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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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Molo Church, Iloilo City
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The Dinagyang is a religious and cultural festival in Iloilo City, Philippines held on the fourth Sunday of January, or right after the Sinulog In Cebu and the Ati-Atihan in Aklan.
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A Barangay Clearance is NEEDED in order to get a Business License.
So why is the barangay name not in most business addresses?
Ask your Barangay Captain/Chairman to create a Resolution to make it mandatory to put the barangay name in all Business addresses.

CCP launches the encyclopedia of PH art in Iloilo


PASAY CITY, May 19 -- The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) will hold the regional launch of the CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art (2nd edition) on May 24, at 5 pm, at the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art (ILOMOCA).

CCP vice president/artistic director Chris Millado, who is also the project director of EPA, will give an introduction; followed by series of talks by Dr. Nicanor G. Tiongson, EPA editor-in-chief, Dr. Ruth Pison, associate area editor for the EPA’s dance volume; and Elmer Gatchalian, creative director.

The event is expected to gather writers, artists, and key representatives of cultural organizations and institutions from Iloilo and other provinces in Western Visayas.

Initially launched at the CCP, the CCP EPA is the most comprehensive and authoritative reservoir of information on Philippine art and culture. Divided into twelve volumes, the encyclopedia covers the different Philippine art forms, such as architecture, visual arts, film, music, dance, theater, broadcast arts, and literature, as well as the study of the peoples of the Philippines.

The second edition of the EPA was initially launched at the CCP last November 28, 2018, over 20 years after the original nine-volume edition came out. The volume on broadcast arts is the latest addition.

Written by more than 500 brilliant scholars and experts from different regions of the Philippines, the CCP EPA seeks to contribute to the enrichment of Filipino-oriented scholarship and help shape Filipino identity and nationhood.

The CCP EPA is now available for pre-order at the ILOMOCA at a discounted price until May 15 only. For reservations, call (033) 501-8622 or (033) 501-8621. ILOMOCA is located at Casa de Emperador Festive Walk Parade, Mandurriao, Iloilo City, Iloilo.

Firm inks deal for power in Iloilo


MORE Electric and Power Corp. (MORE Power), the power firm of tycoon Enrique Razon Jr., has sealed a deal with Kepko SPC Power Corp. (KSPC) to supply electricity to Iloilo.

Under the one-year interim power supply agreement, KSPC will deliver 5 megawatts (MW) of electricity to MORE Power, with the option for another 5 MW.

MORE Power said KSPC, which operates a 2×100 MW Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustor (CFBC) coal-fired power plant in Naga City, Cebu, had agreed to provide “reliable power” to the city “at a much lower rate” than its current supplier.

“We are happy to be in partnership with Kepco SPC as we commit to bring more to the lives of the Ilonggos by delivering cheaper power,” MORE Power President and Chief Operating Officer Roel Castro said.

In February this year, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11212, granting the Razon-owned firm a franchise to establish and operate as a power distributor in Iloilo City.

The franchise calls for a two-year transition period, which entails negotiations on the use of facilities to prevent blackouts throughout the city.

Founded in 1923, Panay Electric Co. Inc.’s (PECO) franchise to supply electricity to end-users in Iloilo City expired on Jan. 18, 2019.

But PECO continued to operate under the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity issued by the Energy Regulatory Commission, which will expire on May 25.

Hotel industry benefits from Iloilo City’s MICE tourism

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The hotel industry in this city is benefitting from the growing meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibits (MICE) tourism, the new direction that is being pursued by the local government here.

“Before, Iloilo City was festival driven, now we are MICE driven because most of the tourists are delegates of conventions,” said City Tourism and Development Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia in a recent press conference with selected media held at the C’s by L’Fisher at the Iloilo Business Park Festive Walk Mall in this city.

Divinagracia said 50 percent to 70 percent of the 1.2 million tourist arrivals last year were due to MICE.

She said that with the six-month closure of Boracay Island in 2018, some of the conventions were diverted to Iloilo City. It was also fortunate she said that stakeholders from this part of the country have prepared destinations for tourists who opted to divert to Iloilo rather than proceed to Boracay.

“It was of great help that we are ready,” she said.

In a follow-up interview Thursday, Divinagracia said a MICE alliance composed of tourism stakeholders has been created. Last week they met with lawyer Helen Catalbas, Tourism Regional Director, where they were asked to submit their packages.

“We will be lobbying, we will be bidding for international events here in Iloilo,” she said.

Jennifer Palmares-Fong, vice-president for sales and marketing of the Megaworld Iloilo Business Park (IBP), stated that they are preparing for the influx of guests due to MICE.

“Right now we have a total of 475 hotel rooms and we will be adding. By the end of 2022 we will have 1,000 rooms to accommodate travelers here,” Palmares-Fong added.

Courtyard by Marriot Hotel and the Richmonde Hotel have a total existing capacity of 475 rooms, with an additional 405 hotel rooms courtesy of Belmont Hotel Iloilo.

Harold Brian Geronimo, Megaworld’s senior vice president and head of public relations and media affairs, said there are boutique hotels coming in at the IBP. They will be constructed in a nine-hectare commercial district just beside Courtyard.

He said that with their current capacity, IBP can only cater to around 10 percent of the close to 4,000 hotel rooms needed for big conventions.

Currently, there are only around 4,700 hotel rooms in the city including those of small businesses.

