Iloilo City News December 2015

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Iloilo City - Archived News

Seal of Iloilo City
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Map Locator of Iloilo City
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Aerial View of Iloilo City
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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
Iloilo dinagyang festival.jpg
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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Ask your Barangay Captain/Chairman to create a Resolution to make it mandatory to put the barangay name in all Business addresses.


‘2015 good year for tourism, business’


ILOILO City – 2015 was a good year for business and tourism, according to Iloilo Business Club executive director Lea Lara.

Iloilo hosted national and international events like the Philippine Independence Day celebration in June and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ministerial meetings in July and September.

These events, according to Lara, had a great impact on tourism and local businesses like restaurants and hotels.

“[Iloilo] had great promotion this year,” she said. “I would say that, until now, we are still feeling the attention brought about by these important events.”

A lot of investments poured in, too, including two big hotels in Mandurriao district, Lara said.

“We have also restored our heritages sites and buildings,” she said. “I think, in a way, Iloilo is already becoming a [part] of the MICE industry, [especially] with the opening of the (Iloilo) Convention Center.”

The MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events) is a type of tourism wherein large groups are brought together for a particular purpose.

Two new business process outsourcing companies opened here this year. “We are seeing more this 2016,” she said.

But Lara believes there is still room for improvement — providing a friendlier process in assisting investors, for instance.

A “business retention program” is also important, she said. “While we spend so much money in attracting investment, the same amount — or more — should be expensed to keep these businesses.”

Helping small and medium businesses is essential, too, considering the stiffer competition, she said.

“It’s really about coming up with better services and a very good variety of products,” said Lara. “We have to take the challenge to help small businesses so they won’t be displaced and could benefit from all the developments in Iloilo.”

Iloilo City gives Christmas cheers to 25,000 city poor


THE Iloilo City Government is giving Christmas packs to 25,000 families as a yearly gesture of sharing and helping the poor families.

City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog led the gift giving held at the Iloilo City Freedom Grandstand to 3,000 senior citizens and persons with disabilities on December 29 and another 22,000 gift packs to 22,000 individuals on December 30 at the same venue.

Mabilog admitted his personal commitment to help the city’s urban poor especially during the Christmas season by institutionalizing the gift giving activity. Tickets were distributed through the punong barangays of the city’s 180 barangays.

The gift packs contain 2 kilos of rice, noodles, a can of corn beef and a can of beef loaf.

Over 50T TESDA graduates now employed – Tamayo


ILOILO City – As of last month, 59,820 graduates of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Region 6 this year got employed, according to Director Toni June Tamayo.

Most of them found jobs abroad, revealed Tamayo on Reklamo Publiko program yesterday.

“TESDA enhances the skills of our labor force to address our employment concerns,” said Tamayo.

The employment rate, at 72.76 percent, was encouraging. According to Tamayo, the Department of Budget and Management set it at only 65 percent.

“Our employment rate is above the target,” said Tamayo.

TESDA Region 6 produced 124,231 graduates this year (January to November).

Tamayo said TESDA also offers scholarships to the less privileged but would want to acquire skills – Train for Work Scholarship Program, Private Education Scholarship Fund Assistance, and Special Training for Employment Program.

TESDA is a line agency of the Department of Labor and Employment responsible for managing and supervising technical education and skills development in the country.

In Iloilo City, TESDA’s government-run training center is on Zamora Street.

In Iloilo province, the training centers are in Passi City, New Lucena and Balasan towns.

TESDA also has accredited several private institutions to conduct trainings.

Prov’l Board OKs business-friendly investment code

(Capitol News/PN)

ILOILO – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) approved the amendments to the 2011 Provincial Investment and Incentives Code during their last regular session for this year.

The move was in response to the call of Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. to make the Investment Code more investor-friendly.

With the approval of a more comprehensive and responsive Investment & Incentives Code, the province expects to attract more big-ticket and capital-intensive investments by providing tax exemption on real property tax on land improvements at a graduated rate within 10 years.

This will provide a more stable environment to investors as they start their operations.

“We all know that new investments bring in fresh money to the local economy through jobs they create thus spurring economic activities and businesses to grow and thrive,” said Defensor.

Since the establishment of the Local Economic Development and Investment Promotion Unit late last year, the province has entertained and serviced a number of interested investors, some of which are in the feasibility study stage.

Other major provisions added to the Code besides extending the period of availment of the incentives are the Powers and Functions of the Local Economic Development & Investment Promotion Center, the provision on Employment Preference for Ilonggos and the detailed Registration Requirements of those who will avail of the incentives.

The SP’s last regular session for this year was Dec. 9.

Honest cabbie returns P300,000

By Czarina Nicole O. Ong

The Christmas season brings out the best in people and this proved true for a taxi driver who returned a bag full of money to its rightful owner in Iloilo City.

According to taxi operator lawyer Joseph Vincent Go, owner of Light of Glory taxi service, Anselmo Nava picked up his passenger Jake Mark Nieves at the Iloilo International Airport on December 18 and drove him to Miagao, which is a good 50 kilometers away from the city.

Nava noticed that his passenger was jetlagged from his trip, so he slept for most of the ride. It was only when Nava dropped off his passenger and got near the city that he noticed that Nieves left his bag.

