Iloilo City News July 2015

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Iloilo City - Archived News

Seal of Iloilo City
Interactive Google Satellite Map of Iloilo City, Iloilo
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Map Locator of Iloilo City
Aerial View of Iloilo City
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Aerial View of Iloilo City
Herbal remedies for diabetes.JPG
How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm
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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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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.


PHP750M up to modernize Port of Iloilo


ILOILO CITY, July 31 (PNA) -- Senate President Franklin M. Drilon has urged the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) the urgent need to upgrade the Port of Iloilo to enhance its shipping and cargo capabilities, particularly due to the heightened economic activities to be generated by government initiatives like the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project and the Iloilo Convention Center.

Drilon, in a radio interview here, urged the modernization of the Port of Iloilo which will play a critical role in the economic development of the whole Panay Island, amid the completion of major projects in the region.

According to Drilon, the lack of modern and efficient port facilities in Iloilo could hamper the growth of the city and province of Iloilo and of the entire Panay Island.

The Senate chief said that if not upgraded, the existing port facilities are not equipped to meet the demands for shipping services and cargo transport which are expected to escalate once the Jalaur project is finished.

Drilon's call as the government is allotting PHP 750 million for the development and expansion of the Port of Iloilo. The port is consist of three terminals including the old foreign pier at Fort San Pedro, the new river wharf at Brgy. Progreso Lapuz district and the international commercial port at Brgy. Loboc, Lapuz.

10 Iloilo City establishments are PWD-friendly

By Lilibeth A. French (JCM/LAF/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, July 30 (PIA 6) - - Ten establishments here were recently affirmed by the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) of the Iloilo city government as PWD friendly.

These establishments include SM City, Robinsons Place, Plazuela de Iloilo, Diversion 21, Grand Dame Hotel, Philippine Long Distance Telephone, Tonino’s Restorante, Streetside KTV, The Medical City and Ayala Techno Hub.

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog awarded the plaque of recognition to the representatives of the PWD-friendly establishments during a Monday flag ceremony of the city government as part of the city’s observance of the 2015 National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week.

Iloilo City Social Welfare and Development Office Focal Person for PWD Program Cirila Sibolinao said the award gave due recognition to the establishments who have really made efforts to make and improve their facilities to be PWD-friendly.

“We are hoping that this will also encourage other establishments to make their facilities, devices and accommodations accessible or PWD- friendly as possible,” said Sibolinao.

Five barangays were also recognized for their efforts exerted to enhance the mobility and lives of PWDs in their communities. These barangays are Balabago, Dungon A, Buntatala, Calubihan and San Isidro, all in the districts of Jaro.

“These villages made efforts to make their barangay halls accessible to PWDs by putting ramps and have started the profiling of their PWDs,” said Sibolinao.

Last July 22, PDAO and other organizations of PWDs also joined the accessibility audit conducted by the Regional Council on Disability Affairs 6 chaired by the Department of Social Welfare and Development in eight private and government establishments in this city to check their compliance with Batas Pambansa Blg. 344 or An act to enhance the mobility of disabled person’s by requiring certain buildings, institutions, establishments and public utilities to install facilities and other devices.

The group visited Injap Tower Hotel, McDonalds FastFood Restaurant in Megaworld, Iloilo Convention Center, Startek, Atria, Esplanade, GT Mall, and TESDA 6 Regional Office.

Sibolinao said that if establishments and villages in this city could make their facilities PWD-friendly or compliant with the Accessibility Law this will bring significant impact on the mobility and safety of PWDs.

Iloilo City signs friendship relationship agreement with Republic of Korea’s Anseong-Si


ILOILO CITY, July 29 (PNA) -- Iloilo City and Republic of Korea’s Anseong City on Wednesday entered into a friendship agreement, bringing into a higher level the friendly ties developed between the Rotary Club (RC) of Metro Iloilo and Rotary Club of Anseong.

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said that the RC of Metro Iloilo headed by its former governor Ramon Cua Locsin and RC of Anseong have projects together and now they would like to “elevate it to bigger and permanent relationship by establishing friendly relationship between two cities.”

The friendship agreement was signed by Mabilog upon the authority of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) and Mayor Hwang Eun Seon of Anseong City.

“The people of Iloilo City are looking forward to this friendly relationship with the City of Anseong. We know that this could complement both our cities in terms of tourism, economic activity and social services, cultural and education sector,” Mabilog said.

Meanwhile, Anseong-Si Mayor Hwang Eun Seon through an interpreter said that he would like to learn from Mabilog and know more about Iloilo City.

“We would like to develop together not only Anseong but also Iloilo City. Through this kind of ceremony both cities could develop together,” the Anseong city mayor stated.

He also invited Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival to join their Baudeogi Festival in October 6 this year. Baudeogi Festival has performed in the World Cup and Olympics, he said.

The Anseong City local chief executive also has officially invited Dinagyang Festival to perform in their festival in October 6 of this year to which Mabilog responded in the affirmative.

Mabilog also extended the same invitation for this city’s Dinagyang Festival in January 2016.

DTI-6 releases around PHP9.1M for SSF program


ILOILO CITY, July 28 (PNA) –- The Department of Trade and Industry-6 (DTI-6) has already released around PHP9.1 million for the Shared Service Facility (SSF) program to their identified co-operators.

Ruby Melliza of the DTI Regional Office 6 said that for 2015, they have a SSF allocation of PHP23 million that would be used to purchase tools and equipment by the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) co-operators in order to increase their production and efficiency.

