova, participants will run from the Municipal Hall to the two-hectare mangrove site where 20,000 mangroves will be planted.

The Cebu Provincial Government, on the other hand, issued an executive order mandating the implementation and institutionalization of Run 2 Plant 4 Greenin Philippines throughout the province.

The Department of Interior and Local Government has also issued a memorandum advising local government units to participate in the event to support the agency’s billion-tree program.

The event partnered with schools in regions outside of the Visayas with the support of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP).

Davao del Sur will be participating for the second time along with other participants from Nabunturan in Compostela Valley, St. Mary’s Academy in Tagum, Davao del Norte, Sacred Heart High School in Iligan, and Notre Dame University in North Caotabato.

Gravador added that the registration is free and the organization will provide the seeding that will be planted.

The registration centers will be in the different municipalities that are joining.

Cebu to host 5th World Eco Tourism Conference Phl expects attendance of 155 member countries

By Ehda M. Dagooc /JOB (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Philippines, particularly Cebu will be on the world's spotlight in the tourism sector, as it will host the 5th World Eco Tourism Conference in the first week of November this year.

This is the first time that the Philippines will be hosting such event. Last year, the conference was held in Korea.

In a press conference held yesterday at the Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu, Lee Choon Loong, regional vice president, Asia Pacific, UN-WTO (United Nation-World Tourism Organization) affiliates board announced that the organizer decided to hold the global conference in Cebu, considering the province's strength in tourism, as well as its proximity to Bohol, which is the number one eco-tourism destination in the Philippines.

Lee, who is the president and chief executive officer of the Discovery MICE, an affiliate member of World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which will organize the conference said that this year's theme which will focus on "marine Economic Tourism" is also fitting for Cebu because of the rich marine resources on the island-province.

The conference will be attended by representatives from 155 member countries, and the over 400 affiliates, Lee said.

Lee mentioned the success story of Bohol, as a world-class eco-tourism destination that could be used as a benchmark for other member countries.

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.

In the Philippines, Department of Tourism (DOT) assistant secretary for tourism development planning, Rolando Canizal said the department has identified four top eco-tourism destination these are; Bohol, Palawan, Cagayan Valley and Mt. Apo in Davao.

"The eco-tourism is now a very important buzz-word in tourism sector. The Philippines has huge and beautiful natural resources, and it would be very timely for the country to hold this event," Lee added.

The meeting will be concluded with the submission of a "Cebu Declaration on Eco Tourism," that will be submitted to the UNWTO body, as well as the Regional Commission for East Asia and the Pacific, which will have its conference next year in the Philippines.

The Cebu Declaration on Eco Tourism will also be endorsed by regional ministers of tourism and encourage certain action in relation for the declaration.

Aside from the representatives of the UNWTO member countries, the conference also hopes to attract delegates from other sectors like academe, and other industries.

The Philippines started to push the development of the eco-tourism with different monetary and program supports are initiated by Government agencies, such as DOT, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and others.

The concept of eco-tourism based on the UNWTO agenda is heavily focused on involving the community in the development of tourism, promoting eco-tourism more than a product but more on supporting the local economy and generate income and open up job opportunities.

Trade dep't renews call for green biz operations

By Ehda M. Dagooc /JOB (The Freeman)
Cebu to host 5th World Eco Tourism Conference Phl expects attendance of 155 member countries

By Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) | Updated June 20, 2013 - 12:00am

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CEBU, Philippines - The Philippines, particularly Cebu will be on the world's spotlight in the tourism sector, as it will host the 5th World Eco Tourism Conference in the first week of November this year.

This is the first time that the Philippines will be hosting such event. Last year, the conference was held in Korea.

In a press conference held yesterday at the Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu, Lee Choon Loong, regional vice president, Asia Pacific, UN-WTO (United Nation-World Tourism Organization) affiliates board announced that the organizer decided to hold the global conference in Cebu, considering the province's strength in tourism, as well as its proximity to Bohol, which is the number one eco-tourism destination in the Philippines.

Lee, who is the president and chief executive officer of the Discovery MICE, an affiliate member of World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which will organize the conference said that this year's theme which will focus on "marine Economic Tourism" is also fitting for Cebu because of the rich marine resources on the island-province.

The conference will be attended by representatives from 155 member countries, and the over 400 affiliates, Lee said.

Lee mentioned the success story of Bohol, as a world-class eco-tourism destination that could be used as a benchmark for other member countries.

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.

In the Philippines, Department of Tourism (DOT) assistant secretary for tourism development planning, Rolando Canizal said the department has identified four top eco-tourism destination these are; Bohol, Palawan, Cagayan Valley and Mt. Apo in Davao.

"The eco-tourism is now a very important buzz-word in tourism sector. The Philippines has huge and beautiful natural resources, and it would be very timely for the country to hold this event," Lee added.

The meeting will be concluded with the submission of a "Cebu Declaration on Eco Tourism," that will be submitted to the UNWTO body, as well as the Regional Commission for East Asia and the Pacific, which will have its conference next year in the Philippines.

The Cebu Declaration on Eco Tourism will also be endorsed by regional ministers of tourism and encourage certain action in relation for the declaration.

Aside from the representatives of the UNWTO member countries, the conference also hopes to attract delegates from other sectors like academe, and other industries.

