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Cebu Province News September 2014

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Province of Cebu - Archived News

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

Contents

Exec: Sustain coastal cleanup

By Jose P. Sollano (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines – The success of the International Clean-up last week participated by the different sectors prompted city officials to sustain the coastal cleanup program.

Lapu-Lapu City Councilor Alexander Gestopa Jr., chairman of the City Council's Committee on Environment, said the cleanup should happen not only every September but everyday.

He admitted there's a need to continue educating the people, especially at the barangay level.

"Kinahanglan pa gayud hinoon nga atong edukahon ang atong mga kaigsoonan diha sa barangay bahin sa kamahinungdanon sa pagpakabana ilabi na gayud sa kalimpyo," said Gestopa.

Gestopa said barangay captains and officials, with the help of the residents and private sector, should lead the campaign.

The Lapu-Lapu City councilor said the city government lauded the resorts and beach resorts owners and operators for their full support to the city government in their program to protect the city's marine resources.

The participation of more than 100 scuba divers to the city government contributed to the success of the cleanup drive, Gestopa added.

Cebu’s share of DAP: P182M

By Flornisa M. Gitgano and Rebelander S. Basilan (Sun.Star Cebu)

CEBU -- At least P182.2 million in projects funded through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) were implemented in Cebu from 2011 to 2013, according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Eight incumbent senators and two former ones requested for DAP funds, mostly to build or rehabilitate roads and school buildings.

Senator Teofisto Guingona III allocated the biggest amount for Cebu at P163.8 million, based on data DBM posted on its website. The largest chunk went to financial aid to indigent families and victims of calamities in Cebu.

Various projects were also implemented using the DAP in five congressional districts in Cebu. Their proponents were former legislators Rachel del Mar, Pablo Garcia, Pablo John Garcia and Tomas Osmeña, and reelected Representative Luigi Quisumbing.

“Though we did not know at the time that these were funded through DAP, we are still thankful that these funds were able to make a positive difference in the lives of so many,” Quisumbing said.

What the SC said

In a text message, Quisumbing said the funds given to the implementing agencies, like the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Social Welfare and Development and Department of Health, were a tremendous help to his district.

Last July, the Supreme Court ruled that parts of the DAP were not constitutional. The justices agreed that Congress did not need to legislate the DAP, because it was an administrative system and not an appropriation measure.

However, it said that it was against the Constitution to withdraw and transfer unobligated allotments and pool unreleased appropriations without any legal support.

It also said cross-border transfers from “savings” were prohibited by the Constitution.

In an interview, former congressman Pablo John Garcia said all the DBM releases went directly to the local government units (LGUs).

“No part of it was ever coursed through any other entity, much less NGOs (non-government organizations). If part of that was from DAP, then that was DBM’s call,” he said.

Social services

He added that COA records show that when his term ended, he still had more than P14 million in unused funds. “I understand the LGUs have already returned these funds to the National Government,” he said.

A total of P20 million went to projects in the third district, which Garcia used to represent. Of that amount, P10 million was for social services and was released to the municipality of Asturias.

Another P10 million was allocated for multi-purpose buildings in Barangay Luray 2 in Toledo City, Barangay Sacsac of Pinamungajan and Barangay Hingatmonan of Balamban. The funds were released to Third District Engineering Office.

In Cebu Province’s sixth district, the DBM report said that Quisumbing proposed P25 million worth of projects under DAP. Of that, P10 million was spent for the concreting and improvement of roads.

About P15 million went to the Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Services Program, medical assistance for indigent patients, purchase of nine multicabs and a scholarship program for 500 students.

In the second district, which used to be represented by then-congressman Pablo Garcia, some P22.5 million worth of “soft projects” turned out to have been funded by DAP.

Mixed

These include the construction of multi-purpose buildings in Barangay Talisay of Santander and Barangay Poblacion in Badian; concreting of a road in Barangay Suba of Samboan; implementation of social services like food assistance to indigent senior citizens and a scholarship program for 125 students.

About P17.5 million for the hard projects paid for the concreting of barangay roads, construction of multi-purpose building and construction of a water system in Talaga, Argao; improvement of shore protection in Poblacion, Dalaguete; and construction of markets and a slaughterhouse.

Based on the DBM’s report, Cebu City’s south district, which used to be represented by Osmeña, got a total of P73,507,000 in DAP funds in 2011 and 2012. Of the total amount, P40,405,000 paid for hard projects while P33,102,000 was spent for soft projects.

The P73.5 million was released by DBM in three tranches. In October 2011, a total of P33,802,000 was released; P32,405,000 in June 2012; and P7,300,000 in December 2012.

Hard, soft

Out of the P33.8 million, P20 million covered hard projects such as the improvement of dilapidated roads in the slum area of Sitio Alaska in Barangay Mambaling (P10 million); construction of roads, highways, bridges and buildings (P5 million); and flood control and drainage projects (P5 million).

The remaining P13.8 million was given as financial assistance to various barangays in the city (P5 million); paid for livelihood programs (P5 million) and various social services in the Municipality of Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija (P500,000); and financial assistance to various local government units (P3.3 million).

The DBM records, however, did not show all the LGUs that supposedly received the funds.

Out of the second tranche of P32.4 million, P17.4 million was used for hard projects like the concreting of a road in Barangay Lorega, construction of flood control project in Barangay Labangon, implementation of riprapping projects in Barangays Busay, Kalunasan and Tisa and construction of a multi-purpose building hall in Barangay Labangon amounting to P7.5 million.

Another P7.5 million was set aside for the concreting of roads in Barangays Guadalupe, Lorega, and Labangon, and for the construction of a multi-purpose building in Barangays Bonbon and Kasambagan.

At least P2.4 million was used for the building of a multi-purpose hall in the Ramon Duterte Memorial National High School.

Endorsement

For the soft projects, P15 million was used for social services (P7.04 million), purchase of vehicles (P1.24 million), and the construction of a perimeter fence in Toong Elementary School, a spillway in Bonbon, purchase of water hoses and the implementation of sports programs (P6.7 million).

Osmeña has already admitted he was able to use funds from DAP. He clarified, though, that he did not receive the funds himself, but only identified the programs and projects to be funded.

Osmeña has already asked DBM to give him a list of his projects that were funded by DAP.

As for former north district congresswoman Rachel “Cutie” Del Mar, she reportedly endorsed P10 million worth of DAP projects in October 2011.

The amount was used to fund the concreting of roads and improvement of multi-purpose buildings in various barangays of the city.

In 2011 and 2012, at least 10 senators also identified projects in Cebu, including roads, schools and scholarship programs, that ended up getting funded by the DAP.