The co-operators that received funding have also signed memorandum of agreement with DTI and have housing facility for their tools and equipment.

The fund release per province are in Antique more than PHP2.8 million for food processing, packaging, and salt making; Capiz PHP1.550 million for coco coir; Guimaras PHP835,985 for upgrading of equipment of Samal Weavers Association; and Negros Occidental more than PHP3.9 million for organic farming and composting, food processing, and purchase of tools for the packaging facility.

Melliza said that the tools and equipment are made sure to pass the Bureau of Product Standards.

DSWD-6, other NGAs hold access audit


ILOILO CITY, July 27 (PNA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD),together with partner agencies, and the inter-agency Regional Council on Disability Affairs (RCDA) as well as organizations of persons with disabilities (PWDs) recently held an accessibility audit on buildings in Iloilo City to check if they were PWD-friendly.

Among the establishments visited were Injap Tower Hotel, McDonalds Fast Food Restaurant in Megaworld, Iloilo Convention Center, Startek, Atria, Esplanade, GT Mall, and TESDA Regional Office.

The accessibility audit aims to inspect the buildings and establishments in Iloilo City if they have PWD-friendly accessibility.

Judith T. Barredo, PWD Focal Person of the DSWD, said that accessibility audit team had a monitoring checklist on the compliance of minimum requirements of the accessibility law (BPP 344) for government buildings and private establishments for public use.

The checklist includes the minimum requirements such as ramps, parking slot, washroom and toilet, accessible entrances, corridors and lobbies, stairs and elevators.

According to Barredo, “we have to ensure the protection and the privileges of PWDs not only as mandated by the existing laws for the benefit of PWDs, but as they are one of the most susceptible members of our society.”

The accessibility audit team has scheduled visits on terminals particularly airport terminals, buses terminals, and wharfs before the end of this month.

Iloilo City gears for 78th Charter Day


ILOILO City – Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog signed Executive Order 48-A creating a task force that will undertake activities in line with the city’s 78th charter anniversary.

Iloilo was made a Charter City by virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 158.

The celebration institutionalized by Mabilog in 2010 will culminate this Aug. 25.

It was on Aug. 25, 1937 when Iloilo was formally inaugurated as a city, more than a month after Commonwealth Act No. 158 was signed into law on July 16, 1937.

“The celebration of the Iloilo City Charter has been set to create awareness of the history and development of Iloilo as a city, to arouse community sense of pride of place,” said Mabilog.

City Tourism Officer Benito Jimena said among the major activities they have proposed is the “Arte sa Kalye.” A three-dimensional image will be installed or painted along the Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue.

A Mayor’s Ball that will gather who’s who in the city will be held, too.

APEC meeting peaceful – Diaz


ILOILO City – Peaceful was how the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) described the two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting here that ended yesterday.

“We are happy. No major criminal incidents happened,” said Chief Superintendent Bernardo Diaz, regional police director.

Over 100 foreign delegates from 22 member-economies of APEC and local participants attended the meeting on infrastructure and capital market development.

“The tours of the delegates were closely monitored, too,” Diaz told Panay News.

Over 2,000 police officers were mobilized during the July 23 to 24 meeting. They secured the meeting venue (Royal Garden Hall Convention Center) and hotels were the guests were billeted.

City streets were also crawling with cops, assisted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Fire Protection, Office of Civil Defense, Philippine Coast Guard and other government agencies.

DA regional summit to promote organic farming in Region 6


ILOILO CITY, July 24 (PNA) -– The Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 6 will hold a regional summit to promote programs and advocacy on organic farming.

The August 12-13 Regional Organic Agriculture Stakeholders Summit will be held here in Iloilo.

Glenda Himatay, DA 6 action officer for organic farming, said they are expecting 300 participants from Western Visayas.

“The participants will be composed of municipal local technical committees on organic farming, practitioners and farmers”, Himatay said.

Himatay said the two-day summit will have various technical sessions focused on the theme, “Healthy Soil for a Healthy Living,” in relation to the International Year of Soils.

Invited speakers will discuss topics like soil and indispensable resource on organic agriculture, food integrity, food safety and medicinal farming.

On the first six months of this year, DA 6 reported that the demand for organic agriculture has increased because of the health benefits it provides.

Himatay said promoting organic agriculture will help the environment; increase income of farmers; and provide safe food for consumers as well as the farmers.

The DA 6 will also set-up an exhibit of organic products during the summit.

Others activities include poster making and cooking contests; and research symposium for high school and college students to present their research studies related to organic agriculture.

Winners of the various contests will receive cash prize from the DA. To be given awards are outstanding small farm and municipality on organic agriculture; and outstanding organic farming family.

Iloilo city, province to receive 3 major infra projects


ILOILO CITY, July 23 (PNA) -– The city and province of Iloilo will soon be recipients of three multi-billion peso projects under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme after a study on the viability of some projects is finished.

Soon to start is the expansion of the Iloilo international airport in Cabatuan, Iloilo which has been approved by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

Other Iloilo projects on the pipeline are the proposed government center in Passi City by Senate President Franklin M. Drilon and the proposed railway system project from the city to the province of Iloilo by city mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.

PPP Center Executive Director Cosette Canilao said that PPP has 13 ongoing infrastructure projects out of the 15 projects to be completed in different parts of the country before the Aquino administration ends in 2016.

Each of these projects must be over Php300 million to be considered by the PPP assistance for financing after passing the approval of the regional development council and the NEDA Board.