The Philippines started to push the development of the eco-tourism with different monetary and program supports are initiated by Government agencies, such as DOT, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and others.

The concept of eco-tourism based on the UNWTO agenda is heavily focused on involving the community in the development of tourism, promoting eco-tourism more than a product but more on supporting the local economy and generate income and open up job opportunities.

Trade dep't renews call for green biz operations

By Ehda M. Dagooc /JMD (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of Trade and Industry Cebu Provincial Office (DTI-CPO) has reiterated its call to encourage the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to embrace the implementation of green operation in their respective companies.

DTI-CPO director Nelia F. Navarro said that Cebu is poised to implement programs together with the private sector like the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) to push green economic growth.

Now that environment consciousness is widely popular, investments in adopting green operations within companies are said to be already affordable, unlike in the past when environment-friendly technologies and programs were quite expensive.

DTI-7 regional director Asteria Caberte urged specifically the Cebuano retailers to reinforce their support on greening the economy.

Caberte re-introduced the agency's "Project Bayong," a job-generating activity which aims to develop abundant local raw materials and existing skills in the countryside into a product which has potential demand for both local and export markets.

Meanwhile, the DTI is now working with the German-funded project, through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), to implement the "Promotion for Green Economic Development (ProGED), which vowed to link Cebu and Bohol MSMEs to the ample institutions that provide financing access to green-related projects.

Ealier, GIZ ProGED project manager Volker Steigerwald said that the project, which was recently launched, has identified beneficiaries of the three-year project and these companies will be matched with different financial institutions that are offering assistance for companies implementing green operations.

"We'd like to link up MSMEs with all these green financing institutions; there are many of them but are not known. Internally, there are also other financial institutions that are willing to finance and support green initiatives," said Steigerwald.

In Cebu, the project, which got an allocation of three million Euro from Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), identified the health and wellness sector as the primary beneficiary and in Bohol, its eco-tourism.

In spite of the threat of climate change and environmental stress, ProGED looks at green economic development as a driver for competitiveness, innovation, new markets and jobs which will contribute to inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

According to Steigerwald the project will focus on three important dimensions in shifting the economic system away from carbon footprint-in massive information awareness, business matching/facilitation and providing green framework activities.

The project, which is in partnership with the Philippine government through the DTI, aims to pursue its objective along these three intervention lines, and will build on gains and experiences of the previous program jointly implemented by GIZ and DTI which ended last December 2012, the Private Sector Promotion (Smedsep) program.

Steigerwald said the chances of the Philippines to lead in the green economic transformation are very high, considering its good economic performance.

"We use this opportunity [economy doing very well in the Philippines] as a step to improve competitiveness among MSMEs. The Philippines being seen to be the next economic tiger in Asia in five years, can learn from Germany in terms of adopting green economic development," said Steigerwald.

Adopting green operation, Steigerwald said, is not just to "save the earth," but also a "business case" for MSMEs to be competitive and profitable.

In Germany for instance, investors are asking for sustainability initiatives of the Philippines. The implementation of ProGED will complement the upswing economic performance and positive impression of international investors to the Philippines, the German executive said.

Lapu-Lapu marks 52nd Charter Day

By Jose P. Sollano (Banat)

CEBU, Philippines - For their support to the city’s programs especially in the protection of the environment, a Japanese national and two youngsters received recognition from the Lapu-Lapu City government as the city celebrated its 52nd Charter Day anniversary yesterday.

Satoshi Toyoda, a Japanese national and a frequent diver, had uploaded on YouTube a video of a yellow submarine which shows it damaging corals in the seawaters off Lapu-Lapu City.

It was typical of Toyoda to be capturing marine life with his camera and did not expect the video the city would give him recognition for it.

He said he saw the submarine hitting corals and he said ‘this is not good.”

Toyoda, a technical diver and a frequent visitor to Cebu, runs a scuba diving business.

The operation of the yellow submarine was suspended for almost two months by the city government while an investigation was conducted.

Last week, the suspension of its business was lifted when the submarine company promised to shoulder the restoration of the damaged corals.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza said Toyoda has pushed the city government to institute better measures to protect the seas.

Radaza said the two young charter day awardees are the perfect models to emulate.

John Rex Mariòas Tongco, more known as Dandoy Tongco, shows how to win the war against poverty.

He was once a school dropout and is now a Southeast Asian long-boarding champion.

Lhee Isabel Depiraine Taneo, visual art instills pride and inculcates a sense of identity.

She expresses these in her shell mosaics.

Her portraitures of island folks helps the city preserve the identity of the people of Olango.

“Lapu-Lapu City became what it is today not just because of its leaders nor is it a product of the learned. It is the sum of the contribution of every Oponganon,” Radaza said.

She said the heroism in the battle of Mactan was not of Datu Lapu-Lapu alone and his warriors who fought with him.

The women also did their part in this act of heroism, she said.

“Each one of them, men and women, young and old, contributed to the victory of that great battle,” she said.

ASEAN “Dengue Day” draws support from academe

By Jessa J. Agua/FPL (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Apart from health sector and local government units, the academe also participated in the 3rd ASEAN Dengue Day.

Saturday’s national anti-dengue campaign also gathered public and private school learners who have either joined the poster and cheer dance competition or cheered for their respective contestants.