Schools

Some of the major projects of Senator Guingona that DBM listed were scholarship programs for the Cebu Technological University and the Cebu Normal University; rehabilitation of the Tuburan Waterwork System; construction of a school building in Mactan National High School in Lapu-Lapu City; and asphalting of roads in Barangay Talaytay, Argao.

Guingona was followed by Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, who secured P10 million and P9.8 million, respectively, for projects in Cebu.

Enrile allocated the amount to construct or rehabilitate roads, highways and bridges, while Osmeña used the amount to construct two-classroom school buildings in Carcar City, Alcoy, Oslob, Dalaguete, Ronda and Argao.

Former senators Edgardo Angara and Manny Villar got P7.6 million and P7 million, respectively.

Angara secured the amount for the construction of a multi-purpose building in Barangay Tinago, Cebu City. Villar’s DAP funds went to road concreting projects in Samboan, Naga, Talisay, Minglanilla, Talisay and Sibonga.

The other senators who availed themselves of DAP funds were Alan Peter Cayetano, Aquilino Pimentel III, Ralph Recto, Miriam Santiago and Antonio Trillanes IV.

Who implemented?

Cayetano allocated P5.5 million to construct school buildings in Sibonga, Ginatilan, Compostela, Mandaue City and Cebu City.

The P5 million requested by Pimentel went to the construction of roads, but the DBM records did not specify where the projects were implemented. Recto secured P2 million for scholarship programs in Cebu Normal University and Cebu Technological University.

Santiago allotted P5 million in DAP funds for the rehabilitation of a barangay road in Dalaguete. Trillanes secured P500,000 for the construction of two multi-purpose buildings.

The DBM released the special allotment release orders for the different projects from December 2011 to May 2013.

Road and school building projects were implemented by district engineering offices.

Local government units were listed as implementing agencies for construction of public markets, waterworks system, multi-purpose buildings and financial assistance for indigent families.

P6.3-B fund for Cebu bus rapid transit system OK’d

By Genalyn Kabiling

Traffic congestion in the booming Cebu province is expected to ease with the help of the Brazilian-inspired bus transit system bankrolled by the World Bank (WB) and the government.

Malacañang has expressed gratitude to the WB for granting $141-million (P6.3-billion) loan package for the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) project, saying it expects a more efficient and climate-friendly transport system in the urban center.

“Malugod na tinatanggap ng pamahalaan ang pag-apruba ng World Bank Board Executive Directors ng isang financing package na nagkakahalaga ng 141 milyong dolyar para sa pagpapatupad ng proyektong Cebu Bus Rapid Transit o CBRT na magbibigay daan sa pagkakaroon ng isang mabilis, maaasahan, ligtas at climate-friendly na sistemang pangtransportasyon (The government welcomes the approval of the World Bank Board Executive Directors of the financing package worth $141 million for the implementation of Cebu Bus Rapid Transit project that will facilitate fast, reliable, safe and climate-friendly transport system),” Coloma said.

Coloma said the financial package includes $116 million (P5.187 billion) from the World Bank and $25 million (P1.118 billion) from the Clean Technology Fund. The project involves the construction of a 23-kilometer BRT system from Bulacao to Talamban in Cebu City. It will include transit ways, terminals, stations, a depot for vehicles and other facilities.

Coloma said the Philippine government will provide a counterpart fund amounting to $87.5 million (P3.913 billion) to implement the bus project.

“Inaasahang mahigit sa tatlong daang libong pasahero ang makikinabang sa BRT araw-araw na naglalayong ibsan ang polusyon at tiyakin ang kaligtasan at ginhawa sa pagbabiyahe ng mga residente ng Cebu (The BRT system will benefit more than 300,000 passengers daily while reducing pollution and ensuring travel safety and convenience of residents of Cebu),” he added.

He noted that the BRT will use buses that will have dedicated lanes, carrying large number of passengers compared to other public transport vehicles.

The BRT system was pioneered in Curitiba, Brazil back in 1974 and has been replicated in other world cities due to its efficiency and affordability.

TESDA-accredited center trains jobless youth

By Christell Fatima M. Tudtud (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Five years after opening, a training center based in Barangay Poblacion, Compostela town has produced highly-trained welders, automotive, housekeeping and other workers who are now working here and abroad.

Most of these workers are hired by big business and industrial establishments in Manila and also in other countries.

St. James Academy of Skills Technology Inc. established linkages with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and local government units in Cebu in helping out-of-school youths and train them with vocational courses, according to its president Brian Cabajar Yuson.

Out-of-school youths in the four towns of Camotes Island are the beneficiaries of the training under the program of TESDA. They enrolled at St. James Academy Skills Technology, Inc, Yuson added.

Yuson founded the school last May 2009 hoping to continue helping out-of-school youths not only in Compostela town but also neighboring cities and municipalities.

Yuson said his technical experience and formal education and training in the field of metals and engineering technology, especially in welding program and other related technology, help him in running the school.

Yuson told The FREEMAN that five years ago, after he resigned from the company he was employed, he decided to open a school of his own where he can share his talents to others, especially the out-of-school youths.

He said when it started, the school offered various technical and vocational programs in the metals and engineering, construction, mechanical, machining and automotive technologies, garments and fashion design, information technology, all of which are duly registered with TESDA.

According to Yuson, they are committed to produce highly skilled, competent individuals who are trained and fully qualified to meet the challenges of the global job market.

He further said that this is bold initial step towards realizing his dream of putting up a full-service university in the town of Compostela as its home base and its services extending initially to its neighboring towns of northern Cebu and also those coming from other areas.

St. James Academy of Skills Technology, Inc. is duly accredited by TESDA as an assessment and trade training center for the various technological qualifications in welding, pipefitting, housekeeping and household services, ICT, pipefitting, carpentry, machining and many other technical qualifications.

The said training school is also very well involved as a registered mobile classroom training provider by TESDA.

Yuson stressed that they also continuously uphold the standards set forth by both the industry concerned and TESDA.

As part of their expansion, they will soon open a branch in Bocutan, Parañaque in Metro Manila.

Pantawid recipients join Family Week

By Christell Fatima M. Tudtud (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Lapu-Lapu City opened National Family Week with hundreds of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) recipients flocking at the Lapu-Lapu City Sports Complex last Monday.

The event centered with the theme "Celebrating the Filipino Family: Resilient and Caring."

Through this week-long feast of family ties, Mayor Paz Radaza emphasized her battlecry against cyberpornography that, as she stressed, stained and triggered the physical and emotional aspects of the children.