Once they increase to 1,000 hotels rooms, still the number only represents 20 to 30 percent of the total room capacity of the entire city, he added.

“IBP cannot accommodate everyone. Everyone else in Iloilo will really benefit and IBP inspires smaller businesses to really upgrade,” he stated.

Palmares-Fong said that the coming in of Megaworld is “not a threat” because they have a focused market. While they cater to MICE executives, their staff and those that they could not accommodate spread to other hotels.

“We are not killing small businesses, we are actually helping because it brings business to the city,” Palmares-Fong said.

She added that the vision of their chairman for the township to be able to cater and make Iloilo as a convention city is “taking place already”.

Divinagracia said the MICE tourism is a big help to budget hotels. “They are very happy because in 2018, they have high occupancy rate due to regional conventions,” she added.

This year, the city has many upcoming conventions. She added that every month they expect two to four big conventions happening in Iloilo City.

Apart from boosting the hotel room capacity, Geronimo said they also beefed up security in consideration of the upcoming conventions.

They are also building a transportation hub to serve a lot of routes such as from the airport, ports, and other routes from the provinces.

The tourism officer added that last February, Senator Franklin Drilon requested the Department of Tourism to prepare a travel mart to further promote Iloilo.

Iloilo levels up from festival destination to top MICE hub

By Rhick Lars Vladimer Albay (PN)

ILOILO City – “In the past, Iloilo’s tourism has been largely festival-driven. Now, we have the potential to be a premier MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions) destination,” Iloilo City Tourism and Development Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia recently said at a media roundtable held at C’s by L’Fisher in Festive Walk Mall, here.

Divinagracia explains that despite still being known as the city of the Dinagyang Festival, introducing Iloilo as an emerging MICE hub brings the potential of a year-round surge in tourist arrivals, compared to the seasonal draw of the much-hyped festival – celebrated annually in late January.

The city official shares that for the next year, Iloilo City is girding to host at least two to four large conventions every month, adding that around 50 to 70 percent of the city’s 1.2-million tourist arrivals last year can be attributed to confab delegates. According to a study by the Department of Tourism (DOT), MICE attendees are seen to spend six times more compared to a typical tourist – the industry being a potent economic multiplier.

Among the headway heralding this rapid growth in the local MICE industry are the introduction of new direct flights to and from Iloilo, a thriving and competitive hotel and hospitality sector, and robust infrastructure.

Just this February, Sen. Franklin Drilon and the office of DOT undersecretary Art Boncato championed and announced a three-year P50-million marketing plan to promote Iloilo as a world-class MICE destination.

“In the next three years, we [are set] to focus our marketing efforts in promoting Iloilo as one of the premiere MICE hubs in the country,” added Divinagracia.


Megaworld’s 72-hectare Iloilo Business Park township is quickly emerging as the center of this MICE development, being home to the Iloilo Convention Center and two respected hotel brands – with one more major hospitality label in the horizon.

The Iloilo Convention Center, with its 3,700-seat capacity main hall on the ground floor and 500-seat function rooms on the second floor, sits strategically between the Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo and Richmonde Hotel Iloilo.

Currently, the city has around 4,700 DOT-accredited hotel rooms, and the Megaworld township is set to add more than 400 rooms in the next four years.

By 2023, Iloilo Business Park will add 405 more hotel rooms to the existing 475-room capacity of both Richmonde Hotel Iloilo and international hospitality brand Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, with the grand unveiling of the property giant’s own Belmont Hotel Iloilo. This is on top of the boutique hotels that the township is set to host in its 9-hectare commercial district, set to rise beside the Courtyard by Marriott soon.

“In the next five years, Iloilo Business Park will have around 1,000 hotel rooms in the township alone. This will further help bridge the gap in the hotel requirements of the city as we remain optimistic on the growth of MICE tourism,” said Jennifer Palmares-Fong, vice president for sales and marketing, Megaworld Iloilo Business Park.

Megaworld senior vice president and head of public relations and media affairs Harold Brian Geronimo added that dedicated transport hubs are also set to rise inside the township, slated to include shuttle services to and from the Iloilo International Airport, routes to Antique and Southern Iloilo, as well as premium P2P services to Boracay Island.

Despite all the growth and development in the local MICE sector seemingly centralized at Iloilo Business Park, both Palmares-Fong and Divinagracia brushed off fears that the Megaworld township will “monopolize” this emergent industry, saying there is enough of the market to go around – enough even to benefit the small and medium businesses in the city.

“With us coming in here, Megaworld has become a multiplier of sorts for the economy of the city,” Palmares-Fong told the media. “Iloilo Business Park has led in supporting the growth of the MICE industry here, but we are not [hogging] the business. I believe all, the entire local hospitality industry, can benefit from all this growth. It’s all for the city.”

“At the end of the day, not all delegates can be accommodated by Iloilo Business Park, there will always be spill over [to the other tourism stakeholders],” she continued. “We each have our own target markets and demographics we cater to, there is room for everyone to benefit from this growth.”

Divinagracia, for her part, claims that talking to other businessmen involved in the hotel industry of Iloilo, most are really thankful for the presence of Megaworld and Iloilo Business Park, seeing its vital boost to the local economy.

“Budget hotels are actually really thankful for the existence of the Iloilo Business Park,” Divinagracia explained. “Here in Iloilo, their occupancy rates are even higher compared to bigger hotels in the city, whole-year round even, largely because of the year-round conventions and events in Iloilo, some of which hosted inside this township.”