There are 221 finished projects since the inception of PPP. The center is also working for the passage of amendments to the existing Board of Investments Act to cover irrigation and other social infrastructures.

Canilao, with Canadian Ambassador Neil Reeder, conducted a press briefing for the national, international and local media covering the two-day Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) in this city on July 23-24.

On the other hand, the Department of Finance stressed that the lack of investment in the region’s infrastructure cannot be attributed to the insufficiency of capital since a large amount of capital worldwide is seeking profitable investment opportunities that can complement public sector resources.

What then needs to be done to enable more of this capital to flow into much needed infrastructure projects in the region’s emerging markets? Two major obstacles were identified and these were the lack of a pipeline of bankable infrastructure projects in developing economies that can attract capital from institutional investors.

The second obstacle is the lack of appropriate financial instruments and enabling policy frameworks for pension funds and insurance firms to expand their investment in emerging market infrastructure.

By addressing these two issues, the APEC Finance Ministers’ Process (FMP) can remove the obstacles to the advancement of APEC’s vision of sustained, balanced and inclusive growth.

Iloilo City to showcase Ilonggo arts and culture during welcome dinner for APEC delegates


ILOILO CITY, July 22 (PNA) -- Iloilo City is now ready to awe delegates of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting with its showcase of Ilonggo arts and culture during the local government unit-hosted welcome dinner Wednesday.

Junel Ann Divinagracia, executive director of the Iloilo Organizing Committee, said that the performances of various cultural groups with students from various learning institutions in the city are very impressive as she witnessed them during Tuesday’s rehearsal.

The cultural show will feature a panorama of Ilonggo arts and culture with the theme “Tracing Roots, Treading Routes.”

With their clear storyline, delegates would be able to know of the history of Iloilo tracing from the indigenous peoples to its trade with other nationalities and up to the present.

Performing groups include the Kinaadman Chorale of the John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University; Tarangban of the University of San Agustin; Spanish Suite, Iloilo and Banwa Ko and Hala Bira Iloilo by the Annie Divinagracia-Sartorio School for the Performing Arts and Kawilihan of the University of San Agustin and Samba Regatta by the West Visayas State University College of Physical Education, Sports, Culture, Arts and Recreation (PESCAR).

Iloilo will host the July 23-24 meeting focused on Fostering APEC’s Infrastructure through Long-Term Investment and Capital Market Development led by the Department of Finance.

APEC hosting to draw more investors to Iloilo

By Kathleen A. Martin (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Finance said Iloilo City hopes to attract more investments as it hosts one of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings this week.

“Iloilo City is taking advantage of its hosting one of the high-profile meetings of the APEC to drum up interest among potential investors in a wide range of sectors, including retail, manufacturing, business process outsourcing, agro-processing, and tourism,” the DOF said.

Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said 400 hectares of reclaimed land have already been identified for future investors.

At present, the city is developing an industrial zone on 400 hectares of reclaimed land. The DOF said the city has received P150 billion in investment pledges in 2013 and about 60 percent of the funds are already being spent on construction of businesses.

Mabilog said the APEC meeting on July 23 and 24 will be a good opportunity to further increase interest in the city as financial experts, finance ministers and officials, and representatives from international development institutions flock to the area.

“Hosting APEC is a way to boost awareness of the investment opportunities and strengths of Iloilo city as an investment destination,” Mabilog said.

Mabilog said the city has a 99-percent literacy rate within its workforce. It also has a secure power supply.

Mabilog said the city has been ranked as number one in terms of local government efficiency by the National Competitiveness Council, reflecting business-friendly processes.

“The economic outlook for Iloilo is very dynamic, and we have a lot of potential to grow. We look at Iloilo city as a globally competitive, premier city,” Mabilog said.

Iloilo in talks for air service to Incheon, Xiamen

By Louine Hope Conserva

ILOILO CITY -- The Iloilo City government is in talks with carrier AirAsia Philippines over the possibility of offering flights to the South Korean gateway of Incheon and Xiamen in China, the Tourism department said.

The push for more connectivity comes as the city hosts meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) this year, raising the region’s profile among international tourists, the Department of Tourism in Region 6 (DoT-6) said

“With Iloilo’s hosting of the APEC meetings this July, September and October, we do hope that more visitors will be coming in from the 21-member economies of APEC that will impact our number of flights and hotel accommodation,” said lawyer Helen J. Catalbas, DoT-6 director.

Ms. Catalbas said Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog is currently leading talks with AirAsia Philippines, Inc. with the aim of launching services next year.

South Korea and China are both APEC members, along with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, the United States,and Vietnam.

For domestic flights, Ms. Catalbas said she has participated in discussions for the introduction of flights between Iloilo and Cotabato.

“For Mindanao, our flights for Davao, General Santos and Cagayan de Oro are going strong. We are looking at adding Cotabato. What is important is we can sustain the flights,” she said.

The airport’s current local routes include Manila, Cebu, Tacloban, Puerto Princesa, General Santos, Davao and Cagayan de Oro.

The Iloilo International Airport, located in the town of Cabatuan, will be bid out for upgrade works under the public-private partnership (PPP) program. The contract cost is P30.4 billion covering expansion, operation and maintenance over a 30-year period.

It is part of the PPP airport Bundle 1 that includes the Bacolod-Silay Airport with an indicative cost of P20.26 billion.