Without thinking twice, Nava brought the bag to the Light of Glory office. The staff there inspected the bag for identification and saw that it contained P300,000 in cash. They immediately got in touch with Nieves, who had not even noticed that his bag full of cash was missing from his belongings.

Nieves is extremely grateful to the honest taxi driver and his operating company. He revealed that he was planning to use the money to buy property in Iloilo.

“It pays to be honest. The pride and recognition you receive for doing good deeds cannot be bought,” said Go. “I hope this example of our driver will inspire many others to follow his lead.”

LTFRB Region 6 spokesman lawyer Jose Marie V. Lamparero said that they are already planning to make a special recommendation to the board to give Nava a plaque of recognition.

When board member Ariel Inton got wind of the news, he was so inspired by the tale of honesty that he gave P10,000 reward money from his own pocket to make Nava’s Christmas celebration a whole lot happier.

“I know taxi drivers have to pay the bills and care for their families, but I hope others would emulate Nava in caring for their passengers’ needs, too,” said Inton. “Let us help improve the services we give to the riding public because they will be very grateful for good service rendered.”

Joyous melodies of the season chimed by Iloilo church bells

By Tara Yap

Iloilo City — There’s more to the 13 bells of St. Clement’s Church in Iloilo City than remind the faithful that it’s time to go to Holy Mass; the bells actually chime beloved traditional holiday songs and melodies.

From the second-floor balcony of St. Clement’s Church, 19-year-old Winston Poblacion strikes the keys attached to strings that strikes the 13 bells at the tower to produce melodies of “Silent Night”, “Come All Ye Faithful” and “Joy to the World.”

Unknown to many, historic St. Clement’s Church, where the first Novena mass in the Philippines was said in May 1946, also has carillon bells.

“While other churches beam out carillon music produced and amplified electronically, the bells of St. Clement’s ring out tunes on octave notes provided by 13 bells of different sizes and tones,” said Fr. Ramon Fruto, director of the St. Clement’s retreat house and the first Filipino Redemptorist priest.


According to Fr. Fruto, the idea for the carillon bells at St. Clement’s Church came from Fr. Francis Burns, who enthusiastically wanted the bells replicated from his native Belfast, Ireland.

“His heart could find no rest until he saw and heard the carillon bells of the Redemptorist church in his native Belfast in Iloilo,” said Fr. Fruto, who first met Fr. Burns as a young seminarian in 1949.

Fr. Burns ordered the 13 bells in September 1952 from the Gillett & Johnston, a company based in London, England and known for its high quality clocks and bells.

When the bells with Gaelic inscriptions were finished, it was shipped from London to Manila on January 18, 1953. Over a week later, the bells arrived in Iloilo. A team under Fr. Arthur Maloney took charge of installing the bells at the St. Clement’s Church tower and on February 6, the bells played music for the first time.

The bells are a source of inspiration for Ilonggo Filipino singer-songwriter Jose Mari Chan, who is a native of Iloilo.

According to Fr. Fruto, Chan’s song “Christmas Past” was inspired by the bells. The priest was director of the now defunct St. Clement’s high school where the young Chan, a native of Iloilo, was a student during the early 1960s.

Awareness and appreciation

Carlos Garcia, chairperson of the Liturgy and Worship Committee of the Parish Apostolic Council, said there is now a move to encourage St. Clement’s parishioners and other Ilonggos to appreciate how the church’s bells can produce musical notes.

“We want everyone to know that the bells exist. It was only two years ago that I learned about them. All along, I thought the music from the St. Clements church tower was a recording played by a sound system,” Garcia said.

20 PWDs get customized wheelchairs

(ECGarcia, Capitol News/PN)

ILOILO – The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) and the Latter Day Saints Charities (LDSC) turned over customized wheelchairs to 20 persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Gov. Arthur Defensor, Sr., Provincial Administrator Raul Banias and PSWDO chief Dr. Neneth Pador graced the simple turnover ceremonies at the Iloilo provincial capitol lobby on Dec. 21 with LDSC representatives Joel and Shirley Gonzaga.

The 20 wheelchairs were part of the total 600 units that will be donated by the LDSC through the Iloilo provincial government.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between the LDSC and the province on July 16, 2015 to seal the partnership.

PSWDO staff and volunteers from recipient towns, along with select personnel from district hospitals and the capitol clinic were tasked to assess recipients to make sure the devices fitted properly.

The initial 20 recipients came from the towns of Pototan, Leganes and Pavia.

Pador said other beneficiaries were still undergoing evaluation.

Under the agreement, the recipients’ families have responsibilities. They were required to render at least four hours community service.

Celia Jinon, a recipient from Leganes, thanked the LDSC and Defensor for the project which she said was a big help to PWDs.

PhilHealth 6 gives Christmas cheers to 2 pro-poor organizations


ILOILO CITY, Dec 22 (PNA) -- The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) regional office here has donated a total of P1 million in proceeds from its fun run organized last February 15, 2015 to two social health organizations in Iloilo.

Lourdes F. Diocson, PhilHealth 6 regional vice president, said the donation of Php700,000 to the Kaibigan ng Kabataang may Kanser (KKK) will be used mostly for medicines and maintenance of nine poor children currently being treated at the Western Visayas Medical Center.

Another Php300,000 was given to the Women and Children’s Haven in Bulalakao, New Lucena, Iloilo. The inmates there at the Haven are mostly abused and battered women and children who need maintenance and medicines.