Led by the DOT Region 6, an Iloilo MICE City Core Group has been created to ensure the implementation of this burgeoning tourism plan. The Iloilo City MICE marketing plan is set to be implemented within a three-year period with the first year focusing on the creation of an Iloilo City MICE desk, a MICE Alliance, and a venture into a series of MICE roadshows.

“Our concept for Iloilo Business Park s to really make it a tourist destination for Iloilo City. Iloilo Business Park is certainly more than just a township, and we are proud to take an active role in making Iloilo City the country’s premier MICE destination,” Palmares-Fong concluded.

Iloilo ’s ‘hablon’: Star of this month’s fashion show

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- A fashion show that will change the mindset of people believing that “hablon” or woven cloth are just ethnic will happen in Manila’s high-end hotel at end of this month.

In an interview Wednesday, Imelda R. Canuel, partnerships and programs officer of Great Women Philippines Corporation (GWPhC), said that they have been working with the provincial government of Iloilo and selected local government units (LGUs) so that the fashion show will give the sense of knowledge to people that Iloilo is back in the textile world and that “it doesn’t have to be ethnic”.

“What we are trying to do is try to innovate the textile that is here in Iloilo and showcase to people that it is not ethnic, and it is something that is wearable and contemporary and relevant,” she said.

She added that together with designers and stylists, they worked together to put up the fashion show to showcase the “hablon” in “contemporary form”.

The fashion show dubbed, “Spring Summer 219 GW Collection”, would attempt to “differentiate the developments that we are doing”.

"If we put a lot of design component and innovation into it, we call it GW collection,” she said, adding that it is a form of branding.

Canuel added they are proud to be collaborating with concerned groups in Iloilo, including the weavers.

“If the weavers don’t want to weave, nothing will happen. We have to make them feel that they are important,” she said.

They are now collaborating with local designers to come up with their own designs and direction.

“That’s the direction that we want to take, we are innovating and reviving the industry in order for it to be relevant in today’s time,” she said.

They also look forward to working with students of the Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT-U), which has been offering programs on textile. “In terms of local designs, you are very rich,” she said.

The fashion show will take place at the lobby lounge of Makati Shangri-la.

GWPhC is also one of the partners in the establishment of the Regional Yarn Production and Innovation Center’ (RYPIC) in Miagao, Iloilo.

On its website, it says that Great Women “economically empower women’s businesses, linking supply chains of products that revitalize heritage, culture, and the spirit of craftsmanship" or through services that support and enhance women’s lives.

40 WV campus journalists are IWAG Awardees

By Leonard T. Pineda, I (JBG/LTP/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, March 12 (PIA) -- A total of 40 campus journalists from various schools in Western Visayas qualified as recipients of the IWAG Award 2019 by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-6.

Jaime S. Cabag, Jr., PIA-6 OIC Regional Head, said that the IWAG Award is an incentive scheme designed by PIA-6 to give recognition to graduating campus paper editors and writers who excel in development communication and related fields, including academic performance.

“Since 1977, the Philippine Information Agency has cited students for promoting national development through the campus publications,” he said.

Cabag said that each campus publication is entitled to send only one nominee who has passed the school’s selection committee, while the IWAG Awardee Evaluation Committee of PIA-6 determined the final IWAG awardees.

The evaluation criteria for the award include development communication articles published in their respective school paper, academic and scholastic achievements, communication work experience and training, and involvement in school and community activities.

The IWAG Awardees from Aklan are Jessy Anne Louise T. Belinario of Aklan Catholic College; Alec Julian A. Templonuevo and Hazel Anne V. Cipriano, both from Regional Science High School for Region VI; Angelee L. Morandante and Jed Nykolle B. Harme from Linabuan National High School, Rhea Grace T. Custodio of Makato Integrated School; and Mary Sol Frances C. Quitong of Garcia College of Technology.

For Antique, the recipients are Donnabel D. Banusing of the University of Antique; Joseph Nicole T. Hiñosa and William Harry M. Diana of Antique National School; and Charlene Mae Luces of Antique Vocational School.

Awardees from Capiz are Lara Karla L. Endaya from Filamer Christian University; Hosanna Mae R. Astrolabio of Capiz State University-Main Campus; Ruchell B. Roy of Hercor College; Melvin A. Villarez of Capiz State University- Pontevedra; Clint M. Bellosillo and Joanne Wayne S. Horneja, both from Capiz National High School; Neil Justin D. Fincal of the Basic Education Department of Hercor College Inc.; Princess Nicole S. Alivar of Mayor Ramon A. Benjamin Sr. National High School; and Elmer Christian Lamayo of David Moises Memorial High School.

Seven students from Iloilo are also recipients of the award namely: RJ Junsay from the University of San Agustin; Gilda A. Rodinas from John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University- Molo; Ma. Rinia S. Baldoza of West Visayas State University (WVSU)-College of Education; April Grace R. Padilla of WVSU- College of Communication; Leodel T. Barrio of WVSU-College of Medicine; Amy Ross N. Gamarcha of Iloilo Science and Technology-University; and Ray Angelo C. Jagna-an of Pavia National High School.

