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Davao City News

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How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
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
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Mangrove forests are critical for the stability of coastal areas and the sustainability of fish and marine resources which provide food and livelihood to people in more than 800 coastal towns in the Philippines. USAID, through the Philippine Environmental Governance Project, assisted the local government (Davao City) in establishing, through a local ordinance, the mangrove area as a marine protected area.
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USAID, through the Philippine Environmental Governance Project, assisted the local government (Davao City) in establishing, through a local ordinance, the mangrove area as a marine protected area. A crucial part in effective coastal resources management is law enforcement with Bantay Dagat teams playing a crucial role by safeguarding local waters. In Davao City Philippines, Bantay Dagat members protect mangrove areas from illegal cutting, thus conserving areas for fisheries and marine biodiversity habitats.
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Ask your Barangay Captain/Chairman to create a Resolution to make it mandatory to put the barangay name in all Business addresses.


Close to 30K Davao business firms renew permits

By Lilian Mellejor (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- Close to 30,000 businesses have filed permit renewal applications here generating PHP299 million in business taxes and regulatory fees during the first 12 days of this month.

This was disclosed on Thursday by Business Bureau chief Marissa Torrentera and Acting City Treasurer Erwin Alparaque during the I-Speak Forum at the City Hall.

As of January 16, Torrentera said the city recorded 27,846 applications for renewal of business permits both from the main one-stop-shop at the Sangguniang Panlungsod and at the offsite center at the Almendras Gym.

In addition, 1,760 have been issued business permits before the renewal period which started last January 3 and ends on January 31.

Torrentera noted that for the same period in 2018, the city only recorded 25,015 business permit renewals.

Alparaque said the city has not yet reached the maximum number of applications, and that they are expecting more as the deadline approaches.

He said the one-stop-shop receives around 1,500 to 2,500 applications per day.

Top taxpayers

Last year, Alparaque said the city collected PHP1.3 billion in business taxes and surcharges during the renewal period.

Among the biggest contributors were business and real property taxes at PHP1.6 billion. Last year, the city government collected PHP8.55 billion in revenues, exceeding its target of PHP7.8 billion.

This year, the city aims to collect PHP8.9 billion in revenues.

Last year, the top taxpayers were Aboitiz firms Davao Light and Power Company for business taxes and Therma South Inc. for real property.

Meanwhile, Alparaque said the city already started the online payment on Wednesday, January 16, which will be accepted at the Land Bank of the Philippines branches.

Alparaque is expecting big businesses outside the city but maintain local branches to take advantage of the online payment system.

MinDA to organize trade mission to Middle East

By Digna Banzon (PNA)

DAVAO CITY – Seeing the Middle East as a potential huge market for Mindanao, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is organizing a trade and investment mission there any time this year.

Adrian Tamayo, head of MinDA’s publicity and promotion division, said the trade mission aims to present prospective investors the big-ticket projects that need funding in Mindanao.

During Tuesday's Biz Forum at SM Davao, Tamayo noted that the Middle East is a wealthy region using Islamic financing that has remained untapped by the Philippines as a good source for funding requirements of projects.

Tamayo said the construction of the Samal-Davao Bridge will be among the projects that will be presented during the investment mission, whose schedules are still being finalized.

He said the government of the People’s Republic of China had earlier expressed interest to fund the bridge, which will go through the bidding process.

The other projects that will be highlighted during the investment mission are the Tawi-Tawi Freeport project and the Pecong Free Port Agri Industrial Zone and Hadz Terminal within the Bangsamoro Corridor (Lanao del Sur) to make it an international and domestic gateway.

Tamayo said the proposed facilities will also become a logistics network and international and domestic gateways for food processing and manufacturing industries.

MinDA is also looking at the Trans Mindanao Railway System as another project to be showcased but in order to make it attractive “we still need to complete by phases the Willingness to Pay Study, Origin-Destination Study, and the Transport Development Study.”

He said: “We already completed these three studies for the Tagum-Davao-Digos phase of the Mindanao Railway System. The studies for Zamboanga and Cagayan de Oro connection were done."

DepEd takes pride in 'Project Eagle'

By Frances Mae Macapagat (PIA)

DAVAO CITY (PIA) — The Department of Education in Region XI (DepEd-XI) has proudly showcased its Project EAGLE I (Project Elimination of Academic Gaps of Learners in the Elementary) which is a unique intervention program for teachers and learners.

“This is the first in Davao region as our way of intervention to increase learning outcomes of the learners in all learning areas while allowing learners to meet high expectation, content, and performance standards and be able to achieve the diverse challenges of the 21st century skills,” DepEd XI Regional Director Atty. Alberto T. Escobarte.

Escobarte presented the project to the various regional heads of national agencies at the ARENA XI (Association of Regional Executives of National Agencies-XI) Lecture Series.

Under Project EAGLE there is a looping cycle from Kindergarten to Grade 3 and another looping for learners from Grades 4 to 6.

Escobarte explained that looping is a practice in which a teacher stays with the same class for more than one year. It is a multi-year placement for both the learners and the teacher.

The first looping cycle happens when a teacher handles and mentors with a group of kindergarten learners and continues with them through Grades 1, 2, and 3 levels. As learners reach Grade 4, another team of teachers will continue the second loop to provide instruction to Grades 4, 5, and 6.

The DepEd XI sees that it will benefit both learners and teachers as it maximizes instructional time. Both parties start the lesson immediately where they left off at the beginning of a school year.

It is seen to continue learning momentum as learners can complete their projects over summer and accordingly teachers can plan instructions for the succeeding year.

The looping technique is also seen to increase knowledge of teachers on the child’s intellectual strengths and weaknesses. It will benefit the learners as it reduces anxiety about the new school year and increases opportunities for shy learners to develop self-confidence.

The first looping cycle started in 2017 covering Kindergarten students until they reach Grade 3 in 2021. The second loop will then start from 2021 until 2024.

DepEd XI piloted the first loop in 22 divisions, with 44 mentors involved. About 88 teachers in the region were trained by the University of Southeastern Philippines to handle the looping program.

Davao City to hold product expositions with sister cities

By Digna Banzon (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The city government aims to boost the marketing of local products and strengthen partnership with sister cities by holding shows and expositions this year.

Lemuel Ortonio, Davao City Investment and Promotion Center (DCIPC) chief, on Monday said the joint expositions are currently under negotiations with sister cities.

"We would want to have a meaningful exchange between our sister cities and not just on paper," Ortonio said, adding that Davao City has eight local and eight international sister cities.

Ortonio said sister cities want to go beyond the symbolic partnership by initiating activities that spur economic activities between and among them.

Under the proposed concept, he said each city will showcase tourism products, trade, and culture and share them with their respective citizens “so they'll have an idea what is unique, best, and popular in these places”.

According to Ortonio, the sister cities plan to organize a three-day exhibit to showcase their products, culture, tourism, and economic components.

These activities will be similar to the one held last year, wherein Nanning City in China exhibited their products and tourism destinations here.

“That was a good experience for them by learning more about those places,” Ortonio added.

Davao is the sister city of Quezon City, Dapitan City, San Juan City, Angeles City, San Jose Del Monte City, municipality of Basud, Marikina City, and the municipality of Liloan.

The city’s international sister cities are Manado and Bitung in Indonesia; Tacoma City in Seattle, United States; Koror, Palau; Nanning City and Jinjiang in the People’s Republic of China; Kitakyushu City, Japan; and the county of Kaua'i, Hawaii.

Pawikan rescue center to rise at Davao City’s Cleanergy Park

By Rudolph Ian Alama (PIA-XI)

DAVAO CITY (PIA) - The Aboitiz Group which owns and operates the Cleanergy Park in Punta Dumalag in Davao City is set to establish a pawikan rescue center inside the park.

This after a memorandum of agreement was signed on Thursday, Jan. 10, between Aboitiz, the city government of Davao and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Jaime Jose Aboitiz, chief operating officer of Aboitiz Power cited the Cleanergy Park’s role in maintaining biodiversity in the area, educating the public about the value of protecting and preserving the critically endangered hawksbill turtles or pawikan and taking care of wounded and rescued pawikans before they are released to the wild.

“The agreement we signed today is our way of formalizing this very important service Aboitiz is committed in building additional facilities for this purpose,” Aboitiz said during the MoA signing where he was joined by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and DENR-XI Regional Director Ruth Tawantawan.

Once known as the pawikan sanctuary as it is the nesting site of hawksbill turtles, the park is surrounded by a 37 hectare marine protected area. It was transformed into an eco-park and opened in 2015 where 13,000 mangrove seedlings were planted.

To date, 3,482 turtle hatchlings have been discovered inside the park and released into the wild.

Meanwhile Mayor Sara Duterte reiterated the commitment of the city government in the protection of the various species of sea turtles found in Davao City.

“We look forward to the eventual creation of the Pawikan Rescue Center in Punta Dumalag not only to save our sea turtles but also other species of plant and animal life thriving within the marine protected area,” Duterte said during her speech at the MoA signing.

Davao City to implement initial stages of bus system

By Digna Banzon (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The city government will be implementing the initial stages of the High Priority Bus System (HPBS) project using funding support from the Department of Transportation (DoTr).

Ivan Cortez, chief of the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO), said Tuesday the city would initially use the funding support from DoTr - amounting to PHP200 million - while the approval of the national budget is still pending for the full implementation of the bus system.

“This is a 'go' project considering that the legislative authority to sign the Memorandum of Agreement was already approved,” Cortez said.

Cortez said this is an initial implementation of the interim bus service while the city is still pursuing the budget for the transport and traffic master plan.

HPBS is a priority project of Mayor Sara Duterte. Its study and design were crafted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The agreement is between the national government and ADB.

"Since di na ta kahulat (Since we cannot wait) we're setting aside this considering that the time frame for the loan package for the HPBS is more than a year. And if the city can look for private investors to come in and implement the project na mas dali kay daghan na gareklamo dili kauli ug sayo kay traffic kayo (that is faster because of the mounting complaints of the traffic). Our transport system is not really effective," he said.

Cortez said DOTr's funding assistance to the city is "because they saw our determination to implement the bus system, which is another level from the jeep modernization.”

Part of the PHP200 million will be used by the city for crafting of the master plan that includes new routes for the bus under the first phase, the soft infra, such as the signalization system, and maybe the compensation package as income loses for the affected operators, he added.

"We have an initial draft but it will not suffice as a master plan and we need still to do the entire plan that we want to submit to the current City Council," he said.

Once the bus routing system is approved by the city council, it will be submitted to the Land Transportation and Franchising Board for approval of the franchising.

Davao City has 29 routes for public transportation and about 7,000 to 8,000 PUJs are plying these routes. With the bus system, only 990 buses are needed for the routes.

Direct link to China to bring more investments


WITH the launch of the Davao-Jinjiang direct flight in December 2018, Davao City seeks to invite more Chinese investors to come to the city, a city investment officer said.

“Ang isa sa mga ginatan-aw nato na possible investment for Jinjiang kay more on the garments kay known ang Jinjiang for it (One of the possible investments we are looking with Jinjiang is more on the garments because Jinjiang is known for it),” Davao City Investment and Promotion Center (DCIPC) Officer-In-Charge Lemuel Ortonio said in an interview.

“Hopefully, makita nila ang potential sa Davao City as a potential site para sa ilang manufacturing of garments (Hopefully, they can see Davao City as a potential site for garment manufacturers),” Ortonio added.

In 2018, the city cemented its ties with Jinjiang after signing a sisterhood agreement.

The agreement was formalized with the visit of Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio last November 12 to 14 in Jinjiang. The agreement is expected to bring in more investments in the city and people-to-people exchanges between the Jinjiang and Davao.

Based on the records of the Davao City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO), there were some 10,000 Chinese tourists who visited the city from January to November 2018.

Citywide ecowaste summit slated

By Joey Sem G. Dalumpines (PIA XI)

DAVAO CITY (PIA) -- Ecoteneo, an environment group from the Ateneo de Davao University has invited barangay chairs from 182 barangays of this city to a summit dubbed “Oya Davao Ecowaste Summit,” starting Jan. 21 to 23 at the ADDU-Jacinto Campus, here.

Carmela Marie Santos, a representative of Ecoteneo said they are expecting the presence of barangay leaders and student leaders from other schools and have a coordinated action plan for proper management of ecowastes.

She said proper management of ecowastes entails the proper disposition of garbage as stipulated under Republic Act 9003 through waste segregation.

“This is also a follow up on our ban on the single-use plastic at the ADDU,” Santos said. She said the primary objective is to make a coordinated effort in making Davao City as plastic-waste free city.

Santos said partner barangays and schools have been invited to send in their leaders for the first day exposure trip to the landfill and to the one and-a-half day planning session.

Developing cacao, coffee industry


AS DAVAO City is slowly becoming the cacao and coffee capital in the country, more trade initiatives are being created by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Davao Region in bid to boost investments and productivity in the cacao and coffee industry.

DTI-Davao Region assistant regional director Edwin Banquerigo said Davao region must cultivate the opportunities with agricultural crops like cacao and coffee.

“With the richness of the land especially in the region, it is only right to be able to exhaust also rich opportunities that will help benefit Davao,” Banquerigo said.

“It is also a given fact that these crops do not just grow anywhere but only in high altitude places where the heat is only minimal. And we have wide highlands in most Davao provinces,” Banquerigo said.

In 2017, the Philippine Statistics Authority recorded 6,262.77 metric tons (MT) of cacao produced in the Philippines. Of this volume, 5,073 MT was produced in the region – Davao del Sur (1,702.54MT), Davao City (1,606.80), Davao del Norte (945.31MT), Davao Oriental (507.26MT), and Compostela Valley (311.92MT).

With the potential production of cacao, DTI continues to entice foreign investors to support the cacao industry in Davao region.

In July 2018, DTI-Davao Region facilitated the participation of five micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Salun du Chocolat in Hongkong. The event paved way in generating a total of P5 million sales. The chocolate event also helped the MSMEs to get linked with ten foreign firms who purchased cocoa liquor and oil during the market matching session.

In 2018, DTI-Davao Region crafted the Davao del Sur Cacao Industry Roadmap 2018-2021 in order to locate future investments for cacao in the province. The trade industry also hosted the Cacao Flavor Sensory Analysis Symposium which aims to evaluate quality of cacao beans of Davao Region.

Meanwhile, for the coffee industry, DTI-Davao Region has participated in international coffee expo in order to promote Mindanawon coffee beans.

Last April 2018, Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (Bacofa) of Davao del Sur participated in the Global Specialty Coffee in Seattle, Washington, USA. Bacofa directly trades 2,000 to 2,800 kilograms of coffee beans per year to La Roasteria while Brew Atelier is planning to support the community through the provision of a new coffee variety and market promotion.

The trade industry also participated in the International Food Exhibitions (IFEX) particularly in the Kapetirya of Philippine Coffee. During the event a Japanese client purchased 300 kilograms of coffee beans from Pistacia Mindanao Coffee Export, Inc., a Davao-based exporter.

Davao City nets P8.5 billion in revenues in 2018

By Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – The City Government of Davao collected about P8.5 billion in revenues in 2018, exceeding by 109 percent its target collection of P7.8 billion, City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) head Erwin Alparaque said.

Alparaque said the local government exceeded the target following adjustments made to the business tax rate of not more than 10 percent effective January 2018, increases to the rates of fiscal charges, and enhancement to the tax collection mechanism.

He said the biggest contributors to the local revenues were the business taxes valued at P1.86 billion and real property tax at P1.60 billion. Almost 40,000 businesses were registered in 2018, he said.

Alparaque said they are going to set a target of P8.9 billion in 2019.

“We have to expand our tax base and enhance the collection efficiency of the City Government, of the City Treasurer’s Office, we already have a plan — assessment and collection strategies – that will be implemented this year,” he said.

The official said they want to collect bigger revenues for 2019 “because we need funds to address all the basic needs of the constituents of the city, the necessary public services in terms of health, social services, and, of course, some infrastructure projects.”

He said they expect to increase more revenues from the real property tax collections this year as city implements the 2018 General Revision of the Real Property Assessment of the city.

“Starting January this year, we are going to implement the general revision. There was an adjustment of 30 percent of the assessment level. The assessed value of the real properties, land, buildings, and improvements, will be adjusted up to 30 percent,” Alparaque said.

Davao City calls on 100K workers to renew health cards

By Lilian Mellejor (/Funny Pearl Gajunera/PNA)

DAVAO CITY--The City Health Office (CHO) on Friday urged more than a hundred thousand workers in the service sector to renew their health cards immediately to avoid penalties.

Curtis Larrazaga, chief of the City Environmental Sanitation Division of CHO, said any employer who fails to renew the health cards of their workers by the end of the month will also be charged PHP100 per employee.

“Failure to renew their health cards will be the basis for a recommendation from our office to close" erring businesses as it violates the sanitation code, Larrazaga said.

The CHO will also conduct a random inspection on all establishments to ensure that they maintain and observe prescribed sanitation and hygiene practices.

Last year, close to 120,000 employees applied for health cards at the start of the year. For 2019, the CHO is expecting the number to increase to 130,000 individuals.

Davao terminal generates P65-M income


THE Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (DCOTT) reported that it has generated revenues amounting to P65 million in 2018, exceeding its target income of P38.2 million.

DCOTT head Aisa Usop, in an interview Wednesday, January 2, said DCOTT is an income-generating office and the City Treasurers Office (CTO) has reported that DCOTT already breached the P60-million mark as of November 2018 and reached P65 million before 2018 ended.

“Actually naglibog ko asa na kuhaon (I was confused where to get it), considering na we still have the same amenities and facilities. We still have the same number of buses so what I did was, I studied the ordinances in the city,” Usop said.

She added that she discovered that there was no increase on regulatory fees in DCOTT for 10 years and that it was already high time to request for an increase, thus with the amended regulatory fees, DCOTT almost doubled the target for 2018.

“Ang increase sa regulatory fees ang nakapagpa-increase sa income,” she said.

Bus trip ticket was only P50 before and the office proposed a 400% percent increase to P200 which was approved during the amendment in regulatory fees.

Public utility vans (PUVs) were paying only P25 per trip, now it is P75. Stalls also had an increase.

Usop said the target was P24 million in 2016 and P25 million in 2017. It was only in 2018 that the target was set at a much higher amount.

“We are very happy because we reached our target,” she said.

Davao City to get modern checkpoint facility this year

By Lilian Mellejor

DAVAO CITY -- A modern facility with a state-of-the-art traffic inspection system will replace one of the city's checkpoint stations anytime this year to boost the city’s security and anti-terrorism campaign.

This was according to Col. Randolph Cabangbang, deputy commander of Task Force (TF) Davao, who said the new traffic inspection facility will be established in Barangay Lasang, one of the city's three major checkpoints being managed by TF Davao.

Cabangbang said the Lasang checkpoint will serve as a model for the checkpoints in Toril and Marilog districts.

“This will be off-road -- hindi na sa highway (no longer along the highway),” Cabangbang told reporters during Wednesday’s military and police press corps briefing at the Royal Mandaya Hotel.

The planned checkpoint facility will have a walk-through scanner and a boom type X-ray for vehicles that can detect illegal drugs, weapons, and other contraband.

Cabangbang explained that the Lasang checkpoint will be the first to be modernized because it is located on a city government property, unlike the other stations.

The modernization of the city’s checkpoints has been eyed by the city government as early as 2017 as part of its anti-terrorism initiative.

Meanwhile, Cabangbang said President Rodrigo Duterte has provided TF Davao with 62 9-mm. firearms.

“We will no longer carry our long firearms while conducting an inspection. Mas madali mag inspect (It’s easier to inspect) because both hands are free,” the TF Davao official said.

Aside from securing the city and ensuring people are safe, Task Force Davao also takes part in the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the local government.

Cabangbang said that in 2018, the task force apprehended a total of 95 persons for illegal drugs possession. The unit also confiscated a total of 115 grams of shabu and 14 kg. of marijuana, all worth PHP3.5 million.

Cabangbang boasted that TF Davao personnel can even detect illegal drugs hidden in wallets and other tiny packaging. He said none of the anti-drug operations of the agency has resulted in any death. (PNA)

Davao City goes silent anew on New Year’s eve

By Armando Fenequito Jr.

DAVAO CITY – For the 17th straight year, there was no incident of firecracker explosion or incident of stray bullet in welcoming the New Year.

According to Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) Chief of Clinics Dr. Ricardo Audan, the hospital did not receive any case related to firecracker explosion or the illegal discharge of guns from December 21, 2018 to the present.

“Ang monitoring ng firecracker injury and stray bullet injury in relation to yuletide season will go on up to Jan 6, 2019 (Our monitoring for the firecracker and stray bullet injuries in relation to yuletide season will go on up to January 6, 2019),” he said.

The SPMC was placed under Code White Alert since they will also be catering to patients from other provinces, not just in the region but the whole Mindanao.

Audan said that from December 21 where they started the code white alert, no one has been brought to the SPMC even from the neighboring provinces where no firecracker ban ordinances are enforced.

The city has not recorded any firecracker-related injury during the holidays ever since then mayor Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2001.

It was widely known that Duterte had put his foot down against the use of firecrackers in the city, and this was buttressed by the City Council which passed an ordinance in 2002, imposing a total ban on firecrackers in the city.

Under this ordinance, any person who will violate the ban will suffer a maximum fine of P5,000 or six months imprisonment.

Meanwhile, the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) city director Sr. Supt. Alexander Tagum bared that was also no recorded arrest in relation to the firecracker ban.

Tagum said the 12 police stations in the city did not receive any reports of people who were using firecrackers and pyrotechnics while celebrating.

Tagum said he was thankful to Davaoeños for the cooperation and support to them by following the ordinance.

“They might’ve already realized the futility of going against the law,” he said.

He also said the warning of Mayor Sara Z. Duterte for immediate arrest of the violators is effective as no one being imprisoned during the holiday season.

Under this ordinance, any person found guilty will suffer a maximum fine of P5,000 or six months imprisonment as stated in the 16-year-old City Ordinance 060-02 Series of 2002 which prohibits m“the Manufacture, Sale, Distribution, Possession or Use of Firecrackers or Pyrotechnic Devices and such other similar devices and the exploding of Firecrackers or other similar explosives within the territorial jurisdiction of Davao City.”

Meanwhile, Department of Health (DOH) 11 information officer Yasmin Avila bared that the region recorde three firecracker related injuries in different areas.

Avila said the reported cases of injuries are from Baganga, Davao Oriental, Digos City, Davao del Sur and Baraullio E. Dujali, Davao del Norte.

She said DOH 11 will continue to monitor firecracker related injuries until January 5.

Biz leader bullish on Davao City economy in 2019

By Digna Banzon (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The local economy will continue to grow this year with the service industry and tourism as its main drivers.

This was according to Arturo Milan, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII), who described this city's economic prospects for 2019 as "very positive."

Milan noted that 2018 has been "a very strong year for Davao but the best is yet to come in the coming year."

"I would say the service sector will still be the growth driver because of the property boom that we are having right now," he added.