Diocson said the amount collected from the fun run is an initial release from the Php1.6-million collection of the massive fun run initiated by PhilHealth 6.

Php 7-M grant to finance water systems in 2016

(PNA) RMA/pgl/(Jezza Nepomoceno/Capitol News)

ILOILO CITY, Dec. 21 (PNA) - - The Php 7-million Performance Challenge Fund that Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. reaped from 2015 Seal of Good Local Governance will be used to construct more water systems in the province in 2016.

The provincial chief executive named 12 villages located in isolated areas as recipients of the project, according to a report from Provincial Planning and Development Office.

These villages include Igpuro-Bariri and Caitib in Miagao, Cagay in Alimodian, Camandag in Leon, Agsirab in Lambunao, Jibolo in Janiuay, Cadilang in Passi City, Palaciawan in Barotac Nuevo, Asluman in Carles, Cabalabaguan and Janipa-an West in Mina.

The project, which is part of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program, will serve about 4,342 households or 18,371 individuals once completed.

Since 2010, the provincial government has already constructed 255 water systems to provide reliable and safe water supply to 212 impoverished villages in five districts here.

To ensure their sustainability, the beneficiaries were formed into people’s associations and trained to maintain and manage it on their own.

Previously, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) also cited Iloilo for 2011 and 2012 Seal of Good Housekeeping, allowing the province to access the Php 7-million PCF.

The Php7-million grant from each of these two awards was used to pave select farm-to-market roads to improve the transportation of agricultural products.

Among these roads was the Dumangas Poblacion-Bacay Road in Dumangas, the 14th top producer of swine and 2nd to raiser swine raiser and 2nd top producer of native chicken.

The concreting of the said road benefited 1,657 households living in Bacay, Ilaya 1st, Jardin, Managuit, Lacturan and Victorias, Dumangas.The villagers have adopted measures to protect the road from overloading vehicles.

The Provincial Engineer’s Office maintains the road shoulder which serves as roadside protection against soil erosion along the sides of the concrete pavement. /CBF

Dinagyang Festival provides income-generating opportunities to city residents


ILOILO CITY (PNA) -- The annual Dinagyang Festival, aside from serving as arena to showcase the culture and tradition of the Ilonggos and their devotion to Señor Santo Niño, is also an income generating venue for the locales.

Joeffrey Agilles, chair of the kiosk committee of the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc (IDFI) disclosed that the foundation is making available 875 kiosks that can be rented at P1,800 each for three days in 2016.

While the foundation stands to earn P1.5 million from kiosk rentals, still the leasee can earn more by selling goods or foods during the three-day highlight of the festival from January 22-24, 2016.

He shared that while vendors are not disclosing how much they earned in the past, they were told that minimum income during the three-day sell is P10,000.

Agilles said that 70 percent of the kiosks that were rented are usually utilized for food vending while the rest are for company sampling and souvenirs display.

The IDFI will start to accept rental applicants on January 5, 2016 at 7 a.m.

The areas opened for them will be the stretch of Delgado, Valeria, Iznart, Solis and Ledesma streets.

Meanwhile, ambulant vendors will be charged P200 and will be allowed only on JM Basa and Iznart streets.

DENR to strengthen POs' role as environmental protectors


ILOILO CITY -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 6 is aiming at strengthening its most committed environmental partners – the People’s Organizations (POs) in the region.

DENR has credited the help of POs in attaining the 100 percent accomplishments of its National Greening Program (NGP) and Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) projects in 2015.

“You are the backbone of the country. You are the ones working hard in the uplands to provide for the people in the city. Without your efforts, we will have nothing here. That is why I want to strengthen you to become better environmental conservationists and protectors,” DENR 6 Regional Director Jim O Sampulna stressed during the Regional PO Congress held here on Tuesday.

A training for the POs' deputation either as Deputy Environment and Natural Resources Officers (DENROs) or Wildlife Enforcement Officers (WEOs) is in the offing as this would give more authority to the PO members who are willing to be deputized.

With members as deputized officers of the DENR, POs will be in better positions to expand the enforcement of environmental laws in the uplands. Moreover, they will be trained on various environmental laws.

“Not all prosecutors are knowledgeable about environmental laws because these are special laws. But if you become deputized, you will learn about those laws through three-day training and be able to understand how it should be implemented,” said June Melisa Garol, chief of Enforcement Division.

Sampulna further told the POs that they are the owners of their project sites and they should be vigilant in keeping watch over them.

“No one else should take advantage of your plantations, of your produce. You must not allow anyone, even mayor or congressman to harvest what you have worked hard for,” he added.

With the expanded NGP to cover additional areas in the country, more forest extension officers and forest protection officers will be needed.

Sampulna sees it fit to rather hire PO members for the job since they are already on-site and have a sense of ownership of their own project sites. This strategy is expected to boost the Department’s conservation and protection efforts especially in the uplands.

City gov’t eyes P75-M income from economic enterprise


ILOILO CITY (PNA) -- Admitting to falling short of their around P70-million target collection for this year, the head of the Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO) of the city government here is confident they can make a rebound next year and reach their P75-million goal.

“I am very hopeful that next year we can improve on that,” said Jose Ariel Castañeda whose office oversees the operations of public markets and slaughterhouse.