The awardees from Negros Occidental are Kaye Eunice Lamera of University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R); Kristelle Janne P. Sa-onoy of VMA Global College; Joshua Martin P. Guanco of University of St. La Salle (USLS); Jude Lourence G. Segovia of La Consolacion College Bacolod; Leah Angela Cioco of St. John’s Institute Bacolod; Janieross A. Lamboso of UNO-R-Senior High School; Josh Aldrich B. Diola and Perlyn Joy L. Suganob, both from Sum-ag National High School; Cristopher John R. Salla of Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod; Chikki U. Villanueva of STI West Negros University; Sophia Lyn Elnar and Lance Nicoudemus D. Tionko from USLS-Liceo de La Salle; and Hazel Lorraine G. Herida of UNO-R Junior High School.

W. Visayas doctors promote healing through art

By Gail Momblan (PNA)

ILOILO CITY – Twelve medical doctors in Western Visayas, who found solace in painting, got together to hold an exhibit and promote healing through art.

The doctor-artists, dubbed “After Clinic Group”, depicted the beauty of life through their art exhibit, “Healing and beyond: Prescriptions on Canvass”, at Museo de Iloilo here.

The group exhibited their artworks to raise funds for indigenous patients, said Dr. Eva Catedral, a member of the group, during an interview on Saturday.

The group was called the “After Clinic” because the members’ usually meet at 7 p.m. after their respective duties in clinics and hospitals, she said.

As an opthalmologist, Catedral included in her paintings the diseases of the eye.

Some of her paintings interpret what a patient sees when he or she has glaucoma, astigmatism, cataract, or color blindness.

“Even when a person has an eye problem, it is not at all dark and dreary. There are still lines and forms. There is still beauty,” she said in an interview.

Dr. Dureza Abad, another member of the group, said art is a great way to comfort patients, especially those who are suffering from depression.

She also aims to influence the millennials, who are given “high expections” of the society, to de-stress through painting.

“Probably we could influence them on how to deviate and how to control their emotions through art,” she said.

As a practicing neurologist in this city, Abad said she “tries to exercise” both the “left logical brain” and “right artistic brain”.

“We may look calm in the outside but our system also complains with the stress in our work. The stress manifests in form of sickness that’s why I want to be in relax mode. I found healing in painting. Painting has connection, the healing power,” she said.

Aside from the field of ophthalmology and neurology, the “After Clinic Group” also has members who practice internal medicine.

Catedral said the “After Clinic” will also welcome other doctor-artists.

The exhibit opened on February 22 and will last until March 28.

TESDA-W.Visayas needs new trainers, assessors

By Gail Momblan (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) 6 (Western Visayas) is searching for new trainers and assessors so it could open new courses.

“We cannot open new TESDA courses without the availability of trainers,” Rani Rodriguez, chair of the Western Visayas Regional Skills Olympics Association (WVRSOA), said in a phone interview on Friday.

Courses that deal with construction, agriculture and fishery, health care services, automotive, and computer and technology sector, among others, demand more trainers and assessors, Rodriguez said.

He said most of the courses that need trainers and assessors are considered "most sought-after jobs." "These courses offer huge employment opportunities," he said.

He clarified that TESDA is not limited to hotel and restaurant management and tourism courses. "Courses that include cookery, housekeeping, bartending, and others under the hotel and restaurant sectors are the most popular, but TESDA is more than that. There are more courses to explore," he said.

He added that some schools have signified their interest to open new courses but TESDA cannot provide them with trainers.

Thus, Rodriguez said he continues to encourage those who "have the passion to teach" to become TESDA trainers and assessors.

Qualified trainers and assessors must be a graduate of a four-year course, acquired National Certificates I, II, III, and IV, and have undergone a training methodology of TESDA.

"Once you were assessed and you get your National Trainor's Certificate, you can become (a) trainer," he said.

Rodriguez noted that becoming TESDA trainers and assessors contribute to the success of the Filipino as TESDA is "already a mainstream in the educational ladder of the youth."

"Mainstream education means that after finishing their courses, all graduates can surely work," he said.

Iloilo City to undertake coastal rehabilitation program

By Emme Rose S. Santiagudo

THE ILOILO City government, inspired by the rehabilitation initiatives in Boracay and Manila Bay, is launching its own coastal cleanup in 26 villages stretching from Barangays Bitoon, Jaro to Santo Niño Sur, Arevalo.

Mayor Jose S. Espinosa III said earlier this week that he already gave initial directives to environment specialists, private stakeholders, international agencies, and the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) during a meeting with the Iloilo-Batiano River Development Council.

“During the meeting with the Iloilo-Batiano River Development Council, we also issued a directive and we have gathered aerial photos showing the sorry state of the coastal areas,” he said.

“I can remember the times before that we can still swim in our coastal waters but now it is not safe. If Boracay and Manila Bay can be cleaned, why can’t we clean our coastal treasures here in the city. We have witnessed how they did it , so we now, we are doing it here,” the mayor said.

A task force will be created to take charge and monitor the clean-up implementation after he issues an executive order.

CENRO head Noel Z. Hechanova said the program would only target solid wastes, which contributes to about 10%-15% of the pollution load in the coastal waters.

“This is the tip of the iceberg because the solid waste only contributes around 10 to 15 (percent) in the pollution load, the rest is generated by waste waters from the comfort rooms,” he said.

Mr. Hechanova emphasized the need to have proper and well-maintained septic tanks. “Once you have septic tanks, any bodies of water will be really affected. Since 2006, we have been campaigning to clean septic tanks regularly. It should also be constructed correctly,” he said.

Iloilo LGU ready to host reformation center for ‘pushers’

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- Passi City, a component city of Iloilo, has a ready facility that could house the reformation center for drug pusher-surrenderers, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) here.