Milan also sees the tourism sector as another engine of growth because of the increasing attractiveness of the city to both domestic and foreign tourists.

In particular, he said tourism has been boosted with the opening of new direct international flights as well as the increase of frequencies of domestic trips here.

Last year, the city government reported that tourist arrivals hit the two million mark from January to December 2017, or a 7.95 percent increase from 1.86 million in 2016. From January to June 2018, arrivals totaled 1.167 million.

However, the DCCCII president said Davao City must confront the challenge of integrating further its tourism plan "so that we can really sustain all these flights that are happening here”.

"We need to develop our tourist spots. so we could attract people and sustain air connectivity that we try to develop," he added.

The latest international direct route to be added late last year is the Quanzhou (Jinjang, China)-Davao flight. Milan said the government should continue to push the Davao-Japan air connection and revive the Davao-Manado (Indonesia) and the Davao-Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) routes as well.

Milan is also looking forward to Europe via Qatar-Cebu triangular flight.

Davao Region records P14.8-B investments


AROUND P14.8 billion worth of investments were pledged in Davao Region in 2018 based on the records of the Board of Investments (BOI) Davao Region.

In its accomplishment report, the Department of Trade and Industry in Davao Region (DTI 11) said the bulk of the amount, or P14.14 billion, will go to Davao City while P687.47 million will go to Davao del Norte.

A total of 15 projects were proposed in six sectors.

Water supply and sewage water management recorded the highest investment in the region which amounted to around P13.3 billion. Real estate activities amounted to P665.30 million. Human health and social science amounted to around P376.5 million.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing investments amounted to P326 million. Administrative and support services amounted to P121.25 million while accommodation and food services investments were at P14.8 million.

“If we look into the complete list of BOI registered investments, actually there are 15 investments. There are investments also from the province of Compostela Valley (Comval), however, there is no official project cost mentioned by BOI,” DTI planning officer Marilou Magtrayo said.

Out of the 15 projects, four are agriculture-related projects in Compostela Valley (ComVal).

The DTI also reported that it has continued to conduct Business and Local Investment Networking Knowledge (BLINK) Capability Building Workshop for the 35 investment promotion officers in the region so as to identify key investment strategies for each province. In this way, each province can get a chance to match their business opportunities with future investors.

Meanwhile, DTI assistant regional director Edwin O. Banquerigo urged the business community in Davao to strengthen and increase promotion activities in the region.

“We need to show investors through our services that indeed, Davao is a good place to invest (in),” Banquerigo said.

First, lone PH film archive kiosk unveiled in Davao City

By Rudolph Ian Alama (PIA-XI)

DAVAO CITY (PIA) - The Mindanao Film Archive Kiosk, the first and only one of its kind in the country, was unveiled and inaugurated on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, at the Cinematheque Center Davao in Palma Gil St. here.

The kiosk is a free, publicly accessible source for video archival materials which can be used by educators, students, researchers, historians, filmmakers, tourists, and anyone interested in the culture and heritage of Mindanao as captured through moving images.

The kiosk utilizes a Microsoft Surface Studio, a bright 28-inch touchscreen variable angle monitor, which has a 4.5k resolution providing a high-quality viewing experience for users.

Users can type the names of the title or films and the database can search these materials. Aside from the moving images the titles have relevant information posted. To make the search easy, the database comes up with categories where one can narrow down their search.

“We are using a locally-developed propriety software to search the database and where they can watch the moving images. So aside from showcasing local films and videos, we are also using a software developed by Dabawenyos, this project combines local creative talent in I.T. and film- video production,” says Dax Cañedo, president of the Mindanao Film and Television Development Foundation (MFTDFI) which spearheaded the project.

According to Cañedo, the mission of the Mindanao Film Archive is to collect, preserve, and safeguard the moving images that capture the rich and diverse culture and heritage of Mindanao.

“The archive will include any kind of moving images such as films, documentaries, music videos, television shows and features, audio visual presentations (AVPs) and even raw footages,” Canedo said.

The Mindanao Film Archive kiosk was realized through a grant from the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts with the support of the Film Development Council of the Philippines which provided the space for the kiosk at the cinematheque in Davao City.

Curating the project is film programmer and film critic Jay Rosas who is in the process of archiving hundreds of film titles submitted to the Mindanao Film Festival.

The archive is constantly in search for new moving images to include in the collection of the Mindanao Film Archive. Rights holders of moving images may contact the archive at to have their materials considered for archiving.

Canedo said the kiosk will be a template for other interactive archive kiosks which can be put up in libraries, museums, art centers or educational institutions.

“We are looking to partner with government agencies, private organizations and institutions to roll out more kiosks,” Cañedo added.

Thousands flock to Davao City's ‘Pahalipay sa Pasko’

By Lilian Mellejor (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- Thousands of people from all walks of life queued up for the “Pahalipay sa Pasko”, a yearly Christmas treat of President Rodrigo Duterte and Mayor Sara Z. Duterte held at the ancestral residence of the First Family here Tuesday.

People started queuing up early morning and by past 11 a.m., the line already reached McArthur Highway some two-kilometer away from the Dutertes’ ancestral home in Barangay Bangkal.

Angel Sumagaysay of the Public Safety and Security Management Center, said the crowd was estimated at 60,000 -- 20,000 more than their target well-wishers.

The crowd greeted the President and his family, as each well-wisher received assorted goods.

In the early years of Pahalipay, well-wishers would enjoy a mini-concert and parlor games, and go home with food packs and grocery items.

Risa Gelbero said she came hopeful that she would see the President and Mayor Sara.

To secure the yearly activity, the Davao City Police Office began deploying cops and traffic officers on December 24 for early crowd control.

The President spent Christmas Day with his family in Davao. On December 23, he was joined by his former top aide Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go at the House of Hope for the annual treat for cancer patients at the Southern Philippines Medical Center.

In his Christmas message aired on RTVM, Duterte wished Filipinos would spend Christmas as a time to bond with family and friends.

He said Christmas is the time to celebrate the nativity of Jesus Christ, share the blessings, and demonstrate love and gratitude for each other.

The President also wished peace for the country and called on everyone to let compassion and kindness reign as “we brace our countrymen in the spirit of shared humanity.”

“Together let us bring hope and peace in our nation this Yuletide season and we welcome the coming year with much hope and optimism,” the President said.

Free legal services benefit Davao City female inmates

By Lilian Mellejor (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- Local volunteer-lawyers are giving female inmates new ray of hope by helping them apply for plea bargaining to secure their early release.

On Sunday, volunteer-lawyers, accompanied by psychologists and medical practitioners, visited the Ray of Hope Village -- a jail facility for female inmates inside the Davao City Jail -- to offer free legal and medical services.

Lawyer Jaja Buenaventura, who organized the activity, said she and her friends pooled their resources after seeing the need to help women inmates who have otherwise been released if not for the lack of proper legal assistance.

During the one-day activity alone, Buenaventura's group managed to assist 16 inmates in their plea bargaining application.

One of these is Gay (not her real name), who was arrested in an illegal drugs operation three years ago but whose case has not moved in the courts since.

Gay, who said she has not been visited by any of her friends or family members since her incarceration, wanted to plea bargain to shorten her trial and be released so she can start a new life.

Jail Officer 1 Mary Karle Chua said if Gay's plea bargaining is granted, she would be released and would only need to report regularly either in court or at the Department of Health because she tested positive for drug use.

Since it was offered in October, Chua said there were already about a hundred inmates inside the facility who have been released through plea bargaining system.

Chua said allowing the inmates to cut a deal with prosecutors helps in decongesting the jail.

Currently, the city jail's female dorm has a current population of 489, and 90 percent of them are facing drug cases.

Another inmate, Ruby Mahusay, said the free legal assistance helped her plot her legal options.

"Lipay kaayo mi salamat kaayo nga naka desisyon mo hilabi na sa doctor walay kabutangan sa among kalipay (We are very happy they decided to come, especially the doctors. We are very happy)," said Mahusay, who is facing homicide charges.

Chief Insp. Milgrace Driz, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Davao, lauded Buenaventura's group for holding the legal and medical services every year.

"Many inmates availed of the services during the activity, including free medicines," said Driz, who also attended Buenaventura's group as a volunteer.

Christmas in Davao City

ByBy Rudolph Ian Alama (PIA/RG Alama)

DAVAO CITY (PIA) -- An impressive display of night-time attractions await not only the residents but also visitors and tourists who intend to spend their Yuletide season in this city.

This December, selected parks and open spaces here were bedecked with winter-themed Christmas decors and lights during the evening.

The Winter Wonderland theme of Davao City Pasko Fiesta features blue and white-colored motifs evoking the feel of a wintry city, a stark contrast to the warmth of the tropical region.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said the theme intends to give the children a different experience from the usual wet and dry tropical season-ambiance to a Magical Ice Kingdom atmosphere.

Quezon Park, just in front of the City Hall and Rizal Park were adorned with lights and other decors. A carnival with rides was set up at the Rizal Park. Freebies were added to entice more visitors to experience the circus. Here, families can stroll around while their children enjoy the various amusement rides, for free.

Various music groups, choirs and dance groups perform every night. One of the highlights of the night activity is the 3-D mapping light show held at the City Hall frontage.

The formal opening of Pasko Fiesta on Nov. 24 was graced by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and pop singer Erik Santos.

Marfori Botanical Garden, one of the city’s newest parks served as the venue for competing parol entries coming from different barangays vying for the prizes.

Another major Pasko Fiesta event is held at the once derelict Sta. Ana wharf which was rehabilitated by the city government. A portion of the wharf was transformed into a park which hosts Pasko Fiesta Salo-Salo with food booths and live bands entertaining the visitors.

The landmark of the Salo-Salo is the 30-meter light tunnel which drew visitors wanting to have their photos taken to be posted on their social media accounts, such as Facebook and Instagram.

Christmas Village in Calinan

About 25-kilometers away from the City proper in Barangay Tamayong, Calinan District, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ under Executive Pastor Apollo Quiloboy established the Christmas Village in their sprawling Prayer Mountain (Covenant Mountain and Garden of Eden Restored) compound.

Pastor Quiboloy said that he took the concept of the Christmas Village from his travels in Europe. The Tamayong Christmas village is a much larger village than the ones in European cities.

The village features three beautifully lighted mansions with its surrounding gardens and 65 live pine trees. About 610,000 Christmas and LED lights were used.

There are Christmas booths designed like European hamlets. Other booths looked like fairy tale princesses and characters roaming around the village. The cool mountain air of Calinan also makes strolling around the area a pleasant experience.

One of the star attractions is the towering 87-foot tall living pine tree adorned with 222,000 LED lights and topped with an 8-foot star. The event also features a 3D mapping display on the pink mansion of the compound.

There is a minimal entrance fee to the village as the proceeds will go to charitable projects of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

City Hall workers claim salaries, incentives early


THE City Government of Davao, through the City Treasurer’s Office (CTO), extended the releasing of the salary and incentives of some 12,000 non-plantilla and 3,000 plantilla workers on Saturday.

CTO head Erwin Alparaque said they started releasing the salary and the P10,000 incentives to non-plantilla workers such as the traffic enforcers assigned at the City Transportation and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO), garbage collectors, and street cleaners under the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), and the workers of Central 911 and the Public Safety and Security Command Center last December 14.

On December 15, disbursing officers and paymasters released the salary, incentives and the P25,000 from the Collective Negotiation Agreement to regular employees.

“Ang gihimo namo ana is we prepared it earlier ang release kay kung sa mando pa ni Mayor, dapat madawat na gyud sa mga empleyado sa Christmas (We have prepared the release documents earlier because the Mayor asked us to give it before Christmas Day),” Alparaque said.

Alparaque said they have received good feedback in terms of smooth flow of processing of the release despite the number of personnel that they need to accommodate.

“Gipaningkamutan sa buhatan sa CTO nga kung mahimo mahuman namo karong adlwa para makapahulay pud ang mga paymasters (We tried our best to finish the release early so that our paymasters could also have their holidays as well),” he added.

P30-M equipment for Davao police


AROUND P30 million worth of newly-procured firearms and equipment were distributed yesterday to different police units under the Police Regional Office in Davao (PRO-11) as part of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP’s) effort to strengthen the police force’s security capability.

PRO 11 director Police Chief Superintendent Marcelo Morales bared Friday, December 21, during a press conference that the national headquarters had given them 450 pieces of Galil assault rifle and 410 Emtan assault rifles made in Israel.

These rifles were distributed to different mobile force companies of PRO 11 including the mobile force of Davao City Police Office (DCPO), Davao del Norte Police Provincial Police Office, Davao Occidental PPO, Compostela Valley PPO, Davao Oriental PPO, Davao del Sur PPO and the regional headquarters.

Different units also acquired Kevlar helmets, Global Positioning System (GPS) devices, investigation case, and ballistic shield for various Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) teams of PRO 11.

These were procured by the Philippine National Police (PNP) through the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

Meanwhile, DCPO director Police Senior Superintendent Alexander Tagum thanked PRO 11 for the additional law enforcement resources which he said will be a great help in the security coverage in Davao City to combat security threats.

“We would like to assure our regional director and the public that we will utilize this to the best of our ability to make our service more effective in securing the peace and order of the city,” Tagum said.

Davao terminal bus trips increase by 10%


THE number of passengers and bus trips in Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (DCOTT) increased by 10 percent as of December 17, 2018.

“Nakita nako atong Monday diha na gyud, naay time nga mudagsa (I observed last Monday the frequency of trips due to the influx of passengers),” DCOTT head Aisa Usop said in an interview with SunStar Davao Thursday.

The recent bus trips increased by 10 percent from the regular trips estimated at 700 to 750 trips a day.

Usop cited passengers who are coming from the north and south areas taking another trip to their destination as one of the factors behind the increase in arrivals.

She added that the terminal will be expecting the influx of passengers starting Friday night until the Christmas vacation.

She also said that security is being tightened around and inside DCOTT.

Xiamen Air now flies direct Quanzhou-Davao route

By Digna D. Banzon (PNA)

DAVAO CITY – China’s Xiamen Air has started its bi-weekly Quanzhou-Davao direct flights early this week.

Xiamen’s maiden Flight MF8679 touched down at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport Tuesday and was welcomed with a water cannon ceremony upon arrival at 12:36 p.m. with 130 passengers on board.

On its return flight to Quanzhou, the airline carried 104 passengers led by this city's vice mayor, Bernard Al-ag.

Xiamen Air Executive Vice President Huang Guohui said the air link will further enhance bilateral exchanges between the Philippines and the People’s Republic China.

He said it will develop efficient and convenient air connectivity for business travelers in Quanzhou and overseas Chinese residing in the Philippines as well as develop exchanges between the two cities and achieve beneficial results in the areas of commerce and culture.

The new route is the only non-stop flight from mainland China to Davao utilizing the Boeing 737-800.

Passengers depart from Quanzhou every Tuesday and Friday at 9 o’clock in the morning and will arrive in Davao at 12:15, said Wu Weiqing, the marketing officer of Xiamen Air. From Davao, passengers depart at 1:15 pm and will arrive in Quanzhou at 4:30 in the afternoon.

Wu said the new route has increased the airline's "China-Philippine market share by 50 percent." Xiamen Air also flies to 32 cities including Beijing and Shanghai where passengers can move through transfer.

“Our intercontinental flight as well flies to Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, Vancouver in Canada, Los Angeles and New York in the United States and Paris, France in Europe and through this, it will serve as a platform that provides more choices for Philippine tourists to travel around the world," Wu added.

Consul General Li Lin of the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Davao said establishing a direct link between the Mainland China and Davao is one of the Chinese government’s goals to further improve bilateral ties.

Li said the connectivity was among the economic agreements that were signed when the sisterhood relation between Jinjang and Davao City was formally established that was graced by Mayor Sara Duterte.

"I believe that with the direct flight connecting Davao and Jinjang and Hong Kong there will be more people to people exchanges between the two countries," he said.

Li said more Chinese travelers coming to Davao will find Davao City and Mindanao "not only beautiful but also economically growing where the potential economic growth is immense."

"They will also get to experience friendly and hospitable people here," he added.

BOC Davao exceeds 2018 collection target


MANILA, Dec. 19 -- The Bureau of Customs Port of Davao, as of today, has collected a total of P25.3 billion since the start of the year with P5.1 billion, or about 25 percent surplus against its P20.1 billion target for the year.

The Port’s 2018 total collection is around 54 percent or P8.9 billion higher compared to last year’s total collection of P16.4 billion.

"We are looking at around P5.5 billion in surplus by the end of 2018," Atty. Valdez said.

Similarly, the Collection District has surpassed its highest monthly collection record twice this year. First was in February, collecting a total of P2 billion with 54.34 percent surplus from that month’s target. The second was in June, collecting a total of P2.4 billion with 57.73 percent surplus.

District Collector Atty. Romalino G. Valdez credited this achievement to the hard work and dedication of every Customs personnel from the Port of Davao and Sub-ports of General Santos, Parang, Mati.

“The Port of Davao takes to heart that hitting our collection target means assurance that every infrastructure, health, educational, economic, and financial project of the government will be well funded,” Atty. Valdez said.

Atty. Valdez also extended his thanks to the businesses and taxpayers who pay lawful taxes due to the government.

"Hitting our collection target was also made possible through the help of the BOC stakeholders and the individual taxpayers. I would like to thank them or their contribution to the funding of the projects of the government,” Atty. Valdez said.

DC’s day-care workers receive gift checks from LGU

By Joey Sem G. Dalumpines (PIA XI-Joey Sem G. Dalumpines)

DAVAO CITY (PIA)-A total of 200 city-paid day-care workers received their corresponding gift-checks as the city government gives good tidings for the holidays.

Elena Gabaton, day-care worker II said most of the beneficiaries are home-based day care workers being paid by the city government in form of honoraria of P5,000 each and through the assistance given by their barangays.

She said non-government organizations that also work for children and are active partners of the Children Minding Center also received their corresponding gift checks from the city government.

“Each day-care worker received P2, 000 worth of gift checks,” Gabaton said.

She said the city government intends to reach out to its day care workers to encourage them to work harder for the children in their respective communities.

Day care workers who asked for anonymity said the gift-check coming from the city government is indeed a big help to their family and will be added to the resources that they can spend for their daily needs.

Earlier, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio held a raffle for city government workers where she gave out house and lot, car and motorcycle as prizes.

A gift-giving activity also took off at the Davao City Police Office for underprivileged children.

Senior Inspector Ma. Teresita Gaspan said most of the beneficiaries came from different barangays in the city from the schoolchildren of Project Hope.

She said various police stations under the DCPO are also encouraged to hold gift-giving activities for children until Dec. 17, where an estimated 2,000 children will be the beneficiaries.

NEDA-11 banners research-based tool for planning, decision-making

By Frances Mae Macapagat (PIA-XI)

DAVAO CITY (PIA) - Realizing the need for research-based economic model that will aid the government in planning and decision making, the National Economic Development Authority in Davao Region (NEDA-11) presented Thursday, December 13, the output of the study commissioned to the research firm Brain Trust, Inc.

Speaking at the meeting of the Regional Development Council (RDC), NEDA-11 Regional Director Maria Lourdes Lim said that the output of the study will be the basis for planning and decision-making of the Mindanao NEDA Regional Offices and the Regional Planning and Development Office in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

It will also serve as the basis in providing sound policy advice to the Mindanao Regional Development Councils and the ARMM Regional Economic Development and Planning Board, Lim, also RDC-11 co-chairperson, said.

“We will be using the output of the studies and the economic model when we review the Davao Region Development Plan next year,” Lim said.

The were two research projects, namely, The Study on the Agglomeration Model for Mindanao Regions, and the Creation of the Regional Econometric Model for the Gross Regional Domestic Product Target-Setting and Building Scenarios as Aid in Policy Making.

The Agglomeration Model for Mindanao Regions study identified and converged areas of industries in Mindanao while the REM Research and Development Project constructed a macroeconometric model for each region of Mindanao that can assist in regional macro projections and targets as well as analysis of policy initiatives or events.

Researcher U-Prime Rodriguez shared some setbacks in doing the project. “We realized that there are data constraints such as data on taxes, exports and imports, and even regional wage rates.”

Rodriguez sought the help of the RDC XI member agencies to assist in the updating and improvement of the models.

The study was made possible with the 1988-2016 data sourced out from the Philippine Statistics Office, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and Department of Science and Technology.

“The REM-Mindanao is designed for short to medium term. It is not, by nature, intended for long term analysis. This leads us to recommend for updating and improvement of the said models,” Rodriguez added.

In an obvious show of appreciation of the effort of NEDA XI, the RDC XI members committed to contribute for the improvement of the outputs.

Tech boosts agriculture productivity


WITH the inevitable effects of climate change on agriculture, technology is eyed as a good platform to secure agricultural productivity among farmers, a University of the Philippines (UP) professor said.

Felino Lansigan, UP Los Baños Climate and Disaster Risk Studies Center chair professor, underscored the importance of technology in mitigation and adaptation as a responsive measure in addressing the pressing issue on climate change.

In his report earlier this year during the Banana Congress in Davao City, Lansigan said one of the technologies which can be mitigated in addressing climate change is through reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by nutrient fertilizer management and improved water management.

Based from studies conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), usual component of fertilizers contain nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. But overuse of such components can result to contamination of surface water and groundwater.

EPA suggests that by using treated sewage sludge, or biosolids, agricultural farmers can have better options in choosing nutrient-rich organic-based fertilizers.

Meanwhile, Lansigan’s report suggests that the country must also have an effective and improved crop yield forecasting as not to waste agricultural crops planted.

Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) researches show that in the Philippines, seasonal climate forecasts (SCFs) were found to have an average value of around P119/ha/season.

The study used the amount of rainfall in assessing whether it was the rightful time to plant. Forecast was found to be valuable for Filipino farmers in deciding when to plant corn.

Lansigan said adaptive cropping calendar can also help Filipino farmers decide in planting. The crop calendar is based on cumulative rainfall threshold and duration, and expected yields.

Lansigan added technology must be utilized in order to reduce drastic changes and harmful effects of climate change.

More farm trainings eyed


MORE skills enhancement training for Davao Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) organizations and farm workers will be expected for the recently approved P8.202 billion budget of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for 2019.

DAR-Davao Region information officer Ruth Maala said in a text message Friday, December 14 that the proposed budget for next year will greatly help Mindanaon agricultural workers in sustaining agricultural production of their respective farmlands.

In a statement from DAR’s website agrarian secretary John Castriciones said that the budget proposal for DAR-Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) was based on the National Expenditure Program comprising of P4.506 billion for personnel services, P3.548 billion for maintenance and other operating expenses, and P147.960 million for capital outlay.

The budget also includes allocation for the following projects on security of tenure amounting to P2.47 billion, ARB development and sustainability programs and foreign-assisted projects amounting to P1.939 billion, and farmer’s rights and welfare amounting to P806 million.

As for the budget breakdown, Davao Region agrarian reform information officer Maala said estimated allocated budget for Mindanao is yet to be determined.