Audience and visitors led by Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Enrique Ona, Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag, Regional Director Asuncion Anden were entertained and educated by two participating universities for the cheer dance competition.

Performances of the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers and University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters focused on information campaign against dengue fever with the DOH campaign jingle played in between heart-stopping stunts and choreography.

Tayag and Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) Dancing Inmates’ choreographer Vince Rosales were among the judges.

The dancing health official and the dancing inmates earlier did a collaboration when Tayag danced the anti-dengue campaign jingle at the CPDRC facility.

The video was launched during the ASEAN Dengue Day.

Earning the nod of the judges was the performance of UV Green Lancers winning P10,000.

Public school students in their school uniforms displayed artistry in line with dengue prevention at the poster making competition.

A total of 13 elementary school participants and 15 more for high school. Chosen as the best poster for elementary category is the representative from Labangon Elementary School followed by second placer from Tejero Elementary School while the third place went to Lahug Elementary School.

Cebu City National Science High School bagged the first place for the high school category, with Bulacao National High School got the second place, and Pardo National High School proclaimed third place.

Cebu City government also received given mosquito nets and larvicides from the DOH to aid its efforts on dengue fever prevention.

Youth from Cebu towns join PYAP convention

By Marigold P. Lebumfacil (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Close to a hundred youth leaders from the different municipalities of Cebu joined the annual Pag-asa Youth Association of the Philippines (PYAP) Provincial Convention in Talisay City over the weekend.

DSWD-7 regional information officer Jaybee Binghay said the youth gathering was aimed at developing the capabilities of the youth in the province to become models and effective youth leaders in their villages.

The two-day convention consisted of a set of lectures, discussions and workshops including site visits to nearby PYAP centers and projects.

Being one of the speakers and trainers during the convention initiated by the PYAP-Talisay and the Provincial Government of Cebu, Binghay talked about the importance of public speaking, basic news writing, and photography as well as on the importance of self- awareness.

PYAP, according to Binghay, is a national program under DSWD that focuses on the total advancement of the youth, who are 18-23 years old, in all dimensions of developmental growth which includes the physical, psychosocial, economical, cultural, and spiritual development.

Binghay also said that at the convention, Rex Villavelez, a former PYAP president and now a member of Board of Trustees of PYAP in Talisay City talked about the association’s gains.

Villavelez also talked about how the PYAP Talisay chapter was included in the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) in the Philippines in 2010, Binghay said.

PYAP conducts since 2007 provincial conventions annually focusing on the youth’s personality development, building self-confidence while promoting higher consciousness for community involvement, management and leadership, Binghay said.

Prov’l, district hospitals to get new ambulances

By Gregg M. Rubio/MBG (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu Provincial Government will purchase six units of ambulance worth P7.2 million to be distributed to provincial and district hospitals in the Province.

Last Monday, the Provincial Board authorized acting governor Agnes Magpale to enter into a contract with Nissan Cebu Distributors. Inc.

Board Members Peter John Calderon and Wilfredo Caminero, both of the second district of Cebu, sponsored the resolution for the authorization.

Nissan won in the bidding conducted by the Bids and Awards Committee of the Province of Cebu.

Integrated Provincial Health Office chief Cristina Giango said each unit is already equipped with the necessary transfer services, oxygen, stretchers and other accessories.

The ambulances will be given to the provincial hospitals in Carcar City, Danao City, Bogo City and in the town of Balamban.

The other unit will be given to Badian District Hospital and sixth unit will be given either to the town of Malabuyoc or Oslob, all in southern Cebu.

Magpale has to sign the contract with Nissan before her stint as acting governor ends on Wednesday, June 19.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia is expected to return to office on this day after serving her suspension for six months and continue serving the remaining days of her term until noontime of June 30.

Garcia was elected as representative of the third district of the Cebu while Hilario “Junjun” Davide III will replace her as governor.

DOH vaccination program gets bigger 2014 budget

By Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon/MBG (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of Health's budget for immunization program for 2014 will be P3.4 billion, which is higher by P1.5 billion from this year's budget of P1.9 billion as the government is combating vaccine-preventable diseases through the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI).

"This is to ensure that every child in this country is immunized," said DOH Assistant Secretary Dr. Eric Tayag, who was the keynote speaker in the 4th Asian Vaccine Congress attended by Asian doctors and other medical practioners.

"Vaccines don't save lives but vaccination save lives," Tayag added.

EPI was initially aimed to eliminate tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and measles.

But eventually, the program was expanded to include rotavirus last year, making the Philippines the first country to immunize against the disease in Southeast Asia.

This initially benefited some 700,000 infants from the 5.2 million families identified as poorest of the poor by the Department of Social Welfare and Development through its National Household Targeting System.

Dr. Lulu Bravo, president of the Immunization Partners in Asia Pacific (IPAP) said that vaccines are one of the greatest health interventions in the last 200 years.

"It is the cost-effective measure in public health and with political will, it can easily be implemented among the target population," she said.

IPAP is spearheading the congress from June 12 to14, which aims to enhance the knowledge on vaccination practices, understand basis for vaccine recommendations and learn practical applications, support introduction of new and underutilized vaccine in national immunization programs, learn of new vaccines under development and share best practices and increase awareness in improving vaccine coverage and compliance among Asian countries.