Dubbed as “Balay Silangan”, the reformation center is patterned after the “Bahay Pagbabago” of Central Luzon, PDEA Western Visayas officer-in-charge Alex M. Tablate said by phone on Thursday.

“Balay Silangan is one strategy of PDEA. It is intended for (drug) surrenderers who fall under the pushers’ category,” he said, adding that it is mandatory for every local government unit to have a reformation center based on the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) regulation.

Tablate said that the reformation center is proposed at the Philippine Red Cross building in Barangay Sablogon, Passi City. It is complete with facilities, such as a lecture room and a dormitory.

“We are now working on the requirements including the Memorandum of Agreement,” he said.

Passi City has only three pusher-surrenderers but it is willing to accept those coming from neighboring municipalities.

“We are targeting that it will become operational in the second semester,” he said.

Drug pushers will undergo a reformation program at the center for at least three months. One month will be the mandatory in-house and the rest will be a combination of in-house and livelihood trainings, among others.

The center is a necessity since barangays classified as moderately affected have drug pushers in their jurisdiction.

“With that we can already address the necessity for pusher-surrenderers to be placed in the Balay Silangan and eventually declare their barangays (as drug cleared) if they graduate from the center,” he added.

Tablate emphasized that LGUs need not construct new buildings for the “Balay Silangan”, instead they just have to follow the program of instructions.

He cited as example the province of Guimaras, which has five municipalities looking at building a structure to accommodate pusher-surrenderers from the entire province.

The municipality of Miagao, Iloilo, although it has been declared as drug-cleared, will also be establishing its own Balay Silangan.

The local government is considering the old building of the municipal police station to be utilized for the center once it is vacated in June this year.

Tablate said Miagao is also willing to accommodate clients coming from neighboring municipalities.

Aside from the three LGUs, PDEA is also talking with the local government units of Janiuay in Iloilo and Tapaz, Capiz for the establishment of the Balay Silangan.

DTI explores market potential of Iloilo

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) conducted a two-day visit to Iloilo City to determine its development and look into areas where it can extend support for.

“We visited Iloilo to basically know more about the developments in the area so we can assist them promote the province and the city for investments and maybe possible trade with other countries,” said FTSC Supervising Undersecretary Rowel Barba in an interview on Wednesday.

The team that was also joined by FTSC Executive Director Emmanuel Ang and Trade Services Officers first visited the city government on Tuesday and met with the business groups in the metropolis at the Casa Real the following day.

Barba said they saw a big potential in the real estate business in this part of the country.

“Prices of real estate have increased tremendously and there is not enough office space for BPO (business process outsourcing). But we hope the developers will be able to come up with additional office space the soonest possible time so more companies can come. That’s for the services sector,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said that “a lot more improvement is needed, especially in terms of production” in the manufacturing sector. He hoped that more products will be produced from this part of the country to be exported abroad.

“We hope to work with the private sector and other government agencies so we can identify a possible winner from the region,” he added.

Meantime, Ritchel Gavan, head of the Iloilo City Local Economic Investment Promotions Office in an interview said the FTSC has committed to help market this highly-urbanized city overseas.

“They checked how they can extend help to Iloilo. They promised to involve Iloilo in their investment promotions abroad,” she said.

Gavan said that there was no particular investment area that was discussed during their meeting but having them will open more opportunities because they have offices around the world.

However, in the field of Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO), the city government wanted call center companies “ to set up their main offices here and not just branches,” she added.

Also, they hoped that the Iloilo Startup Founders Circle be linked with potential clients.

Meanwhile, the first collaboration they would have will be the Guanzhou “Maritime Silk Road” expo slated this April 18-21 in China. Iloilo City will be sending a delegation of designers, producers and local businessmen.

“The role of the FTSC is to conduct market matching; they will find suppliers for businessmen, and market for our supplier. That will be our first collaboration with the FTSC as an output of their visit yesterday,” Gavan disclosed.

Gavan added that the support of the FTSC is vital in reaching out to more market potentials abroad.

“This time it’s not just the LGU (local government unit) and the local private sector that promote and reach out abroad to introduce our products. We have the support of the national government through DTI-FTSC,” she added.

FTSC is part of the Trade and Investment Promotions Group of DTI. It is composed of trade representatives of commercial posts of DTI around the world.

JRMP II inauguration: A dream come true

By Lilibeth A. French (JBG/laf/PIA6-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY (PIA) -- A dream finally came true for Ilonggos on Thursday, February 27, 2019, with the inauguration of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II), the biggest irrigation development project in the province and outside of Luzon.

“Today, we see the fulfillment of the impossible dream of the Ilonggos, the groundbreaking ceremony to signal the start of the construction of this P11.2 billion JRMP,” said Senator Franklin Drilon who, together with Minister-Counsellor Sunyoung Kim of the Government of South Korea, led the groundbreaking and capsule-laying ceremonies for the JRMP II at the Daewoo Temporary Facility Compound at Brgy. Agcalaga in Calinog town.

Drilon said JRMP II is the biggest single public infrastructure project in the history of Iloilo and the flagship project of the National Irrigation Administration in the Visayas.

Construction of the project is expected to be completed in September 2022 at a cost of P11.2 billion with P8.9 billion funded by the Government of South Korea and 2.2 billion pesos counterpart from the Government of the Philippines.