“The agency will still call on regional directors sometime early 2019 to evaluate their respective targets and projected accomplishments for the incoming year. Hence, the results of the conference and the adjustments to be made in the targets would be the determining factor in the allocation of budget per region,” Maala said.

It is to be recalled last December 8, the P8-billion budget was approved by the Senate where Senate Head Committee on Agriculture and Food Senator Cynthia Villar encouraged to allot more funds for the sustainability of ARBs.

Villar underscored the importance of the budget in increasing mechanization productivity in the country’s agricultural sector.

Davao bags awards for anti-malnutrition, filariasis drive

By Funny Pearl A. Gajunera (PNA)

DAVAO CITY— The City Health Office (CHO) bagged four awards from the Department of Health (DOH) for programs combatting malnutrition and filariasis.

Dra. Josephine Villafuerte, CHO chief, said Thursday the Compendium and the Pag-asa awards were accorded to the local health office for the success of its nutrition and anti-filariasis programs.

“This only means that we are successful with our programs and we made it sustainable all throughout,” Villafuerte said.

On malnutrition, she said the city has established the severe and acute malnutrition rehabilitation program, which is commonly used in disaster and conflict-affected areas.

Villafuerte noted that the city was the first to put up the program even if it is not under the state of war and disaster.

“There are a lot of malnourished children identified in the city. We are implementing "Operation Timbang" in the areas we have identified and give treatment to the children and check them on a weekly basis,” she said.

Villafuerte also said the city has been filaria-free for five years because of the local government's continuous preventive measures.

“We do de-worming for five years in areas we identified just to make sure that there will be no more victims of filariasis,” she said.

Villafuerte added that the signs and symptoms of filariasis usually show from eight to ten years, and that de-worming must be implemented for five years to flush out the mosquito larvae.

Davao City among 3 finalists in best disaster risk management council race

By Joey Sem G. Dalumpines (PIA-11)

DAVAO CITY (PIA) -- The Davao City Risk Reduction and Management Council has a reason to be proud as Davao City made it to the list of finalists for the best highly-urbanized city disaster risk reduction and management council in the Gawad Kalasag Award given by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Metro Manila last December 4.

Lyndon Ancajas, training director of the DCRRMC said it was the third time that the CDRRMC was in the winning position, twice in first place and now, a finalist.

He said the award showed that the city had a lot to improve.

Ancajas said that even then, the Emergency Response Center Central 911 bested all the cities in the country as the best government emergency response management system.

He said the city’s emergency response center already had the personnel, vehicles and equipment.

“Other local government units still come to Davao City to learn and benchmark from us. We are ahead for now, but sooner or later, it will be replicated to other LGUs,” Ancajas said.

He said that the Central 911 has been established since 2002.

Ancajas stressed it was not a one-shot deal that the Central 911 became operational which began with the training of personnel and purchase of vehicles and equipment.

“This award solidifies the drive of the city government of Davao to serve the public,” he said.

He clarified that the city is not yet a hall of famer, since it was only a finalist in the search for the Best DRRM Council.

Ancajas said that the Central 911 did not receive any cash prize since the title was only a special recognition.

“First was Quezon City, then Davao City and Angeles City were finalists,” he said.

Ancajas said there is a need to rehabilitate several equipment and infrastructure and strengthen the barangays.

He said the primary aim was to make every barangay resilient.

Davao City uses GSuite to improve service delivery

By Rudolph Ian Alama (PIA-11)

DAVAO CITY (PIA)—The city government of Davao is now utilizing the GSuite collaboration tool to enhance delivery of public service.

The GSuite is a package of Google Cloud-based collaborative and productivity tools. The subscription to the G Suite is in partnership with Globe Telecom.

“Davao City has been cited as a Center of Excellence for its continued efforts in improving its position as a leader for ICT adoption in the region. We have also become a preferred destination for ICT investments and activities. We commend Globe Telecom for collaborating with us in advancing Davao City for the future,” said Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte in a message read for her by Davao City Assistant Administrator Tristan Dwight Domingo.

With GSuite, the city government's workforce can work better and efficiently with the use of an upgraded Gmail account, schedule meetings and other events with calendar and have reliable text and video chat.

They can also make documents, spreadsheets and presentations with Google Docs, Slides, Sites, and Sheets. Collaboration with the local government's workforce is now easier with Google Drive.

Davao City is the first local government unit to avail itself of the GSuite from Globe. The initiative supports Globe Telecom's drive to transform the Philippines into a digital nation by instilling the importance of eGovernance in government offices.

Davao City sets minimum pay for non-plantilla workers

By Lilian C. Mellejor (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The 12,000 city government’s job order (JO) and contract of service (Cos) workers will receive a higher than minimum pay of PHP10,000 per month starting next year.

Mayor Sara Duterte bared the good news during the City Government Workers Day on Monday evening at the Rizal Park.

The mayor said she is pushing higher monthly pay for all JOs and CoS starting 2019.

From PHP7,000 monthly, Mayor Sara proposed PHP10,000 monthly as minimum pay for the 12,000 JOs and CoS.

In a follow-up interview, Sara told reporters she already submitted the budget for the pay increase to the City Council.

"Next year wala na'y mag sweldo below PHP10,000 except for the volunteers like the Bantay Dagat and Bantay Bukid (So next year nobody will receive a salary below PHP10,000 except the volunteers like Bantay Dagat and Bantay Bukid)," she said.

The Bantay Dagat and Bantay Bukid are volunteers conducting monitoring activities in watershed areas and coastal communities as part of the city's environmental protection initiative.

Mayor Sara said it was only proper to increase the pay of JOs and CoS "because they work hard 24 hours a day."

The bulk of 12,000 JOs and CoS are traffic enforcers assigned at the City Transportation and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO), garbage collectors and street cleaners under the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), and the workers of Central 911 and the Public Safety and Security Command Center.

Chinese consular office in Davao opens visa services

By Lilian C. Mellejor

DAVAO CITY -- This city's vice mayor and several members of the Filipino-Chinese community in this city became the first visa applicants when the visa section of the Consular Office of the People’s Republic of China here opened on Monday.

Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag said he will use his visa in traveling to China for the launch of the Davao City-Jinjiang direct flight on December 18.

“This visa service is one of the elements to support the direct flight from Davao City to Jinjiang,” Al-ag said.

Jinjiang is Davao City’s second sister city in the People’s Republic of China.

Among the early applicants include Jill Irish Li, who runs a travel agency in the city.

Li, who is married to a Chinese national, said the opening of the visa section is a respite to a long process of getting a Chinese visa in Manila.

She said the opening of the visa service will make business transactions more convenient and cheaper for her clients.

Consul General Li Lin said the opening of the visa section will not only further bolster the tourism and business industry of Davao but also the Philippine-China relations. It came only just two months after the Chinese Consulate opened in October here.

Li said the visa section can receive 100 to 150 applications per day, and fees will differ depending on the number of stay and entry to China.

Li said they can also renew passports of Filipino-Chinese or Chinese citizens and process other consular documents. Based on his information, Li said Filipino-Chinese make up 2 to 3 percent of Mindanao’s population.

“This service is first in Mindanao,” he told reporters in an interview on the sidelines of the launch.

He said the consulate can also support or promote friendly bilateral relations and help boost economic cooperation between China-Davao and Mindanao especially in the area of agriculture, illegal drugs rehabilitation program, fishery and the “Build, Build, Build” strategy.

According to Li, the opening of the Chinese Consulate has already triggered an increase in Chinese visitors to Davao either on pleasure or business.

“Actually, there is quite a lot of Chinese business groups coming to visit here to have a feasibility study. We have already asked four to five businesses to come to Mindanao,” Li said.

“I hope visa and passport service will add an element to facilitate bilateral cooperation and friendly exchanges between China and the Philippines with a focus on Mindanao,” Li added.

Tourism to strengthen Mindanao-Indonesia ties


INDONESIAN tour agents promoting tourism to Filipino tourist agencies and offices will strengthen economic activities between Indonesia and Mindanao, Indonesian consul general said.

Indonesian consul general Berlian Napitupulu said the Indonesia’s Sales Mission held last Thursday December 6, at Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City is one of the initiatives of the Indonesian government to strengthen ties with neighboring islands like Mindanao.

In an interview, Napitupulu said it is vital to promote tourism with Mindanao because both islands claim to be neighbors.

“And what good way can help each other but by creating events like these which can help boost trade,” Napitupulu said, adding how tourism can increase creation of employment benefitting both Indonesian and Mindanawon labor force.

In a statement, the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism targets to reach up to 17 million tourist guests and is expected to increase visitors to 20 million by 2019.

According to Indonesia Central Bureau of Statistics, the number of visitors from the Philippines until October this year has reached 179,600 people which is 99.8 percent of the target of the consulate.

Meanwhile, Napitupulu said that the proposed direct flight by Philippine Airlines (PAL) to Manado, Indonesia can encourage more tourism activities in promoting both islands.

The flight frequency and schedules are yet to be given according to the Indonesian consulate though the embassy confirmed a feasibility study on the Davao-Manado air route has been done.

The Sales Mission was attended by eight Indonesian tour agents and operators from North Sulawasi and West Nusa Tenggara. They met with around 50 Filipino travelling agencies in targeting visitors from the Philippine market.

Napitupulu said this wouldn’t be the last Sales Mission they would be conducting in the city.

The Indonesian consul general also said the event will likewise help promote the beautiful islands of Mindanao as Indonesian tourists agents visit and expand business operations in the city.

New infra to link Davao City to nearby places


IN THE years to come, more links through road infrastructures and other infrastructure facilities will be created to connect nearby provinces to pave way for economic growth and development.

These are vital in ensuring a sustainable livelihood for Dabawenyos.

In an interview, Department of Public Works and Highways Southern Mindanao (DPWH Southern Mindanao) spokesperson Dean I. Ortiz said these infrastructure developments are important in order to align with President Rodrigo Duterte’s vision of inclusivity and alleviation of Filipino’s economic condition.

Ortiz said Davao City is blessed with the infrastructure being placed in the city which can benefit many Dabawenyos.

Ortiz added DPWH has a total of around 1,200 infrastructure projects amounting to P 55.48 billion. This budget is around P12 billion higher than the budget allocated in 2017 amounting to only P43.6 billion.

“We from the department are of course overwhelmed with these numbers, and all we can do is keep up and double our efforts in making sure that the procurement and the implementation process, ” Ortiz said in an interview.

National Economic Development Authority records show infrastructure projects for Davao region have amounted to P94 billion.

Topping the list is the Davao City Bypass Construction Project of the DPWH amounting to P16.81 billion. The project aims in to improve accessibility and reduce congestion in Davao City.

The Davao Sasa Port Modernization Project of the Department of Transportation is estimated to cost around P6 billion in order to provide efficient seaport services for Dabawenyos.

The Davao City Coastal Bypass Road Project, still by DPWH, will cost around P25.043 billion and is divided into three segments of four-lane road concretion. The first segment, which covers about 7.26 kilometers was already started by DPWH in 2017 and is currently ongoing.

Key infrastructure project like the Mindanao Railway Project with its first phase of Tagum-Davao-Digos section amounting to P35.9 billion is set to start construction early next year. The railway project is expected to generate more employment and investments for the city.

The Comprehensive Flood Master Plan for Davao del Norte is now on the project proposal stages at the DPWH Central Office and will be funded by the Asian Development Bank.

The construction of the Davao-Samal Bridge is expected to start construction by 2019. The work will start in Davao, covering an area along the CP Garcia Diversion Road to the regional office of the DPWH. The landing point in Samal will be in Barangay Tambo.

With these infrastructure developments, Davao City will be driving toward an ambitious economic progress.

Davao City gov't opens 3rd Botika ng Bayan

By Funny Pearl Gajunera (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The city government on Friday opened its third Botika ng Bayan at the City Health Office (CHO) to provide residents easier access to free medicines.

Dr. Josephine Villafuerte, CHO chief, said Friday the third Botika ng Bayan was made possible through a partnership with the Department of Health (DOH) that aims to help poor patients.

“This is a big help for all the people since through the Botika ng Bayan, they (patients) no longer have any excuse not to take their medicines,” Villafuerte said.

She said the DOH will provide the medicines for three years while the city will prepare for the transition of the medicine replacements after the three-year period.

“After three years the Botika ng Bayan will be the sole responsibility of the City Government. We will purchase the needed medicines so that there will be continuity of the program,” she said.

DOH Regional Director Annabelle Yumang said more Botika ng Bayan will be opened in the city to make medicines more accessible to a bigger number of people.

Yumang said patients need not be concerned with the generic medicines as these are equally effective compared to branded ones.

Villafuerte said Dabawenyos only need to bring their prescriptions to the nearest Botika ng Bayan to avail of free medicines.

16th Mindanao Film Festival opens

By Rudolph Ian Alama (PIA/RG Alama)

DAVAO CITY, Dec. 6 (PIA) – One of the country’s longest running independent film festival opened on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at the cinema 6 Gaisano Mall of Davao. The week-long Mindanao Film Festival will screen 107 full length and short films.

The opening night featured a screening of “Kauyagan” (Way of Life ) by Cagayan de Oro filmmaker Julienne Ilagan. The film shot in Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon was a participating entry in the 2018 ToFarm Film Festival.

Jamir Mallari of the Lead Officer of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) office in Davao City, Rudisel Alberina, program director of the Davao Autism Intervention Center Foundation Inc. (DACFI), Barbie Blanco, president of Junior Chamber International Davaoeña Dabadaba and Rudolph Alama festival director of the 16th Mindanao Film Festival led the cutting of the ribbon which ushered the start of the festival.

The Mindanao Film Festival founded in 2003 as the Guerrilla Filmmaking Festival aims to be the platform for budding and established regional filmmakers in Mindanao to showcase their films to the public. Highlights of the film festival include the weeklong theatrical exhibition at Gaisano Mall cinema, open fora with the filmmakers and the festival awards night which will be held at Taboan Matina Town Square on December 10.

The event is spearheaded by the Mindanao Film and Television Development Foundation Inc. (MFDTFI), National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) through the partnership of the Davao Autism Intervention Center Foundation Inc. (DACFI) and supported by Anflocor, JCI Davaoeña Dabadaba, Kaizen Davao, Dhanstore, Midtown Creative Arts, White House Fusion Cuisine, Pudols, Wady’s Bistro, Stairwell, Luz Kinilaw, Aqua Elementz, Ninety Ninety Kitchen, Lacay Enterprises, Lacay Karinderia and EDC Construction and Supply.

Xiamen Air set to launch Jinjiang-Davao route


XIAMEN Air will be operating twice weekly flights between Davao City and Jinjiang, Fujian, China starting December 18.

The airline will be operating the route every Tuesday and Wednesday. The flight to Davao city will depart Quanzhou at 9:00 a.m. and arrives at 12:15 p.m. here. The flight to Jinjiang departs Davao City at 1:15 p.m. and arrives at 4:30 p.m.

In an online post by Routes Online, an international online company reporting on aviation development, Xiamen Air will operate twice a week with a Boeing 737-800. Xiamen Air is majority-owned by China Southern Airlines.

Davao City Chamber of Commerce vice president John Carlo Tria said in a text message that the direct flight between the Chinese province and Davao City can help improve the tourism sector of Davao City.

Tria added that it will also help strengthen economic trade between the China and Davao.

It can be recalled that Davao City and Jinjiang have been firming up its ties this year.

On November 13, Davao City signed a Sister City Agreement with Jinjiang. The agreement is expected to improve trade and tourism not only for Davao City, but also the rest of Mindanao.

The agreement will also bring in people-to-people exchanges in order to entice promotion of culture and tradition between China and Davao.

The Chinese Consulate also announced earlier that the Ateneo de Davao University and Huaqiao University in Jinjiang will be signing soon an agreement for cultural exchange programs.

Data from the Davao City Tourism Operations Office showed that Chinese are among the top foreign tourists this year. China ranking third on the list with 6,894 tourist arrivals from January to August of this year. United States topped the list with in 14, 359 tourist, followed by Japan with 8,621.

Davao chocolate maker eyes bigger production in 2019

By Digna D. Banzon (PNA)

DAVAO CITY – A local chocolate maker and cacao producer is aiming for bigger production next year to cope with increasing clients, not only in Davao but also abroad.

Neil Q. Santillan, MS3 Agri Ventures managing director, said Tuesday that aside from their farm produce they also buy wet beans from farmers to augment their needs.

MS3 Agri Ventures was put up by overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) to engage in cacao production on a 1.3-hectare farm. The company recently ventured into Halal chocolate-making.

Santillan said they plan to acquire more equipment next year to help improve their packaging, production, and market access.

Currently, MS3 Agri Ventures produces 7,000 bars of chocolate every month.

He said they also want to get more OFWs -- about 80 -- as partners. The company has already added 50 pledged partnerships, which means additional funding of PHP16 million at PHP200,000 per slot.

Santillan said the money will be used for the acquisition of equipment and other machinery, as well as operate their 120-hectare joint venture farm in Nueva Ecija.

MS3 Agri-Ventures Corp. produces seven products with five variances of chocolate from dark choco of 65 percent and 75 percent, the Bonchoc, BrainChoc, Pilichoc, and the tablea.

Santillan said that aside from the variance, the products come in different sizes to suit the needs of the customers, as well as affordability.

Aside from the chocolate bars, the company also produces choco tea out of the husks of beans and choco vinegar, which they collect during fermentation.

The company was recognized in Malaysia's 2017 Halal Brand Award as the Best Philippine Cacao Producer.

In the same year, the company was awarded Bronze Medal for their tablea product in the UK's Academy of Chocolate from among 1,200 entries from 45 countries.

"But we are not putting our guards down with those awards; instead we need to make our products become better in order to attain high-quality standards," Santillan said.

Davao university gets P68-M for renewable energy research

By Digna D. Banzon (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) has been granted PHP68.6 million by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for its research and development (R&D) on a renewable energy project.

In an interview on Monday, DOST-11 Assistant Regional Director Mirasol Domingo said the project was proposed by Randell Espina of the Center for Renewable Energy and Appropriate Technologies (CREATE) AdDU's School of Engineering and Architecture.

Along with DOST's "grant on aid", the Ateneo de Davao University also put in a counterpart of PHP1.9 million.

Domingo said the project was approved by the Mindanao Renewable Energy R&D Center (MREC) under the Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (NICER), a component for Science for Change (S4C) program of the DOST.

MREC is aimed at promoting, inspiring and supporting the conduct of research and development on Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs) addressing energy policy and utilization of RETs, the DOST official said.

The MREC will be housed at AdDU and is proposed to have RET research and development facilities, specifically the concentrated solar power (CSP) and the offshore renewable energy (ORE) technologies, which can be accessed and utilized by partner universities, organizations, and communities.

Domingo said the research center will pursue thematic societal research questions on appropriate and sustainable energy system and other vital large socio-technical that reinforce its sustainability.

She said the MREC will navigate in the three-pronged function of the university with a particular bias on R&D. MREC is open to all universities and individuals on the island who are engaged or planning to engage in renewable energy research and development and training.

Lanterns made by inmates lighting up streets

(SunStar Philippines)

PERSONS deprived of liberty (PDLs) have lighted up streets in some areas in the country with colorful lanterns they created for the upcoming Christmas season.

Community Relations Service chief Jail Chief Inspector Xavier Solda said the local government and local tourism offices of Davao City, Angeles City, Urdaneta City and Compostella Valley tapped the inmates in their area to create the lanterns.

PDLs at the Davao City Jail-Annex have produced a total of 475 handcrafted lanterns, worth nearly P500,000, within a month. These lanterns were installed in the streets of Davao.

In Urdaneta City, inmates from the district jail made lanterns out of recycled plastic bottles.

The lanterns were displayed at the corridors of the Labayug National High School in Sison, Pangasinan.

The local government of Nabunturan, Compostela Valley also ordered 50 pieces of custom-built lanterns beautifully-crafted by Montevista District Jail. They were installed on the streets of Nabunturan.

In Pampanga, the lantern capital of the Philippines, the Angeles City Tourism Office spearheaded a traditional lantern training workshop at the Angeles District Jail to preserve the province's lantern making tradition.

“We are grateful that the local government units and private entities are supporting us in this particular undertaking. We told them that this is not a simple accommodation of PDL products but an extension of hope to people behind bars who (are) also wishing for the Christmas season to be merry,” said Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Chief Jail Director Deogracias Tapayan.

“We encouraged them to participate in livelihood and skills enhancement programs not only to ensure that their time with us is productive but also to provide them an economic opportunity while in detention,” he added.

Solda said 65 percent of the total number of PDLs in 474 jail nationwide or 100,452 are engaged in livelihood projects for the upcoming Christmas season.

Among the livelihood programs the PDLs have participated are parol-making, bonsai-décor making, bead works, bamboo crafts and other Christmas decors depending on the design commissioned by different local government units and private entities.

Solda said the BJMP is pushing for the creation of a product not only to support their advocacies in promoting BJMP as an agency and its programs but also to share to the public the stories of reformation in every item they produced.

“Whether it’s a lantern, a bonsai or a décor, what matters is that, we can give a better perspective among the least, the lost and the last in life who are under our care. As jail officers, we hope that each of the items, each skills and each lessons they earned from their participation in our livelihood programs can bridge them to a better future, away from any wrong doings,” he said.

11 tribes take center stage at 'Kalinaw Kultura'

By Lilian Mellejor (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The "Kalinaw Kultura" (culture of peace) ended Friday with Davao Region's 11 tribes taking center stage during the two-day cultural festivities that featured dance performances, film showing, and a visit to the Kadayawan Village inside Magsaysay Park.

The "Kalinaw Kultura" in Davao was the last leg of a series of events organized by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) through the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), in partnership with the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and other government stakeholders.

Similar events were earlier held in Iligan, Butuan, Zamboanga, and Koronadal.

PIA Director General Harold Clavite said the "Kalinaw Kultura" was crafted in 2017 with the aim of promoting Mindanaoan culture, showcasing local talents, and engaging the local tribal communities.

It also aims to correct some notions about Mindanao and raise awareness on the island's rich and diverse cultural heritage, Clavite added.

At the opening of the event at the Abreeza Mall on Thursday, dance performances featured the 11 major ethnic tribes of Davao City – Ata, Iranun, Kagan, Klata-Guiangan, Maguindanaon, Maranao, Tausug, Tagabawa, Matigsalog, Ovu-Manuvo, and Sama.

Undersecretary Lorraine Marie T. Badoy of the PCOO, who represented Secretary Martin Andanar, said Mindanao, unlike other parts of the country, is the land of the unvanquished and therefore the culture here has been untouched and unsullied by foreign influence.

“This is the gift of Mindanao to the rest of the Philippines: that the rich and diverse culture of Mindanao reminds us of who we really are: peaceful when left in peace but fierce when provoked and that we will not allow ourselves to be slaves to anyone,” Badoy said.

During a press briefing that day, PCOO Undersecretary Joel Egco described the holding of the "Kalinaw Kultura" as timely in the age of social media, and a great equalizer in promoting culture.