Prospective bidders, based on the PPP Center Web site, include GMR Infrastructure Ltd.-Megawide Construction Corp., the Metro Pacific Investments Corp.-JG Summit Holdings, Inc. consortium, Aboitiz Equity Ventures, San Miguel Corp., Philippine Skylanders, Inc., and Union Equities, Inc.

The submission of qualification documents has been moved to Aug. 10 from July 27.

Iloilo City tops Government Efficiency ranking

By Lydia C. Pendon

ILOILO City has been recognized by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) as the number one in the list of top 10 cities in the Philippines for Government Efficiency ranking.

The City received an award from the NCC during the 3rd Regional Competitiveness Summit, Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index held July 16 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Metro Manila.

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who received the award, dedicated the victory to all City hall workers, barangay officials and the people of Iloilo City who supported his dream of a better and livable city for the present and future generations.

Iloilo City garnered a total score of 24.52 points, followed by Naga with 23.03 points, Cagayan de Oro with 22.55, Makati with 22.27, Davao with 21.80, Kidapawan with 21.70, Valenzuela with 21.44, Cebu with 21.02, Angeles with 2.86, and Balanga with 20.20.

The recent award also validated the early recognition of the city by the Department of Interior and Local Government as the yearly champion in Administrative Governance since 2011.

Mabilog said that Iloilo is now considered one of the major cities in Southeast Asia, as major business players in Metro Manila, Asia and the Pacific have their presence felt in Iloilo.

Private business sector capital infusion is estimated to be more than P200 billion since five years ago that provides job generation, livelihood and showcases the Ilonggo pride.

NCC, a non-government organization headed by businessman Guillermo Luz, is composed of top business leaders in the country, government officials and leaders of professional groups.

Aside from Government Efficiency, a total of 142 cities and 978 municipalities were also ranked in the index based on pillars of Economic Dynamism and Infrastructure using a total of 28 indicators.

This 2015, the NCC has introduced new award categories, recognizing third to sixth class municipalities, first to second class municipalities, component cities and highly urbanized cities.

Villages get P10-M projects


ILOILO – A total of P10.011 million was distributed to barangays here yesterday at Casa Real de Iloilo or the old provincial capitol.

Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. led the distribution of funds to finance 124 projects in the villages of 22 towns that included Lambunao, Miag-ao, Ajuy, Calinog, Lemery, Concepcion, Tubungan, Tigbauan, Alimodian, Leon, New Lucena, Maasin, Pototan, Cabatuan, Dumangas, Oton, Leganes, Santa Barbara, Zarraga, Calinog, Janiuay, and Dueñas, and the component city of Passi.

Projects to be financed included the rehabilitation or construction of bridges, day care centers, streetlights, gymnasiums, multipurpose pavements, multipurpose halls, barangay health centers, and water systems.

“I do not hesitate to give assistance to municipalities. The political leanings of their leaders are never a consideration,” said Defensor.

The funds distributed yesterday were in the form of checks and received by the mayors and their barangay captains.

International flights increasing in Iloilo

By Lydia C. Pendon

INTERNATIONAL flight arrivals at the Iloilo airport posted a significant increase since it opened for direct flights in 2013, said Department of Tourism Western Visayas Director Helen Catalbas.

Catalbas said that from 64 flight arrivals in 2013, international flight arrivals went up to 65 in 2014 and 67 in 2015 for the first quarter of the years reported.

"The data may only show a gradual growth in terms of flights but we can see a huge impact in passenger arrivals. From 26,871 passenger arrivals in 2013, the numbers went up to 27,154 in 2014 and with the Visit Philippines Year this 2015, a large volume of visitors coming in the region," she added.

In 2013, three flights from Singapore and two flights from Hong Kong arrived at the Iloilo International Airport weekly, while two flights from Singapore and three flights from Hong Kong weekly were reported in 2014.

In 2015, flights were arriving alternately from Singapore and Hong Kong four to six times a week.

The year 2013 recorded 6,917 passengers and 84.2 percent were Filipinos and 15.8 percent were of foreign nationalities. In 2014, there were 6,441 passengers and the first quarter of 2015 posted with 6,607 passengers.

Iloilo Hotels, Restos ready for APEC

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

ILOILO CITY, July 16 (PIA) --- The Department of Tourism (DOT) in Western Visayas assured that hotels and restaurants in Iloilo will deliver excellent service to delegates and guests of the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting here next week.

DOT-6 Tourism Operations Assistant Khariza Joy Sofia said that DOT has conducted seminars and training sessions to hotel and restaurant staff to equip them with fundamental knowledge and attitude at par with acceptable standards and upgrade their skills to international level.

“The trainings were specifically requested by the APEC local organizing committee to upgrade the services of hotels here,” she said.

DOT-6 conducted a training on front office operations last July 29-30 to enhance the effectiveness of hotel personnel in dealing with guests.

A housekeeping operations seminar was conducted from July 1 to 2, while training on effective customer service and work values was held last July 3.

DOT-6 said there is an ongoing training for hotel personnel assigned on waitering, bartending, and effective customer service. This training started July 14 and will conclude on July 17.

Over 26 hotels, restaurants and other establishments participated in the trainings organized by DOT-6.

The first APEC meeting in Iloilo City slated on July 23-24 will focus on Fostering APEC's Infrastructure through Long Term Investment and Capital Market Development.

Mabilog eyes intelligent transport system for Iloilo City


ILOILO CITY, July 15 (PNA) -– Mayor Jed Patrick is eyeing the replication of the intelligent transport system in this city following his exposure to the technology during a three-day Sustainable Urban Transport workshop at City of Danang in Vietnam last week.