In his message, Drilon recalled that it was in April 2011 when he went to Seoul, South Korea to work on the funding of the project.

“This is the biggest loan extended by the Korean government for a single project in the entire world and it is happening here in Iloilo,” said Drilon.

He thanked the Korean government through the Export-Import Bank of Korea for the assistance to the Philippine agriculture sector and to the farmers of Iloilo in particular.

With deep appreciation, Drilon also acknowledged the decision of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to adopt, support and continue the project which according to him encountered road blocks including a petition for a Writ of Kalikasan filed in Court of Appeals.

“This project did not come easy, negotiating with the Korean government was the easy part but it took blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today. Certain parties for their own political and ideological agenda tried to stop this project, filed a case before the Court of Appeals, asking to stop this project,” he said.

He added the Court of Appeals saw the merit and benefit of the project and decided that it has complied with all environmental regulation and allowed the project to push through.

There are seven benefits that Drilon cited from the completed JRMP which include the following: 1) Improve the lives of 25,000 farmers; 2) Provide 17,000 jobs during its construction for the next 40 months; 3) Double rice production to nearly 300,000 metric tons per year; 4) Irrigate 32,000 hectares in 22 municipalities and 2 cities in Iloilo; 5) Improve the average yield of farmlands to 5.2 metric tons per hectare; 6) Provide 86,400 cubic meters of potable water daily; and 7) Generate 6.6 megawatts of hydro-electric power.

Aside from Calinog, other primary areas that will be served by the irrigation project are Lambunao, Badiangan, Janiauy, Cabatuan, Sta. Barbara, Pavia, Alimodian, Leon, San Miguel, Oton, Tigbauan, Duenas, San Enrique, Anilao, Dingle, Barotac Nuevo, Dumangas, Mina, New Lucena, Pototan, Zarraga, and Leganes towns and the cities of Passi and Iloilo.

Korean construction firm Daewoo Engineering and Construction will implement the project that involves the construction of three dams, a 109-meter high dam and 38-meter afterbay dam across the Jalaur River and a catch dam in Alibunan River. An 80-kilometer high line canal will also be constructed to deliver water from the dams to rice paddies.

Drilon said, with the completion of the project in 2022, the province of Iloilo will become a model of rural development just as Iloilo City today is a model of urban development.

“If we all unite, work together, no doubt we will do so to attain all these goals. We can all say that if we fulfilled our dreams for a better and progressive Iloilo, it is because we all did our share,” said Drilon.

Drilon and Kim were joined during the event by NIA Administrator Retired General Ricardo Visaya, NIA 6 Regional Manager and JRMP II Concurrent Project Manager Gerardo Corsiga, Governor Arthur Defensor, Mayor Alex Centena and Export-Import Bank of Korea Senior Executive Director Deog-Young Shin.

HIV testing, treatment center opens in Iloilo City

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- A center offering testing and treatment services for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) opened here on Monday through the efforts of the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP).

FPOP Iloilo chapter program manager Mona Lisa S. Diones explained that Raising Awareness for Junior Advocates on HIV (RAJAH) community center would lead them to “young people who are the focus of the HIV treatment hub”.

It targets key population composed of males and transgender women having sex with other males; youth; minors; pregnant women and their partners; transactional sex workers, among others, according to clinical manager Roberto P. Figuracion Jr.

“The community center is a more holistic approach at providing HIV testing and treatment services,” he said, adding that the initiative will change the concept that treatment is only available in hospitals.

He added that by putting up the center for testing and treating HIV, they are “trying to make it less stigmatizing”.

Figuracion said they want to make sure that persons with HIV "will have a safe space, that they are comfortable and they don’t feel any discrimination" when they avail of services.

The center has its own lounge, activity center, testing, and treatment center. The lounge, which is available for free, has amenities where the target population can drop-by, meet up and do research. The activity center can cater to a bigger population.

The testing is available from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays to suit the availability of possible clients.

As a primary HIV care facility, RAJAH offers psychosocial support services through an internal support group for persons living with HIV guided by social workers and a psychometrician.

“We call this an alternative service point because this is an option to what is already in place by the LGU (local government unit). Our goal ultimately is to reach those unreachable, the hard to reach population,” he added.

Diones said opening the center is timely as “new cases of HIV infection continue to rise in Iloilo City and Western Visayas”.

From 1984 until December 2018, Western Visayas recorded 3,012 cases of HIV. Iloilo City had 765 cases. Of the number, 159 were recorded in 2018.

The RAJAH is located at the second floor Dulalia Building in Rizal St., Barangay Ma. Clara, City Proper.

Armed with an accreditation from the Department of Health and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, the center is being assisted by international partners Save the Children, Love Yourself and United Nations Children’s Fund.

Iloilo City gets P14.2-M sports equipment from PSC

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- Iloilo City received some PHP14.27 million worth of sports equipment donated by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) following its successful hosting of the Visayas qualifying leg of the 2019 Batang Pinoy games.

Moises Salomon Jr., Iloilo City Sports Director, said Monday the donation governed by a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the PSC and the city government included various equipment for archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, chess, futsal, karatedo and Pencak Silat, sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis and volleyball, among others.

He noted that Iloilo City, for the first time, won the coveted championship for the Batang Pinoy with its 57 gold, 49 silver, and 44 bronze medals. Salomon, in a previous interview, also lauded the program that caters to children 15 years old and below.

“That’s the time when the children can choose whatever they want, whatever they want to play, whatever they want to train,” he said.