Egco said the event would help correct the prevailing negative perception of Mindanao and the Philippines, citing the "systematic negative reporting" about the country.

“This activity would aggressively promote Mindanao culture,” he said.

Clavite said the "Kalinaw Kultura" campaign this year was only the beginning for "a better and brighter promotion of Mindanao culture with the support of all government agencies."

“Now, we’re in the day and age of easy communication that lets us utilize to change the narrative of Mindanao,” Clavite added.

NCAA Executive Director Rico Pableo vowed to continue similar projects that promote and preserve culture and the arts.

Pableo noted that culture is not only about dancing, singing, and visual arts but also “making our life transform into something significant and beautiful.”

The event ended with a visit at the Kadayawan Village where the 11 tribes showcased their culture and way of life, from cooking food to building their houses.

Davao City to host Southeast Asian, Japanese youth program

By Lilian C. Mellejor (PNA)

DAVAO CITY – For the first time, this city will host this year's Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Program (SSEAYP) on November 17–20.

Some 320 youth delegates from the member-countries of the Association Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as Japan, will arrive in this city via the cruise ship, MS Nippon Maru, said Steve Arquiza, the former commissioner of the National Youth Commission (NYC), during Monday's Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM Annex.

Twenty-eight Filipino delegates will also join their colleagues in sailing to Japan, Brunei Darussalam, Thailand, and Vietnam. Each country will be headed by a national leader.

“This is the first time that SSEAYP will visit Davao City after 45 years (since the Philippines joined the program). The SSEAYP delegates were previously only hosted by Manila and Cebu,” Arquiza said.

Arquiza said there are 50 SSEAYP alumni from Davao City alone.

Arquiza said the SSEAYP is a 53-day program covered by a signed Joint Statement between Japan and the Republic of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and the Kingdom of Thailand.

Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and the Kingdom of Cambodia later joined in the 80s and 1990s.

Arquiza said the program aims to promote friendship, promote mutual understanding, broaden the perspective of the youth in the international community and create networks with youth in 10 ASEAN countries.

He said Davao City was chosen to host this year’s SSEAYP in consideration of its good peace and order situation. Japan has also maintained good relations with Davao, which was home to many Japanese even before World War II, he added.

During the delegates' visit to the Philippines, they are expected to cultivate their leadership skills in different fields and tackle issues on the role of the youth in nation building.

While in Davao, Arquiza said the delegates will have a glimpse of the city’s Central 911 Emergency Response Center, the Public Safety Office, and the Malagos Garden Chocolate Museum. They will also meet with city officials.

DOTr, LGUs to ink MOA for Mindanao railway funding

By Lilian C. Mellejor (PNA)

DAVAO CITY – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and several local government units in Region 11 will sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on November 29 for the PHP5.6 billion budget covering the first segment of the Mindanao Railway System (MRS) project.

Engr. Arnulfo Manigo Jr, Tagum City Planning and Development coordinator, said the funds are intended for the administrative cost and acquisition of properties affected by the railway project covering the cities of Tagum, Davao, and Digos (TDD).

Asked for the total value of the land acquisition, Manigo said: “We cannot just float any figure. Under the Terms of Reference, we refer to just compensation and prevailing market value of property.”

“Pinag-usapan ang valuation ng lupa (The valuation of properties is being discussed). Probably they (affected households) will meet halfway with the government,” Manigo told reporters during Monday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM Davao Annex.

He said the MOA was necessary to ensure that government funds are spent properly.

Tagum City will host the railway's 10-hectare main depot, which is scheduled for groundbreaking in February 2019. A total of 158 households will be affected by the project in that city alone.

Manigo said Tagum local officials and the DOTr have been conducting consultations with affected households, particularly in Barangays Mankilam and San Isidro where the depot will be located.

He said some of the areas are classified as agricultural and planted with rice, banana, and coconut, but only 60 percent are productive.

Manigo said the amount for the first segment has reached PHP97 billion from PHP35 billion due to changes in alignment and design.

“Everything will be finalized by the RDC (Regional Development Council),” he added.

The railway project aims to spur growth and development in Mindanao and improved connectivity.

The TDD segment covers 105 kilometers of rail line that is expected to reduce travel time from Tagum to Davao City and Digos. It will have eight stations: Tagum, Carmen, Panabo, Mudiang, Davao Terminal, Toril, Sta. Cruz, and Digos, with the construction expected to begin by the third quarter of 2018.

The Mindanao Railway is one of the 12 flagship projects proposed for Chinese grant financing through the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA)--the Chinese body responsible for administering foreign aid and development assistance to other countries.

The entire Mindanao Railway System will run for a total of 1,530-km, connecting Davao provinces, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, and Zamboanga. It is targeted for completion by 2021.

Davao City turns into 'Winter Wonderland' on 'Pasko Fiesta'

By Lilian Mellejor (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The city government will turn the city hall into a Winter Wonderland come November 23, as the month-long Pasko Fiesta celebration kicks off.

Pasko Fiesta is one of the festivals organized by the city annually. City tourism officer Generose Tecson said under the Winter Wonderland concept, people will be treated to a tunnel of lights of white and blue color patterns and snowflakes.

Food Fiesta will be also offered to the Dabawenyos at an affordable price in Sta. Ana Wharf.

The city is also bringing back the “Torotot Party” on December 31 to usher in the New Year, which will be sponsored by Phoenix.

Tecson said the city will also enliven the Sta. Ana Wharf with lights and food stalls at affordable prices.

Huge prizes will be up for grabs in different competitions aligned to the Winter Wonderland concept.

Establishments can compete in the Christmas lights competition utilizing festive and dazzling lights, thematic decorations and holiday trees.

Tecson said the Christmas lantern competition will showcase the Dabawenyos’ ingenuity and craftsmanship.

Another new feature is the Lighted Vehicle Parade where any person, group, organization or company can join the competition. The vehicles can be tricycle or jeepney-size and should be decked with LED or lights.

Tecson said Dabawenyos will still be treated to the battle of bands, dance competition and other traditional events offered in the previous Pasko Fiesta.

Last year, the city canceled the remaining days of the Pasko Fiesta after the December flood and the fire incident that hit a local mall which left scores dead.

The city spent about PHP18 to PHP19 million for the first days of the Candyland-theme of Pasko Fiesta.

This year, Tecson said, the city already set aside PHP42 million for the Christmas celebration. Of the total budget, PHP20 million will go to the trimmings, food of the security forces and other activities.

Tecson said while the Winter Wonderland theme may be too western, “we want it because of the coolness that makes people happy inside.”

The city has also invited the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and celebrity Erik Santos for the Pasko Fiesta Concert on November 24 at the RMC FilOil Flying V Event Center. It will be opened to all Dabawenyos and visitors for free.

DA, DepEd cite gains of 'Gulayan' program in Davao schools

By Cherry Mhae Palicte (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The government's "Gulayan sa Paaralan Program" (GPP) continues to bear fruits in terms of raising the awareness on health and nutrition among students, officials said.

Ricardo Oñate, director of the Department of Agriculture in Region 11 (DA-11), said the GPP is under the DA's High-Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) and has been instrumental in combating malnutrition among schoolchildren and local communities.

The program, he said, is a joint project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Education (DepEd).

On Friday, Oñate led the awarding ceremonies for Best GPP implementers for school year 2018-2019.

Among the winners are: Container garden, elementary category--Guihing Central Elementary School, Davao del Sur (first); Mawab Central Elementary School, Compostela Valley Province (second); and Tuburan Village Elementary School, Davao Oriental (third).

Container Garden, High School category: Tagum City National Comprehensive High School, Davao del Norte (first); Basiawan National High School, Davao Occidental (second); Andili National High School, Compostela Valley Province (third).

The winners for field garden category for both elementary and high school were recognized.

Ricardo Oñate lauded the efforts of the evaluators, composed of personnel from DA and DepEd, as well as the GPP coordinators of the participating schools for the project's success.

“It is very comforting to witness how the GPP has evolved not only as an effective advocacy tool but also on how it has mobilized and transformed various schools and communities into a united and bankable force in our fight against malnutrition,” Oñate said.

He also cited GPP's success in reducing the number of malnutrition among schoolchildren, which resulted in improved scholastic performance.

Solar panels now accessible


A COMPANY is set to make solar panels available to Dabawenyos as it enters the Davao market.

The Straight Arrow (SA) Technologies, the first distributor of Trinahome products, which are all-in-one Solar PV System, promoted the advantages of using the Solar Roof System that would be applicable to any kind of houses with strong foundation.

“Our company is here to save the future. Hopefully, we are here to save the environment, and hopefully to save the electric bills of our homes. We are looking on the future because it is important that our kids and our grandchildren experience what we are experiencing,” Dominic Dexter So, chief financial officer (CFO) of SA Technologies, said during the Connect media forum in SM Lanang Premier Friday, November 9.

Bien Angelo Niño, chief operating officer (COO) of the SA Technologies, said that the Solar Roof System is designed to transform residential rooftops into an electrical power generation platform to supply to households with electricity.

The company offers the complete package which consists module, inverter, distribution cabinet, and the cable and bracket.

Meanwhile, Dominic Dexon So, chairman and CEO, said there is a need to educate Dabawenyos about the advantages of solar energy because they noticed that the citizens in Davao to not trust some current solar products in the market because they are only being offered fake items.

Each one complete package of the product would cost P165,000 to P1 million depending on how wide will be the roof but it will save a minimum of P1,500 in the monthly electricity bill.

508 Dabawenyos benefit from free hearing aids

By Jecia Anne Opiana (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- A total of 508 Dabawenyos received free hearing aids from the United States-based Starkey Hearing Foundation on Tuesday.

Hearing aids featuring advanced technologies were given during the foundation's second mission, held at the Davao City Recreation Center here. In November last year, Starkey distributed some 1,250 free hearing aids.

City Health Office Chief Josephine Villafuerte said the hearing aids were a great help for those who can't afford to shell out PHP40,000 per unit.

Villafuerte said the recipients underwent a series of sound hearing tests before being given the hearing aids. They will be also given aftercare education.

A parent of one of the beneficiaries, Ralph dela Peña, said the free hearing aid for his 12-year-old deaf and mute son, Clynth Jazpher, has given him a lease on life.

"He is now 12 and this is the first time that he can hear. Kung wala ni nga foundation, dili makadungog akong anak (Without this foundation, my son will not be able to hear)," he said.

Tani Austin, chief executive officer of Starkey Hearing Technologies, said they will provide free hearing aids to six more cities in the Philippines.

Austin said the Starkey Hearing Foundation has been giving the "gift of hearing to people around the world."

Davao City richest in Mindanao – COA report


DAVAO City is the richest city in Mindanao for 2017, according to a report by the Commission on Audit (COA).

In COA's annual financial report, it showed that the city ranked ninth as the richest cities in the Philippines for 2017 in terms of total assets and is the only city from Mindanao.

“The Dabawenyos are proud that Davao City made it to the top 10 richest cities in the country,” Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, said on Tuesday, November 6.

“It says a lot about the promising future of cities outside Luzon, especially the ones from Mindanao,” she added.

The city has recorded a total asset of P13.18 billion.

Ranked first was the city of Makati with a total asset of P196.57 billion; followed by Quezon City with a total asset of P68.33 billion. Rounding up the top 10 are Manila City with a recorded asset of P38.68 billion; Cebu City has P33.86 billion; Pasig City has P33.7 billion; Taguig City has P19.6 billion; Caloocan City has P17 billion; Pasay City has P16.66 billion; and Calamba City has P12.41 billion.

“The City of Davao is also working on being debt-free in the next two years. Despite this recognition, we are trying our hardest to ensure that we identify and reach those who are poor and take them out of poverty,” Duterte-Carpio said, adding that it is the only time that the city could be truly happy.

Davao City Councilor Edgar Ibuyan Jr. said in a text message on Tuesday, November 6, that being at the ranking ninth only shows that the leadership Duterte-Carpio in the city is in the right track.

“And in two years’ time the city will be released from debt or loan. So, by then more projects will put up and be converted to assets also,” he said.

The city first made it to the top ten richest cities in 2016 with a total asset of P9.9 billion.

Compostela Valley, meanwhile, landed second next to Cebu as the country’s richest province, accumulating a total of P18.95 billion worth of assets.

World’s biggest book sale goes to Davao

By Digna D. Banzon (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The world's biggest book sale has come to this city with over a million books on offer with big discounts from Nov. 23 to Dec. 2 at The Tent, Azuela Cove, Lanang.

At the press briefing on Monday, Big Bad Wolf Books co-founder Jacqueline Ng said bringing the book on sale is more than just the discounts, but also seeks to encourage people to go back to reading.

Ng, who flew in from Malaysia, said the event is a partnership with Gawad Kalinga (GK), which shares the Big Bad Wolf advocacy on readership.

She said they aim to make the Philippines as one of their hubs for book processing and warehousing.

"Our talk has gone beyond the selling of books but helping members of GK communities in creating jobs through skills development on marketing and management, and perhaps bring them to other countries as staff during sale events," she said.

Ng encouraged shoppers to buy a book and give it to someone, especially those who can't afford it.

“Our calling is to help the less fortunate and our partnership with the GK is just appropriate by helping people who are less in life,” she said.

The books will have a variety of genres from fiction, novels, science fiction, business, biography, art and design, architecture by popular authors. These are offered for up to 50 to 90 percent discounts. There are also children's interest -- activity book, story books, board books, interactive books and augmented reality books.

“With over 20,000 titles, there is a book for everyone,” Ng said.

Luis Oquiñena, the executive director of Gawad Kalinga, said under the partnership with Big Bad Wolf Books, for every purchase of books the shoppers will donate a portion of proceeds to GK to fund their different programs like organizing communities, helping the farmers and other similar activities.

"This year is their first in the Philippines to be held in Manila, Cebu, and Davao and hopefully next year we will add three cities more," he said.

He said that 90 percent of the volunteers on the floor come from GK communities as part of their livelihood program.

"We are training elite groups that we will bring to other countries for the book sale event starting next year in different cities," Oquiñena said.

Davao HIV/AIDS activists cite challenges in dealing with disease

By Lilian C. Mellejor (PNA)

DAVAO CITY – The local government and activists continue to face challenges in managing infection rates of the still-incurable Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS).

Dr. Jordana Ramiterre, head of Davao City Health Office Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC), said Davao City remains one of the top cities with numerous reported cases of the HIV/AIDS in the country.

While the local government provides antiretroviral drugs to HIV patients, Dr. Ramiterre said prevention remains important through counseling and other interventions to discourage vulnerable groups-- especially young people--from engaging in risky sexual behaviors.

Ramiterre said young people in the city remain vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases (STD).

Alma Mondragon of Alliance Against AIDS in Mindanao (Alagad Mindanao), said Davao City has 2,525 reported cases of HIV infection as of July, this year.

Mondragon and Ramiterre were guest speakers during Monday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw, where they and other health advocates highlighted the challenges confronting the government and other organizations working to manage the disease and slow down runaway infection rates.

This August alone, Mondragon said Davao City recorded 34 new cases although not all patients are residents of the city.

Being the center of Mindanao in terms of health services, Mondragon said people from other provinces seek testing and treatment in the city.

She voiced alarm that the individuals diagnosed with HIV are getting younger.

Government records show that of the 2,525 cases in Davao City alone, 40 percent are within the 15–24 age group, while the 25-34 age group consists of the 47 percent.

Mondragon noted that patients within the 25-34 age group are in their productive years.

She said males make up 95 percent of the total cases and the remaining are females, bisexuals and heterosexuals.

Mondragon and Ramiterre lamented that the high infection rates remain despite the active advocacy campaigns against the disease by both private organizations and the government.

Records show that sex remains the number one mode of transmission, with men having sex with men accounting for the highest number of infections.

Both Mondragon and Ramiterre agreed that stigma and discrimination are the top reasons why patients refuse to seek HIV testing, resulting in being denied life-saving treatment.

"Many people will only get tested after becoming ill or in the advanced stage of Aids when they experience its signs and symptoms," Mondragon said.

Oscar Obenza, Jr. an advocate for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender), said a community center has been established since last year to provide psycho-social counseling for HIV patients in the city.

Obenza said the center has been a venue for patients who otherwise would refuse to seek medical care for fear of being discriminated or ostracized. Most of the clients, he added, are LGBT members although it is open to all people.

According to Global Fund, an HIV-positive person can expect to have the same lifespan as someone who is HIV-negative and one of the cornerstones of the lifesaving treatment is the use of antiretrovirals (ARVs), a treatment which reduces the chance that an HIV-positive person will pass the virus to someone else by 97 percent.

Farmers in Davao use solar dryers


THE use of solar dryer for agricultural products is still widely used in the region, a government official said.

“Marami pa ring gumagamit ng mga solar dryers sa mga probinsya na nakikita naman natin minsan pa nga sa mga kalsada, o di naman kayay yung mga solar dryers na ginagawang basketball court pag walang ani makikita pa rin natin sa iba’t ibang mga barangay (A lot still use solar dryers in the provinces as we see it sometimes even on the streets. Others ar at make-shift basketball courts. We still see these in different barangays),” Philippine Statistics Authority Davao (PSA 11) supervising statistical specialist Leah C. Magracia said during the closing ceremony of the National Statistical Month.

Based on PSA’s Baranggay Agricultural Profiling Survey (BAPS), 647 barangays in Davao Region are into organic farming.

A total of 592 barangays practice integrated pest management, 461 barangays practice water management, 426 barangays practice integrated nutrient management, 325 barangays practice hybrid corn cultivation and commercialization, 176 barangays practice hybrid rice cultivation and commercialization.

Only 95 barangays practice cultivation of genetically modified crops and 74 barangays practice hydroponics in their agricultural lands.

Meanwhile, some of the top equipment being used by farmers include the Knapsacker sprayer tplow, cart, harrow, and power sprayer. Rounding up the top ten most used equipment by farmers are rice-floating tiller, hauling track, rice thresher, rice power tiller (rotavator), and hand tractor.

Agri land conversion largest in Davao City


THE Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)-Davao records show that Davao City has the largest agricultural land converted into industrial-commercial spaces in Davao Region in 2017.

PSA-Davao supervising statistical specialist Ma. Leah Magracia said Davao city accounted a total of 42.66 percent of agricultural land conversion equating to a total of 4,224.31 hectares.

Magracia added that data shows the total percentage of Davao region’s agricultural land conversion. Compostela Valley has 26.96 percent of their land converted followed by Davao del Norte with 11.75 percent, Davao Oriental with 9.07 percent, Davao del Sur with 7.89 percent, while Davao Occidental had the least agricultural land conversion with only 1.67 percent.

“This data is the compilation of research done by PSA on a local level which we call as the Barangay Agricultural Profiling Survey (BAPS),” Magracia said during the closing program of the celebration of the National Statistics Month last October 29, 2018.

Magracia underscored the importance of this data in showing the current status of the agricultural sector especially in Davao region.

“Lahat naman tayo kumakain kaya mahalaga na alam natin ang kalagayan ng sector ng ating agriculture (We all eat that’s why it is important to know the situation of our agriculture),” Magracia said.

Magracia added the current situation of the land conversion of agricultural spaces must also help inform Dabawenyos on where the agricultural sector is heading to amidst urban development.

In the data shown by PSA, 53 percent of the agricultural land being converted turns into industrial and commercial spaces. Around 34 percent of this turns into residential areas like subdivisions and condominiums. Only 13 percent of the land is converted to institutions like the academe and memorial parks.

PSA records 42-M tourists in 2017


THE Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)-Davao has already recorded over 42 million domestic travelers in the country, a sign of a developing tourism industry, a government statistician said.

Rosendo Aya-ay, PSA-Davao chief statistical operation and coordination division, underscored the importance of the tourism sector in contributing to the national progress of the Philippine economy.

Records from the Philippine Tourism Satellite Accounts (PTSA) show that for 2017, tourism industries contributed 12.2 percent to the total economy of the country.

PTSA also shows the inbound tourism expenditure grew by 43.9 percent in 2017, generating to an amount of P448.6 billion from P311.7 billion in 2016.

“As for the domestic tourism expenditure, it grew by 25.5 percent, from P2,108.2 billion in 2016 to P2,644.8 billion in 2017,” Aya-ay said.

The chief statistician added out of the 42 million domestic travelers from the 2016 Household Survey on Domestic Visitors, there is a 93 male tourist:100 female tourist ratio.

In terms of age, 28 percent of the recorded domestic tourist population accounts for travelers aging from 15 to 24 years old. About 70 percent of the recorded population graduated high school.

Aya-ay said that these data will help in informing future plans for the Department of Tourism (DOT).

DOT chief tourism officer Judy Colaljo said during the event that the statistics provided must be a platform in promoting a sustainable tourism industry in the development of the country.

“We must use statistics in the progress of our country and maintain the heritage in proving that is really more fun in the Philippines,” Colaljo said.

Better China-Davao relations


WITH the inauguration of the Chinese consulate office in Davao City, more business developments and partnerships will be made between Davao City and China, a foreign minister said.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said having the Chinese consulate in Davao City will be a good platform in increasing economic activities in southern Philippines.

“Setting up a consular general in Davao reflects the deepening friendship between China and the Philippines, and serves the all-round roles of our cooperation. Our two countries have been friendly neighbors in millennia,” Wang Yi said during the inauguration ceremony.

Wang Yi added developments in the agricultural sector between China and Davao will continue with the opening of the consulate office.

“Davao accounts for 40 percent of China’s tropical fruit imports from the Philippines,” Wang Yi added.

The Chinese foreign minister also said Davao City will be entering business ventures with China.

“Davao has a partnership with Nanning, capital of China’s Guangxi province. In (Davao City) Mayor Sara’s (Duterte) visit to China next month, a partnership agreement will be signed between Davao and Jinjiang cities, a new friend and partner of Davao in China,” Wang Yi said.

“We are not just opening a consulate general but also demonstrating our strong cooperation between China and the Philippines. Let us work together in the spirit of bayanihan, take bilateral relations to new heights, and deliver great benefits for our two people,” Wang Yi added.

Davao City Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag said in his speech during the inauguration that this Chinese consulate in Davao will help boost economic development and progress for both Davao city and China.

BI installs E-Gates at Davao airport

(SunStar Davao)

TO FACILITATE processing of the arrival clearance for Filipino passengers at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport (FBIA), the Bureau of Immigration (BI) launched the E-Gates on Wednesday, October 31.

BI FBIA terminal headquarter supervisor Eric Fernandez said the FBIA is the second airport in the Philippines to have E-Gates after the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

This also makes Davao City the first in Mindanao to have two E-Gates in serving the Filipino passengers.

“Ginagawa rin natin ito as we expect the peak season of the arrival of Filipino passengers galing international flights para mabilis ang pag-clear dun sa passport,” Fernandez said.

(We are doing this as we expect Filipino arrivals to peak. This aims to fast-track the clearance of their passports.)