Castañeda admitted that there were several issues that he had to address when he assumed as head of the LEEO early this year. The slaughterhouse for instance is in need of several equipment to boost its operation.

Castañeda said that the slaughterhouse’s dehairing machine for pigs is still being repaired, thus slowing down the operation at the abattoir.

He disclosed that they are also mulling the hiring of additional three butchers this holiday season as more livestock are expected to be slaughtered at the facility. Currently, the slaughterhouse has 15 butchers in shifting duties.

From around 170 livestock a day, Castañeda is anticipating the number to increase to 250 heads this holiday season.

They also eyed to acquire a boiler first quarter of 2016.

The slaughterhouse, since he assumed, earns a monthly net income of P600,000 from the previous P300,000.

Other income will come from the collection from various public markets in the city.

UN WFP to pilot test FoRECAST project in Iloilo


ILOILO CITY, Dec. 17 (PNA) -- The Province of Iloilo has been selected by the United Nations World Food Programme as one of the pilot areas in the Philippines for its Food Resiliency in Emergencies and Climate Change Adaptation Systems Tracking (FoRECAST).

This is part of a bigger initiative dubbed as Forecast-Based Emergency Preparedness for Climate Change Risks, a project presently implemented by WFP in Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal and Haiti or Dominican Republic until June 2017.

Funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, the project aims to reduce human suffering caused by climate-related hazards (e.g. typhoons, drought) through the operationalization of scientific information for forecast-based preparedness.

Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. was briefed of the project during the recent courtesy visit of WFP Institutional Partnerships Specialist Isabelle Lacson, Field Monitor Assistant Eva Celso and Research Assistant Juned Sonido from Alcanz Consulting Group.

The project focuses on improving climate risk analysis and understanding, developing early warning systems based on indicators and thresholds, linking these indicators and thresholds to standard operating procedures for preparedness, and strengthening core areas of response management capability.

Alcanz, a corporation composed mostly of retired senior staff of UNICEF, UNDP and WFP, has been contracted to conduct the baseline assessment of hazards and early warning systems since October 2015 for the development of standard operating procedures (SOPs) based on forecasting and scientific data.

Defensor vowed to support the project since he believed that it could help the province prepare for disasters better, especially on minimizing its potential impact to life and property.

The governor stressed that the province could not afford to lose millions of pesos in agriculture and tourism — the backbone of Iloilo’s economy — due to typhoons and drought intensified by climate change.

He added that the province must not be reactive but proactive when it comes to climate change considering that people’s lives were the one at risk.

Aside from Iloilo, FoRECAST will also be pilot tested in Batangas, Benguet, Cagayan Valley, Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Laguna, Maguindanao, Misamis Oriental and Sorsogon.

WFP decided to implement this project “because exposure to high climate risk and lack of capacity to manage these risks, compounded by factors such poor access to markets and lack of income-generating opportunities, trap poor households in a cycle of food insecurity, undernutrition and poverty that quickly deteriorates into a food and nutrition crisis when a disaster occurs.”

14 IPs benefit from Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation scholarship program


ILOILO CITY, Dec. 16 (PNA) -- Fourteen members of the Indigenous People (Ati Tribe) from northern Iloilo are beneficiaries of the scholarship program of the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc (IDFI).

The intervention is part of the corporate social responsibility (CRS) of the IDFI, which for years has been part of the triumvirate that manages the world-renowned Dinagyang Festival, said IDFI president Ramon Cua Locsin.

The provision of scholarship serves as the foundation’s way of giving tribute to the sector believed to be the first settlers of Panay and whose culture and tradition has been depicted in various presentations done during the annual Dinagyang.

Since the program started in 2013, four have already completed degrees in Bachelor of Elementary Education (BEED) with two and one each for the Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

The rest of the scholars are still in their first year and third year college with four each and second year college with one. One scholar is also set to graduate in March next year.

Meantime, the IDFI is now on a high gear as far as preparations for the 2016 Dinagyang Festival is concerned.

IDFI promises to a more festive and exciting celebration as the event anchors on the theme “Señor Anto Niño: Hope of the People” and a tagline “Beyond Fun, Beyond Fame, Beyond Borders.”

2016 Paraw Regatta preparations now on high gear


ILOILO CITY, Dec 15 (PNA) -- Smooth-sailing preparations have started for the successful staging of 44th Iloilo Paraw Regatta Festival which will highlight on third week of February 2016.

On Monday the Iloilo Paraw Regatta Foundation Inc. (IPRFI) and City Government here entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the staging of what has been dubbed as the longest sailing event in Southeast Asia.

Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog stressed the active public-private partnerships will ensure the success of the oldest traditional sailing event in Southeast Asia and the country’s best sports tourism event.

IPRFI President Ronald Raymond Sebastian said they expect a more exciting and more colorful showcase and tribute to Ilonggo seafaring traditions and talents as they gather many participants and wider support.

“We focus on preserving our Ilonggo culture aside from the colorful festivity that we had in the previous years,” he added.

Sebastian said they target a Php2-million fund for the hosting even as the City Government allotted Php1.6-million budget for next year’s edition.

IPRFI has tapped universities such as John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University, St. Therese MTC Colleges, West Visayas State University and Iloilo Science and Technology University, among others and groups like Jaycees and Iloilo Watercraft Association to organize, support and participate in series of special events showcasing Ilonggo sports, arts, culture and heritage.