Following their win, the athletes will now be undergoing training in preparation for the national finals, which is slated sometime in July either in Bacolod City or Bohol.

Iloilo City rules girls tennis in Batang Pinoy

By Jean Malanum (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- Iloilo City swept the girls division while La Carlota, Negros Occidental ruled the boys division in the tennis competition of the Philippine Youth Games - Batang Pinoy (PYG-BP) Visayas qualifying leg held at the La Paz Tennis Court here on Saturday.

Althea Rose Martirez won the girls’ singles event over top seed Tiffany Clare Nocos of Cebu City, 6-2, 6-7 (7), 6-2. She teamed up with Maria Patrina Abigail Aguirre to beat Cj Thalia Suson and Nocos, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 10-7. The Ilonggos also won the team event over La Carlota, 2-1.

In the boys division, No. 1 Khenz Nber Justiniani outplayed Randy Tatoy of Dumaguete City, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3, in the singles event; Justiniani and Joshua Raymundo prevailed over Nikhel Nowlakha and Jeff Jimenea, 6-2, 6-4; while La Carlota beat Maasin City, Leyte, 2-0, in the team event.

Counting the medals in tennis, Iloilo has won a total of 57 gold in the week-long tournament organized by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for children 15 years old and below.

Iloilo City Sports Development Division head Moises Salomon Jr. said he is happy the city emerged as the overall champion in the Visayas leg for the first time.

“We have a very good sports program here,” said Salomon. “I am optimistic that our athletes will succeed in the National Finals. We have the edge because we will use the sports equipment that the PSC will give us."

Iloilo City dominated pencak silat, winning 12 golds coming from Krystal May Alcarioto (girls 61-64kg), Jillian Faith Sudaro (girls 58-61kg), John Israel Factularin (boys 46-48kg), Vanessa May Viado (girls 43-46kg), Lloyd Marti Seguiban (boys 43-46kg) and Joseph Marvin Tacapan (boys 40-43kg) in the Tanding pre-teenager division.

Other winners were Airelle Loreto (girls 63-67kg) and Kimberly Maure (girls 71-75kg) in the Tanding teenager category; Ella May Baldevarona (girls) and Scyros Malcolm Gardose (boys) in the Tunggal teenager event; Gardose and Welmar Tajapal (Ganda teenager boys); and Tajapal, Patrick Peter Tabladillo and Ymhan Lei Alminaza (Regu teenager boys). Cebu City, which placed second overall with 42 golds, 55 silvers and 63 bronzes, won the girls beach volleyball event over Pontevedra, 25-23, 21-23 and 15-7.

Cebu Province finished third with 38 golds, 38 silvers and 52 bronzes followed by Negros Occidental (30-18-17), Lapu Lapu City (28-14-25), Bacolod City (23-27-35), Mandaue City (22-21-31), Dumaguete City (19-23-15), Ormoc City (12-15-14) and Aklan Province (12-18-7).

Bacolod City defeated Cebu City, 9-3, in the girls Under-15 softball final at the Central Philippines University gym. It also won the boys Under-15 basketball title while Iloilo City won the girls title at the Iloilo Sports Complex covered court.

In futsal, Sagay City (Negros Occidental) defeated Pontevedra (Negros Occidental), 7-6, in the boys Under-15 final at the West Visayas State University field.

In other final results, San Carlos City (Negros Occidental) outplayed Cebu Province, 2-1, in the girls Under-15 event while Negros Occidental took the gold in the boys Under-13 event.

Last year, Cebu City topped the Visayas leg hosted by Dumaguete City with 46 golds, 59 silvers and 69 bronzes.

Dumaguete City finished second with 41 golds, 29 silvers and 44 bronzes while Bacolod City placed third with 29 golds, 23 silvers and 20 bronzes.

Meanwhile, the Luzon qualifying leg is scheduled on March 16 to 23 in Ilagan City, Isabela.

PhilHealth-6 ready for universal health care

By Carlson B. Alelis (LTP/CBA/PIA6)

ILOILO CITY, March 1 (PIA6) – The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth)-6 is ready to implement the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law or Republic Act No. 11223 in Western Visayas.

This was disclosed by Janet Monteverde, acting regional vice president of Philhealth-6, adding that the region already has 98 percent of its projected population, or about 7.3 million members and dependents, enrolled in the national health insurance program as of December last year.

PhilHealth-6 held a press conference recently, attended by government information offices and the local media, to help disseminate the salient points of the UHC, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last February.

Owen Magalona, the head of the Membership and Marketing section, said the remaining two percent of the population is composed mostly of people living in remote areas.

“So, it’s only a matter of time before we can achieve our mandate for universal health care,” he said.

Currently, those who want to be members need not have supporting documents, they just need to fill the registration forms, Magalona said.

There might, however, be some changes, depending on the implementing rules and regulations or IRR for the UHC.

According to Monteverde, the funding for the UHC will come from Sin Tax, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, member contributions and subsidy from the national government.

As for the contributions, members will be divided into two groups – the direct and indirect contributors.

Direct Contributors are those who have the capacity to pay premiums, are gainfully employed and are bound by an employer-employee relationship, or are self-earning, professional practitioners, migrant workers, including their qualified dependents, and lifetime members.

Indirect Contributors, on the other hand, refer to all others not included as direct contributors, as well as their qualified dependents, whose premium shall be subsidized by the national government including those who are subsidized as a result of special laws.