“So instead na mag-pass sila with the stamps sa mga personnel namin sa Bureau of Immigration, yung automated process will give a sticker dun sa passports pagdating nila sa Davao (So instead of them passing with the stamps from our personnel at the Bureau of Immigration, the automated process will give a sticker on the passports as they arrive in Davao),” Christine H. Tavarro, Immigration officer, said in an interview.

Fernandez said the newly launched E-Gates will streamline the arrival clearing processes for the passengers.

“From the 45-second transaction they have with the immigration officers, the E-Gates will only give Filipino passengers eight to ten seconds in transacting,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez added the E-Gates will serve only Filipino passengers for now.

Cathay Dragon links Davao, Hong Kong


THE Davao-Hongkong direct flight is eyed to increase more tourists in Davao city, a Chinese foreign minister said.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi underscored the large opportunity which the direct flight of Davao to Hongkong will open in terms of benefitting the current economic progress of Davao city.

“I believe more Chinese visitors will come to Davao to enhance the friendship between our two people and contribute to the development of the city and the Southern Philippines,” Wang Yi said on Sunday, October 29, 2018 during the inauguration of the Chinese Consulate office in Davao City.

Wang Yi added the direct flight will also help inform Chinese tourists about the renowned safety which Davao City prides itself.

The direct flight was launched by Cathay Pacific Group on October 28, 2018 at the Davao International Airport. This is also Cathay’s first nonstop flight launching in Davao city.

Under the Cathay Pacific Group regional airline, Cathay Dragon, the airline has introduced a four-time weekly service from Hong Kong to Davao City and vice versa.

With the new flight service, the direct flight provides customers from Mindanao, specifically Davao Region more options in connecting through Cathay’s hub to over 200 destinations around the world.

"We are happy to extend Cathay’s signature airline experience to people from Davao and the rest of Mindanao. We hope that this route makes it easier for more people from around the world to discover the beauty, history and potential of Mindanao,” Cathay Pacific chief customer and commercial officer Paul Loo said in a statement.

The flight schedules for the Hong Kong Davao City (DVO) service from October 28, 2018 are as follows: Flight KA347 HKG-DVO 1235/1550 and KA348 DVO-HKG 1650/2000 are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

The average airfare for flights to Hong Kong are at $168 or around P9,000.

Davao City, developers ink deal for socialized housing

By Funny Pearl Gajunera (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The local government and two real-estate firms here Friday signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the development of 20 hectares of land for socialized housing.

Under the agreement, Mayor Inday Sara Z. Duterte said SM Development Corp. (SMDC) will develop 15 hectares in Barangay Lasang while Camella Communities, through its affiliate Vista Land, will develop the remaining five hectares.

“We thank Camella Communities Philippines and SMDC for working with us in the city government and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) for the land development of the city government property in Lasang," Mayor Sara said.

The project, she said, is part of the city government's compliance with the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992, requiring developers to develop an area for socialized housing. It will include roads, drainage, and other facilities with ready provision for electricity and water.

The entire development will amount to nearly PHP500 million, with Camella shouldering more than PHP130 million and SMDC shelling out PHP322.4 million.

Mayor Sara said localized housing remains one of her top priorities to give irregular settlers decent homes.

“Housing is a top priority for the city government, and during my State of the City Address earlier this month, I announced that discussions are underway to develop our property in Lasang to make it suitable for housing purposes,” she said.

“With today’s signing, we make good on our promise as we officially seal our agreement on the land development, including the development of open spaces, roads, drainage, and other facilities, of said property," she added.

After the land development in the area, the construction of the housing units will follow - to be undertaken by the National Housing Authority.

Oil depot eyed in Mindanao


WITH the rich oil resources in Mindanao, an oil depot and refinery is eyed to be constructed in the island, an official said.

Department of Energy (DOE)-Energy and Planning Bureau officer Michael O. Sinocruz underscored the importance of utilizing rich oil resources in Mindanao to help address the current energy issue in the country.

“We actually saw that there is a rich oil deposit in Mindanao and this can be used for future energy security),” Sinocruz said in an interview on Thursday, October 25, during the Mindanao Energy Plan 2018 public consultation at The Royal Mandaya Hotel, Davao City.

Based from Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) reports, Polloc Port in Parang, Maguindanao has been drawing interests from potential local and foreign investors as possible site for the oil depot and refinery.

“But the oil companies will have the last say on where the oil depot will be constructed,” Sinocruz said.

The energy officer added DOE, as a government agency, will only serve as medium in endorsing the approval of the oil depot brought upon by the high oil demand in the market.

Sinocruz said so far, no private oil company has committed their interest in pursuing any investments with the energy department.

“That’s why with the help of Minda, this idea must be promoted in order to invite business players along the way,” Sinocruz said.

‘Kalayaan Homes’ soon in Lasang


VISTA Land and Lifescapes and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) signed a memorandum of agreement Friday, October 26, with the city government of Davao for the Davao Balai Program “Kalayaan Homes” in Barangay Lasang.

Household Development Corporation Vice President Cecilia A. Ramilo underscored the importance of the signing of the memorandum to fulfill the vision of Vista Land in serving Filipino communities in Mindanao.

“On behalf of Vista Land and its subsidiaries, we would like to thank our good city mayor of Davao in giving us the opportunity to be part of this worthy cause for the benefit of the constituents of Davao,” Ramilo said in an interview.

The property covers around 4.7 hectares which Vista Land will help develop to hold more than 1,000 housing units.

Ramilo added the housing project is part of the bigger housing development still in Lasang covering 20 hectares.

“We are looking on partnering with a government housing agency for the housing development,” Ramilo said.

She also said the concern of the private development companies like Vista Land only covers land development.

“For our part we will commit to spend over P130 million for the land development works,” Ramilo said, adding that the construction will take 12 months.

She said a meeting will be held on Monday, October 29, to mobilize the plans in starting the land developments.

Davao City readies measures for Undas 2018

By Jecia Anne Opiana (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The chief of the Davao City Overland Transport Terminal (DCOTT) is ready for next week’s observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day when passengers rush to the provinces.

Aisa Usop, manager of the DCOTT, on Friday assured travelers of their safety and security at the terminal with the help of Task Force Davao and the Davao City Police Office.

Usop said the passengers' welfare remains the priority during the two-day holiday when people return to their hometowns to visit the graves of their loved ones.

“Aside from our men in uniform stationed in the terminal, our walk-through machines and CCTV cameras are fully functional and are connected to the Public Safety and Security Command Center,” she said.

Usop said she expects an increase in passenger traffic by 40 percent next week.

“We get an average of 750 to 800 bus trips on a daily basis, while during our peak seasons, we reach up to 1,200 trips due to the increase in passengers,” she said.

Aside from security, the Land Transportation Office and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board 11 (Davao) will conduct inspections to ensure buses are safe to travel and documents such as franchise and drivers’ licenses are in order.

Usop also appealed to the public to be more patient and to cooperate with authorities.

“This is for the safety and security of us all,” she said.

Usop said that commuters are free to address complaints and comments with their administration division located inside the DCOTT.

Agriculture department promotes use of adlai


DEPARTMENT of Agriculture (DA)-Davao Research and Development Division launches their “Adlaw sa Patilaway” to promote use of adlai crop and other indigenous crops as a sustainable source of livelihood.

Anecita Telebangco, senior science research specialist of DA-Davao, said the food exhibition is a product of the research and development and a way to concretize the gathered information from their studies.

“Kani siya way pud para makita ang epekto sa mga nahimo nga research sa atong mga crops (This is a way for us to also see the effects of the research we have made on crops),” Telebangco said in an interview during the 2018 Stakeholder’s Technology Forum and Food Exhibit at Manambulan, Tugbok, Davao City.

Telebangco said in this way local indigenous crops can be promoted and hopefully can reach a market once more farmers will venture in planting and innovating products from the crops.

“We are hopeful pud unta na pagdugay kaning mga produkto sa food exhbit kay makakita ug mga business partners arun mas matabangan pa ang mga locals og farmers sa pag tanom (We are hopeful that in the long run the products in the food exhibit can find business partners so that we can also help locals and farmers in planting),” Telebangco said.

One of the indigenous crops used in the food exhibition is adlai. The adlai, which grows in different parts of the country, is a good alternative for rice and one of the major raw materials in making handicrafts like rosary beads.

Other indigenous crops used in the food exhibition are apali, an indigenous tubercrop; soybean, a legume rich in protein; and breadfruit a crop from Davao Oriental and Davao Occidental.

Auxiliaries to get P10,000 allowance


THE Volunteer Police Auxiliary (VPA) under the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) will receive bigger allowance of P10,000 starting December this year, an official said.

DCPO spokesperson Police Senior Inspector Ma. Teresita Gaspan said during the AFP-PNP press forum on Wednesday, October 24, at The Royal Mandaya Hotel that Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio pledged to increase the allowance of the VPAs by P4,000 from their P6,000 current allowance.

“Napakalaking tulong po ng Police Auxiliary sa atin especially sa Davao City Police Office (DCPO),” Gaspan said.

VPA is part of the Oplan Integrated Revitalized Operation of Neighborhood-Watch for the Mega City (Iron City) program of DCPO launched last year. It is an upgraded integrated police patrol system aimed at making the city safer. This program further enhances police visibility which is a major factor in deterring crimes.

The volunteers' efforts were recognized as one of the factors in the crime rate reduction in the city. There were more than 900 VPAs who were deployed in different barangays in Davao City as force multipliers to assist the police in maintaining peace and order.

However, Gaspan said that they would still conduct screening among the VPAs for those who are qualified based on their performance.

Only those who reached one year could avail the additional pay while those who were just starting will received the same monthly allowance.

City seeks homes for Dabawenyos


THE City Government of Davao is planning to partner with known property developers in providing suitable housing for the homeless families in the city.

As the city recorded a total of 29,000 homeless families and those who are living in disaster prone areas, Councilor Rene Lopez said that there is a need for decent housing which was being tackled in his committee.

Lopez said the city will have a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Camella properties and the SM Development Corporation (SMDC), still to be signed by City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

“The city has seen fit that this (MOA) will be the answer to the housing problem in the city,” Lopez said, adding that this plan will take time to be realized.

He further said that both the SMDC and Camella agreed to develop the land areas only. House construction, however, will be a separate project.

The identified beneficiaries are those families that are homeless, living in disaster-prone areas or even those families that are at risk to be kicked-out by landowners.

“The SMDC will undertake 14.5 hectares, and Camella communities which is comprised by six other developers, will undertake land development for about 6.7 hectares,” Lopez said, adding that with a total of more than 20 hectares for land development, the city will be able to provide suitable housing for the Dabawenyos who needed it most.

“This is in coordination with the National Housing Administration who will undertake the construction and awarding of the lands to qualified beneficiaries,” he said.

Cacao leaves used in furnishings


WHO says cacao is only for satisfying sweet buds and craving appetites?

Artist and entrepreneur Telesforo Zosa Jr. saw great potential in fusing artwork and home furnishings through cacao leaves.

His business Teles Creations introduces Dabawenyos to cacao leaves as raw material for lamps.

“It was an experiment on how to help introduce Davao City on cacao products aside from the known chocolates, tablea, and bean-based products,” Zosa said in an interview during the Philippine Cacao and Chocolate Festival on October 18, 2018 at the Davao Convention Center.

He said the idea started from the suggestion of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI 11) Assistant Regional Director Edwin O. Banquerigo.

“I was asked by sir Edwin kung possible bang magawan ng paaraan to innovate on the cacao product that’s why tiningnan ko yung possibility on focusing on the leaves instead (I was asked by sir Edwin if it would be possible to innovate on cacao products; that is why I looked at the possibility of focusing on the leaves instead),” Zosa said.

Zosa added this would be a game changer for the cacao industry. Though he admitted that he did not know where to start when it came to the cacao leaves, it was not a reason for him to stop developing a product.

“Ang ginawa ko nagresearch ako nang maigi. Kasi one of the major problems ko ay kung paano i-fossilize ang dahon. I tried watching videos para matingnan kung ano rin ang ginagawa ng mga artist hanggang sa I found the right way to fossilize it (I did my research on it. One of my major problems was on how to fossilize the leaves. I tried watching videos to see how other artists are also doing it until I found the right way to fossilize it),” Zosa added.

He also said his Teles Lamps keeping leaves from being wasted when farmers decide to trim cacaos.

The lamps are hand-made while the lamp stands are molded from clay. Zosa said the designs of the lamps are inspired from the forest trees, radiating a sense of serenity from the environment.

A lamp is sold for P5,000.

Singaporean, Malaysian investors to send business missions to Davao City

By Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – Singaporean and Malaysian businessmen will visit Davao City next year to explore opportunities for investments in Mindanao positioned as a Muslim friendly destination in the country, an official of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said.

MinDA public relations officer Dr. Adrian Tamayo said the potential investors will reciprocate the initiatives of 24-man delegation from Mindanao which visited Singapore and Kuala Lumpur last September 24 to 29.

“We need to prepare our industries for return missions and make our industries and local establishments be ready for potential investments,” he said.

There must be better infrastructure, more interconnectivity, and more halal-accredited hotels and restaurants, to convince foreign investors to do business in Mindanao, he said.

“If you want them to come and come again, we have to transfer them with ease and comfort. One concern raised by the Malaysians was that, are we ready with our Halal establishments. We are saying therefore hopefully this will convert into investments on the part of Muslims to develop halal restaurants,” he said.

He said the five-day business missions were conducted to “create an impression that there is a good number of passengers,” to sustain operations of airline companies servicing the Davao-Malaysia-Davao and Davao-Singapore-Davao air routes.

The existing international flights through the F. Bangoy International airport are being serviced by Silk Air (Singapore) and AirAsia (Kuala Lumpur).

He said potential investors will be coming over to Mindanao to look for investment opportunities in agriculture and tourism. During the return visits next year, he said they will pitch to Signaporean and Malaysian investors the available economic zones, products, and services in Mindanao.

Also, Tamayo said a Singaporean logistics firm is willing to invest P40 billion to bring durian, banana, and other fruits from Mindanao, following a huge demand from their local markets.

“They demand really our durian, also our bananas. The volume of supply of our fruits in Singapore is limited when it reaches the market. Part of the discussion next year is how to do things right, how to increase volume of our fruits to Singapore,” he said.

The five-day missions to Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur were participated in by representatives from MinDA, City Government of Davao, Department of Tourism 11, Philippine Chamber of Commerce Inc., and Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority.

Chocolate Festival opens in Davao

By Digna D. Banzon (PNA)

DAVAO CITY--It's a chocolatey weekend in the city after local cacao growers, processors and artisans opened the 5th Chocolate Festival at SM City Annex on Friday.

The festival, which runs from October 19 to 21, serves as a venue for cacao growers and chocolate processors to showcase and promote their products.

This year's festival features 16 exhibitors: the Yolks Flower Cafe & Cupcakery, Bukidnon Milk Company, Gabriela's Homemade Pastries & Confection, Sugar Panda, Milky Cakes & Sweets, Sweet Moments by Kris, Racoma Chocolate Far, Malagos Chocolate, Sweets of Tirzah, Sweet & Savoury, MS3 Agri-Ventures Corporation, ChocoLoco, Coco Dolce, Cacao Davao and two others under the Cacao Industry Development Association of Mindanao, Inc. (CIDAMI).

One of the exhibitors, Krispy Tawaran of Sweet Moments by Kris, is a former environment specialist assigned in Marawi.

Tawaran said she pursued her baking hobby after polishing her skills in pastry-making with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Davao City. She then ventured into producing pastries, mostly chocolate base with the raw materials accessed from local cacao producers.

Tawaran delivers her products to schools and hospital canteens and accepts orders through social media. She also regularly joins exhibits and trade fairs.

SM mall manager Maria Lynette Lopez said the festival "is our way of showcasing the region's best chocolates with innovative exhibitors offering not only insta-worthy treat but also those which take one a joyful chocolate experience."

"This is our way of supporting local producers (and) processors, as well as entrepreneurs and see the industry develop as they continuously push its potential," Lopez added.

Farm tourism to secure food


DAVAO Region Farm Tourism Association (DAFTA) president Valente D. Turtur said farm tourism is a good medium in ensuring food security in the country at the same time empowering provinces to preserve large hectares of land.

“Through farm tourism nakakabenifit rin tayo na masiguro na hindi mawala ang mga farms natin dahil may farm tourism (Through farm tourism we can also benefit from it as it ensures that our farms will remain because of this form of tourism),” Turtur said on Thursday, October 18, during the first Regional Farm Tourism Convergence 2018 at Davao Convention Center, Davao City.

Turtur added farm tourism also contributes in helping sustain the environment by keeping plants and agricultural produce in their natural habitat in the highlands or in the provinces.

“Ang mga probinsya natin talaga ang magiging susi rin natin sa kaunlaran lalo sa pagsiguro sa kung ano ang makakain rin natin (Our provinces is really the key toward our progress especially in securing what we are going to eat),” Turtur said.

He also said introducing farm tourism does not only end by just merely speaking to farm owners and tell them to innovate their landscapes.

“Dapat sinasali rin natin sila sa mga seminars and rigourous orientation by the Department of Tourism and Department of Agriculture para sure tayo sa patutunguhan ng mga farms natin (We must also include them in seminars and rigorous orientation by DOT and DA for us to be sure where our farms are heading to),” Turtur added.

City's ranking up as outsourcing destination


DAVAO City ranked ten places higher as one of the top outsourcing destinations in the world, beating its 85th spot from last year’s list based on Tholons Services Globalization Index.

Samuel Matunog, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Davao president, underscored the importance of the increase ranking state of Davao City amidst the implementation of martial law in Mindanao.

“It’s a very good development for the city, and a very good result for us in the technology and communications industry,” Matunog said on Wednesday October 17, at Habi at Kape, Abreeza Mall, Davao City.

Matunog said the improvement in the ranking is attributed with the city’s continued development in the digital market.

“We improved because they learned that there are really many things that we are doing in terms of improving digital transformation and our start-up ecosystem,” Matunog said.

“The start-up ecosystem and digital transformation is a new part in the category of scoring the cities, and it contributed 20 percent to the total score,” Matunog added.

The ICT president also said the upcoming innovation summit on October 20 to 22 at Marco Polo Hotel will further empower the ICT developments in the city and for the country.

Matunog said keynote speakers will be talking about technology-enabled social enterprises through e-commerce platforms; developments on accessing health services through e-health; and turbocharging the digital superhighway.

“With all these things converging developments in Davao through big projects, we hope to attract more locators, provide more workers, employment opportunities, and of course, market locally-developed technology products,” Matunog said.

Davao, Hungary boost ties


DAVAO City entrepreneur Mary Ann Montemayor was recently commissioned as Hungary's honorary consul to Mindanao boosting its ties with Davao City.

"The decision of Hungary to open an honorary consulate in Mindanao is a welcome development and acknowledgement of the dynamic economy and vital role our city plays in various cooperation pacts signed by the two countries," Montemayor said on Friday, October 12, during her induction as Hungary's honorary consul to Mindanao at Verdon Parc.

Montemayor said the expanding relationship with Hungary will provide Davao City valuable opportunities in deepening the economic engagements of Hungary in the country.

"I look forward to nurturing relations in the field of trade, tourism, investment, and support Hungarian citizens in the region," she said.

Davao City mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio, in a message delivered by assistant city administrator lawyer Tristan Dwight Domingo, said Hungary's expansion of its consular coverage in Davao will allow them to share their practices to the Filipinos here.

"Through mutually beneficial cooperations, I am optimistic that it will take the city to greater sustainable development," Duterte-Carpio said.

Montemayor said, "We look forward to exciting times in strengthening ties facilitating trade and investment."

Taiwanese investors eye farming venture in Davao

By Digna D. Banzon (PNA)

DAVAO CITY — Taiwanese investors are interested in a joint venture with farm producers in Davao, particularly on grains and food processing industry.

Mindanao Business Council (MinBC) executive director Rolando Torres said a possible joint venture will be discussed during the Taiwan Trade and Investment Delegation Meeting 2018 on October 19 at the Apo View Hotel, this city.

Torres is positive that Taiwanese traders will find partners during the business matching and product exhibition.

He said 15 participating companies spearheaded by Taiwan Trade Center-Manila (TAITRA) are participating in the exhibition where industry products will be showcased.

He said the investors are interested in a partnership with local businessmen engaged in large-scale to small agri products.

The local farmers will be represented through the cooperatives, he added.

Torres said the joint venture could include sharing of production technology through equipment and types of machinery.

"We encourage the local players to take advantage of what these Taiwanese investors could offer," he said. He said when this joint venture is materialized, it would boost the farming industry and increase productivity geared towards high-level of food security.

Torres said the investors are also exploring businesses on organic edible products.

"Although it is still exploratory we expect that these prospective investors have done their homework and realize the potential of Mindanao," he said.

DTI-11 holds summit for young entrepreneurs

By Jennifer Mendoza

DAVAO CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-11 is holding the Davao Youth Entrepreneurship Summit or Davao YES! 2018 on Sept. 28, aimed at promoting entrepreneurship as a career option for the youth.

The one-day summit will gather 150 participants composed of young entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship and business students, senior high school students, indigenous youth and persons with disability (PWD) youth from all over the region.

DTI-11 Director Maria Belenda Ambi said topics on entrepreneurial mind-setting and business opportunities in social, green and digital entrepreneurship will be discussed.

Ambi said successful young entrepreneurs like Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm head of social enterprise development Leonard Dungca and head of training and development Louis Faure will be among the resource persons.

"It is organized to promote and foster an entrepreneurial spirit and mindset among our young people,” she said.

“The involvement of youth in entrepreneurship is significant because they are considered to be catalysts of change and progress. They are also excellent champions of creativity, innovation and fresh thinking," she added.

Ambi noted that the country's median age is 23 years old.

“This means that the outlook for the country is really positive especially if we can properly train and educate these young people. We are hopeful that we can develop more entrepreneurs from this sector,” she said.

DPWH to complete 1st segment of Davao coastal road this year

By Digna D. Banzon (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is on track to complete the first of the five segments of the city’s PHP19.8-billion Davao Coastal Road project this year.

Dean Ortiz, spokesperson of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-11, said the first segment started in 2017 and covers 1.682 kilometers, costing PHP1.96 billion.

As of August 2018, the segment is 89.73 percent complete; 87.04 percent for segment 2; 91.2 percent for segment 3; and, 93.35 percent for packages 4 and 5. The coastal road project is one of the three initiatives under the agency's Davao High Standard Highway Network.

The project complements the Davao City By-Pass Road and Davao City Expressway. Segment A starts from the junction of Bago Aplaya (in the south) to Matina Aplaya; segment B Matina Aplaya in Times Beach to Roxas Avenue, segment C from Roxas Avenue to Sta. Ana Avenue and segment D towards R. Castillo (in the north).

Project implementation is set to be completed by 2021.

Ortiz said DPWH is also constructing two bailey bridges downstream the Talomo River to connect the completed segment of the coastal road. This will be used as an alternate route when they will commence the repair of the Talomo Bridge 2 while the Talomo Bridge 1 and 2 will be expanded to a 6 lane-bridge in 2019. Part of the project is the esplanade along Gulf View.