Bravo said that rotavirus kills half of the 3,500 Filipino children below five years old who die from severe diarrhea annually.

Rotavirus is a virus that cause gastroenteritis. It is manifested by severe watery diarrhea, oftentimes with fever, vomiting and abdominal pain.

This year, DOH will include pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) in the program to be given to children the same time the other vaccines are given.

Pneumococcal disease includes meningitis, blood infection and pneumonia, the leading killer of Filipino children which kills some 4,500 Filipino children below five-year-old.

Bravo said that with the inclusion of rotavirus and PCV vaccines in the DOH's vaccination program, the Philippines is now in a better position to keep Filipino children healthy not only now but in the years to come.

Also in the pipeline is the anti-measles vaccination for close to 200,000 students in grade one to ten in public schools in some priority areas.

Based on a national survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology among Filipino children in 2011, the complete immunization coverage among children below four years old reached almost 92 percent.

Cebu pushed as top shopping destination

By Ehda M. Dagooc /JOB (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Women leaders in Cebu led by Melanie Ng and Camille Aldeguer, vowed to make Cebu to be in the spotlight as the top shopping destination in Asia.

This advocacy followed after this year’s Cebu Business Month (CBM 2013) launched the “Cebu in Bag: Island Madness Sale that will become an annual institutionalized program that will promote Cebu’s potential as shopping destination.

From merely offering discounted products and services limited only to participating tenants in the shopping malls, now, this program will include other industry sectors such as medical institutions, academe, hotels, resorts, restaurants, airlines, shipping companies, carbon market vendors, exporters, service providers, among others to offer the most pocket-friendly “Cebu.”

Aldeguer, a souvenir magnate, whose family owns the largest souvenir shop chain the Philippines, the Islands Souvenirs Inc., (ISI) is determined to make Cebu a distinctive shopping destination, by getting all the industries together and make Cebu sets apart from other shopping destinations in the world.

Aldeguer, the chairperson of the “Cebu In the Bag: Island Madness Sale, believes that Cebu has a unique and attractive proposition when it comes to shopping.

Inspired by the success of the sale events of Singapore, Hong Kong, and Dubai, the committee behind this year’s CBM wanted to create a month long sale festival that would attract both local and foreign tourists to experience shopping in Cebu.

“Cebu has its own distinct flavor. Of course, we take inspiration from other shopping destinations in the world, like Singapore and others, but we have our own unique flavor,” said Aldeguer.

Likewise, Ng, who owns several companies, and operates retail shops for fashion and gems stones accessories, said that this advocacy will go hand in hand in the chamber’s promotion and commitment to advance tourism sector in Cebu.

One of the great come-ons the strong participation of the exporters to the program, said Ng. “This is the first that exporters are opening their doors to the local market. Their products are sought after world-wide, we should make the most out of this,” Ng said.

Meanwhile, exporters, local retailers, carbon market vendors, producers in Cebu will converge in a five-day complete shopping event, called “Great Cebu Tabo” at the downtown area in Cebu, as part of the Cebu Business Month (CBM 2013) celebration.

This is to offer the “best” of Cebu in terms of shopping choices, starting off another branding of making Cebu a “true-blue” shopping destination.

The “Great Cebu Tabo,” is also part of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCIs) newly launched program the “Cebu in the Bag: Island Madness Sale,” which will become an institutionalized event for the chamber, to promote Cebu’s potential as shopping destination.

According to Aldeguer, the Great Cebu Tabo, is just one of the attractions that both foreign and local consumers will look forward to in promoting Cebu’s shopping attraction.

DPWH lines up nine major roadwork projects for Cebu

By John M. Destacamento (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - With nine big-ticket roadwork projects, including the construction of the third bridge in Cebu, making their way to the 2014 master plan, the public works department has come up with something Cebuano motorists and pedestrians might just well embrace.

Speaking on the secretary’s behalf at the opening of a construction show here in Cebu last week, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Undersecretary Raul Asis revealed they are now implementing the high standard highway network master plans in Cebu and in the Tagum-Davao-GenSan corridor as part of their thrust to upgrade the quality and safety of national roads and bridges in the country by 2016.

Asis, who read the message of Secretary Rogelio Singson, said the extension of Cebu coastal road up to Liloan, construction of Cebu Hillside road and their connector roads, widening of Cebu North Road and construction of Cebu North parallel road are included in the Cebu master plan for 2014.

In addition, DPWH will also embark on the following projects next year: widening of Cebu South road from Naga to Carcar City, construction of Cebu South parallel road, improvement of the Mactan Circumferential Road with remaining works for 2014 and beyond amounting to P3.3 billion as well as the widening of the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge.

The budget for infrastructure increased by 44 percent this year to P144.3 billion from P99.5 billion in 2012. For 2014, the department will propose an increment of P189 billion and will focus on road widening, upgrading of roads from gravel to concrete, rehabilitation, maintenance and safety of national roads, Asis said.

Overall, the DPWH budget for Visayas and Mindanao, excluding the inter-regional and nationwide projects, accounted for 41 percent of the total department budget in 2011, 47 percent in 2012 and 44 percent this year.