"Ang tema karong tuiga nagpahinumdum sa atong pag-amuma sa atong pamilya panahon sa kalamidad. Ug dili lamang sa panahon sa kalisod, kun dili sa matag adlaw (Our theme this year reminds us to take care of our family during calamities, and not only during times of distress but all the time)," she said.

Aside from the typhoons, Radaza said that cyberpornography is also an alarming concern that makes children vulnerable due to poverty.

"Kini nga problema dako na kini nga hagit sa atong dakbayan tungod kay aduna na kitay nabantayan nga mga kaso niini dinhi (Cyberpornography is a big threat to the city as we have already noted several cases)," she said. Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

Radaza said she felt dismayed that most parents have taken from children their right to live peacefully and to achieve a bright future.

The mayor said there are parents who made their children perform lewd acts in front of the camera. She learned that they pushed and forced their own children to give in to such acts in exchange for money.

Radaza maintained she condemned all reported cases of cyberpornography in her city.

She then called on the public, especially families, to strengthen and mold their children for a better future.

"Ato silang dalhon ngadto sa kalamboan, dili sa kadaotan (we should take our children to success and not to their detriment)," she added.

Department of Social Welfare and Development office head Ermelita Degamo and the rest of the DSWD also attended the celebration together with 4Ps officials.

The National Family Week is celebrated every last week of September and was put into law in 1992 by the former president Fidel V. Ramos.

Town to tap bizmen in tourism boost bid

By Jose P. Sollano (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines – The municipal government of Compostela will tap the private sector in its move to promote the town as a destination for domestic and foreign tourists and its agricultural products.

Compostela municipal councilor Joy Ann Cabatingan, chairman of the Committee on Tourism at the Municipal Council, said Mayor Joel Quiño wants to attract more domestic and foreign visitors to the town.

According to Cabatingan, there are beautiful places the Compostela municipal government can offer to visitors, especially in the mountain barangays.

She further said the municipal government is in close coordination with the Department of Tourism as they have agreed to join their resources in promoting Compostela's tourism potential.

Officials said Compostela recently availed of the financial assistance from the Department of Tourism.

DOT-7 supported Compostela's queseo production as a means of livelihood for farmers and its Queseo Festival as a way of promoting the town's tourism.

Director Rowena Montecillo of DOT-7 recently turned over an initial amount of P 425,000 to the town, through Mayor Joel Quiño, in order to boost the town's tourism efforts. The agency has approved a total of P850,000 aid for the town towards this purpose.

The municipal government in turn has allocated P150,000 as counterpart share in the program.

Compostela, a prime agricultural town whose inhabitants' means of livelihood is mainly farming, was the first to receive the financial support from DOT after it complied with all the necessary requirements of the department.

Cebu Provincial Hospital-Danao now also perform major surgery

By Michael Vencynth H. Braga/NSA (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu Provincial Hospital-Danao City can now perform major surgical procedures.

Yesterday, at least 10 operations were conducted at the hospital that included removal of breast mass, inguinal hernia, colloidal goiter, and cholelithiasis (gallstone), among others.

These procedures were done two weeks after CPH-Carcar opened its own major operations.

CPH-Danao City currently has 25-bed capacity and two operating rooms.

Prudencio Manubag, the chief of hospital, said they are aiming for the 100-bed capacity.

There are also four medical consultants on call who were hired by the provincial government and assigned at the hospital.

CPH-Danao also accommodates patients from the neighboring towns, including Liloan, Compostela and Carmen.

Cebu Governor Hilario Davide said the province is eyeing at upgrading the status of provincial and district hospitals to at least level one as part of the priority of his administration. To acquire the level one status, an operating room has to be established.

Last June 2014, Davide issued Executive Order No. 10 creating a project team to fast track the renovation of hospital facilities and the acquisition of hospital equipment for the different provincial and district hospitals.

Davide added that the upgrading would prevent congestion of medical referrals from the province to distant hospitals like Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City, which could be a life threatening scenario during emergency cases.

There are four provincial and 12 district hospitals in Cebu, 10 of which have already been upgraded to level one by the Department of Health.

Other hospitals which have been given the upgrade status, aside from CPH-Danao, are the provincial hospitals in the cities of Bogo and Carcar, and the district hospitals in Bantayan, Barili, Badian, Tuburan, San Francisco, Argao, and Sogod.

On September 11, CPH-Carcar launched its major surgical operations to include, among others, appendectomy removal of appendix, Myomectomy for fibroids in the uterus, Caesarian Section, Thyroidectomy for thyroid gland, Modified Radical Mastectomy for the breast, Cholecystectomy for the gallbladder, and Hernia surgery.

Developer invests P2 billion for Mactan township project

By Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The favorable economic climate of Cebu's Mactan Island has prompted a real estate developer to invest P2 billion for a township project in the locality.

The rising business process outsourcing operations and the recent developments in the island are seen to boost the property market.

Michele Chiu, sales and marketing manager of Johndorf Ventures Corporation, said the on-going rehabilitation of Mactan Cebu International Airport and the planned construction of Cebu's third bridge are factors that would increase economic activities.

The property firm is investing in a township project (a merge of its properties) in barangays Babag and Calawisan in Lapu-Lapu City. It is spending about P2 billion to develop the Johndorf Communities project in the next five years.

It will also develop a commercial center where different business establishments will be located.

Chiu said the 18-hectare township would integrate six developments, two of which have already been completed.

Housing backlog

The company wants to invest more in horizontal projects such as townhouses and economic housing to address the huge housing backlog in the Philippine real estate sector, she explained.

The Subdivision and Housing Developers Association has estimated the current national housing backlog at over 3.9 million units.

The association has already called on for government support to address the backlog which, if not solved, is projected to rise at 6.5 million by 2030.

Colliers International Philippines said more horizontal developments are seen especially on economic and mass housing.

Chiu shared the firm's three-hectare Astana townhouse project in the township is aimed at raising its investment portfolio in housing properties.

JVC also has projects in Cagayan de Oro and Davao City.

In a statement, JVC president and CEO Richard Lim said the elements of lucrative property investment are already present in Mactan, considering its rising economy.

BPO and IT workers, young professionals and entrepreneurs account a significant share in the property market investment.

Ramos group studying Cebu bulk water project

By Marites S. Villamor

CEBU CITY -- The Ramos family is considering a bulk water supply project that will pipe water from Toledo City in southwestern Cebu into Metro Cebu, an official said.

“That’s something that we’ve always contemplated. If we work together with Toledo City, that might be something that’s promising. It’s in very early stages,” said Adrian Paulino S. Ramos, executive vice-president of Carmen Copper Corp., which operates the 1,674-hectare copper mine complex in Toledo City.

Mr. Ramos said initial talks on a possible partnership with the Toledo City government are ongoing.