The week-long festivity will feature slalom competition, main paraw race, cultural shows, poster-making, miniature paraw-making, food-and-cook fest, photo contest and exhibit, beauty pageant, trade fair, painting contest, bike tour, fishing tournament, beach sports, and watersports.

USAID holds training on water resources assessment, hazard mapping


ILOILO CITY, Dec. 14 (PNA) -- A total of 27 new facilitators completed on Friday the Training of Trainers on Participatory Capacity and Vulnerability Assessment (PCVA) of water resources and hazard mapping in the city organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Be Secure project.

The activity is in cooperation with the Community Based Adaptation and Resilience against Disasters (CBARAD) II, a joint project of the Iloilo City Government, City of Yokohama, CITYNET Yokohama Project Office and Japan International Cooperation Agency.

“We are involving as many stakeholders as we can from various sectors who are always willing to help in our quest for a more prepared, inclusive and disaster resilient Ilonggo community,” Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog said.

The participants came from the local government unit, barangays, academe, senior citizens’ group, organization of persons with disabilities (PWDs), and the police force.

“After the three-day training, the participants are expected to train a new set of facilitators and to conduct risk assessment in more barangays particularly the identified priority barangays of the CBARAD II project,” said Donna Magno, CBARAD project coordinator.

The training held last week involved 10 facilitator-trainees who were trained by CBARAD on PCVA for community risk assessment in November.

She also cited the participants from city schools who already signified to help in the hazard mapping of the city following the conference between the academe and City Government on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation last month.

As part of the training, fieldwork was done in Tabuc Suba in La Paz and Sambag in Jaro to identify their barangays’ hazards and risks.

The community participants were composed of PWDs, elderly, youth and barangay officials.

Magno said draft risk assessment analyses were developed in the two barangays, with flood and drought as common problem for both.

Twenty five barangays under CBARAD II will be prioritized to undergo hazard mapping and risk assessment.

The results of the assessment will be used to enhance the city’s local climate change action plan, disaster risk reduction and management plan and comprehensive land use plan.

‘Our Lady of the Iloilo River’ rules over Iloilo Esplanade


ILOILO City – Iloilo Esplanade 2 is now home to a painting of renowned Ilonggo artist Fernando Kabigting honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, Councilor Joshua Alim, Councilor Nielex Tupas, Kabigting and wife Menchu, and other friends of the arts attended the unveiling and blessing of the painted image of the “Our Lady of the Iloilo River” on Dec. 8, coinciding with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Reverend Father Esperidion Celis blessed the 12.8-foot high painted image on old wood which was put on a pedestal at the Esplanade 2.

According to Mabilog, when the plan was presented to him last summer, he thought of no other best place where to put the image but on the Iloilo River.

“A good symbol, a good reminder to everyone who pass through here that through the blessings of God through Mama Mary we will receive more graces, more blessings from the Lord,” said Mabilog.

He further said that this could not only be a holy place but also a place of reminder that through persistence and hard work, everything is possible.

Notwithstanding the disability he incurred by stroke in 1999 that left his right hand paralyzed and left eye blind, Kabigting persevered and continued his craft and even mounted an exhibit this year featuring 30 of his newest art works at the Philippine Consulate in New York City.

Mabilog said the event was also a manifestation of what public and private partnership as all about in the city as the structure or the pedestal where the painted image sat was donated by businessman Alfonso Tan and family.

In her message on behalf of wheelchair-bound Fernando, Menchu said her family was very happy “that his wish to give a unique gift to Iloilo, a city he has cherished and called his home, is now at hand. This comes from his heart and whole-being.”

She said the painted image was a work of art that manifested Fernando’s talent, his steadfast faith and his being a Filipino, and this would forever be a symbol of his acknowledgement of the greatness of God and the many delightful intercessions of our Lady as well as his appreciation of the goodness of Ilonggos.

She likewise thanked individuals including Senate President Franklin Drilon for making the offering of Fernando to be a part of the Iloilo Esplanade.

For Councilor Tupas, the event was not only a commemoration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception but also a celebration of public and private partnership for in this spot the city would have a new tourism destination, a heritage area and at the same time, a religious icon of the city.

Kabigting, an adopted son of the city, was recognized for his achievements and contributions in the field of arts during the 78th Charter Day celebration in August.

Christmas lights brighten Iloilo Provincial Capitol


ILOILO CITY, Dec.12 (PNA) - - The Iloilo Provincial Capitol, adorned with multi-color Christmas light now serves as destination this Yuletide Season.

The provincial government this year has allotted over half a million pesos for the Christmas decorations.

"Lighting up the Christmas lights at the capitol is our way to give cheers to our fellow Ilonggos," said Provincial administrator Raul Banias during the opening of lights on Thursday.

Banias also said that the Php50 million newly-restored Casa Real (old capitol) added attraction to the capitol grounds this Christmas.

The lighting up of Christmas lights at the Capitol has become an annual event since the term of Iloilo governor Arthur Defensor Sr. started in 2010.

The lights at the Capitol will be lighted up until first week of January.

Meanwhile, another attraction will rise at the Capitol compound in 2016.

Banias pointed out that next year, the restoration of the old provincial jail will be realized following the Php80 million fund apportioned by the National Museum for its conversion into a national museum.