Mabilog during his Wednesday regular press conference said that the system is armed with plenty of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras that monitor vehicles plying major thoroughfare.

Through the system, traffic violations can easily be detected including the pedestrians.

Moreover, cameras could very well help during emergency response if there are road accidents, among others.

“It is about time that we could introduce this to Iloilo City through public consultation,” he said.

The mayor said that it is important that the city government consults the public to know if the system is acceptable to them. At the same time, they will be made to know of the benefits the system would give them.

He said that it was very timely that there was one company that offered the said technology upon knowing of the “traffic challenge” in the city.

The company was referred to his executive assistants and will be sent to the city council for them to also be properly informed about the system.

“It maybe a little costly but I think if the city wants it, we can afford it. But it has to be publicly consulted,” he stressed.

The summit that was attended by delegates from South East Asia also presented the idea of the bus rapid transit (BRT) where there is one convergence area where commuters could leave their vehicles and take a bus going to their destination.

Meanwhile, Mabilog will be meeting with his executive assistants every Tuesday to properly address traffic issues in the city.

Iloilo now ready for next week’s APEC meeting


ILOILO CITY, July 14 (PNA) –- Iloilo is now ready to host the Strengthening Capital Market and Infrastructure Development meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit on July 23-24.

This was assured by Junel Ann Divinagracia, executive director of the 2015 Iloilo Organizing Committee (IOC) as she cited that the committee is ready to facilitate whatever is needed such as enhancement of the venue as well as manpower.

“Venues for the event have been checked,” she said.

The meeting that is spearheaded by the Department of Finance (DOF) is expected to gather around 120 delegates from the Asia Pacific and other high officials who will be invited to the meeting.

This July 18 a team from the National Organizing Council (NOC) will arrive in Iloilo for the needed preparations.

On the other hand, she added that Iloilo is just waiting for the completion of the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) that will serve as venue for the September and October APEC meetings.

She added that works at the ICC are being done 24 hours to ensure that the facility will be completed as committed by end of the month.

Iloilo will be hosting the Senior officials Meeting for Disaster Risk Management, Small and Medium Enterprise Ministerial Meeting and Food Security Week & High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security & the Blue Economy and Related Meetings in September and October.

SSS WV collections breach P1.35 B

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

ILOILO CITY, July 13 (PIA) --- The Social Security System (SSS) collected a total of P1.35-billion in contributions from Western Visayas since January 2015 which is 7.6 percent higher than the P1.25-billion collected from January to April last year.

In a media release, SSS Officer-in-Charge for Western Visayas Division Raul A. Casiano said the improved collections was due to the increasing presence of SSS in the region.

He said that SSS offices in the region have extended their resources to remote communities to enable residents in these areas to have easier access to social security services, including registering as members and updating their membership.

“SSS branches in Kalibo, Dumaguete, and Iloilo deployed Mobile E-Centers, or temporary SSS desks usually put up in far-flung areas, to make SSS services such as SSS registration, salary loan application, ID capture, member data change request, and status inquiry within reach of potential and existing members,” he said.

He said that they have set up Mobile E-Centers in the islands of Siquijor and Guimaras, and the cities of Bayawan and Passi from November last year to April of this year.

“The deployment of mobile E-centers, which in total accounted nearly 3,000 transactions from said areas, is part of the SSS initiative to cover hard-to-reach and informal sectors,” he said.

He said SSS also participates in the monthly “Gobyerno sa Baryo,” a joint program of the Aklan Provincial Government and Congressional District Office for the benefit of the province’s constituents in remote and rural communities.

As of April 2015, SSS members in Western Visayas inched up by 3.4-percent from 1.78 million in 2014 to 1.84 million, of which about 70 percent or 1.25 million are regular and household employees.

SSS recorded about 351,384 self-employed members and 241,812 voluntary members.

“There is a modest increase in the number of self-employed and voluntary members which grew by 6.7 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively. So we want to focus on those sectors under the informal economy, considering the vast number of micro and small businesses engaged in crop production and active fishery activities around the area,” Casiano said.

The SSS official also noted that the thriving tourism, specifically in the Municipality of Malay, has prompted the SSS to closely monitor employment activities in the province.

“We have conducted a saturation drive for 11 days in Boracay this month to comb the area for erring employers and employees who are still not reported for SSS coverage. From that alone, we were able to compel around 250 employers with about 1,300 employees to register with the SSS,” he said.

As of date, SSS has 14 branches and eight service offices strategically located in the provinces of Antique, Aklan, Iloilo, Capiz, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor.

Council sets probe as traffic lights cost P3.2m each

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr. (Inquirer Visayas)

ILOILO CITY—The Iloilo City council will investigate alleged irregularities in the purchase and installation of nine traffic lights in the city worth P29 million.

Voting 6-5 during the council’s session on July 7, the councilors approved a motion of Councilor Plaridel Nava to investigate the traffic light contracts entered into by the city government and private suppliers.

“We just want to know the truth because we believe that P3.2 million for one set of traffic lights is too expensive,” said Nava, chair of the council’s committee on transportation.

The councilors are divided on the issue.

Nava said the vote to investigate was not against Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.

Mabilog, in a statement, said the voting simply showed the council was independent.

“As always and as usual, the city government does not hide anything,” said the mayor.

Mabilog had defended the traffic light project as a measure to ease increasing traffic congestion in the city’s main streets.