"We develop this coastal road project to divert traffic because right now we only have one major road system -- the Davao-Cotabato road with two arterial routes going to McArthur Highway and the Diversion, which is not enough in a growing city like Davao," he said.

He said the coastal road will provide more access so that people who do not have business transactions in the city center could use the coastal road going through their destination.

Davao City gov't uses e-signature for paperless system

By Funny Pearl Gajunera (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The administration of Mayor Sara Duterte is trailblazing in the paperless system as she uses electronic signature starting off with administrative documents for city government employees.

The e-signature aims to slowly convert the entire city government into a paperless system for an eco-friendly environment by 2019, Mayor Sara said on Monday.

Mayor Sara said the initiative was the brainchild of the City Archive Division, as it sought for way to lessen the voluminous number of papers per offices waiting for the signature of the department heads.

“The e-signature is very environment-friendly and it gives more security since we are the only one who can affix our signatures and our passwords as well,” the mayor said.

With the establishment of the e-signature system, documents will now be transacted from one office to another through the use of email even if the transaction involves national offices.

“We can still use the e-signature system even if the transaction is between our office and the national offices because it has an email option,” Sara said.

The documents containing e-signatures can also be used in court as a certified true copy when the judiciary asked for it.

The mayor hopes that through the initiative of the city government, other cities and municipalities will adopt the system eventually to help save the environment.

“I am very happy with the initiative of our archive division to push for technology and innovation in our city government processes, and hopefully when we are done and it is ready to roll out to be used by the city government, it will be a source of benchmarking for other LGUs as well,” she said.

The paperless system was one of the agenda highlighted by the mayor during her 2017 State of the City Address.

Organic farming, farm tourism eyed this year


THE City Government of Davao will push organic farming and farm tourism this year.

During the Pulong-PulongniPulong (PPP) last Tuesday, September 18, Councilor Marissa Abella said that she has always been into organic farming and that her committee is now eyeing areas to be developed for such.

“Actually, atong Department of Tourism (DOT), they are pushing for farm tourism,” Abella said, adding that they will have to start from small farms to develop a product.

“We don’t just tell the farmers to plant but help them access market especially if the products developed are good,” she said.

She said that she was inspired by the way Hawaii has preserved its agricultural industry and practices, especially the coffee farm, when she went there as one of the delegates along with Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio last September 10.

“It is a coffee farm where tourists have been visiting,” Abella said, adding that the 12,000-hectare farm has more than 340,000 visitors in a year and earns $5 million per year.

“Hawaii is not only for the plantation but also for farm tourism,” Abella said.

It is possible for the city to learn from the “best” practices of Hawaii in terms of agriculture as the city has a wide agricultural land.

“So we’ve seen areas like Paquibato, that there are elevation na good for Arabic coffee,” Abella said, adding that it will help the Indigenous Peoples as they own ancestral lands.

DPWH allocates P126-B for Mindanao infra projects

By Digna D. Banzon (PNA)

DAVAO CITY – Mindanao's infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build Program is getting a boost from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with funds amounting to PHP126.86 billion.

This was according to DPWH Planning Service Director Constante Llanes, who spoke Thursday at the Food Security and Infrastructure Conference in the ongoing Davao Trade Expo at SMX Convention Center here.

Llanes pointed out that infra-projects, such as road construction and improvement, would boost the delivery of basic services, ensure food security, and help the government's educational programs in the countryside.

Llanes said the projects are included in the Mindanao Road Development Network Program, covering 2,600.67 kilometers and connects the Zamboanga Peninsula, Southern Mindanao, Central Mindanao and Caraga Regions.

The projects include the road network development project in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao connecting the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to other regions, covering 150 kilometers including 40 bridges with a project cost of PHP24 billion scheduled in 2019 to 2025.

Llanes said the Reconstruction and Development Plan for a Greater Marawi is getting PHP8.29B. This covers 19.8 kilometers ring road, rehabilitation and development of 12.05 km trans-central road links; constructions of schools, hospitals, public markets and house of workshop; water supply system; and the construction of the Malabang Viaduct.

DPWH will also be undertaking projects under the Traffic Decongestion Program, where under the High Standard Highway Network Development Masterplan, has an allocation of PHP119.7 billion in 2018, an increase from 2017’s PHP113.1 billion.

Part of this program, Llanes said, is the Davao High Standard Highway Network, an expressway, by-pass road with a 2.3-kilometer tunnel and coastal road, with a total length of 86.11 kilometers funded at a total cost of PHP65.29 billion.

The Integrated and Seamless Transport System, under which the Mindanao Infrastructure Logistics Network or MLIN will construct/improve roads leading to growth corridors in Western Mindanao; Study and implement Inter-Island Linkage projects; Connect gaps along national roads; and construct/replace bridges. It has been allocated a funding of PHP101.5 billion in 2018.

Also allocated PHP19.8 billion this year are projects under the Convergence and Rural Road Development Program, which includes the construction and upgrading of local access roads to designated tourism destinations, RORO ports/seaports/airports; and construction of roads leading to industries, and trade corridors.

Some PHP165 billion are also set aside for the development of livable, sustainable and resilient communities under the Integrated Water Resources Management Program, as well as for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, and infrastructure for the marginalized sectors.

Llanes said projects that are ongoing--or for implementation next year--include the DPWH flood control and drainage master plans and feasibility studies of 18 major river basins and critical principal rivers in Mindanao.

Llanes cited the Flood Risk Management Project in Cagayan de Oro with a project cost of PHP8.55 billion. It is JICA-assisted and will be built from April 2018 to April 2022.

Llanes said the Duterte administration's infrastructure plan and program are geared towards the building of more railways, urban mass transport, airports and seaports, more bridges and roads and establishing new and better cities.

Improved Sta. Ana Wharf to entice tourists


WITH the beautification of tSta. Wharf, more tourists are expected to be enticed in visiting the Davao city as a gateway to different tourist destinations in the region, a government official said.

“Yung pinakatumong naman jaan ay mapakaganda ang Sta. Wharf at may added na place na mapuntahan ang mga tao, lalo na ang lugar ang jump-off point ng ating island hopping dapat maganda ang itsura (The very goal is to beautify Sta. Wharf so that people can have an added place to go to, especially that the place is a jump-off point for island hopping),” Davao City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) head Generose Tecson said in an interview on Tuesday, September 18, at City Tourism Operations Office.

Tecson underscored the importance of cleanliness in ports like Sta. Wharf as this leaves an impression to tourists may it be foreign or local.

However, she said there are still some improvements that have yet to be done.

“As you can see hindi pa marami ang improvements muna kase nga inaantay pa natin ang pagturn over ng wharf sa city from Philippine Ports Authority(PPA) (If you go there there are improvements but not that many because we are still waiting for the wharf to be turned over to the city from PPA),” Tecson said.

She added the request for the turnover of the wharf was already drafted by the city mayor’s office, but PPA has not sent any reply.

“Even if gusto ni mayor (Sara Duterte-Carpio) na ayusin na yan para hindi binabaha, we cannot because the place is not ours yet (Even if the mayor wants to fix the wharf from flooding, we cannot because the place is not ours yet),” Tecson said.

Presently, there are three that were erected at the Sta. Wharf. Tecson said if the development continues these tents will turn into a waiting area for tourists and visitors.

Davao City gears up for int'l investment, tourism roadshow

By Digna Banzon and Armando Fenequito, Jr. (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The city government is gearing up for the upcoming Investment and Tourism Roadshow in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore on September 24 to 29, touted as a venue to promote the investment opportunities and tourism activities of this city to the international market.

Davao City Investment Promotion Center (DCIPC) chief Lemuel G. Ortonio said the city’s participation also aims to establish linkage with the Philippine embassies in the two countries and work with their respective trade and tourism attachés in promoting Davao City.

Ortonio said a total of 24 delegates from the City Government of Davao, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), Department of Tourism (DOT)-11, and representatives from the private sector will be attending the roadshow.

The Davao delegation will be led by City Administrator Atty. Zuleika Lopez --representing Mayor Inday Sara Duterte -- and Councilors Al Ryan Alejandre and Jimmy Dureza.

Ortonio said the roadshow was organized to also support the existing direct flights that Davao City has with Singapore (via Silk Air) and Kuala Lumpur (via Air Asia).

"Singapore was visited by the City Government (officials) in 2012. This is a follow-through activity," he said.

Ortonio said it will also be an opportunity to learn the halal industry and tourism practices in Kuala Lumpur.

The delegation will also participate in the Philippine Investment Forum in Kuala Lumpur, organized by the Philippine Embassy of Malaysia through the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC).

"The forum will focus on Mindanao," he said, adding that meetings with the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia, Jakim Malaysia, Halal Development Corporation, Islamic Tourism Centre, and various Malaysian Tour Operators will also take place.

The Singapore leg will focus on Investment and Tourism Forum through the assistance of PTIC Singapore and the Singapore Business Federation, the Philippine Embassy in Singapore, Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and various tourism organizations.

Davao City hosts OCEAN Summit on Sept. 21

By Digna D. Banzon (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- Davao City will host an event that will gather "indipreneurs" or early-stage ventures for idea incubation on Friday, September 21, at the Radisson Hotel here.

Dubbed the Open Collaboration with East Asian Networks (OCEAN) Summit, the event involves lectures, pitching and panel engagements, and networking.

In a press release on Tuesday, organizers said the summit hopes to enable entrepreneurs as community "changemakers".

According to OCEAN founder and CEO of Amihan Global Strategies (AGS) Winston Damarillo, a Silicon Valley veteran, the term "indipreneurs" is used to highlight that fact that the entrepreneurs and enterprises under this category are independent and have the potential to scale up tremendously and shake up their sectors.

AGS is a technology and consulting firm that brings together globally-educated and homegrown professionals, leveraging expertise with local knowledge to transform how business is being done in the Philippines and ASEAN.

Damarillo said OCEAN aims to ignite the industry, policy and government support for the leading innovators in non-tech related sectors.

The workshop will feature talks that are intended to strengthen ventures, refine business fundamental knowledge, and create impact in six identified sectors -- creative economy, education, food, global Filipino engagement, healthcare, and tourism.

This series is held in line with the upcoming OCEAN Summit in Cebu in November, which will serve as "indipreneurs" platform to connect with key stakeholders.

As one of the instructors in the workshop, Damarillo will discuss "Kickstarting Your Ventures" alongside Richard Dacalos, who will handle "Masterclass in Pitching".

Global Shapers Hub curator and social entrepreneur Mitch Miclat will also share best practices of homegrown businesses and how these thrive through various innovations.

Damarillo said a panel engagement tackling the MSME Ecosystem will also take place with industry leader and social entrepreneur Jun Rloha(?).

Other panelists include Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-11 Business Development Division chief Ivy Uy, Malagos Farmhouse founder and cheese maker Olive Puentespina, and social enterprise Olivia and Diego founder Yana Santiago.

New irrigation tech in Date 2018


TO ADDRESS the pressing issues of climate change and the lack of water supply, efficient and proper irrigation technologies will be one of the discussion points in this year’s Davao Agri Trade Expo (Date).

Part of the Agribusiness Innovation Conference is to focus on new technologies like aquaponics, internet marketing and blockchain to finance future agribusiness ventures.

One of the international companies which will share their irrigation technology during the expo on September 20 to 22 at SMX, SM Lanang, Davao City is a micro-irrigation solutions innovator from Israel.

“And Israel is growing many crops despite the fact nga desyerto sila. So I’m sure nga ang expertise nila sa irrigation is something nga we can all learn from (And Israel is growing many crops despite the fact that they are a large desert. So I’m sure that their expertise of irrigation is something we can all learn from),” Date conference director and Davao Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. vice president John Carlo B. Tria said.

“We are hoping to produce this new technology and get our many agribusiness entrepreneurs interested in non-traditional growing methods,” he added during the Kapehan sa Dabaw on Monday, September 17, 2018 at SM City Davao.

Tria added in this way it will address the issues on climate change as this technology will create outputs that are sustainable both for the farmers and the environment.

Tria also added free technical seminars for Dabawenyos are also available for agricultural entrepreneurs and enthusiasts to learn more about natural farming, and other ways to improve agricultural produce.

ECC hikes funeral services benefits for workers


THE Employee's Compensation Commission (ECC) increased the funeral services benefits of workers in private and public sector from P20,000 to P30,000 and carer's allowance from P575 to P1,000 monthly for lifetime.

The increase is part of the wise spending strategy of the Commission’s P64-billion total fund as of 2017.

During the Connect press conference at the SM Lanang Premier on Friday, September 14, Albert Bantan, information officer of the ECC Unit 11, said that the increase was based on the Executive Order (EO) No. 33 for funeral services benefits and EO No. 54 for carer' allowance, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

"We have difficulty in spending because meron na tayong P65 billion as of last year's count," Bantan said, adding that it was because of ECC’s effective spending of the fund.

Bantan said that carer's allowance is a supplemental pension for those who suffered from permanent partial and permanent total disabilities.

In the case of injury, sickness, or death, the employee or his dependents should notify the employer within five days from the accident and claims may be filed by the beneficiary or his/her legal claimants at the SSS or GSIS.

"No matter how cautious the worker may be, anyone may get sick because of the hazard that we are exposed to," Bantan said.

He also said that ECC has the mission to help compensate the employer for work-related accidents and that the public should know that these programs exist.

International gateway


WITH the vast business opportunities for the tourism sector in Mindanao, Davao is eyed to be an international gateway, creating more accessible avenues to different parts of Mindanao, a top franchising officer said.

“I feel there must be an international gateway in Mindanao and I think Davao should be (it),” Philippine Franchise Association founding president and chairman emeritus Samie Lim said in an interview during the 27th Mindanao Business Conference on Thursday, September 13, at Big 8 Corporate Hotel, Tagum City.

Lim added the proposed new international gateway for Mindanao will also cater to the following factors: arrival where development of international airlines and cruiselines must be organized; access to road infrastructures which will generate more road networks and bridges to different destination in Mindanao; and accommodation which will entail development in the hotel sector of the island.

“We are trying to raise $20 billion investments for tourist destinations. And we hope Davao and Tagum will be part of these destinations,” Lim added.

This investment will also result into generating tourism enterprises employing 15 million Filipinos from the tourism destinations in the country.

In order to establish the international gateway, Lim said, provinces in Mindanao should also find out their own highlight to promote tourism in their place.

“Then after that, what is really the attraction of the place? In Davao it is very clear, from the islands to the highlands within 30 minutes. That’s why we are here to find out what is really the world-class tourist attraction,” Lim added.

Lim also said that investors for this plan can come from the cooperation between the private and public sector.

Tourism info kiosk at airport launched


TO HELP boost the economy of Davao City, the Tourism Information Center was launched on Friday, September 14, at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport.

"Very important ang tourism information counter kasi parang ito yung frontline mo for mga visitors natin especially those coming in by air," Generose Tecson, head of the City Tourism Operations Office, said during the event.

"They [visitors] get to ask about the services, sites and destinations in Davao City, so malaki yung impact niya sa economic, social, recreational stop we have here," she added.

The tourism information center was sponsored by the PLDT Smart and its launching was attended by PLDT Smart VisMin Regional Sales and Distribution head Hoyle Disuanco.

"Hindi lang po tayo nag-open ng tourism desk but we offer support," Disuanco said during the event, adding that they will commit to continue to support the city through partnership on programs for development.

Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag said there is a need for the private sector’s support in Davao City.

The desk will be opened starting Saturday, September 15, until 12 midnight daily.

Tecson said that they might invite on-the-job-training students to be trained to answer queries of tourists.

MTRCB holds Family and Child Summit in Davao City

By Rudolph Ian Alama

DAVAO CITY (PIA) — The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) held their 6th Family and Child Summit in Davao City at the Sedes Sapientiae Auditorium Holy Cross of Davao College, September 7.

About 600 junior high school, senior high school and college students from Davao City National High School, Holy Cross of Davao College, University of Mindanao and Ateneo de Davao University attended the summit which is centered on the theme ”Mindanao and its Place in Philippine Cinema History.”

MTRCB Chairperson Rachel Arenas attended the event together with several members of the board.

“This is the first time we are bringing the Family summit outside Metro Manila. We decided to bring the summit to Visayas and Mindanao, para po mabigyan halaga ang role ng mga taga Visayas and Mindanao sa paghubog ng ating Philippine Cinema,” (To give importance to the role of Visayans and Mindanaoans in the formation of our Philippine cinema) Arenas said.

“This is a continuation of MTRCB’s mission to explain what is the role of the MTRCB in the lives of Filipino families, the importance of our family, our parents in guiding their children on their activities including first and foremost when they are watching television and the movies. We should recognize the big impact of television and movies in the child’s formation,” MTRCB Board Member Atty Gaby Concepcion describes the importance of the summit.

The summit which was hosted by MTRCB board members singer Paolo Santos and internet celebrity Marco Antonio Ho aka Bogart the Explorer, featured lectures and discussions from renowned resource speakers in film and media.

The summit’s speakers include Ramon Bong Osorio, council member of the National Council for Children’s Television, film professor Roland Tolentino, award-winning regional filmmaker Arnel Barbarona and Mindanao Film Festival founder Dax Cañedo.

The open forum after the talks was moderated by MTRCB board member actor Dennis Baldivia (Dennis Padilla).

Israeli arms factory to set-up plant in PH

By Jun Ledesma (PNA)

DAVAO CITY – A leading arms manufacturer in Israel is set to put up a plant in the Philippines.

Rayo Illuminar Corp., (RIC) Chairman Salvador Zamora, in an interview Wednesday, said he expects Amos Golan of Israel’s Silver Shadow Advance Security Systems Ltd., (SSASS) to be in the Philippines this month to finalize their partnership with the end in view of starting the installations of vital apparatus of the manufacturing and assembly plant that will be operational by 2019.

SSASS and RIC had a series of exploratory meetings prior to President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent state visit, and are eyeing Limay, Bataan as among the identified prospective areas for the manufacturing plant.

The two companies entered into a Memorandum of Undertaking wherein the Israeli company committed to infuse an initial investment of USD50-million. SSASS and RIC will initially manufacture and assemble firearms and ammunitions with SSASS also committing to train and then employ at least 160 personnel.

During the President Duterte’s Israel visit, a ceremonial signing of Letter of Intent by SSASS and its ranking officials with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez were among the significant events held.

A demonstration of the firefight capability of varied types of firearms under the brand name Gilboa followed that was witnessed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

1st batch of Davao seniors enrolled to 'Pagkalinga' program

By Lilian C Mellejor (PNA)

DAVAO CITY – Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go enrolled the first batch of senior citizens to the “Pagkalinga sa Bayan” program in celebration of the National Grandparents Day on Sunday.

Go celebrated the Grandparents Day by treating the presidents of the Senior Citizens Associations to a dinner and distributed Malasakit Health Cards to 63 senior citizens.

Gabriel Carreon, 67, resident of this city's Poblacion district, took time to fill out the back of the health card with basic information. He currently gets a supply of vitamins from the city's health center, but he still needs to shell out funds from his own pocket for his other medicines.

Carreon has hypertension, and was recently diagnosed with a Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) which involves the enlargement of the prostate gland.

"Dako pasalamat gitakad gyud mi ni Secretary Bong Go ug sa Presidente. Dako kaayo ni tabang para sa amo nga mga senior parents labi na nagsalig lang ako sa akong SSS pension. Di gyud paigo (I really thank Secretary Bong Go and the President because they never neglected us. This is a big help to us senior parents, especially for me who rely only on my SSS pension. It's not enough)," he said.

The senior citizens, who were issued with the health cards, can avail PHP5,000 worth of medicines under the “Pagkalinga” program at any Malasakit Center, a one-stop shop that would assist them in their health concerns and medical expenses.

In Davao City, the Malasakit Center is located at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).

Go, President Rodrigo Duterte, and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte initiated the “Pagkalinga sa Bayan” program to help less fortunate Filipinos, especially the senior citizens cope with their maintenance medicines and other medical needs.

Go said President Duterte poured PHP50 million for the program in Davao City alone. Aside from the 20 percent discount and the VAT exemption senior citizens enjoy, Go said they are also entitled to other mandatory health coverage under PhilHealth and the "No Balance Billing Policy" in hospitals.

Go lauded the senior citizens for their role in building a strong foundation of Filipinos.

"Kung hindi sa kanila wala sana tayo dito kaya dapat lang na suklian natin ang kanilang serbisyo (It is just right to return their services because if not for them we will not be here)," Go said.

23 win medals in international math contest


A TOTAL of 23 mathletes from the Davao City team brought home awards from international mathematics competition from May to September this year.

During the flag ceremony at the City Hall on Monday, September 10, 2018, Ricky Ison, the coordinator of Mathematics Trainer’s Guild (MTG) Philippines, bared the names of the kids from different schools in Davao City who competed in Hongkong, China, Thailand, Jakarta and Singapore.

The most recent was the Hongkong International Mathematics Olympiad (HKIMO) 2018 held last September 1 with silver medallion winners Zuleika Lou Dalian, Mervin Dalian and Hanne Margaret Tongcua of Precious International School of Davao (PISD).

Nina Gianna Felix of PISD won bronze; Karol Josef and Simon Jover Acelar of Ateneo de Davao University (Addu) both copped silvers; Josephine Torreña of PISD got a bronze; Belissa Fracheska Te of Addu clinched gold; Chelsea Kristanna Tan of Davao Christian High School salvaged a bronze, Cassidy Kyler Tan with a silver; Mary Grace Espino of Philippine Science High School- Southern Mindanao campus captured a gold as Clarissa Lois Dalian pocketed a bronze.

“On behalf of Mayor Sara, and from all of us, thank you for studying your lessons very well and for making your parents proud and most importantly, thank you for making Davao City a champion in the field of mathematics,” city administrator lawyer Zuleika Lopez said.

Some 28 countries participated in the recent event.

Meanwhile, Ison said that the kids who are still in Grade 1 to 8 are not deprived of their childhood even with intense Math training.

“Actually, they are still kids. They still play. But of course, there are strengths that we have to hone more in them,” he said.

Appreciating various coffee flavors


A COFFEE tasting and bean quality grading for coffee enthusiasts and farmers in the coffee industry will be held during the upcoming Davao Agri-Trade Expo (DATE) on September 22 at the SMX Convention Center, Davao City.

Coffee for Peace president and chief executive officer Joji Pantoja said there is a growing number of coffee bean growers and Dabawenyo coffee enthusiasts in the city.

Hence, the need for them to better understand the complexities of coffee flavors and how these are achieved.

“The reason why we introduced this coffee tasting for the public is to make them aware that coffee has different taste profiles, so we have varieties of coffee here in Davao city and each of which would give a different taste profile, may it be chocolatey, nutty, or even light,” Pantoja said during a media forum on Wednesday, September 5, 2018, at Habi at Kape in Abreeza Mall, Davao City.