Apart from upgrading the national roads, Asis said another strategic agenda undertaken by the government is DPWH’s convergence with the Department of Tourism (DOT) in a program that hopes to enhance both local and national roads leading to priority tourism destinations.

He said the department is going to invest next year over P1.1 billion in tourism roads for Western Visayas and P1.4 billion for Central Visayas. These figures, he added, do not include investments for airports and seaports.

Citing the results of the World Economic Forum survey on the quality of roads, the Philippines has reportedly posted a continuing trend of development within the last three years. Its global ranking advanced from 114 in 2010-2011 to 87 in 2012-2013. Similarly, the quality of road index recovered from 2.8 to 3.4, which is at par with the neighboring country Indonesia.

Asis said that since July 2010 up to March 2013, DPWH has realized P16.35 billion in savings, owing to the Aquino government’s strong drive to fight corruption within government agencies, although he admitted there are still areas where they could further trim down corruption in public works projects.

“To improve our procurement process, we are now testing the use of electronic bidding for our construction projects to further diminish opportunities for collision and have a transparent and competitive bidding,” Asis said.

In an effort to ensure right quality, Asis said they have checks and balances in place. For instance, he said they have employed and outsourced private engineering firms to inspect their projects and have engaged in the services of non-government organizations to help them monitor project implementation.

They have also required their contractors to upgrade their expertise and equipment. At the same time, they are professionalizing the organization by promoting and assigning personnel strictly on the basis of merit and performance.

These reforms, Asis said, have resulted in better quality and safer roads, savings to the government, improvement in global competitiveness and less corruption as reflected in the latest SWS surveys on corruption perception where DPWH’s percentage index improved from -65 in 2009 to -21 in 2012.

Talisay eyes own museum

By Garry B. Lao (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Talisay City government is pushing for the creation of its own museum in a bid to preserve the city’s rich cultural history.

Councilor Dennis B. Basillote, chairman of the committee on education, said a museum would provide learning opportunities to all, especially to the young generation.

“There is a need to provide a repository of Talisay’s history and its cultural heritage. The museum, the soul of the city, mirrors the identity of the Talisaynons, its local history, rich culture, and time-honored traditions,” Basillote said.

If the proposed ordinance is approved, the museum shall be known as “Museo de Talisay.”

The city museum will be placed under the supervision and management of the Department of Education, Division of Talisay City.

The museum shall be housed in the Gabaldon Building of Talisay City Central School at Rizal Street in barangay Poblacion.

Under Article II, the Museo de Talisay shall be the repository of Talisay City’s history and rich cultural heritage.

It will preserve the rich local history and cultural heritage which contributed to the development of the Municipality of Talisay then, now a city, for the people’s clearer perspective of the present and better understanding of the future.

Also, the museum shall provide learning opportunities in terms of historical and cultural heritage and exhibits for the Talisaynons to appreciate the value of their identity.

Under the existing proposed ordinance, the Museo de Talisay, in coordination with the city government, shall maintain and restore the existing significant heritage sites of Talisay.

The museum will have a curator/officer in charge, museum development staff, treasurer, maintenance/utility and security.

The items such as relics, artifacts, specimens shall be acquired by the museum through donations and loans. Whenever necessary, the museum may purchase relics/artifacts/specimens, subject to the availability of funds.

Donated items should be issued with an acknowledgement receipt signed by the donor and the curator in behalf of the museum.

Vatican inspecting Cebu for pope’s visit

By Aj De La Torre /BRP (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The possibility of Pope Francis coming to the Philippines, specifically to Cebu, seems more and more likely.

After receiving a letter from the Committee on International Eucharistic Congress in Rome requesting to change the date of the Pope’s visit to the Philippines, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma revealed yesterday that they are expecting the president of the said committee, Msgr. Piero Marini, to come to Cebu in September to make an ocular inspection and assessment.

Palma said this is another development in their hope to have the Holy Father in Cebu, even as it is still two years from now.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed because we feel he has great love and his way of supporting the developing countries and also countries where faith is also strong and could make a good outreach to other countries,” said Palma.

Last month, Palma got a letter from Marini requesting for the reschedule of the International Eucharistic congress to January since their proposed May schedule is close to another event the Pope needs to attend.

Palma said yesterday that the request is a strong implication that Cebu is really being considered in the Pope’s schedule. The International Eucharistic Congress, which is attended by cardinals, archbishops, priests and others members of the Church, is rotated in different countries every other four years. Manila last hosted the congress in 1937.

The Vatican, Palma explained, is very systematic when it comes to the Pope’s schedule and activities of the Church, some plotted as early as two year ahead.

At the moment, Palma said they have already defined the various committees needed for the international congress and would have the final details as the days and weeks go by.

Palma shared that in his conversation with bishops from other countries, they also hope that Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines will take place since it may open the possibility that the Pope may take a side trip to nearby countries.

“I think that’s also possible,” said Palma explaining that in the Pope’s visit for example to Brazil, there are reports that he may visit other neighboring countries in South America.

Palma said in their conversation last April he told the Pope how he wishes he can visit the Philippines. The Pope allegedly teased that he would if he was still alive and strong enough, Palma believes this answer is already reflective of the Holy Father’s desire to come to the country.

Cebu to host contact center confab

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

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu, believed to be the center of excellence for outsourcing, will host this year’s International Contact Center Conference and Expo (ICCCE) that is considered to be the largest contact center event in the world.