Streets in the city’s central business district, the old commercial center, were built during the Spanish and American colonial period and designed for horse-drawn carriages. These have become congested with the increase in both private and public vehicles in recent years.

The city government and traffic officials have implemented re-routing experiments and tightened the implementation of ordinances but gridlocks regularly occur during peak hours.

Nava said he supports the installation of traffic lights in certain areas in the city.

But he said the location and operation of these should be based on a scientific study on the volume and pattern of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

“There should be case studies and dry runs to determine the ideal location of the traffic lights,” he said.

Transport groups, under the Western Visayas Transport Coalition, have asked the city government to stop the operation of traffic lights near the provincial capitol and in downtown because these have worsened, instead of eased, road bottlenecks.

The groups also requested that the traffic lights in major intersections be turned off during rush hour.

The investigation, which would be conducted jointly by the council’s committees on transportation, good government and rules, will also look into the procurement process involving suppliers KIV Marketing and Triune Electronics.

The city bought four traffic lights worth P14 million from Triune Electronics Systems Inc. and five others worth P14 million from KIV Marketing.

10,000 Iloilo City voters face disenfranchisement


ILOILO City – Some 10,000 registered voters here will be disenfranchised if they fail to have their biometrics taken on or before Oct. 31 this year.

They make up 4.7 percent of the 240,000 total registered voters in the city, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

These voters stand to lose their right to suffrage unless they comply with Comelec’s computerization program, according to Jonathan Sayno, assistant city election officer 2.

Since May 9 last year, said Sayno, Comelec has been reaching out to such registered voters in all the districts here through the biometrics registration and validation campaign dubbed “No Bio, No Boto.”

Comelec personnel here have been busy with the campaign — on top of registering first-time voters and processing applications for transfer of residence and correction of entries — just to ensure every registered voter gets to vote in the May 2016 election, he said.

“We are reaching out [to those] without biometrics to prevent any disenfranchisement,” Sayno said, but he also warned that voters without biometrics after the deadline will be “deactivated.”

Sayno said they plan to hold caravans in universities and more mobile registrations per district, and hope to finish all these before October.

By that time, Comelec personnel will accommodate the certificates of candidacy (COCs) of people seeking elective posts.

It is highly likely that the filing of COCs from Oct. 12 to 16 will interrupt their work in registering voters and recording and validating biometrics, Sayno admitted.

Iloilo City 'ripe for educational tourism'


THE Department of Tourism (DOT)-Western Visayas Director Helen Catalbas said Iloilo City is ripe for educational tourism, with the growing population of foreigners availing themselves of education from universities and colleges within the city.

Catalbas said the schools being patronized by foreigners are state universities and private schools that offer specialized training courses.

These schools, she added, are considered tourism education assets, because they attract foreign students who seek higher quality education.

Catalbas also said that Iloilo City is the center of academe and higher education in Western Visayas; hence, it makes sense that educational tourism is one of the tourism products in Iloilo marketed by the DOT.

World Population Day highlights poverty and development

By Elsa S. Subong (JCM/ESS/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, July 10(PIA)—Population Commission-6 Regional Director Harold Marshall said it is one with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFA) in the observance of World Population Day, to enhance awareness of the public of population issues in relation to poverty and development.

He added that Efforts in ensuring that the dignity, safety and reproductive health of women and girls and of vulnerable youth in emergencies need to be further strengthened.

This, as the nations observe World Population Day, Jul 11 this year.

“We will be coordinating with the local government units in carrying out advocacy activities which can be done simultaneously all over the region,” Marshall said.

The observance spotlights women, children and young people as among the most vulnerable, forcibly displaced from their homes by conflict and disasters in many parts of the world today.

UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotemehin said that when a crisis strikes, humanitarian response must be swift and adaptable to the needs of affected population.

“Women and young people may especially require targeted support and aid must be sustained from the onset of an emergency until recovery,” Osotemehin said in a press release.

The UNFPA Director added that the observance of World Population Day 2015 will surface these issues faced by these marginalized sectors and underscore the neeed for more responsive and purposive solutions.

IOs, liaison officers join to form stronger info network

By Elsa S. Subong (JCM/ESS/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, July 8(PIA)— Information officers coming from the local government units, private organizations and academe have come together as a group to form stronger networks.

It used to be that information officers organized by the Philippine Information Agency Iloilo Information Center were only those from the local government units.

“There are more advantages when we include those from other private entities and the academe because they also contribute much to local development,” said Jerry Anas, information officer of Leganes and President of the Organization of Tourism Officers in the Province of Iloilo, during the first meeting of the group.

He added that there are common agenda for development which the liaison and public relations officers and the LGU information officers can pursue for more impact projects.

The IOs also formed their own group apart from those coming from national government agencies but assured convergence of activities when needed.

The group assumed a new name which is Information Officers of Iloilo to include all member-liaison and public relations officers of private entities and the provincial offices of government agencies.

The new set of officers are President- Nereo C. Lujan, Iloilo Province Public/Community Affairs Office; Vice President –Erlyn Alunan, San Joaquin-LGU; Secretary – Susan Jovero – Pavia-LGU; Asst. Secretary – Lilibeth French, PIA-Iloilo; Treasurer – Cesar Recabar – Janiuay-LGU; Auditor – Jerry Anas, Leganes-LGU.