“Right now, there’s nothing formal. It’s just tossing around ideas, about what’s possible and what’s not,” Mr. Ramos said in an interview on the sidelines of the switch-on ceremonies on Friday for a new 82-megawatt coal-fired plant that will power Carmen Copper’s expansion.

Toledo City Mayor John Henry R. Osmeña, in his speech, referred to plans to supply bulk water to Cebu.

“If Adrian Ramos will help us, we’ll be selling bulk water to Metro Cebu,” he said.

Mr. Osmeña, a former senator, said Toledo has been generating about P100 million in revenue a year due to the operations of the copper mine, one of the largest in the Philippines, and several power generating units with a total installed capacity that will increase to about 1,000 megawatts by 2016.

“Of the P100 million, we are giving back P12.6 million to the residents of Toledo in the form of subsidy for domestic water,” he said.

Metro Cebu, which is served exclusively by the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD), needs bulk water suppliers as only about 40% of potential residential customers have water connections.

MCWD produces about 200,000 cubic meters of water a day from its ground and surface water sources. Around 60,000 cubic meters more will be made available later this year from bulk water suppliers and new wells to be commissioned.

Separately, Mr. Ramos said the group has not yet firmed up plans for the backdoor listing of its retail unit National Bookstore, Inc. through Vulcan Industrial and Mining Corp.

“We’re still targeting next year. But there are no concrete plans yet.

There are still a lot of work to do. It’s really not that easy to hold an IPO (initial public offering),” he said.

DSWD plan for elderly has support of city execs

By Jose P. Sollano (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - Officials of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu cities and the town of Cordova support the move of officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development to include younger indigent senior citizens in the coverage of the social pension program.

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes said providing more benefits to senior citizens is a welcome development adding that the city government also gives priority to their needs.

Cortes said the city government with the help of the private sector will conduct medical missions for senior citizens.

In Lapu-Lapu City, barangay Pajo captain Junard "Ahong" Chan said giving more benefits and financial assistance to senior citizens is good news for them.

He said the city government of Lapu-Lapu has funds for senior citizens but it cannot give them more because of limitations.

Former Cordova municipal councilor Greg Jumao-as, a consultant of Mayor Adelino Sitoy, said DSWD should address the needs of the senior citizens. Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

In the proposed budget for the social pension program for next year, DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman said her agency aims to lower the coverage age of indigent pensioners from the current 77 years old to 67 years old.

DSWD gives out P500 in monthly pension to senior citizens aged 77 and above.

For 2015, DSWD hopes to get an increase so it can include senior citizens aged 67 years old, said Soliman.

The proposed budget for the Social Pension program for 2015 is P4,762,628.

This year's approved allocation for the Social Pension program is P2.9 billion which can cover 455,530 senior citizens.

Rising orders lift Phl shipbuilding industry

By Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The increase in ship orders from foreign companies is seen to further boost the rising shipbuilding industry in the Philippines.

Hitoshi Kono, president of Tsuneishi Heavy Industries (Cebu), Incorporated, said their company has already received around 60 ship orders from companies in Hong Kong, Europe, Taiwan and Japan.

The Japanese shipbuilder said it has already booked 32 vessel orders for its new ship models -- the bulk carriers TESS35, TESS45 and TESS64 Aeroline.

Fourteen of these ships will be built at the firm's shipyard in the town of Balamban in Cebu, 16 others will be constructed in its China plant, and the two are set to be done in Tsuneishi's Japan plant.

In a recent press interview, Kono noted the constant development of new ship designs that are more economical and environment-friendly would eventually hike ship production.

"We would also expect higher revenues in the number of ships (to be built)," Kono added, saying Tsuneishi has already generated P250 billion in revenues.

The official also said raising the productivity level in the industry would invite more orders from foreign firms.

THICI currently employs around 15,000 local and foreign workers. It has already delivered 193 ships since its inception in 1994.

According to a data from the Maritime Industry Authority, the Philippine shipbuilding industry employs about 39,000 workers -- 70 percent of them are skilled and semi-skilled.

Over 50,000 engineers and architects are working for the industry.

Marina said the Philippines has been preparing to become Asia's shipbuilding center. Korea, Japan and China are Asia's current top shipbuilders.

Kono added they want to build more ships in the future.

Study identifies 158 individual whale sharks in south Cebu town

(PNA), LAP/EB/

CEBU CITY, Sept. 19 (PNA) -- A recent population study of whale sharks in southern Cebu town of Oslob has identified 158 individual sharks in the town.

The number is about 24 percent of the 650 individual sharks identified in the “Wildbook for Whale Sharks” in the Philippines.

The paper, published on the peer-reviewed academic journal www.peerj.com, also highlights the need for further studies to be able to come up with proper management and more effective protection of the species.

Researchers, who are also working with the Large Marine Vertebrates (Lamave) Research Institute Philippines, said that 158 whale sharks were sighted and identified in Barangay Tan-awan, Oslob from March 2012 to December 2013.

Of the total, 47 percent or more than 70 have propeller scars caused by small outrigger boats and commercial fishing vessels.

Propeller scars were observed on 51 percent of fed sharks.

The local and international researchers also found signs showing possible changes in the migratory behavior of the whale sharks, as indicated by the length of time that provisioned or fed whale sharks stay in the area.

Out the 158 whale sharks, 54 individual whale sharks were fed.

They are also the same ones seen more often at the Barangay Tan-awan whale shark tourism interaction area.

Of the 54 sharks that are fed by tour guides, 49 are males and five are females.

Researchers said that based on their size, the sharks in Oslob are young, with the biggest at nine meters in length.

The study noted that some of the whale sharks sighted in Oslob were also observed in other areas in Cebu such as in Moalboal town and Malapascua off Daanbantayan in northern Cebu) and in Southern Leyte, Panglao in Bohol and Donsol in Sorsogon.

Cebuano netizens may now search on Google using Cebuano

By Eddie O. Barrita [(PNA), CTB/EB/]

CEBU CITY, Sept. 18 (PNA) – Cebuano netizens may not have noticed it yet, but “Bisdaks” (short for Bisayang dako or true-blooded Cebuano), wherever they are in the world, may now look something up on Google using Cebuano as search language.

Cebuano became part of Google’s search language since April last year, and the effort to do so was led by someone who is not a native Cebuano.

Jacqueline Siwala, who spearheaded Cebuano language advocates in the project, said it took nearly 10 years to succeed in making the language a part of the Internet search engine.

“The effort initially began in 2005, when Google asked volunteers to translate Google interface phrases into Cebuano,” Siwala said.

Siwala grew up speaking Filipino as a child. Her father is from Laguna and her mother is a native of Cabanatuan City.