The first phase of the museum funded by the provincial government with Php18 million is almost done.

Dinagyang goes ‘beyond limits’


ILOILO CITY, Dec. 11 (PNA) --Iloilo Dinagyang Festival 2016 promises another spectacular performance that could surpass previous editions of the internationally-renown best tourism event in the country which will highlight on Jan. 22-24.

Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog stressed that Ilonggos should be more proud and should continue to support to make Dinagyang more popular globally.

Next year’s edition anchors on the theme “Señor Santo Niño: Hope of the People” and banners the tagline “Beyond Fun, Beyond Fame, Beyond Borders.”

Dinagyang will offer more than fun to experience for visitors from all over the world, said City Tourism and Development Officer Junel Divinagracia.

She noted they already got confirmed bookings from ambassadors of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and International Council of Museums (ICOM) that more dignitaries will be coming over to witness the event.

Dinagyang performers showcased their wares to the delegates during their conventions in the metropolis recently.

Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc. (IDFI) President Ramon Cua Locsin said they received more emails from abroad inquiring how to get tickets to watch the tribes competition.

He noted that Anseong City in South Korea will be sending their Baudeogi Festival’s 20 dancers as guest performers here following Dinagyang’s presentation in the Korean festivity last October.

University training ship from Japan arrives in Iloilo


ILOILO CITY, Dec. 10 (PNA) -- A training ship of the National Fisheries University in Yamaguchi, Japan arrived in Iloilo today for a visit to the Southeast Asia Fisheries Development Center Aquaculture Department (SEAFDEC-AQD) in Tigbauan and a tour of the south countryside and this city.

Students and crews on board Tenyu Maru were welcomed by the Department of Tourism (DOT) when they disembarked at the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) area in Fort San Pedro, Iloilo.

DOT 6 regional director Atty. Helen J. Catalbas is very pleased that Japan has included Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Boracay Island in the travel route of its residents.

She explained that Visit Philippines Year 2015 has opened a lot of opportunities for partnership between Western Visayas and Japan.

This year, Western Visayas has assisted several Japanese visitors to include 84 Sano High School students and teachers from Osaka, Japan who had their Philippine Study tour in Silay City, Negros Occidental and a group from Ortus Japan, one of the leading television program production companies in Japan that had documentary shoot in Boracay Island.

A chartered flight of the Philippine Airlines (PAL) with around 200 Japanese tourists on board will land in Kalibo on December 30, 2015. The tourists will stay in Boracay Island for the New Year and return to Japan on January 3, 2016, Catalbas said.

Director Catalbas said that the two Philippine business missions to Japan participated in by DOT Region-6 had greatly contributed to these arrivals.

She thanked local government units and private stakeholders of Western Visayas for the support they extend to the tourism department.

Tenyu Maru made its first port of call in Iloilo in December 2014.

‘Christmas Village’ opens in Iloilo City


ILOILO CITY, Dec. 9 (PNA) -- Tourists and locals have another destination to visit in this city as Megaworld opened its first-ever Christmas Village at Iloilo Business Park (IBP) in Mandurriao District.

“The Christmas Village will be magical and exciting place to visit during the Yuletide season. This is a way for Megaworld to thank the Ilonggos for their support in establishing Iloilo Business Park as the biggest business and tourism hub in Western Visayas,” said Jennifer Ann Palmares-Fong, marketing head for IBP, in her welcome message.

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who graced the opening ceremony, welcomed the latest attraction at the IBP.

He noted the unstoppable developments in Iloilo, and the outpouring investments from both domestic and international investors.

Palmares-Fong said the Christmas Village is open from Dec. 8 to 30.

Nightly, both children and adults can enjoy series of shows including Santa Claus meet-and-greet, fireworks display, BMW exhibit, Christmas acoustic nights, dog show, Christmas Firetruck Display, magic show, Reindeer Park, Subaru exhibit, Cordero dance performance, among others.

Inside the Christmas Village are gingerbread houses selling food and other items.

There is also a Christmas Tree of Love where children can donate toys in exchange of them decorating the Christmas tree.

The grand opening night of the Christmas Village was highlighted by a fireworks display and the opening of Iloilo Business Park Sales and Information Center.

Also present during the opening were Harold Geronimo, Megaworld’s head of public relations and communications; and the managers of Richmonde Hotel and Reed Elsevier, among others.

DOH reaches out to adolescents through digital and social media


ILOILO CITY, Dec. 8 (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH) decided to tap the new media to reach out to adolescents in Western Visayas with its Adolescent Health Connect (AHC), a local initiative developed by the Center for Health Development 6 (CHD 6).

“We want to connect to our young people. This is a milestone project because it is the first in the Philippines,” said Joseph Carlo Carillo, program coordinator.

He cited various survey results that “there is a big disconnection between young people as to what they know and their relationship with their parents.”

The easiest way to capture them is through digital means, he added, citing the 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality (YAFS) where 78 percent of the young people has cellular phones and 59 percent has access to the internet.

The AHC project, which is available 24/7, caters to various issues being faced by the youth. Six nurses were hired to respond to queries received through texts or social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Smart, Globe and Sun numbers are readily available for those who are using cellular phones while a toll free helpline is offered for those who are using landlines.