ICCCE is the flagship event of the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) that is attended by key industry decision-makers and stakeholders.

It serves as a global forum discussing the best practices, leading innovations, latest trends and technologies in the contact center industry.

This year, CCAP brings ICCCE to Cebu, which is known to be both business and tourism hubs in the country, in order to promote locations outside of Metro Manila.

ICCCE 2013 will be held at Shangri-La’s Mactan resort and Spa and Radisson Blu Hotel on August 28 and 29.

During the second day of the Cebu ICT and BPO Conference at the Radisson Blu Hotel last Wednesday, event organizers announced the highlights and changes in ICCE this year.

These will include the CEO roundtables where senior executives shall deliberate on industry issues such as currency, costs and manpower supply; planning workshops wherein solutions and plans will be formed to address concerns in business development, operations and human resource.

There will also be master classes in which industry leaders and experts will offer mentoring and coaching opportunities for chief executive officers and business owners.

ICCCE 2013 will also showcase other activities for industry professionals and job-seekers such as plenary sessions covering the latest trends and developments in the industry, track sessions or technology-transfer activities on leading innovations and breakthrough technologies.

Additionally, there will be a job fair that will serve as a one-stop shop for career opportunities and guidance into the contact center industry.

This year’s annual event will feature world-class experts and speakers like University of Asia and the Pacific professor Dr. Bernardo Villegas, First Metro Investment Corp. president Roberto Juanchito Dispo, Accenture senior executive BPO service delivery operations lead and CCAP president Benedict Hernandez, Sitel-Asiavice president for human resource Haidee Enriquez, and Expert Global Solutions president and CCAP director Bong Borja.

Likewise, it will also feature Gartner research vice president TJ Singh, Philippine Society of Fellows in People Management president Enrique Abadesco, Insurance BPO global delivery lead and Cognizant Philippines country head Prabhakar Bisen, ATOS chief executive officer Andrew Gascoigne, Aegis Philippines associate vice president for training and HR consulting Craig Gould, MedicallPhils. president and Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines (HIMOAP) chairman Jeffrey Scott Williams and MRM Worldwide managing director Dr. Donald Patrick Lim.

As Philippines is now considered as the most preferred destination for outsourced voice services in the world, CCAP further encouraged industry players to participate in this year’s ICCE to be updated on global industry trends from expert analysts that could help improve their operations and increase their performance while establishing a network with industry experts and stakeholders.

ICCE 2012 was held last September 18 to 19 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City and gathered around 6,365 attendees.

Business groups push green advocacy through “Eko Fest”

By Ehda M. Dagooc /JMD (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Putting Cebu in the forefront of “green advocacy” and making the Queen City of the South the sustainable lifestyle hub in the country, two powerful business organizations -- European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP) and Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) -- will hold a five-day “Eko Fest.”

The “Eko Fest”, which will open on June 15 to 19, 2013 at the SM City Cebu-Northwing will showcase world-class eco-friendly companies operating in Cebu that are beneficiaries of ECCP’s Smart-Cebu (SME for Environment Accountability, Responsibility and Transparency) program.

In a press conference, ECCP Executive Vice President Henry J. Schumacher said there is a need to highlight the program’s “story to tell” for the micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) the importance and long-term benefits of adopting the “green” platform in their respective companies.

This is the first time that ECCP and CCCI work together in promoting a major cause, which will not only address the competitiveness of companies across industries, but also help MSMEs reduce their operational costs by adopting environment-friendly operations.

Aside from the exhibition, the five-day event will also set an “Eko Conference” that will bring in experts of “green advocacy”, eradicating the impression that migrating into environment-friendly platform will cost a company a huge investment.

This event, which is also one of the highlights of the month-long Cebu Business Month (CBM 2013) dubbed “Excite Cebu!”, gained support from different government agencies such as Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Science and Technology.

DTI-Cebu Provincial Office Director Nelia F. Navarro said that holding this event is very timely, as over 90 percent of the businesses in Cebu, which are MSMEs, still have to be oriented on the importance of adopting a “green” operation.

“We have to push the green growth for Cebu by greening the enterprises across the industries. MSMEs which cover the 90 percent of all businesses in the province are much vulnerable to environment stresses, and most of them don’t think that employing or using environment friendly system in their company operations is affordable. The impression that adopting green operation is expensive should be erased,” said Navarro.

CBM 2013 chairperson Melanie Ng said that ECCP’s initiative to drum up awareness in “green advocacy” in Cebu also coincides with the chamber’s priority advocacy in promoting green operation among industries.

“This is the first time that CCCI and ECCP are passionately working together to achieve a greater cause, in helping the environment, addressing niche and competitive issues. We take pride that Cebu will once again pioneer in the fight of greening the industry sectors, thus this first step is a way forward to make Cebu the hub for sustainable lifestyle in the Philippines,” said Ng.

Smart-Cebu program, which started in 2010 has brought the Philippines, especially Cebu exporters, to a higher level in terms of positioning and finding its niche in the competitive market.

According to Schumacher, Cebu exporters’ practice in green and sustainable operations provided them “immunity” to crisis-stricken markets like Europe, as market continuous to grow demanding for high-end and green products.