Pantoja said most Dabawenyos might not be that adept in distinguishing different flavors of coffee.

She also said the importance of this awareness would also be a good reflection of how Filipinos, especially Dabawenyos, have adapted in recognizing the coffee as just a bitter drink.

“If you are not aware with your senses when you drink coffee, then you would just say ‘oh it tastes just like coffee’. But when you make yourself aware of the different senses, then you can identify the different taste profile that this coffee you are drinking would give,” Pantoja said.

She added this coffee tasting will be open to the public and would be less restricted unlike the coffee cupping event.

“So we will make it more fun, in a sense that it would be timed for the people who will participate, and we will only receive 15 people to do this contest,” Pantoja said.

For the 15 participants in the said event, they would be given four minutes to identify which coffee has the odd taste.

“So the people who would be preparing coffee would mark the coffee, so once the odd one is identified, then the participant wins,” Pantoja said.

She also added in this way this would give education not only to the consumers but also to the consumers in creating a good coffee flavored mix.

“So there would also be one roaster who will roast the coffee the producers have given” Pantoja said.

Pantoja encouraged coffee bean farmers and enthusiasts to take part in the said event.

Developer set to enhance Davao City skyline

By Din M. Villafuerte (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Avida Land Corp. launched its second residential project, Avida Towers Abreeza to cater to value-conscious young professionals with a busy lifestyle that imbibes the progressive growth of Davao City.

As the premier city of Davao Region, Davao City has since been tagged as an attractive business and investment hub of Mindanao.

The largest city in the Philippines is also one of the biggest local economies in the country and named as a Next Wave BPO (business process outsourcing) City.

And Davao City offers so much more than urban living convenience. Scenic parks, orchid farms and fruit plantations, lush forests, beautiful beaches such as Samal Island and the country’s highest peak, Mt. Apo, are easily accessible from the bustling city.

To cater to value conscious young professionals with a busy lifestyle that imbibes the progressive growth of Davao City, Avida Land Corp. launched its second residential project, Avida Towers Abreeza, located in Abreeza District.

Located along J.P. Laurel Ave., Avida Towers Abreeza introduced its first tower, which will have 23 residential floors with 736 residential units.

Three podium parking floors will also be available for future residents of the condominium. Amenities, meanwhile, will include an adult lap pool, kiddie pool, clubhouse, lawn and play area.

Homebuyers can choose from studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units that range from from 22 sqm to 52 sqm. Unit prices start at P2.9 million. Expected date of completion is on December 2023.

According to Avida Land assistant vice president of project and strategic management group Herbert Herrero, the project also aims to make life easier for its residents by providing essential systems such as back-up power, 24/7 security, fire systems and waste disposal systems among others.

Herrero added, “Avida is looking to further expand its presence in the next five years by potentially offering horizontal subdivision developments in Davao Region.”

Avida Towers Abreeza promises to provide that urban living convenience in a relaxing community surrounded by wide green spaces. Its strategic location on J.P. Laurel Ave. also gives its residents ease of access to schools, malls, offices and BPOs via readily available public transportation.

The launch of Avida Towers Abreeza only shows that Avida Land Corp., the mid range brand of property giant Ayala Land Inc., is continuing its foray into the condo segment. It has been Avida’s thrust to provide thoughtfully-designed homes in secure communities.

With the five pillars of accessibility, unique features and amenities, quality assurance, stress-free buying and relaxing living experience integrated in all its condominium and house and lot properties, Avida has become the developer of choice among the rising middle class as it continues to expand its product offerings across the country.

Abreeza District, a joint venture between Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) and Anflo Management and Investment Corporation (Anflocor) is an estate project of Ayala Land. The 10-ha development has a mix of residential and commercial components namely Abreeza Residences, Abreeza Place and Patio Suites by Alveo; Ayala Malls Abreeza, Seda Hotel and Corporate Center.

The launch of Avida Towers Abreeza will increase the total development of Abreeza District to 12 hectares.

Avida Towers Abreeza has already generated approximately P705 million of revenue or equivalent to 180 units for its first tower.

Avida is a residential brand of Ayala Land, the Philippines’ leading developer of sustainable estates offering a diverse mix of quality residential and commercial developments that support local economic growth.

2 new international routes opening in Davao City

By Carmencita A. Carillo (Correspondent, with a report from Carmelito Q. Francisco)

DAVAO CITY — The Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) is confident that the addition of two more international routes to and from the city this year will boost tourism in the region and other parts of Mindanao.

Cathay Dragon, the operating brand of Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Ltd. and the regional airline of the Cathay Pacific Group, is set to start its four times a week Davao-Hong Kong flights on Oct. 28.

“Within the year, the triangular flight of Qatar Airways of Qatar-Cebu-Davao will also hopefully start within the year,” DCCCII President Arturo M. Milan said in an interview with BusinessWorld on Sept. 4.

Mr. Milan said Qatar Airways is already in the process of looking for ground personnel for the flights.

The airline committed to mounting flights to Davao after it signed a new service agreement with the country in May.

“This will provide connectivity from Davao to the major markets in the world which is just what we need to strengthen our bid to become a major hub,” Mr. Milan said.

In a related development, one of the main discussion points during the 27th Mindanao Business Conference on Sept. 13-15 is the push for the creation of agencies, independent from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), to develop and manage key facilities in Mindanao.

These include the airports in the cities of Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos City, and Zamboanga.

“I’m sounding like a broken record already (but) this is part of our Mindanao growth agenda,” Mr. Milan said, adding that this is particularly crucial for the tourism industry.

Mr. Milan cited that having additional direct international flights to and from Davao City will not only benefit the city’s tourism program but other areas as well.

“Tourists do not want to stay in just one area,” he added, “so they will definitely eye travel to Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and even Siargao.”

Mr. Milan said an increase in international flights will also put pressure on the need to upgrade the airport.

The Davao International Airport development project, which was already in the pipeline under the previous administration, has yet to be bid out.

Mr. Milan also said they are still hoping that direct flights between Davao and Japan will also push through soon.

“We are not sure which airline will accept the request as we are still campaigning, but we feel there is a market for the Davao-Japan flights,” he said, citing overseas Filipino workers, tourists, and Japanese who have ties to Davao.

Several projects are also being undertaken by the Japanese government in the city.

Tour operators like Alexander D. Divinagracia of Global Wings Travel and Tours said they are looking forward to direct flights to Japan, especially during the Obon Festival. Typically held during August, it is celebrated as a family reunion holiday as the Japanese honor their ancestors. At present, the only international flights in Davao are to and from Singapore, serviced by Singapore Airlines’ SilkAir and Cebu Pacific.

“But the Davao-Singapore route took sometime to develop since it started 11 years ago,” he said.

The Davao-Kuala Lumpur flights launched by Air Asia in Dec. 2017 has been temporarily suspended as of August due to lack of passenger traffic.

“There is no shortcut. There is a need to develop the routes to sustain the direct flights, but we have to start somewhere,” Mr. Milan said.

Choco industry boosts city's economy


THE Davao chocolate industry has been identified as a huge contributor to the economic development of Davao city, a business chamber official said.

“The cacao industry still did not reach 10 years yet but the beauty is that we already progressed from learning how to plant to already making downstream products,” Davao City Chamber and Industry Incorporated (DCCCII) vice president John Carlo B. Tria said during the Habi at Kape media forum at Abreeza Malls, Davao City.

Tria added that the cacao industry has created diversification for cacao farmers in the plantations in Davao region in such a short span.

Cacao Industry Development Association in Mindanao Incorporated (Cidami) executive director Val Turtur said cacao farmers in the region are also becoming more adept in meeting the demand of the chocolate industry.

“Dati grading lang ang training sa mga chocolate ang ginabuhat karun apil na sa flavoring kay lahi-lahi man na (Before the trainings which were conducted were only on grading chocolates, but now it includes flavoring since there are a lot of flavor variations),” Turtur said.

He also said in the upcoming Chocolate Festival during the Davao Agri-Trade Expo (Date) on September 22, 2018 at SM Lanang Premier, more chocolate farmers will be encouraged to innovate and learn from different chocolate farmers and enthusiasts.

Philippine Statistics Authority records show that in 2017, Mindanao produced a total of 6,362.92 metric tons (MT) of cacao.

Out of that number, Davao region contributes the bulk of the cacao production amounting to 5,752 MT.

Date to empower local farmers


THIS year’s Davao Agri Trade Expo (Date) will focus in empowering the upland farmers and other local farmers in Mindanao.

Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Incorporated (DCCCII) vice president and DATE chairman John Carlo Tria said the local farmers in the upland are vital in giving a large share in the trade process in Mindanao.

“For this year’s program the local farmers in the upland are very much given attention in three-day conference as part of our goal in giving a much more inclusive vision for the development of agriculture in Mindanao,” Tria said on Wednesday, September 05, 2018 during a media forum at Habi at Kape in Abreeza Malls, Davao City.

With the potential Mindanao has in agriculture, Tria said farmers will be more knowledgeable on different farming techniques through the Date 2018.

“When this translates into increasing their income, then this also means an increase for the economic activity in the city and even in the region,” Tria said.

Tria also said the Date 2018 on September 20 to 22 will give free technical seminars and agribusiness innovation conferences in order to give latest updates on the current trends in agriculture.

“We would also be giving conferences on food security and infrastructure in order to assist businesses who venture in food manufacturing,” Tria said.

DSWD, city gov't program aims to feed 34K children in Davao

By Funny Pearl Gajunera (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The local government and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are targeting more than 34,000 children for the Supplemental Feeding Program involving all barangays in the city.

City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) chief Maria Luisa Bermudo said Monday DSWD’s allocation would be a big help to the city’s 695 day care and home-based centers in the city.

“For the second tranche, the DSWD downloaded PHP63,150,600 that will benefit our 34,963 children enrolled in day care centers in all barangays to ensure that the children will receive nutritious food,” Bermudo said.

She said that through the supplemental feeding program, day care centers will receive money to feed the children with nutritious food cooked by their own parents.

"We let the parents cook the food so that they can also cook it in their homes. That way, we can ensure that the kids are eating nutritious food continuously,” Bermudo said.

She said the DSWD budget can last up to 120 feeding cycles in all the 695 day care and home-based centers in all barangays in the city.

The recipients, she said, are three- to four-year-old children who are not covered by the city government's own budget.

P63M turned over to social services office


THE Davao City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) received P63 million from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Davao for its supplemental feeding program in Davao City on Monday, September 3.

DSWD-Davao, represented by assistant regional director Raquel Nuñez, turned over the cheque to Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag and CSSDO head Ma. Luisa Bermudo during the flag ceremony at City Hall.

"Ang kani syang fund kay para ni siya sa atong 34,693 ka mga bata to cover our 695 daycare centers and home-based facilities throughout Davao City (This fund is for the 34,693 kids to cover our 695 daycare centers and home-based facilities throughout Davao City)," Bermudo said in an interview.

The feeding will start immediately after receipt of the fund. The activity will cover 120 feeding days cycle for children aged three to four years old.

Bermudo said the supplemental feeding involves the parents because they will be the ones to prepare the food of their children.

"Sila mismo ang mag-prepare ana kay atong ginatan-aw na even in their respective homes, they can also do that (They will be the ones to prepare because we wanted them to do it on their respective homes too)," Bermudo said.

She said the supplemental feeding will serve all those in daycare centers and home-based facilities of CSSDO.

"Dili na nato hulaton na ang mga bata ma-severely underweight (We will not wait for the children to be severely underweight)," she said.

200 IDPs in Davao to be TVET trainers


IN THE hope of providing a sustainable solution to the siege victims in Marawi City, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) toured a total of 200 internally-displaced persons (IDPs) to Davao region to be Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) trainers.

The tour was part of the Tesda’s trainers' training program held on August 26 to 30, 2018.

“Kaya napunta rito ang mga kapatid natin from Lanao del Sur (That is why our brothers from Lanao del Sur is here) Davao Region is a technical education and skills training hub of Mindanao,” Tesda director general Secretary Guiling “Gene” Mamondiong said during a press conference on Saturday, September 1, at the Grand Regal Hotel, adding that it is because of the socio-economic growth of the region which is parallel to that of Metro Manila.

The 200 IDPs were trained since Tesda believes that it would create a ripple-effect to the economic revolution in Lanao del Sur as a whole.

“The goal of the program is to multiply TVET trainers and produce programs relevant to the needs of the affected community,” Lorenzo Macapili, regional director of Tesda-Davao Region said.

He also said that the project was set to demonstrate competence on how to develop IDPs in Marawi into becoming agents of change once they get back to their homes.

Mamondiong said the IDPs should be taught skills for sustainability through the 200 trained trainers to train at least 70 other IDPs each and not just rehabilitate the place.

He also said that they chose Lanao del Sur because it is the poorest province in the country and so it will be the first to benefit the project.

Meanwhile, Gaspar Gayona, deputy director general of committee and local government unit (LGU) services, also said that Lanao del Sur is agricultural but the people are entrepreneurs, a potential setup to put up a business that produces its own crops.

Feature: New restos enliven Davao’s food scene

By Rudolph Ian Alama (PIA-11/RG Alama)

Davao City’s food scene is not just about the familiar restaurants which serve ihaw-ihaw (grill) or kinilaw (tuna cerviche), the city is also home to an array of establishments that caters to every palate.

Worth featuring are three restaurants that have recently opened in the city; one is a Japanese street-dining restaurant, the other is a rustic French-Filipino foodie destination and the third establishment features comfort food from around the world.

Kaizen Davao

Yokocho is a term for Japanese-street style dining, particularly those found in the small streets and alleyways of Japanese cities like Tokyo. Its casual, laidback ambiance is popular among the Japanese working class wanting a good chow after work, Yokocho restaurants has since became a popular dining areas for tourists as well.

During their trip to Japan, couple Dana and Chang Zapanta enjoyed their Yokocho experience so much that they wanted to bring it to Davao. Thus in 2016 Kaizen Davao was born.

Chef Dana, a chef who once toiled in the kitchens of Japan concocted his line of Japanese-inspired fusion meals which consists of sushis, ramen, udon, yakitori, sashimis and other dishes.

Their bestseller is the conceptual line of rice rolls, their most popular is the Du30 Roll named after President Rodrigo Duterte, the roll consists of crab tempura, cream cheese, eel, ebiko with their trademark ‘presidential’ sauce.

In some nights even the president would place an order for Du30 Roll and occasionally Special Assistant to the President, Secretary Christopher “Bong” Go would stop by at Kaizen to have his fill of the roll.

Chang says the secret to Kaizen’s success is their constant innovation. The kitchen team rolls out new dishes which gives added excitement to its regular habitues. Currently they have launched several new nigiris (sushi) and their version of Tantanmen Ramen.

Kaizen which translates to 'change for the better' is the core of their business philosophy which carries to all aspects of their operations. “We never rest on our successes, we continually strive to make our business better,” Chang says.

The restaurant located along Pryce Road and Torres Street, in Davao City’s restaurant row is a busy hub of activities. During evenings, Kaizen would be filled with diners enjoying the food and its casual ambiance.

Hungry Ape

Morris “Moe” Uy’s father is the former Compostela Valley Governor Arturo T. Uy, Moe’s brother Jayvee is currently the incumbent Governor. Instead of joining politics Moe preferred the excitement of the kitchen instead.

Hungry Ape located along Governor Duterte Street is a showcase of Moe’s culinary passion.

“Its more of comfort food, western with a taste of Filipino. Nothing fancy,” Moe describes Hungy Ape’s dishes.

“In my travels, that is where I get my inspiration,” Moe says he takes down notes when a particular dish strikes his fancy.

Hungry Ape’s well-loved specialty is Pork Belly Ala Moe, crispy pork skin, tender pork meat mixed with honey and topped with salted egg. The dish, a heaven sent gift for pork lovers.

Moe shares his anecdote that his dad (former Comval Governor Arturo Chiongkee Uy) is his food taster before launching the product.

“He is such a foodie, everytime, I create a dish like fusion, traditional western or Filipino he gets to try it.”

His dad’s favorite is his empanadas and aged steaks. Currently Moe is aging his steaks which he will soon offer at the Hungry Ape.

Another must-try at Hungry Ape is their empanadas with different fillings which Moe says was inspired from his trip in Spain. Moe says he is developing dishes that is close to the Filipino palate that will include Spanish, Mexican, Cuban inspired cuisine.

La Fermette

The name in French means a small farm. The restaurant is located in a one-hectare farm in Tacunan, Mintal about 40 minutes from the city proper.

La Fermette though may be a far drive or commute especially as one would be facing traffic in roads and thoroughfares leading to it but the food itself is well worth the travel.

The resto is owned by Jean Michel Desreumaux and his partner Francis Eric Tam. It features a fusion of French and Filipino cuisine. There are classic French and Vietnamese dishes alongside traditional Filipino food prepared the northern French way.

Jean who hails from north of France says he takes his culinary inspiration from his mother and grandmother. His father was a coal miner and his mother would prepare delicious but easy-to-eat meals in which he would bring to the mines. Growing up Jean would constantly witness his mother prepare a sumptuous meal to welcome his father after working in the dreary mines.

Jean and Eric who also loves farming, bought the agricultural property 10 years ago when they settled in Davao City. The farm is planted with vegetables, fruit trees such as mango, durian and lanzones. It has eight Holstein cows used for their dairy products which the La Fermette kitchen uses and some of the products can be ordered at the restaurant like fresh milk and yogurt.

The concept of the restaurant is called table d'hôte or farm to table hosting, ingredients of the dishes are served fresh and organic. Jean and Eric are organic farming advocates.

Bestsellers include their versions of Bahn-mi (Bahn-mi rice bowl instead of bread), Adobo a la Carbonade Flamande (Northern French version of the Adobong Baboy), Pork Bourguignion, Poulet Basquaise (Basque Chicken), Tarragon Chicken Cream and Boeuf Stroganoff.

Their pastries such as their La Fermette Carrot Cake, Mango Charlotte and the Chocolate To Die For Cake are a must-try.

La Fermette is slowly being surrounded by a sprawling residential housing development, the old farm trees which once surrounded it has given way to rows of concrete houses. Jean and Eric’s farm is a cool green oasis in the middle of an expanding urbanity.

Thanks to social media influencers, their French-Filipino bestsellers have attracted droves of customers coming all the way from downtown Davao and some even from nearby provinces. And one common reaction after having their fill of La Fermette’s dishes. “The long drive was well worth it.”

Davao-based state university to launch P4.8-M data center

By Digna D. Banzon (PNA)

DAVAO CITY – The state-run University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP) announced on Tuesday it is set to launch a data center project with a funding cost of PHP4.89 million.

Jennifer Hinlo, acting Dean of Schools of Applied Economics of USEP, said the data center project is a collaboration among USEP and two other state universities – the Central Luzon State University and the Visayas State University.

Hinlo said the data center aims to aid policymakers when they make decisions. It has three basic services: socio-economic services like data analysis; training capability for researchers; and database management.

The lion’s share of the project cost will go to the purchase of software that includes statistical software, she said.

Among those that can utilize the services of the data center are the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARD), and banana farmers.

The center will also offer impact evaluation to guide the government whether to continue or not on a project.

"As much as possible we will cater to as many sectors and we will start getting the needs of the industries, the government and also those private researchers," she said.

According to Hinlo, the data center will initially provide PCAARD several services, such as the study on impact evaluation on crop insurance of beneficiaries.

As part of the undertaking, she said a capability-building on Aug. 17 will be attended by some 100 participants who will tackle the topic "Analysis of Science and Technology-related institutional capacity and readiness to effectively implement the Food Safety Act".

The speakers will discuss the study conducted by the University of the Philippines Los Baños’ College of Economic and Management on "the ASEAN economic community: the opportunities and implication on agri-fisheries and forestry sectors".

Davao's landmark hotel upgrades facilities for millennial market

By Lilian C. Mellejor and Digna D. Banzon (PNA)

DAVAO CITY – One of this city’s old landmark hotels is catching up with developments in hotel and high-rise residential sectors by refurbishing old facilities to cater to the millennial market.

Built in 1948, the Apo View Hotel turned 70 years old this year and still stands amid close competition from newly-built and all-modern hotels in Davao.

Cesar Canabal, the General Manager of Apo View Hotel, said the management has added 25 new rooms for its growing occupancy rate, while the hotel’s 36 old rooms are up for renovation as "themed-rooms" to attract millennial travelers.

Canabal said the hotel chose themed-rooms because their guests are mostly between the age of 25 and 45 years old. He said guests are now conscious of the conditions of the rooms and would prefer new or renovated rooms.

"That is why we have to improve our facilities to meet the demand of our visitors," he said.

Renovations, which include replacing furniture pieces, walls and toilets, are expected for completion next year, he said.

Canabal said 25 new rooms have been completed, and the management is also in the thick of upgrading the hotel pool and bar to the tune of PHP15 million. The management has allotted PHP140 million for the overall improvement of hotel facilities.

Last year, the hotel enjoyed a 65 percent average occupancy rate from 30 to 40 percent two years ago.

This week, Canabal said the hotel has 85 percent occupancy rate because of the Kadayawan Festival.

Canabal said the management is aiming to get a five-star classification by the time all renovations are completed. It is also aiming to get a Halal accreditation.

Mindanaoans remain to be the hotel’s top market, accounting for 80 percent of the hotel occupancy rate, while only 10 percent are foreigners.

Apo View is now under a new management – the Global Comfort Group Corporation (GCGC). It has a total of 182 rooms.

Canabal said that as the city is positioning as a MICE (meetings incentives convention and exhibit) destination, Apo View is eyeing to add more rooms in 2019 or 2020.

He said GCGC is also looking for other areas for expansion of their other brands--Eurotel and ICON.

"In Davao City, we are in the process of negotiating about 10 lots for our future projects on hotel construction," he added.

Davao City to fete PNG, Palaro medalists


OUTSTANDING athletes from the recent Philippine National Games (PNG) 2018 in Cebu City and Palarong Pambansa 2018 in Vigan City will be feted by the City Government of Davao through the Sports Development Division-City Mayor's Office (SDD-CMO) on August 14 at The Royal Mandaya Hotel.

SDD-CMO executive program director Cindy Cruz, in a Facebook interview with Sun.Star Davao yesterday, said some 220 athletes will receive medals from the office of SDD-CMO chief Michael Denton Aportadera.

"We will award the gold, silver and bronze medalists of the recent national competitions but it is the mayor's (Sara Duterte-Carpio) prerogative to give the cash incentives to the outstanding atheletes," she said.

Cruz said it is vital to recognize and give honor to athletes especially those who have excelled in their respective sports.

"It is the primary thrust of the local government unit to bring forth a genuine sports development program," she said, adding that athletes who give honor to the city deserve to be recognized.

Davao's 33rd Kadayawan Festival opens

By Lilian Mellejor (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The 11 tribes of Davao City re-enacted the barter trade among them before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers in the 1800s during the “Panag-abli and Panagtagbo”, marking the opening of the week-long activities of the 33rd Kadayawan Festival on Friday.