She learned Hiligaynon when her parents, now retired police officials, were assigned in Iloilo in 1986.

She visited Cebu for the first time in 1997 during an art convention and became a permanent resident since 2012.

“I’m in love with Cebu,” she said.

Siwala said Vincent Isles, a lawyer and Children’s Legal Bureau member, responded to her project by translating around 600 text strings that Google wanted translated.

Text strings, in computer programming, are the commands containing programming texts.

A group of linguists and academicians in Cebu reviewed Isles’ work before it was submitted to Google on Oct. 20, 2005.

Siwala said they did not receive a response so a letter was sent to Google almost a year later to follow up on the project.

The group still failed to receive any reply and the project languished.

In late 2011, the project came back to life and the translation process ballooned from 600 to 7,760 text strings.

Siwala said lawyer Manuel Lino Faelnar approached Lubas sa Dagang Bisaya (Ludabi), a Cebu-based group of which Faelnar is a board member, to complete the project.

Ludabi, which focuses on the preservation of Cebuano arts and culture, pushed through with the translation, which was completed with the help of representatives from public service, academe, linguistics, law, education, technology, culture and broadcast industry.

Aside from Faelnar, Siwala and Isles, the other members of the Google Search Cebuano Team are Dr. Jess Tirol and Atty. Cesar Kilaton.

Their project became a reality when Cebuano was included in the release of the Google Search-Philippines in April last year.

Similar to that of Cebu, Mandaue socialized housing eyed for Talisay

By Garry B. Lao (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines – For Talisay City Councilor Doroteo Emit, chairman of the Committee on Housing and Urban Development, socialized medium-rise buildings could play a key role to lessen the number of landless constituents in the city.

In his proposed resolution, which was approved in yesterday's City Council session, Emit recommended the construction of a socialized medium-rise building for qualified beneficiaries.

"The construction of a socialized medium-rise building for the urban poor and landless is a positive strategy to lessen the number of landless constituents and alleviate the plight of the urban poor," Emit said.

Emit cited Cebu City and Mandaue City as models of medium-rise building construction for the poor.

One such property in Cebu City is the Lorega Cemetery, where a medium-rise building was erected for the city's urban poor in coordination with Gawad Kalinga, while in Mandaue City, a socialized housing project is also being offered to residents living near easement and danger zones.

Emit cited Section 2 of Republic Act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992 which states that "it is the policy of the state to undertake, in cooperation with the private sector, a comprehensive and continuing Urban Development and Housing Program." Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

In Section 2 of Republic Act 7835 or Comprehensive and Integrated Shelter Finance Act of 1994, "it is a policy of the state to undertake in cooperation with the private sector, a continuing program of urban land reform and housing which will make available, at affordable cost, decent housing and basic services to underprivileged and homeless citizens in urban centers and resettlement areas."

Red Cross grants city P4M in aid

By Christell Fatima M. Tudtud (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines – The Philippine Red Cross has granted Lapu-Lapu City P4 million in financial assistance in time for the celebration of the World First Aid Day.

Mayor Paz Radaza and PRC officials led by their Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang signed the memorandum of agreement witnessed by the Red Cross volunteers and staff.

The agreement stipulates that blood station services and first aid trainings will be made available to the residents of the city.

"First aid can be done anytime, anywhere and is accessible to all," Pang said. "First aid can spell the difference between life and death."

Pang added that aside from the contract, three motorcycles and a vehicle will be given by the humanitarian organization for Lapu-Lapu's disaster management needs.

Radaza in response said that the city government is more than willing to partner with Red Cross in serving the people.

"Truth to be told, this organization has saved countless of lives," she said.

PRC's office is located in Barangay Poblacion and their blood station is near Hoops Dome in Barangay Gun-ob.

Vic Jay Gonzal, chapter administrator of PRC, said the contract allows them to pay one peso per day within the span of 25 years.

According to the research cited by Pang, five out of 10 die of heart disease which is the number one health problem and leading cause of death in the country.

First aid lectures and demonstrations will be given by licensed first aiders. Among these are shock positioning, bleeding control and bandaging, as well as adult, child and infant CPR.

The mayor emphasized that this measure will give every person a chance to be the rescuers on their own and need not to be experts.

"I believe we can contribute to lessen the number of casualties each year," Radaza said.

Architects paint mural urging love for planet

By Rebelander S. Basilan

A GROUP of architects set out to paint a 50-meter wall in Mandaue City with images of countryside life.

Richard Abella, president of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP)-Datu Lapu-Lapu Chapter, said the mural they are working on aims to convey the need to protect the environment.

“We only have one planet. We have to protect it,” he said in an interview with reporters yesterday.

Their mural on a concrete wall of the Ho Tien Soy factory is an added attraction in Barangay Subangdaku, where street art enthusiasts led by renowned mural artist Amado Guerrero “AG” Saño are also doing the country’s first flyover art project.

Subangdaku Barangay Captain Ernie Manatad said he suggested that the architects depict countryside life in their mural painting to evoke the barangay’s past as an agricultural area.

“Subangdaku has become a concrete jungle from being a place of ricefields,” he said.

Manatad said the paintings are part of his effort to beautify street walls in the barangays.

“We’ve chosen walls that are frequently vandalized for the paintings. So far, nobody has vandalized the walls again,” he said.

Organization

The UAP, which has about 120 members, started their project on the 50-meter wall last Aug. 31. The wall has a height of five meters.

“This is part of our community service,” Abella said.

Some members brought their family members yesterday to the site. Among those present were the chapter’s immediate past president Jensen Racho, its vice president Philip Lim and one of its board members Clemente Guanzon.

Outline

Joseph Judilla, a member, made the outline on the wall. He drew images of a rice field with a farmer and a carabao, as well as environmental symbolisms.

Judilla is also the chair of the project of the Cebu Kabanay Lions Club to paint concrete walls in Mandaue with images conveying the importance of protecting the environment.

The mural painting on the Subangdaku flyover is part of the project.

Manatad said the murals on the flyover are almost done. The flyover art project is set to be inaugurated next month.

Talisay, Naga models of DSWD program for youth

By Garry B. Lao (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Department of Social Welfare and Development-7 named Talisay City and the City of Naga as successful implementers of the Unlad Kabataan Program for the out-of-school youth.

Eppie Partosa, the youth focal person of the DSWD-7, said the two cities are concrete models of the program because they implemented the project well and discovered the talents and skills of the youth.

In a forum held during the seventh year anniversary of the UKP, Partosa explained that Unlad Kabataan Program for youth is geared towards the total development of the disadvantaged youth who have special needs.