This success should be duplicated across the industry sectors, not only in Cebu but in other parts of the country as well. The “Eko Fest” will provide the venue for MSME players on how to start off a greener operation and why it is important in making companies thrive in the long run.

“Eko Fest” is also supported by the Cebu Furniture and Industries Foundation Inc., Fashion Accessories Manufacturers and Exporters (FAME), and the Gifts, Toys and Housewares Exporters Foundation (GTH-Cebu).

ECCP-Cebu Executive Director Roselu Paloma also announced that the five-day event will also showcase the new breed of “greeners” in the business community, wherein the young generation entrepreneurs with small business operations are already adopting “green” systems will also be highlighted.

Unique products in the souvenir industry sectors that are environment-friendly will also be given prominent area in the exhibition, said Paloma.

DENR-7 covers 63% of annual seedling production target

By Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon/MIT (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources- 7 has produced a total of 8,246,436 seedlings as of May 17 according to the seedling production report submitted by the Forest Management Services.

This covers around 63 percent of the region's overall annual target of more than 13 million seedlings in 2013.

Of the total accomplishment, Cebu province has reported 2,288,159 seedlings or 45.12 percent of its target of 5,071,533 seedlings; Bohol Province with 2,229,177 seedlings or 69 percent of its target of 3, 326, 071 seedlings; Negros Oriental with 3,622,100 seedlings or 79 percent of its annual target of 4,574,829 seedlings; and Siquijor province has yielded a 100 percent accomplishment of 37,000 seedlings.

Isabelo R. Montejo, DENR-7 regional executive director, said that the good performance in seedling production in Region 7 is a good manifestation that the department has kept its vow to do its best to meet the requirements for the National Greening Program.

"Aside from achieving our targets on the number of seedlings, we also ensure that we have produced quality seedlings which shall be used to supply our various tree planting and growing program here in the region," Montejo added.

To recall, DENR 7 has allocated a budget amounting to P136.566 million to to reforest around 24,461 hectares of identified forest land and NGP sites in the four provinces this year.

Korean tourist influx opens tourism-related biz prospects

By Ehda M. Dagooc /JMD (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The influx of Korean tourists to Cebu will not only boost the tourism receipts of the province, but will also attract Korean investors to partner with local capitalists to invest in tourism-related businesses, such as restaurants.

In an interview with Michelle Jang, a Korean investor and restaurant manager of Me & Me Restaurant, located on Mactan Island, Cebu, she said that providing the Korean nationals visiting or even residing in Cebu with authentic Korean food proves to be a profitable business.

Jang, together with other partners, opened two Korean restaurants in Cebu. Aside from Me & Me Korean restaurant, Jang’s company also maintains a restaurant named Da Rae Won.

“The growing number of our fellow Koreans here has opened business opportunities for us,” said Jang, adding that Koreans typically look for familiar dining establishments, in the same way that some Filipinos look for Filipino dishes when traveling out of country.

According to Jang, Korean food servings do not only attract the growing number of Korean nationals visiting to Cebu, but also the local customers that are learning to love the Korean cuisine.

She observed that Cebuanos and Filipinos in general love to explore different cuisines, and that Korean cuisine is gaining increased interests among Filipinos.

The reason why Me & Me Restaurant offered affordable eat-all-you-can Korean dishes is to introduce Korean cuisine to wider market, including those budget-conscious customers.

Korean arrivals to the Philippines have been growing in the last few years. Department of Tourism records show that as of February this year, Korean national arrivals to the country increased by 18.23 percent with 106,122 Koreans visiting the Philippines in the first two months of this year.

According to Jang, Cebu is an ideal investment site for business not only due to the growing Korean visitors here, but also its accessibility to her country, through the availability of direct flights.

The Philippines is reported to be South Korea’s third-most attractive investment destination in South Asia. Korea is the country’s fifth largest trading partner and third largest investor.

Aside from the huge Korean market, Jang said Cebu’s thriving economy also prompted them to put up a restaurant business amid competition among Korean-inspired dining establishments.

33 institutions, 4 cities, 1 night of Cebuano—and Filipino—heritage

By Dexter Rodrigo Matilla (

For seven years now, Cebuanos have been preserving their proud heritage in their hearts and minds with a simple act of remembrance.

The Gabii sa Kabilin, an initiative of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation’s (RAF) Culture and Heritage Unit, is, literally a “night of heritage” where museums, galleries, and heritage sites are open to visitors from 6PM to 12MN. While the event is held every last Friday of May, it is also in celebration of the International Museum Day, May 18.

Gabii sa Kabilin takes its cue from Lange Nacht der Museen or Long Night of Museums of Germany and other European countries.

When it began in May 25, 2007, there were only three museums and one heritage site. This year, 33 museums, galleries, and heritage sites in four cities participated over the weekend.

In Cebu City, there’s the Casa Gorordo Museum, Cathedral Museum of Cebu, Cebu City Hall, Cebu City Museum, Cebu Cultural Center, Don Sergio Osmeña Memorabilia and CAP Art Gallery, Fo Guang Shan Chu Un Temple, Fort San Pedro, Iglesia Filipina Independiente Cathedral of the Holy Child, Jose R. Gullas Halad Museum, Museo Parian sa Sugbo, Museo Sugbo, Plaza Independencia, Plaza Parian-AboitizLand Heritage Pocket, Sacred Heart Parish Church-Alternative Contemporary Art Studio, San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish Church, San Pedro Calungsod Chapel, Sugbo Chinese Heritage Museum, United Church of Christ in the Philippines-Bradford Memorial Chapel, University of Southern Philippines-Rizaliana Museum, University of the Philippines Cebu, and the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House.