The IOs also elected its Board of Directors, namely, Olive Ledesma, MIWD; Joan Paulette Mary Libo-on/Charles Von Alava, JBLFMU System; representative from Comelec-Province; Jayzon Baldesues, Tigbauan, Analyn Constantino, New Lucena; Jennifer Osorio, Lambunao; and, Novem Sazon, Barotac Nuevo.

Nereo Lujan, president-elect, said that the officers and the BOD will have to sit down and formulate policies on membership, annual dues, and activities, after the induction set on August 6, at the Casa Real.

PIA-6 Director Janet Mesa told the members that they should try to be consistent in their participation and attendance in meetings despite the fact that their stints may just depend on the local chief executives.

“Your role as Information Officers are significant in the development of your respective LGUs,” Mesa said, adding that their performance is reflective of the performance of their local officials.

Iloilo gets P7M reward for ‘good housekeeping’


ILOILO CITY, July 6 (PNA) - - The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is awarding this province with P7-million Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) for getting last year’s Seal of Good Housekeeping.

The subsidy will be released upon the signing of Memorandum of Agreement between Governor Arthur Defensor Sr and DILG Regional Director Anthony Nuyda later this month.

Defensor already asked the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) to grant him the authority to sign the agreement and it is expected to be bestowed to him by Tuesday during their regular session.

The P7-million is intended for the improvement of core road network of Iloilo to boost local tourism and other projects that can spur economic development.

Specifically, the financial support will fuel the construction and concreting of Cabugao-Banban-Tuyungan Road in Barangay Cabugao, a village where some of the indigenous people of Calinog town are living.

PCF is a flagship program of the DILG that helps stimulate LGUs to put premium on transparency and accountability to enable them to avail themselves of financial support to jumpstart and sustain local socio-economic development initiatives supportive of national government goals and priorities.

Other recipient LGUs can use the fund to finance projects in compliance with the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act 2010 and Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

Meat from city abattoir safe, Pavia residents assured


ILOILO City – Meat from hogs and cattle slaughtered at the city’s abattoir is safe for human consumption.

This is the benefit that the people of Pavia will get from the agreement between their municipality with the city government, said Ariel Castañeda, chief of the city’s Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO),

On Friday, the city government agreed to accommodate hog and cattle raisers of Pavia at the city’s abattoir in Barangay Tacas, Jaro district.

According to Castañeda, his office was addressing several concerns that the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) raised early this year over the slaughterhouse’s operation.

NMIS is the government body regulating abattoirs across the country.

“There are procedural concerns. The facilities will be improved, too,” Castañeda said.

The slaughterhouse failed the NMIS inspection early this year.

Aside from structural deficiencies, the lack of skill among meat inspectors was among the reasons that it failed to attain the “AA” classification.

Under Executive Order No. 137, “AA” abattoirs are those “with facilities and operational procedures sufficiently adequate that the livestock and fowls slaughtered are suitable for sale in any market, domestic or international.”

Castañeda expressed confidence that the city’s slaughterhouse can achieve that status.

The slaughterhouse is currently categorized as “A”, which means it has “facilities and operational procedures of minimum adequacy.”

Meat from “A” abattoirs are suitable for distribution and sale only within the city or municipality where the slaughterhouse is located, stated Executive Order No. 137.

Castañeda said Pavia hog and cattle raisers may start taking their animals for slaughtering at the city’s abattoir starting next month.

The arrangement is beneficial to both Pavia and the city government, he said.

While Pavia consumers will be ensured of clean and safe meat, the city’s slaughterhouse will be earning more, said Castañeda.

Pavia hog and cattle raisers will pay the appropriate fees and have to follow the slaughterhouse’s schedule, said Castañeda.

Some of the reasons that the slaughterhouse failed the regional NMIS evaluation on Feb. 6, 2015 were insufficient water supply, nonfunctional hand-washing facilities, accumulation of dirt on walls and tanks, odorous comfort rooms, clogged drainage, and presence of cobwebs, among others.

Some of the meat inspectors had not passed the NMIS test, too, according to Councilor Rodel Fullon-Agado, chairperson of the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s committee on markets and slaughterhouse, in a previous interview.

Ilongga represents PH in Japan arts festival

By Tara Yap

Iloilo City— A 16-year-old Ilongga student was the lone representative of the Philippines during the 2015 International High School Arts Festival in Japan.

Eouia Aum Gonzales Dueñas just came back from Japan’s capital city of Tokyo after participating in an exhibit organized by the International Foundation for Arts and Culture (IFAC).

Exhibited was her painting “Amburukay’s Gold Hair.” That particular painting of Dueñas is a visual rendition of one of the female characters in the Hinilawod (Epic of Panay), the oral literature of the indigenous group Panay Bukidnon or Sulodnon who dwell in the mountains of Central Panay.

“I was very happy to share our culture as portrayed in my art work,” said “Dueñas.

Her participation in the international art exhibit began last March when she emerged as winner of a painting contest amongst students of the Philippine High School for the Arts, where she is currently a 10th grade student.

More popularly known as Om, Dueñas learned to draw and paint at a very early age.

When she was two, she could identify secondary colors and started water-based paintings with assistance from her father Guijo, an artist and photojournalist.

By three-years-old, Om was beginning to sketch and paint flowers, rainbows, butterflies, and dinosaurs.

Om began exhibiting works of art when she was four-years-old. “My Own World”, her first solo exhibit in Iloilo featured 21 acrylic paintings.

On March 2006, Om’s second solo exhibit dubbed as “My Dreams” also featured acrylic paintings.