Lowella Vestil, focal person on youth program in Talisay City, told The FREEMAN that the city government and DSWD are ready to provide technical assistance and capability building to the various youth service providers for them to enhance their understanding and effectiveness in taking action to help the out-of-school youth express what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain the services they need.

There are 2,127 combined out-of-school youth in the city but 528 of them are inactive, Vestil said.

In the City of Naga, there are 724 members.

Vestil added that the program is a holistic approach organized in Talisay's 22 barangays.

"Ang atong mga out of school youth sa Talisay active man gyud. In fact, naa na gani nila nagtrabaho ug maayo na og pagkabutang kay nagkapamilya naman pud (Talisay City out-of-school youth are actually active. Some of them already have jobs while others have settled down with their families)," Vestil said.

She added that the out-of-school youth also undergo skills trainings for free through the continuity of a manpower development program on technical and vocational skills trainings.

UKP is a program of the DSWD, together with the Social Welfare and Development Office, which aims to help the out-of-school youth and other disadvantaged youth to become self-reliant, economically productive and socially responsible citizens able to contribute to the development of their family and community.

Cebu power firm urges consumers to use solar energy

(PNA), JBP/EB

CEBU CITY, Sept. 13 (PNA) -- The Visayan Electric Company (Veco), Metro Cebu’s lone power utility, has urged its customers to install solar panels in their individual homes or companies.

"We are encouraging our customers to avail on this. They can save on their electricity bill and help the environment as well," Sebastian Lacson, Veco chief operating officer, said.

Lacson said about 200 customers have so far manifested their intent to put up solar panels in their respective households, but only four have been installed.

A solar panel that can generate one kilowatt hour (1kWh) costs around Php150,000 including the installation.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, in his message on the New Metering Reference Guide said the country can harness the sun's power as its radiation across the country has a power generation of 4.5 to 5.5 kWh per square meter per day.

He said that on every grid, a household or company can utilize the power of the sun with solar panels on their own roofs, which paves the way to the introduction of the net-metering scheme.

The scheme, Petilla said, represents the first step of a paradigm shift from the traditional generation-transmission-distribution scheme towards individual and community-based distributed on-site power generation.

Net-metering is the first non-fiscal incentive mechanism fully implemented under the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

Through the installation of solar photovoltaic panels up to 100kW, house owners and commercial establishments can now partly satisfy their electricity demand by themselves.

Petilla said the end users can also help mitigate the effects of climate change through the use of clean energy technologies and contribute in lessening the country's dependence on costly imported fossil fuels.

Cebu provincial hospital in Carcar City starts performing major surgeries

(PNA), LAP/EB/

CARCAR CITY, Cebu, Sept. 12 (PNA) -- The 50-bed Cebu provincial hospital in Carcar City in southern Cebu has started performing major surgical procedures Thursday after its status was upgraded to level one.

The major operations include, among others, appendectomy, myomectomy for fibroids in the uterus, thyroidectomy for thyroid gland, modified radical mastectomy, cholecystectomy for the gallbladder, hernia surgery and caesarian section birth.

The Department of Health (DOH) granted in April this year the level one status to CPH-Carcar along with nine other provincial and district hospitals.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III said the status upgrade will help indigents living in far-flung towns who now need not go to Cebu City for major surgical procedures.

"We are happy to announce that finally, our provincial hospitals, beginning with Carcar City, now have surgical capability. In our own little way, lesser patients from neighboring towns will be brought to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City," Davide said.

Davide said the province will hire more permanent surgeons to man the hospitals especially those which have already been upgraded to level one.

Other hospitals whose status were upgraded are the provincial hospitals in the cities of Bogo and Danao, and the district hospitals in Bantayan, Barili, Badian, Tuburan, San Francisco, Argao and Sogod.

Davide said this is part of the province's pursuit to improve provincial government-run hospitals to at least level one status since some are still in the primary care level.

There are 16 government-run hospitals in the province.

Dr. Olivia Dandan, chief of hospital of the Carcar provincial hospital, said the hospital also has diplomate surgeons and more than 50 nurses.

Dandan hopes that the current status of the facility will be sustained and eventually be elevated to level two by next year if it can establish an intensive care unit with the necessary equipment.

Capitol to help flood-prone LGUs

By Oscar C. Pineda

THE Cebu Provincial Development Council (PDC) yesterday approved the proposed realignment of some P62.2 million to be used for various projects in Cebu Province.

In a meeting yesterday, the PDC also approved the Bantayan Island Management Plan and the Disaster Risk Vulnerability Report for endorsement to the Regional Development Council (RDC) 7.

The proposed realignment, on the other hand, will have to be approved by the Provincial Board.

Projects

It will involve some P50 million, intended for the construction and rehabilitation of buildings and other structures, that will be used instead to construct and rehabilitate provincial and barangay roads. This project will cost some P49 million; the remaining P1 million will be for the Malapascua development program.

Some P9.17 million intended for the planning of the trans-axial highway will also be realigned to serve as Capitol’s counterpart fund in the implementation of the Philippine Rural Development Program.

Gov. Hilario Davide III said they money can be realigned since a private firm is willing to finance the feasibility study of the trans-axial highway at no cost to the Province.

Preparedness

Also to be realigned is the P1 million intended for the repair and rehabilitation of Cebu International Convention Center (CICC). This will instead be used for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the Cebu Cultural Center in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City.

The P2-million allocation for Museo sa Sugbu will also be realigned for museum, heritage sites and structures in Cebu.

Also during yesterday’s meeting, the PDC passed Resolution No. 8 endorsing to the RDC the Capitol’s Disaster Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Report, as mandated by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The vulnerability report will be the point of reference for local government units to prepare their own disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation plans.

The PDC also approved Resolution No. 7 or the Bantayan Island General Management Plan, prepared by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DNER), “as a document tool to de-establish the declaration as a wilderness area.”

Davide said the DENR and NEDA require the passage of the resolution to reclassify the lands in the island, from wilderness to alienable and disposable, so it can be titled.

Once the land is titled, construction for housing projects for Yolanda victims to be funded by the government will no longer have problems with the Commission on Audit.

NHA 7 says P2.2B released for construction of houses for Yolanda survivors in north Cebu

(PNA), LAP/EB/

CEBU CITY, Sept. 10 (PNA) -- The National Housing Authority (NHA) 7 said an initial P2.2 billion of the P6.5 billion allocated for the construction of houses for super typhoon Yolanda survivors in northern Cebu has been released.

NHA 7 Manager Gavino Figuracion said that in the rehabilitation plan, the government will build 22,423 houses for Yolanda survivors in northern Cebu at P290,000 per unit or a total of P6.5 billion.