Since its pilot operation in October this, the nurses assigned have received 122 text messages seeking help. Of the text messages, around 90 percent are mostly on youth problems, especially on love, parent-child relationship and friendship.

The AHConnect can be accessed through 0917-7759256 (Globe), 0998-5324047 (Smart), 0925-5469919 (Sun) and 1-800-10-320-TEEN (toll free helpline).

Meanwhile, on Thursday, DOH will gather students from seven higher learning institutions in the city for a showcase of talents to celebrate the first ever National Youth Health Day that will be held at the Iloilo provincial capitol grounds.

2 heritage buildings in Iloilo City up for restoration next year


ILOILO CITY, Dec 7 (PNA) -- Two heritage buildings here are up for restoration next year, according to Senate President Franklin Drilon.

Drilon, who was the keynote speaker during the opening program of the ongoing International Council of Museums (ICOM) Asia Pacific Conference and General Assembly in the city, said the national budget provided PHP123 million for the restoration of Iloilo Customs House or Aduana in Muelle Loney and the Kerr Building in Ortiz Street.

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) will spearhead the restoration.

Drilon said the restoration of the two heritage buildings is part of the efforts of Iloilo's city and provincial government’s on-going restoration projects.

NHCP is also undertaking the restoration of Iloilo Provincial Jail, which will be converted into a regional museum, after the complete restoration of Santa Barbara Convent and Church and the Casa Real de Iloilo.

Also undergoing restoration are the St. Anne Parish Church in Molo; St. Augustine Church in Dumangas; and Jaro Municipal Hall, which is used as station of Jaro PNP.

The private sector is undertaking the restoration of heritage buildings located at the metro’s Central Business District along Calle Real, now J.M. Basa St., Drilon said.

The Ilonggo senator stressed before the convention delegates from 21 countries in Asia Pacific that Iloilo is making sure its progress is sustainable.

“Sustainable development was foremost in our minds when we planned on reviving the sagging economy of Iloilo,” he said.

This can be done by balancing the pursuit of economic success with the concern for cultural heritage, he said.

“To restore the soul of the city, there has been an intense campaign to bring back historical and heritage parks and plazas, to their old glory,” he said.

“We have beautiful century-old churches and heritage structures in Iloilo. And we want to preserve these for future generations to enjoy,” he added.

Drilon said museums must establish good relationship with the community.

“Museums should not be treated merely as a destination or a tourist attraction. They are cultural assets that must be protected. Education plays an important role in instilling this responsibility to each member of the community,” he stressed.

Built in 1916, “Aduana” was designed by Filipino architect Tomas Mapua.

It was a symbol of the flourishing sugar trade in Iloilo, which later brought the province to economic dominance which earned her the title Queen City of the South.

The Ker and Company Building in Ortiz Street was built in 1939. It served as headquarter of the American trading firm where British Consul Nicolas Loney first worked after he arrived in the Philippines in the 1850s.

ICOM is a global network of more than 35,000 culture and museum institutions and professionals that work together to achieve its mission of conserving, continuing, and communicating to society the world’s natural and cultural heritage.

This year’s theme, “Pathways for Museums for a Sustainable Society” promotes ICOM’s contribution to changes in today’s social environment and represents ICOM’s contribution to societal development, particularly in the domain of culture and museum building.

The Philippine’s hosting of the confab was held in cooperation with the Office of Senate President, Department of Tourism, and TIEZA, with the support of the city and provincial governments.

Fun run for OFWs, migrants today


ILOILO City – For the first time, a fun run will be held for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and migrants in Region 6 today.

In line with the event organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT), the right lane of the Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue (when facing toward the Infante flyover) will be closed from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

“We want to foster bonding among Western Visayas migrants and their family members,” said DOT regional director Helen Catalbas.

About 500 participants are expected in the event in celebration of the Overseas Filipinos and International Migrants Month, Catalbas said.

The Sangguniang Panlungsod has passed Regulation Ordinance No. 2015-472, which seeks the temporary closure to vehicular traffic of the right lane of the Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue — from Taft North, Mandurriao, until Quixmart Convenience Store, West Avenue (formerly Infante Extension) Barangay Taal, Molo, and the whole stretch of Donato Pison Avenue, Barangay San Rafael, Mandurriao.

Free registration is from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. in front of SM City Iloilo. Participants will get a free T-shirt.

The fun run starts at 6:30 a.m., from SM City Iloilo to the Iloilo Esplanade, where a short program, including Larong Pinoy and a short film showing, will be held.

Asia-Pacific culture and museum experts gather in Iloilo


ILOILO CITY, Dec. 5 (PNA) - - The 2015 International Museum Council Summit organized by the International Council of Museum (ICOM) is now going on in this highly-urbanized city.

The summit, which will run until Monday, has gathered over 200 culture and museum leaders and experts of the Asia Pacific region.

Chair of ICOM China and deputy director of the Directorate of State and Cultural Heritage of the People’s Republic of China Song Xinchao said that this year’s conference serves as the platform for all the museums in the region to communicate and to share their knowledge and experiences.

“This is to promote communication in the museums among the Asian pacific regions,” Xinchao said.

Meanwhile, ICOM- Philippines chair Gina V. Berte said that Iloilo’s readiness and favorable condition opened an opportunity for the Philippines to host this year’s conference in the city of Iloilo.

Along with the developments in the city, Berte said that it is important to always keep, conserve, preserve and use its traditions for its sustainable development.