Iloilo City remains on top of Batang Pinoy medal table

By Jean Malanum (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- Iloilo City has amassed 119 medals (46 golds, 38 silvers and 35 bronzes) to remain on top of the medal board after four days of competition in the Philippine Youth Games-Batang Pinoy Visayas qualifying leg here.

The Ilonggos have collected seven golds from arnis, five golds from taekwondo and one from lawn tennis in the tournament, organized by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for children 15 years and below.

Ram Cyril Deloso (cadet boys individual one weapon); Tristan Michael Guarte (junior boys individual one weapon); Kyle Angelo Tiron, Jeremy Tanedo and Carl Wayne Reyes (cadet boys team open weapon) and Clemence Mariw Alag (cadet girls individual 2-weapon) triumphed in the traditional event while Kyle Angelo Tiron (cadet boys individual one weapon); Carl Wayne Reyes, Jeremy Joseph Tanedo and Tiron (cadet boys team open weapon) and Jaevan Susal (junior boys individual 2-weapon) dominated the non-traditional event in the arnis competition at the Iloilo Science and Technological University.

The gold winners in the taekwondo competition played at the Robinsons Pavia Mall were finweight Angel Grace Cerbas, bantamweight Feri Carmel Perez and middleweight Sheriemei Anne Hojilla in the kyorugi event, and Elizabeth Marie Borres and Kean Ryth Bornazal (pair cadet) and Seth Ryan Templaza, Airon Melvin Aguana at Aryan Nicole Nonis (team cadet) in poomsae event.

Iloilo City likewise ruled the girls team tennis event, beating La Carlota City in Negros Occidental, 2-1, in the championship round held at the La Paz Plaza court.

Cebu City is second overall with 32 golds, 42 silvers and 44 bronze medals followed by Cebu Province (32-20-33), Negros Occidental (29-16-16), Bacolod City (17-22, 26), Dumaguete City (17-20-9), Lapu-Lapu City (15-11-15), Ormoc City (12-15-14), Manduae City (11-13-20) and Antique (11-5-15).

Bacolod City’s gold medalists in taekwondo were featherweight Arielle Aimee Beronio (kyorugi girls cadet), finweight Allen Casana (kyorugi junior men) and Jamiehannah Agaloos, Lexine Gabrielle Lapu-os and Maria Charlize Philippe Subardiaga (poomsae team junior).

Taekwondo jins Mary Rose Opuran (kyorugi girls cadet) and Rebekah Gabrielle Ponte and Xander Palacpac (poomsae pair junior) gave Cebu City two golds.

The other gold medalists in the kyorugi event were finweight Mery Krizel Parandas (Cebu Province), lightweight Yanna Eireen Pe (Antique), light middleweight Anna Karylle Juntado (Mandaue City), light heavyweight Jean Divine Margarette Pretal (Aklan) and heavyweight Sally Mae Aguirre (Tacloban City) in the girls cadet category while flyweight Romel Dela Cruz Jr. (Bago City) and bantamweight Addie Andrie Arquilita (Tacloban City) also won in the junior men category.

Lapu-Lapu City got 12 of its 15 gold medals from arnis. The medalists were Johniel Barral, Alexah Ondoy and Avegail Alpanta (cadet girls team open weapon); Paulino Ortiz Jr., Saturnino Gestopa Jr. and Jeruel Baguio (junior boys team open weapon); Bryze Danielle Manaytay (junior girls individual 2- weapon); and Jeanalyn Ycoy, Karol Pauline Satera and Rizzy Shane Caballero (junior girls team open weapon) in the traditional event.

The winners in the non-traditional event were Kate Iccy Solis (cadet boys individual 2- weapon); Johniel Barral (cadet boys individual 2- weapon); Alexah Ondoy, Avegail Alpanta and Barral (cadet girls team open weapon); Gestopa Saturnino (junior boys individual one weapon); Paulino Ortiz, Jeruel Baguio and Gestopa (junior boys team open weapon); Bryze Danielle Manaytay (junior girls individual one weapon); Karol Pauline Satera (junior girls individual 2-weapon); and Kim Buenviaje, Jannalyn Ycoy and Manaytay (junior girls team open weapon).

Meanwhile, Fernando Lacana Jr. and Darwin Sevillano of Bobon, Northern Samar beat their respective opponents in the finals of the boxing competition on Thursday night at the Dungon A Jaro Covered Court.

Lacana knocked out Bienjemar Codoy of Cebu City with 10 seconds left in the second round to win junior boys light flyweight (48kg) gold while Servillano scored a 5-0 victory over Dante Montales of La Carlota, Negros Occidental in the junior boys pin weight (44-46kg) division.

In other results, Sean Oniel Abello of Cebu Province beat Justine Valero of Bago City, 5-0, in the boys light mosquito weight (34-36kg) division; Vanesa Belarte of Bago City demolished Catherine Joy Bayabay of Bobon, 5-0, in the girls pinweight (44-46kg) division; JM Andreales of Cebu Province downed Ruben Borcelo of Bobon, RSC-2, in the junior boys flyweight (50kg) division; Arielle Garth Llamas of Cebu City prevailed over Kim Tomi-as of Bogo City, 5-0, in the boys light bantamweight (52kg) division and Geovane Rosalina of Murcia, Negros Occidental defeated Val Baldestoy of Bobon, RSC-2, in the boys bantamweight (54kg) division.

Iloilo City Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.