He said that based on the released funds, the NHA can build 391 houses in San Remegio, 74 in Daanbantayan and 220 in Tabuelan or 685 houses with the combined cost P198,650,000.

Other local government units (LGUs) are preparing the sites for their relocation sites of typhoon Yolanda survivors.

He said interested developers are given until Sept. 30 to submit their project proposals, which should include the housing sites.

The proposals will have to be submitted to the NHA central office.

Figuracion said rehabilitation projects are exempted from Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Act, so the NHA will shortlist developers and contractors.

For the purpose of shortlisting, the NHA is now accrediting private contractors and land developers who can undertake housing projects including the 685 houses which will be initially built in the three towns.

Figuracion said that to qualify, contractors and developers must first submit their letter of intent for pre-qualification.

Other documents that must be attached to the letter of intent are company profile, track record, list of equipment owned or rented, organizational structure, financial statement duly received by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and list of manpower.

Cebuanos to mark 136th birth anniversary of Pres. Osmena with a holiday on Sept. 9

(PNA), FFC/EB

CEBU CITY, Sept. 8 (PNA) -- Cebuanos will mark the 136th birth anniversary of the late President Sergio Osmena Sr. on Sept. 9, Tuesday, with a special non-working holiday.

Republic Act (RA) 6953, which was signed into law by then-President Corazon Aquino on May 1990, declared President Osmena’s birth anniversary a non-working holiday throughout Cebu Province and in Cebu City.

Born in 1878, Osmena was the first Visayan to ascend to the presidency and served briefly from 1944 to 1946 after the sudden death of President Manuel Quezon.

Prior to his brief tenure as president, the Osmena patriarch served as a provincial governor, House speaker, senator, and vice president.

His four-decade long political career ended when he was defeated by then-Senate President Manuel Roxas in the 1946 presidential elections.

While Roxas died just two years into his term, Osmena lived until 1961.

Several members of the Osmena clan have occupied positions at the national and local levels, among them his son, Sergio Jr., and grandson John Henry Osmena who were elected senators and another grandson, Lito Osmena, who was elected Cebu governor.

Sergio Jr. unsuccessfully ran against then president Ferdinand Marcos in 1969 while Lito Osmena failed in his vice presidential and presidential bids in 1992 and 1998, respectively.

His grandson, Sergio Osmena III, is serving his third non-consecutive term in the Senate and is up for reelection in 2016.

The brother of Sergio III, Tomas, a former congressman, last year lost his bid to return as the mayor of Cebu City.

Town eyes projects to benefit children

By Jose P. Sollano (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines – Consolacion town officials are now beginning to give due attention to the issues concerning children.

Mayor Teresa Alegado called a meeting with the members of the Municipal Council for the Welfare of Children, department heads and members of the municipal council who are chairing committees concerning children.

During the meeting, they agreed to closely coordinate and implement programs mean to uplift the welfare of children in their town.

Earlier, Mayor Alegado said one of the priorities of her administration is to implement programs to benefit the children.

Child pornography and children used by criminals to commit crimes, especially illegal drugs, have alarmed town officials, they said.

Alegado was the one who aired her concerns on the problem of child pornography after the arrest of some of them in Cordova town.

Police also reported that children were used by suspected drug pushers in their illegal activities.

Barangay officials have also been tapped by the police in the campaign against illegal drugs in Consolacion.

Comelec eyeing Cebu as pilot area for touch screen voting

By Michael Vencynth H. Braga/RHM (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines - The Commission on Elections is looking at using touch screen voting in the 2016 national elections, and Cebu is one of the possible pilot areas.

Lawyer Rafael Olaño, the new Comelec-7 director, said the Comelec Central Office advisory council recommended an automated election system for the next elections.

This includes the use of direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machines which have touch screen features.

Olaño said that unlike the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) technology currently used by the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines, voters no longer have to shade their ballots under this voting system innovation, speeding up the casting and canvassing of votes.

Olaño, though, said that considering its cost and compatibility to the Filipino culture, the Comelec en banc is still studying the possibility of using DRE as replacement for PCOS.

In a Rappler report, Comelec Chairman Calixto Brillantes Jr. noted that DRE machines would be very costly if it would completely replace PCOS machines.

He said five to 10 DRE machines would be needed in each precinct, or around 800,000 units, costing the country an estimated P55 billion for the 80,000 polling precincts.

Olaño said there would also be voters who would believe that a voting system that provide ballots as more credible.

“Naghahanap pa rin tayo ng paper trail eh, yong balota na makikita. Wala pa tayong masyadong bilib doon sa hindi nakikita (We still look for a paper trail. We do not yet trust a system where we cannot see our vote),” he said during the Comelec Cebu general assembly at the Capitol Social Hall yesterday.

Lawyer Lionel Marco Castillano, Cebu provincial election supervisor, said there would still be a need for voters’ education and the conduct of trainings for teachers before the new system could be applied.

The DRE voting system was first used during the 2008 elections at the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Castillano said that based on that experience, the Comelec has seen the negative side of the DRE system.

“After you voted you go to somebody who paid you, present the receipt and say I voted for you,” he added.

Also yesterday, Comelec reminded voters of that biometrics submission is mandatory. Those with incomplete data would no longer be allowed to vote in 2016 elections.

Olaño said there are around 500,000 voters in Central Visayas who have incomplete biometrics data.

Cebu PB commends Cebuano inventor

(PNA), LAM/EB/

CEBU CITY, Sept. 4 (PNA) -- The Cebu Provincial Board (PB) has passed two resolutions commending Cebuano innovator Pedro “Pete” Delantar Jr. for winning the “Tuklas Award” of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) during the 2014 National Invention Contest and Exhibition.

The two resolutions were authored by PB Members Arleigh Sitoy and Miguel Antonio Magpale.

The winning invention of Delantar was a molded coarse particle product with cast paper based reinforcement, a decorative fixture using castaway materials from a furniture factory.

The contest was held during the recently concluded National Science and Technology Week celebrations at the SMX Convention Center where 56 entries were judged.

The PB said the innovation contributes not just to Cebu’s economy, but also in promoting the best craftsmanship and the talents of Cebuanos.

Delantar, the resolutions state, is not only a pride of the people of Compostela but of Cebu province and the entire Filipino race.

Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale said the innovation of Delantar and his use of environment-friendly products will encourage other Cebuanos.

A separate resolution commending Delantar was also passed last week by the Municipal Council of Compostela, citing Delantar’s important role in the economic development of their town.

Delantar is a member of the Filipino Inventor Society and currently president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Compostela, Cebu Inc.

He is the chief executive officer of Nature’s Legacy Eximport, Inc. based in Barangay Cogon, Compostela.