Mayor Inday Sara Z. Duterte led the opening ceremony with the traditional banging of the big gong at the Magsaysay Park at about 6 p.m, and the food tasting at the Kadayawan Food Hall, where lumad and Moro tribes offered their traditional dishes to the public for free.

She called on Dabawenyos to go out and celebrate Kadayawan, a celebration in honor of the 11 tribes that she said also serves as a reminder for Dabawenyos to go back to their roots and history.

In her speech, Mayor Sara said the holding of the Kadayawan would not be possible without the participation of the people, particularly the private sector, which she said has been given wider latitude in hosting the festival.

“Go out and celebrate,” she told Davaoeños.

Mayor Sara said the private sector has the biggest share in terms of sponsorship and organization of the festival, which runs until Aug. 19 and has a total budget of PHP44 million.

She also made assurances that the police and army troops are working hard to ensure that no untoward incident would take place during the festival.

Festival Director Gatchi Gatchalian said the best way to celebrate Kadayawan is “for families to get together and participate in all activities. “

Kadayawan, he said, primarily showcases the culture and traditions of local tribes and reflects the harmonious convergence of all communities.

Gatchalian said the public can enjoy regular festival mainstays such as the street dancing, the floral and fruit parade, Hiyas ng Kadayawan, trade fair, and the Farmers Market organized by the Moro tribes.

Organizers are also reinventing the Lumad Games, this time allowing visitors to join the games.

Other highlights are the Drum Beating Contest, Kadayawan Fashion Accessories Design and Competition, Dragonboat Festival, Songwriting, Kadayawan Ball, and Kosplay featuring the Philippine Eagle and the Tribal Village Walking Tour.

DA boosts research, development network in Davao Region

By Cherry Mhae D. Palicte (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The Regional Integrated Agricultural Research Centers (RIARCs) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) is pushing for a stronger network of regional and provincial collaborators to ensure the harmonization of its research, development and extension undertakings.

DA's move came after the creation of the Regional Research and Development, Extension Network (RRDEN) for agri-fisheries in each region, which will set the new modality in agenda setting, planning and formulation of RD&E in agri and fisheries sectors.

During the RRDEN revitalization meeting here on Friday, Dr. Angelina Pancho, the Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulations, said that DA has a mandate to concentrate in research network, and through RRDEN the “one system, one program approach” will now be implemented.

“With its revitalization, R and D national issues like lack of budget and technical people will now be addressed,” Pancho added.

The RRDEN team will be composed of the Regional Advisory Council and Regional Technical Working Group from DA and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources 11, DA bureaus and attached agencies, the academe, provincial/LGU research team and private institutions.

In support of the creation of the research team, Digna Sandoval, OIC-Assistant Director and Head of Institutional Development Division (IDD) of DA-BAR, said a grant of PHP3 million was allotted for the construction of the RRDEN office.

Sandoval said the office will be established at the Davao Region Central Experimental Station (DARCES) in Barangay Manambulan, Toril District, this city, and will serve as a convergence point and will be made accessible to the members of the network that will need its services.

As the lead agency, DA and BFAR will be the overall manager responsible for the maintenance, operation and optimum utilization of the RRDEN office.

Sandoval said the research results and on-going activities will be compiled in one venue, which will easily be utilized by RRDEN stakeholders and other interested clientele.

“BAR ensures that research and development projects and relevant activities are properly prioritized for funding support,” Sandoval said.

She said that the people, who will benefit from the RRDEN center are from the academe, provincial/LGU, non-government organizations, farmers and fisherfolk associations and clienteles that need research-related concerns.

Trade expo to showcase export products during Kadayawan

By Digna D. Banzon (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The Mindanao Trade Expo (MTE) will showcase new designs of export quality products that aims to hit PHP20 million in sales during the Kadayawan Festival.

Mindanao Trade Expo, Inc (MTEI) president Rosevic Del Rosario-Cembrano said the expo will serve as the venue for micro and small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) to promote their products. It is also timed for MTEI’s 23rd-anniversary celebration.

The expo will be held on August 11-17 at Abreeza Mall with at least 120 MSMEs showcasing their "exceptional products," Cembrano told reporters during Wednesday’s Habi at Kape at Abreeza Mall.

Cembrano said the expo is held four times a year as MSMEs regular trading and marketing platform. Through the years the Mindanao-based MSMEs have been their constant partners pursuing initiatives and interventions in cooperation with government agencies, local government units, and the private sector, she added.

"Over the years, our partners have grown in number and amid this development, we have given MSMEs more venues to promote their products and services," she said.

Among MTEI's partners are the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PhilExport), Ayala Abreeza Mall in Davao City and Glorietta Mall in Makati City.

Cembrano said the MTEI will continue to develop more communities and support the development of local entrepreneurs.

Under the community development thrust, the MTEI and its partners introduce material manipulation and designs, which the locales can eventually take advantage of as a source of income.

She said a designer-entrepreneur holds a product development workshop in a community using available raw materials in their area. Once the locals are already capable of making quality products, the designer-entrepreneur will hire them as regular workers, without the need to leave their community.

"By having a regular business with the support of an entrepreneur, the community becomes more empowered as they enjoy regular income," Cembrano added.

Aug. 17 and 20 declared as holidays in Davao City

By Rudolph Ian Alama (PIA/RG Alama)

DAVAO CITY (PIA) — Dabawenyos will be enjoying a very long weekend during the Kadayawan Festival as August 17 and August 20 have been declared as special non-working days in this city.

Proclamation 551 was signed last July 31 declared August 17 and August 20 as Indigenous Peoples Day and Araw ng Pasasalamat (Day of Thanksgiving).

The two holidays fall before and after the weekend of the Kadayawan Festival where the main festivities are held. Indak Indak sa Kadayawan (Street Dancing Competition) is held on Saturday (August 18) and Pamulak sa Kadalanan (Floral Float Parade) is on Sunday (August 19).

Thousands of residents and visitors will converge on the city streets to witness the colorful sights of the street dancing and floral floats. During the evening, concerts featuring popular bands and street parties are held in different parts of the city.

Aside from the City holidays, August 21 is Ninoy Aquino Day, a national holiday while August 22 is commemorated as Eidul Adha or Feast of Sacrifice which is declared as a national holiday. A formal declaration for Eidul Adha is expected to be announced soon.

Another national holiday in the month of August is National Heroes Day which falls on the 27th.

DTI mentoring program has another PWD graduate

By Jennifer Mendoza (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- Another person with a disability (PWD) has proven that determination and hard work can go a long way.

Entrepreneur Rannie Gimeno has successfully graduated from the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Kapatid Mentor ME Program this month. He is part of the latest batch of micro-entrepreneurs who completed the 10-module mentoring program.

Gimeno, the co-owner of the famous Violie’s Snack Inn at the Digos City Public Market, is one who embodies a person defying odds just to achieve his goals in life.

“Rannie Gimeno is a source of inspiration among entrepreneurs and PWDs alike,” DTI-Davao del Sur provincial director Delia Ayano said.

For 20 years, the store is famous for puto maya (native rice cake) and sikwate (dark chocolate drink).

Gimeno was one of the 19 graduates of DTI-Davao del Sur’s Kapatid Mentor ME Batch 2018. The entrepreneur-graduates have one thing in common: to develop their businesses in different functional areas.

Together, they received coaching and mentoring interventions from industry experts for 10 to 12 weeks. They were trained in several areas, including entrepreneurial mind setting, marketing, accounting, taxation, business law, human resource management, and supply and value chain.

The program also includes the mentees’ preparation and presentation of their respective business improvement plan (BIP), as a requisite to their graduation.

Asked on how the program has helped him, Gimeno said: “It helped us, business owners, a lot in terms of decision-making, especially with the record-keeping, production, and operations.”

Being a leader of the PWD sector for more than 25 years, one of Gimeno’s advocacies is to promote PWD entrepreneurship and encourage his fellow PWDs to engage in productive activities like engaging in business.

Ayano noted that Gimeno’s graduation from the Kapatid Mentor ME Program is a testimony of DTI’s goals for inclusive growth, which seeks to provide prosperity for all and ensures that no one is left behind.

Gimeno joined the roster of other PWD graduates of the Kapatid Mentor ME Program in Davao Region, including Alicia Fabiana of the Association of Differently Abled Persons (ADAP) and Allan Rasman of Mindanao Association of Muslims with Disability (MAMDI).

Hotel investors eye Davao for expansion

By Digna D. Banzon (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- This city has continued to attract hotel investors as it has become a favorite venue under the MICE tourism ((Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events), a real estate industry leader said.

Jet Yu, the founder and chief executive officer of real estate consultancy firm PRIME Philippines, said Tuesday the booming tourism industry in this city has become a magnet for both local and foreign investments.

PRIME, he said, has been getting several inquiries on the prospects for hotel investments while some investors came to see the actual market.

Based on the company's July 31 Davao City's Property Market Highlights report, Yu said the local economy has greatly benefited from the local tourism industry's compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13 percent.

Domestic tourists comprise the greater bulk of the tourist population with a CAGR of 13.3 percent, while foreign tourist arrivals are beginning to catch up at 9.3 percent.

City Tourism Officer Generose Tecson, in an interview Tuesday, said that from January to May, the city recorded a total of 977,714 visitors -- 876,216 of whom are domestic tourists, 70,702 foreigners, and 27,796 overseas Filipinos.

Tecson said Americans were the top foreign travelers to the city at 8,851; followed by the Japanese (4,941), Chinese (3,957), Koreans (3,143), and Australians (2,875).

She attributed the increase to MICE plus the holding of the Ironman 70.3 Davao in March this year. "We are the only one in the country that has a MICE program spearheaded by the private sector and backed up by the Department of Tourism," she noted.

Yu said the strong tourism in Davao is also attributed to its improved security, public and private sector partnerships, infrastructure developments, government efforts and initiatives including hosting of cultural events, social media promotion, and local and international roadshows.

He said the rise of hotel establishments are ideal venues for business-related gatherings, which can benefit from this expected increase in demand. By 2020, he said, the hotel room supply is expected to increase from the present 1,500 rooms.

"The city is no longer simply a tourist destination but has attracted corporate and professional travelers to hold business-related events across this metropolitan area," he said.

Family History Exhibit slated

By Rudolph Ian Alama (PIA/RG Alama)

DAVAO CITY, Aug 6 (PIA) — A Family History Exhibit which will feature Family Search, the largest resource of genealogical and historical records in the world will be held on August 8-15 at the Sangguniang Panglungsod building, here.

“The Family History Exhibit aims to assist Dabawenyos in building their family trees, remembering worthwhile stories about family members and in knowing that these stories can be stored for future generations,” says Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (CJCLDS) leader Norman Insong.

The exhibit, spearheaded by the CJCLDS in partnership with the City Government of Davao, is an accredited event of the Kadayawan Festival.

The Family History Exhibit will be open to the public and is designed to be interactive. Visitors can create a free account in the Family Search Website and will be assisted in building their family trees, store memories and upload family photos. They can also take home a keepsake of their work.

About 150 volunteers from the CJCLDS will be assisting the visitors on the tours and to extend technical support.

In the exhibit are the genealogies of Jose Rizal, former President Fidel Valdez Ramos and Jesus Christ. Also on showcase are the genealogical records of Mayor Sara Duterte and Vice-Mayor Bernard Al-ag.

Mayor Sara Duterte will lead the opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of the Family History Exhibit this August 8.

Founded in 1894, Family Search has over 6-billion searchable names in historical records and over a billion digital images and indexed records from all over the world. In the 1970s the Family Search started preservation efforts in the Philippines through microfilm where it has been able to digitized 30-million images.

Based on Family Search digitized records, the earliest Catholic Church records from Davao City can be traced to 1848.

‘Build, Build, Build' program to turn Davao City into manufacturing, agro-industry hub


DAVAO CITY, Aug 5 -- Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the spate of infrastructure investments in the Davao Region as part of President Duterte's “Build, Build, Build” program will catalyze its growth potential and transform this city into a center for manufacturing and agro-industry in the South.

Dominguez said Davao’s business leaders, in turn, should anticipate these positive developments which is complemented by the Duterte administration’s comprehensive tax reform program (CTRP), by harnessing the power of new digital technologies to improve enterprise efficiency and converting the opportunities available to them into wealth and more jobs for the people of Mindanao.

“Be assured that your government stands squarely behind you. But we can only assist. It is for you to convert opportunities into created wealth. It is for you to do the innovation required for new businesses to prosper. It is for you to catalyze risk into profit,” Dominguez told members of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII) during their 50th anniversary celebration held last week at the SMX Convention Center here.

Among those present during the event were DCCCII officials led by its chairman Antonio Dela Cruz, president Arturo Milan, and honorary vice chairman Angie Angliongto; George Barcelon, chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Vic Limjoco, PCCI president; members of the diplomatic corps; and local government officials headed by Davao City Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag.

Dominguez said Davao’s entrepreneurs should “be the businessmen of the first caliber” who are capable of seizing the many opportunities opened to them by the Duterte administration’s various reform initiatives.

Describing Davao City as “the hottest spot in the nation’s bright economic prospects,” Dominguez said the area and the rest of Davao have long been gearing for rapid growth, driven not only by the fact that President Duterte hails from this region, but also because of its massive business potential, impressive headroom for expansion and the private investments that have fueled its economic expansion.

“The forthcoming infrastructure investments will catalyze the region’s growth potential. It will make the city a center for manufacturing and agro-industry,” Dominguez said. “Massive investments in property development have already begun, anticipating broad-based and sustained growth far into the future.”

Dominguez said among the road infrastructure projects already benefiting the people of Davao are the Miranda Bridge II at the Daang Maharlika in Davao del Norte, which now serves as the main access of motorists from Davao City going to other parts of the Davao Region; and the Davao River Bridge, which was completed in April this year.

Both projects have significantly reduced travel time within the Davao region, he said.

He said the big-ticket infrastructure projects that the government is currently implementing in Davao are the following:

• the Davao International Airport Development Project that is expected to be completed in 2022;
• the Davao City Coastal Road Project that will be completed in 2021;
• the Mindanao Logistics Infrastructure Network involving the construction or improvement of 2,567 kilometers of roads across the Davao, CARAGA and Northern Mindanao regions, and which is expected to be completed next year; and
• the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project.

Dominguez said that in the near future, the Duterte administration will also begin implementation of the following “Build, Build, Build” projects in the Davao region:

• the first phase of the Mindanao Railway Project, consisting of the Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment that will be 102 kilometers long with a design speed of 160 kilometers per hour. The segment is expected to be operational by 2021;
• upgrading of the general cargo berth and construction of the back-up area of Davao Sasa Port;
• the Davao Expressway Project, which involves the construction of an approximately 60-kilometer expressway from Bukidnon-Davao National Highway in Davao City to Digos-Sultan Kudarat Road, traversing the towns of Toril and Santa Cruz;
• the Asbang Small Reservoir Irrigation Project, which involves the construction of a reservoir dam and irrigation systems in Matanao, Davao del Sur;
• the Davao City Bypass Road, which is a 44.6-kilometer road with a 2.28-kilometer tunnel that is expected to be completed by 2022. It will reduce travel time from Barangay J.P. Laurel in Panabo City to Barangay Sirawan in Davao City to only 49 minutes from the current 1 hour and 44 minutes; and
• the Davao-Samal Bridge, which will link the city with the Island Garden City of Samal. It will reduce travel time between the two cities from 26-30 minutes using RORO or ferry operations to only 2 and 5 minutes using the said link bridge.

"Davao City’s economic prospects can only get even better. The city and its environs will benefit from the massive infrastructure investments over the next few years. These investments will improve access and facilitate the growth of enterprises in this area," Dominguez said.

He said Davao City’s strategic location within the East ASEAN Growth Area will further boost its prospects for economic expansion given that it “sits right at the nexus of blossoming trade routes and tourism centers linking the rapidly growing areas of Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia.”

“The 'Build, Build, Build' program’s massive investments in infrastructure in this region anticipates the long growth phase that lies ahead. The obvious growth potential of the Davao region justifies the scale of the projects now in the pipeline,” Dominguez said.

Complementing this massive infra buildup not only in Davao but in the rest of the country is the Duterte administration’s tax reform program and its efforts to improve the ease of doing business, Dominguez said.

On top of the recent signing into law of the Ease of Doing Business Act, which will further reduce red tape and simplify business registration, the government will also carry out various e-governance initiatives to improve trading procedures and support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), Dominguez said.

He said the implementation of the first tax reform package, which lowered personal income taxes for 99 percent of taxpayers, improved revenue collections beyond expectations, and benefited MSMEs by way of significant tax breaks, will be followed by reforms in the corporate tax system to further help small businesses expand.

The overhaul of the corporate tax system, which is Package 2 of President Duterte’s CTRP, aims to lower taxes for businesses while modernizing the country’s chaotic investment incentives scheme that has led to an uneven playing field and discouraged new businesses from flourishing, Dominguez said.

“The second package of tax reform that we hope to see legislated this year will even be more helpful to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which comprise fully 99.6 percent of all our enterprises and employ 63.3 percent of our labor force,” Dominguez said.

He said all these initiatives “will surely contribute to creating a positive and transparent environment for enterprises. Strong businesses are what we ultimately need to provide meaningful employment opportunities and create the goods our people need. Be assured that the government is doing its part to provide that positive environment.”

600 IPs to join Tribal Games

By Rudolph Ian Alama (PIA/RG Alama)

DAVAO CITY (PIA)—About 600 participants from Davao City’s indigenous tribes will join the tribal games event of this year’s Kadayawan festival.

Dubbed as “Dula Kadayawan” (Kadayawan Games) the event will feature several competitions based on lumad and moro indigenous games. It will be held on August 17 at the Peoples Park.

“This will be the 5th Dula Kadayawan. During the morning, we will have the opening program and the rituals of the lumads. The lumads will be playing from 9:00 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon then our moro brothers will be playing three games,” says games organizer Tommy Iñigo.

He estimates 50 to 60 people per tribe from the city’s 11 Indigenous Tribes which consists of five non-Islamized (Lumad) and six Islamized tribes (Moros) will join the games. The lumads consists of Ata-Manobo, Tagabawa, Klata, Ovu Manuvu, Matigsalog tribes while the moros are Sama, Kagan, Tausug, Meranaw, Iranun, Maguindanaoan

The lumads will be playing 10 indigenous games which consists of Kokasing (spinning of tops), Karang (walking stick race), Siklot (pick up sticks using cassava), Bibinayo (rice pounding), Solopot (blow darts), Sosakorol (water fetching), Bubuntug (spear throwing), Sisibow (similar to syatong), Pana (bow and arrow), Totaringki (fire making) and Husoroy (tug-of-war).

The moro games will be Sipa sa Manggis (sipa to hit a target), Sipa sa Lama (similar to Takyan) and Kanggaro Taya their version of tug-of-war.

They have different set of games since they have different cultures. Forest inspired games such as sisibow, pana and solopot are not familiar to moros, while sipa are not familiar to lumads.

The lumad game winners will be determined by their overall standings with the grand winners to be awarded P80,000 in cash along with trophies and medals while the winners in the Moro games will be awarded per game. Trophies, medals and cash prizes will also be given to the winners in the Moro games.

The games will be played with participants dressed in their traditional attire. Iñigo says that they visited each of the tribes to learn about their games. Under their guidance, the IP leaders were able to create the rules and guidelines for the games that will be played.

Iñigo said that after the competitions, visitors and tourists can interact with the IPs where they can learn and play the various games featured in the event.

Davao police inaugurates P15-M building

By By Armando Fenequito, Jr. (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The Police Regional Office 11 (Davao) inaugurated its new edifice inside Camp Quintin Merecido in Catitipan here on Thursday.

PRO-11 Regional Director, Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan, said the PHP15-million Bagani Hall was funded by the Philippine National Police (PNP), and was approved during the time of former PNP director general Ronald dela Rosa. The structure comes with another PHP2.5 million budget for air conditioners and other accessories.

Gaerlan said the new building should inspire PRO-11 personnel to be more efficient and effective in their tasks.

"This is a multi-purpose hall for us, not only to have a venue for big events, because here in Camp Quintin Merecido, wala kaming venue (we do not have a venue) and we rent other places," he said, adding that the facility will also be used for personnel training.

Gaerlan said the project's second phase is set to start soon, which involves riprapping the site around the building as it stands on weak ground near a creek.

Mindanao railway project to start in January 2019

By Funny Pearl Gajunera

DAVAO CITY--The Department of Transportation (DoTr) is set to start the construction of the first phase of the Mindanao Railway Project (MRP) in January 2019.

This was bared by MRP Deputy Project Manager Patmei Bello-Ruivivar during Tuesday’s regular session of the City Council, where she asked for the local legislators' support of the project.

Ruivivar said the first phase of the project covers 102 kilometers with eight stations starting from Tagum City, Panabo, Carmen, Mudiang in Davao City, Magtuod, Toril, Sta. Cruz and Digos City. It is expected to be finished within three years--before the term of President Rodrigo Duterte ends.

“By the end of the year, we will start the bidding for the construction of the project. Since this will be financed by China Official Development Assistance, the Chinese Government will give a short list from those who will bid for the project and the Philippines will choose among the shortlisted contractors,” Ruivivar said.

In an interview with reporters, Ruivivar said the project was already discussed with local officials of the cities and municipalities where its first phase will start. She said each city and municipality already created a technical working group, which will work hand in hand with the national project team.

“The local government units will play a big part in the construction of the Mindanao Railway. We asked them to start negotiating for the right of ways since they know the people there and it will be more transparent if they do the work,” she said. (PNA)

Davao City remains top producer of durian fruit

By Lilian C. Mellejor (PNA)

DAVAO CITY – This city may have lost several durian farms in favor of residential developments in recent years, but it remains the top producer of the "king of fruits" as it accounts for 60 percent of the country’s total harvest.

Larry Miculob, the president of the Davao City Durian Industry Association (DCDIA), said there still remained 2,800 hectares of land planted to durian of the total 16,600 hectares nationwide.

Davao Region used to have 10,000 hectares of durian farm, but around 2,000 hectares were damaged by the Typhoon Pablo in 2012.

“Of the total production in the country, 60 percent come from Davao,” Miculob told reporters during Monday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM Annex.

Davao City produces an average of 30 tons of durian, despite recent developments that saw the conversion of durian plantations into residential zones, as well as the negative impact of extreme weather conditions.

For instance Miculob said the El Niño in 2016 and the heavy rainfall last year took a toll on the production of durian and other fruits like mangosteen and lanzones.

Although the fruit farms are starting to recover, Miculob said the farm gate price will no longer be lower than PHP25 per kilo price in the previous years.

DCDIA has set the farm gate price at PHP40 per kilo to help farmers earn and encourage farm owners to expand production areas, Miculob said.

Aside from weather and land conversion, Miculob said the low supply and high demand also triggered the spike in prices--in addition to the increasing number of processors that are exporting their products.

Miculob said he is expecting around 48 metric tons during the duration of the Durian Festival and Kadayawan in August and September.

Davao City Archived News

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