“Sustainable development in the tourism and other agencies of government, economic development is also geared towards sustainable development,” she added.

“I found a very fertile ground for ICOM to commune because Iloilo wanted to keep their traditions alive, they want to move forward not leaving their traditions and culture behind but move forward by using it for the future,” Berte further added.

ICOM is a global network of more than 35,000 culture and museum institutions and professionals that work together to achieve its mission of conserving, continuing and communicating to society the world’s natural and cultural heritage.

This year’s theme of the conference is “Pathways for Museums for a Sustainable Society,” which promotes ICOM’s response to changes in today’s social environment and contribution to societal development.

Locally-fabricated weather monitoring equipment displays ingenuity of Filipinos


ILOILO CITY, Dec 4 (PNA) –The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) boasts of its locally-produced weather monitoring equipment that does not only ensure savings for the government but also display the ingenuity of the Filipinos.

DOST 6 assistant regional director for technical operations Emelyn P. Flores expressed that there are around 109 automated weather monitoring stations in Western Visayas with equipment that are locally fabricated.

She cited for instance the cost of automated rain gauges at only P60 to P65,000 when produced locally compared with the price when purchased abroad at P150,000.

Also, the automated weather station just costs P300,000 to P400,000 compared with the more than P1 million when equipment are bought from outside the country.

“Filipinos are now catering to the technological needs of our country,” she said.

On Friday, the DOST during its media forum also presented before members of the media a locally-developed website for weather monitoring dedicated only for Western Visayas.

The Western Visayas “Bantay Panahon” website presents various data gathered from the weather monitoring devices all over the region.

It can be used both for real-time or for previous dates weather monitoring. It covers automated rain gauge (ARG) for rainfall and air pressure, water level monitoring station (WMS) for water level depth and automated weather station (AWS) for rainfall, air pressure and temperature.

DA pushes soybean production as alternative protein source

By Lydia C. Pendon [(PNA), CTB/PGL/LCP/CBF]

ILOILO CITY, Dec 3 (PNA) - – The lowly soybean plant has been a neglected crop by the local agriculture sector but its potentials as an important and rich protein source must be encouraged.

This was stressed by two researchers of the Western Visayas Agricultural Research Consortium (WESVIARC) based at Hamungaya, Jaro district.

In a media entrepreneurial skills training on Wednesday, researchers Richard Geganzo and Jellynita Yap of WESVIARC said the soybean is a versatile crop that can provide nutritious milk, food such as soya bean balls, and other food items.

Geganzo said that soy bean production is slowly taking its roots in the municipalities in Western Visayas with commercial production in Dumarao and Sigma in Capiz province and central towns of Iloilo.

Yap said several food items can be made from the legumes of soybeans serving as food and meat extenders with the most common item as tofu and tokwa.

The plant can grow in the backyard or plantations and easy to care for. This summer season, the plant thrives very well in areas with water scarcity.

More than 17,000 jobs up for grabs in DOLE anniversary job fair in Western Visayas


ILOILO CITY, Dec. 2 (PNA) - - More than 17,000 jobs will be made available by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Western Visayas as its offering to jobseekers to highlight is 82nd anniversary celebration on Friday.

Two job fairs will be held simultaneously in Iloilo and Negros Occidental with the University of San Agustin and 888 Premier Mall as venues, respectively.

DOLE data showed 70 local and overseas job placement agencies joining the activity with business process outsourcing (BPOs) companies topping the list of job offering.

DOLE officer-in-charge and assistant regional director Salome O. Siaton said that the job fair is intended to assist in the reduction of unemployment in the region.

“The job fair this December is one of our strategies to reduce further the unemployment in the region,” she added.

Unemployment rate in Western Visayas has dropped to 5.6 percent in July 2015 from six percent in the same period last year.

“There is a significant improvement from last year in terms of unemployment rate,” Siaton said.

Meanwhile, DOLE reported that 364 job seekers were hired-on-the-spot during the two job fairs held last May 1 and June 12 this year.

Pre-registration is now ongoing and interested companies are still allowed to join the job fair until tomorrow, December 3.

DOLE’s founding anniversary this year anchors on the theme “82 Taong Mahusay na Serbisyo sa Mangagawang Pilipino.”

Construction of Php80-M Iloilo regional museum to start in 2016


ILOILO CITY, Dec.1 (PNA) - - The construction of Phase 2 of the Php80 million regional museum in Iloilo will start in January 2016.

The phase 2 is the continuation of the Php20 million Phase 1 of the project that covers the retrofitting of the building that includes the preparation, foundation, preparation of columns and other additional structural work.

The second phase will convert the Old Iloilo Provincial Jail into a regional museum and will cover the construction of the dome and landscaping.

Last November 26, the National Museum's Bid and Awards Committee (BAC) finished the pre-bidding conference of the second phase.

A representative from the BAC said that they expect to open the bids on December 22 in order to award the project to a winning bidder by January 8.

There are four bidders from Iloilo, Manila, Zamboanga and Pampanga that are expected to participate in the bidding process.

After the awarding of the winning bidder, the construction of the Phase 2 will immediately start and expected to be finished after 180 working days or six months.

A Museum Park facing the river will also be constructed and an access road from Bonifacio drive where the said regional museum is located will be incorporated in the project.