Lapu-Lapu marks crime prevention

By Christell Fatima M. Tudtud (The Freeman)

CEBU, Philippines – The Lapu-Lapu City Police Office has joined with the National Police Commission in celebrating the 20th National Police Crime Prevention Week starting September 1 to 7.

Acting police director Senior Superintendent Armando Radoc emphasized the importance of crime prevention and utilizing all types of patrol units, such as bike patrol, car and foot patrol in busting law-breaking activities within the city.

He added that an all-out patrol in different areas should be conducted.

The police, according to Radoc, coordinate with the barangays as most of the crimes are believed to start within the grassroots level.

A geographic information system is then applied by the police to get data and determine the volume of the crimes that transpired within an area.

Radoc said with this method, the incident with most number of occurrences will be put on surveillance and security.

Jose Dungog, president of the Association of Barangay Councils, said yesterday he supports the crime prevention campaign of police authorities in the city since they help eliminate both serious and petty crimes.

"Tanan magsugod man gyud sa barangay," Dungog said.

In Lapu-Lapu City, Station 3 in Barangay Gun-ob recorded the most number of crimes, according to Radoc.

Aside from Gun-ob, there are six more barangays that the station aims to protect.

"I instructed Police Senior Inspector Wilbert Parilla of Police Station 3 to improve crime prevention," Radoc said.

Ilocos Norte aims to revive sisterhood links with Cebu

By Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman)

LAOAG, Ilocos Norte , Philippines — The provincial government of Ilocos Norte is going to intensify its existing sisterhood partnership with Cebu to further exchange mutual benefits in tourism and other industries.

In an interview with Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos, she said that Cebu and Ilocos Norte have complementary strengths and that she is looking forward to discuss further developments with Cebu Governor Hilario Davide, Jr.

Ilocos Norte signed a sisterhood agreement with Cebu in July 2011 with then Governor Gwendolyn Garcia. Both provinces have already implemented exchange programs such as tourism promotion, linkages with the business organizations like Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and industry.

However, the partnership has taken a backseat due to the transition in government leadership and also the province’s attention was focused on the rehabilitation of areas devastated by the twin disasters last year.

Marcos said the province is going to initiate the revival of the sisterhood agreement, while Ilocos Norte now gears up for tourism advancement and would like to complement Cebu's tourism advantage.

"Cebu and Ilocos are perfect fit. Cebu has good beaches, fashion accessory. Good shopping facilities. While we are also offering good attraction in culture and heritage, and the wind and sand sport activities," Marcos said.

As tourism started to perk up in the province, the lady Governor is hoping to make stronger partnership with Cebu, including the tourism private sector players. The lack of hotel accommodation and over-booked airport are just few of the complementary exchanges that the two provinces can mutually benefit from.

Ilocos Norte has an international airport, situated in its capital Laoag City, wherein Marcos is actively inviting airlines to open international direct flights.

Known as the garlic basket in the Philippines, Ilocos Norte located at the northwest corner of Luzon Island, is also rich in other agricultural produce. About two or three years ago, Marcos said her province had been able to rescue the depleting supply of mangoes in Visayas and Mindanao, and aided to sustain the requirement of food manufacturing companies in Cebu like Profood International.

While rich in fertile agricultural lands, Marcos said Ilocanos are conservative in nature and naturally not enterprising like the Cebuanos.

"Cebu is good at wealth creation. This is something that we could learn from Cebu. The issue on inclusive. growth doesn’t apply here," she said.

Ilocos Norte's economy is largely driven by overseas remittances, as 61 percent of the total population is funded by Ilocanos who work, and reside in different countries around the world.

The sudden surge of tourism in the province, the Governor said is a "wake up call for us." She is also inviting investors to take advantage of the profitable tourism sector especially in hotel, and other support facilities.

Aside from the province’s well known heritage and cultural strength, Marcos said her government is constantly developing more attractions to boost repeat visitors.

Now Ilocos Norte boasts of its sprawling sand dunes for adventure sand dune ride, the new developments of multi-million-dollar windmills, improved Marcos trail, among others.

P52M worth of navigational buoys to be installed in Mactan Channel

(PNA), LAP/EB/

CEBU CITY, Sept. 1 (PNA) -- The Cebu Port Authority (CPA) has set aside P52 million to buy and install 10 navigational buoys in the Mactan Channel to guide outgoing and incoming vessels to the Cebu port and avoid collision of vessels in the area, an official said.

Edmund Tan, CPA general manager, said the move is in response to the recommendation of the Board of Marine Inquiry (BMI) which looked into the collision of passenger ferry MV St. Thomas Aquinas and cargo vessel MV Sulpicio Express 7 on August 16 last year at the Lawis Ledge of the Mactan Channel.

The St. Aquinas sank, killing more than 100 passengers and crew and leaving more than a dozen others missing.

Tan said the BMI, chaired by Rear Admiral Luis Tuazon Jr., recommended the installation of buoys in Mactan Channel.

The BMI found that due to lack of guides, Sulpicio Express 7 skippered by Capt. Rolito Gilo was sailing in the inbound lane of the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) instead of the outbound lane because it was going out of Cebu City port for Davao City.

On the other hand, the BMI also found that St. Thomas Aquinas under vessel master Capt. Reynan Bermejo was running at 16 knots while approaching the mouth of TSS, knowing that an outbound vessel was near.

St. Thomas Aquinas, which sank after it collided with Sulpicio Express 7, is still in Lawis Ledge, which is about 120 meters deep. Some of the missing passengers are believed to be still inside it.

The BMI, in its recommendation, stated that navigational buoys can prevent similar incidents.

Tan said the recommendation was for the CPA to install at least 42 buoys, but they only appropriated P52 million for 10 buoys in the meantime due to limited budget.

He pledged that more buoys will be installed in the coming years.

Tan said that of the 10 buoys, three will be installed in the north side of the TSS and another three in the south side.

All the six will be colored red, yellow and green.

The red buoy will be in the right side while the green one is in the left side.

“All voyagers or navigators or seamen know that if they are going to port, they should be at the right side where the red buoy is located. If they are outbound, they must be at the left side where the green buoy is installed. There will be no short cuts,” Tan said.

The other four navigational buoys will be installed by CPA at areas where several vessels ran aground in the past years.

“These will serve as shallow markers and warnings to passing or approaching ships to avoid these areas because these are shallow and they may run aground,” Tan said.

All the navigation buoys that CPA will acquire will be guided by Global Positioning System (GPS), Tan said.

Tan said the CPA also signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Philippine Coast Guard for the installation of Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS), which will monitor the movements of all vessels.

The VTMS project, which is targeted to be operational by 2016, is a grant from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).