Lapu-Lapu City has the Mactan Shrine, Muelle Osmeña, Nuestra Señora Virgen de la Regla Parish Church, and Plaza Poblacion. Mandaue City has the Mandaue City Presidencia, Bantayan sa Hari, Plaza Complex, and the National Shrine of St. Joseph Parish Church while Talisay City has the National Historic Shrine Liberation Monument, Museo de Talisay, and the Sta. Teresa de Avila Parish Church.

Participants were able to visit these places for a ticket price of P150. Children age seven and under, accompanied by adults, get free admission. Guests use the Gabii sa Kabilin ticket to gain admission to the participating sites whether on their own or via the provided bus rides and tartanillas (horse-drawn carriages).

The opening program began at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines-Bradford Memorial Chapel, the oldest Presbyterian church at 100 years in Cebu. Currently, it's the only protestant church in Cebu designated by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines as a National Historical Landmark.

At the Cebu City Hall, 52 framed photos of old Cebu, Leyte, Negros, Iloilo, Palawan, and Zamboanga from the Netzorg Filipiniana Collection of the Ortigas Foundation were unveiled by Cebu Mayor Mike Rama and NCCA Chairman Felipe de Leon Jr.

The Cathedral Museum of Cebu hosted the opening of Taoid 2013 at Plaza Hamabar. Children of the Turang Dance Troupe performed the Sinug or prayer dance along Mabini Street. Watch their performance below:

May’s National Heritage Month celebration started with the signing of Proclamation No. 439 on August 11, 2003. It is “in recognition of the need to create among the people a consciousness, respect, and pride for the legacies of Filipino cultural history, and love of country.

Leading the celebration is NCCA’s Subcommission on Cultural Heritage headed by Regalado Trota Jose. With this year’s theme, “Taoid: Weaving Our Stories, Threading Our Paths,” the National Heritage Month celebration aims at giving Filipinos “a glimpse of the legacies of the past and how it remains to shape the present and the future.” It is also “a recognition and celebration of the different aspects of our national cultural heritage—our traditional art forms and practices, important cultural structures both movable and immovable, and other objects of national importance whether tangible or intangible.

Capitol HS scholarship programs to continue

By Gregg M. Rubio, BRP (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Province of Cebu under the management of acting Governor Agnes Magpale is continuing the scholarship program for high school valedictorians and salutatorians started by suspended Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.

The Provincial Board has authorized Magpale to execute and sign, for and on behalf of the Province of Cebu, a memorandum of agreement for the program between the Development Bank of the Philippines, Cebu Technological University and Cebu Normal University.

The program intends to provide financial and other valuable assistance to its qualified and deserving high school valedictorians and salutatorians.

The scholarship for valedictorians and salutatorians is separate from the Cebu Tertiary Education and Assistance Program (CTEAP) of the Cebu Provincial Government.

CTEAP was started by Garcia in 2004 for the top 20 honor students who graduate from public high schools in the different towns and cities of Cebu Province.

Like the valedictorians and salutatorians, those who qualify as scholars will receive an allowance of P1,000 a month and can enroll in education, engineering and computer related courses in CNU and CTU.

Meanwhile, the PB also authorized Magpale to sign the employment contract with Student Employees of the Province of Cebu under the Special Program for Employment of Students as mandated by law.

The students will be paid in cash 60 percent of their salary or wage at least equal to the applicable minimum wage in a certain area.

The Capitol also pays other compensation benefits such as overtime pay, allowances and incentives earned by the student-employees for the duration of the contract.

The student-employees shall bind themselves to perform tasks and duties assigned to them and strictly adhere and observe the rules and regulations imposed by the employer.

Capitol eyes expansion of CPDRC

By Aj de la Torre/JPM (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Provincial Government is looking at the possibility of expansion as a long term solution to address the need for more space for inmates at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC).

But for now, Acting Governor Agnes Magpale sees the need to provide immediate solutions as they keep getting letter-requests from the municipal jails asking for detainees to be transferred to the provincial facility.

Magpale wrote to Judge James Himalalaon of Regional Trial Court Branch 62 recently, appealing that the detainees be held first in municipal courts considering that the provincial jail has gone beyond its maximum capacity.

Yesterday, Magpale said they have gotten another letter from another southern town requesting for inmates to be transferred to CPDRC but she said she would have to give a similar reply.

This will be addressed though, said Magpale, who spoke to CPDRC jail warden Romeo Manansala informing her that they will be transferring 30 inmates to Muntinlupa in Manila by next week. This means they can accept more detainees from municipal jails by then.

Magpale said she understands the concern as well of municipal jails since they may need to provide meals for the detainees who are still under their watch.

In a meeting yesterday with consultants, Magpale said they are looking at the possibility of subsidizing the meals of the detainees in the municipal level. But she said this is only a suggestion and they would have to discuss this with governor-elect Hilario “Junjun” Davide III.