By November 2011, Om had her third solo exhibit dubbed as “Iwag sa Laragway.” It featured pastels on paper boards.

Aside from her solo exhibits, Om also won the 2007 painting contest that was part of the European Commission’s Global Gender Equality project.


Engineers, architects urged to build quake-resistant houses

By Lydia C. Pendon

THE Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) urged engineers and architects to help people build earthquake-proof houses, as it conducted a forum on earthquake risk reduction and disaster preparedness Friday.

Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum challenged engineers and architects to give back to their communities and get involved by designing and building houses that can withstand an earthquake.

Solidum was the main speaker in the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s second quarter meeting and earthquake disaster awareness forum held on July 3 at the Iloilo Grand Hotel.

He said there are technologies today that can help houses nearly earthquake-resistant and housing materials used, such as hollow blocks and reinforcement bars should also conform to safety measures.

The local government units (LGUs) must ensure house building safety even if it’s the building owner’s responsibility. The LGUs should help potential victims of earthquakes and protect the families as part of its governance development, he added.

The Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE) has a checklist on standard materials while the regional disaster risk reduction management council should lead in the survey of safe houses and buildings.

“The major goal is to develop governance and business buildings and houses must be earthquake-resistant”, the Philvolcs chief said.

Solidum also pointed out the presence of West Panay fault line, which is the major earthquake generator in Western Visayas.

The municipalities near the West Panay Fault are the towns of Ibajay, Malinao, Madalag in the province of Aklan; Pandan in Antique; Jamindan and Tapaz in Capiz; and Lambunao, Janiuay, Maasin, Alimodian, Tubungan, Leon, Igbaras, Miagao and San Joaquin in the province of Iloilo.

However, warning is up in Iloilo City, Kalibo in Aklan, Roxas City in Capiz and San Jose in Antique as these areas have rivers prone to liquefaction and possible road fissures. Where there are rivers, there is liquefaction underground that may start ground rupture and ground shaking to earthquakes and landslides.

Solidum also said that Western Visayas tsunamis are mostly related to earthquakes, adding that southern Iloilo and Antique may have tsunamis two to four meters high.

More skills training eyed to boost IT industry in Western Visayas


ILOILO CITY, July 2 (PNA) -- Western Visayas is positioning itself for the continuous growth of the Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry in the region by seeing to it that it could meet the manpower requirement of around 12,000.

In line with this, through a resolution that was enacted by the Economic Development Committee (EDC) of the Regional Development Council (RDC) has urged the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) to expand its training for work scholarship program (TWSP) on IT.

Data from the RDC disclosed that IT-BPO investment in the region has increased from PHP6 billion in 2012 to PHP11 billion in 2015, thereby creating 142,000 indirect jobs.

Currently, TESDA has 200 TWSP vouchers for IT courses.

The EDC in a resolution submitted to the RDC cited that increasing the number of vouchers “will improve the skills of more individuals and increase their eligibility for employment in the IT-BPO industry.”

DENR-DPWH Roadside tree planting, answer to tree-cutting

By Lilibeth A. French

ILOILO CITY, July 1 (PIA6) - - The regional offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH in Western Visayas have agreed to further enhance their partnership in the tree planting and growing along roadsides of the region.

DENR 6 Director Jim Sampulna and DPWH 6 Director Edilberto Tayao formalized the agreement with the signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) on Tuesday, June 30, at the DPWH 6 Conference Room here. DENR Undersecretary for Field Operations Demetrio Ignacio, Jr. and DPWH Undersecretary for Technical Services Raul Asis also signed as witnesses to the MOA.

In his message, Ignacio commended the DPWH for the initiative and hoped that this will be replicated nationwide.

He said roadside tree cutting has become a major issue in infrastructure projects “maraming infrastructure projects natin, yong pinakamalalaki yan po ay naantala, nadedelay yan dahil sa isyu ng tree cutting.

Ignacio said the roadside tree planting activity of the DPWH is an ideal solution to the roadside tree cutting problem.

“Mawawala ang problema sa tree cutting sa roadside kung ang DPWH ang magtatanim dahil alam niyo kung saan magtatanim,” said Ignacio.

Under the agreement, DENR shall assist the DPWH in the survey and mapping of identified areas in the determination of appropriate species to be planted which it will provide. It will also provide technical assistance to the DPWH in their tree planting and growing activities and assist in the conduct of periodic monitoring and documentation of the said tree plantation.

On its part, DPWH in coordination with DENR will identify and conduct survey and mapping of roadsides that will be subjected to tree planting activities it will undertake as an integral part of its regular road maintenance program. It will also maintain a close coordination with DENR in the implementation of the activity. Likewise, conduct a periodic monitoring and decumentation of the established plantations.

The initiative is also in accordance with DPWH Department Order No. 15 series of 2000 and DPWH being a partner of DENR in the implementation of the National Greening Program as mandated under Executive Order No. 26 issued by President Benigno Aquino III.

DPWH Department Order No. 15 makes the planting of trees along national roads as a standard component of all road construction and improvement projects requiring the inclusion of said activity to the engineering design, program of work, estimates budget, and bidding and contract documents of these projects.

All the provincial and city environment and natural resources officers of DENR and district engineers of DPWH in the region are also involve to ensure that the implementation of the program at the field level will be successful.

The joint efforts seeks to address the following: to add value to urban areas; to mitigate climate change; to enhance beauty of the roadside; to provide shed to commuters; and to minimize glare from sunlight to drivers along the roads. (JCM/LAF/PIA-Iloilo)

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