Iloilo City News June 2016

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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.


DTI allots PHP9.7-M budget for SSF implementation in Western Visayas


ILOILO CITY, June 30 (PNA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has PHP9.79-million budget for the implementation of 14 shared service facilities (SSF) project in Western Visayas to still include Negros Occidental.

SSF is a major component of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) that provides entrepreneurs with machineries, tools and equipment, skills, and knowledge under a shared system. This project aims to improve the productivity and competitiveness of these entrepreneurs.

In Aklan, the beneficiaries get to avail of the school-based loom weaving facility on pina-abaca fibercraft industry, facility support for the production of handcrafted fashion bags and other souvenir items, SSF on salt making, on food processing, and for packaging facility for muscovado.

Capiz has four coir production upgrading SSF, while Guimaras has SSF for product standardization for sapal weavers. Negros Occidental, on the other hand, has processed food toll packaging support facility and services and enhanced organic farm production through mechanized composting.

Aklan gets to have the biggest share of the budget at PHP3,881,680 followed by Negros Occidental at PHP3,525,040. Capiz will be given PHP1,550,000 while Guimaras, PHP835,985.

Aside from setting up new Negosyo Centers in the region, DTI is also set to improve and optimize the operations of the SSF project. /CBF

PhilHealth peritoneal dialysis first Z-benefit now available in Iloilo City


ILOILO CITY (PNA) -- The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) has contracted the St. Paul’s Hospital of Iloilo to become its first private hospital partner in the country to offer the peritoneal dialysis (PD) first Z benefit.

Peritoneal dialysis is one of the three renal replacement therapies to substitute kidney functions that have failed already. The two others are kidney transplant and hemodialysis, explained Dr. Helen Caro-Pastolero, head of the kidney center of t the St. Paul’s Hospital of Iloilo.

Once the necessary surgical procedure is done, the patient only has to visit the hospital once a month for checkup and laboratories. The patient or their folks are trained how to do the draining at home, she further explained.

“Unlike with hemodialysis you need to go to the hospital three to four times a week for your therapy, there is a needle inserted each time we do dialysis. It’s painful but you have to go through the hospital,” she further stated.

Between two, the PD has no restrictions in terms of food and fluid intake.

With the Z benefit for PD first, PhilHealth has provided a package worth PHP270,000 annually to already include the professional fee of the nephrologists. Prior, the treatment was treated under the case rate package.

Since it has two phases the initiation phase will be computed under the case rate package while the maintenance will be covered by the Z benefit.

“When we say initiation that’s the time that the patient is admitted at the hospital; the tube is inserted and the patient is drained. Within a month we submit to Philhealth the pre-qualification form and as soon as they approve the patients could now get their credit at St. Paul’s Hospital,” she explained.

Three patients are now waiting for their prequalification documents to be submitted to PhilHealth.

“With this new development people from Western Visayas suffering from renal disease are assured of easy access to quality medical service having St.Paul’s Hospital as first contracted hospital here in the island of Panay,” said PhilHealth’s regional vice president Lourdes FR. Diocson.

Diocson said that the cost of having the procedure “will cause not just a dent on household income but cause devastating effect on the economic situation of families of those afflicted with the disease.”

“Now the government is looking to the direction through Philhealth of financing these types of illnesses to have more relevance and impact on the economic well-being of families,” she cited.

She disclosed that in the Philippines 120 for every one million or one out of 10 has chronic renal disease. This is caused mostly by diabetes and hypertension.

In 2015, hemodialysis procedure came second to pneumonia in terms of case reimbursement by PhilHealth in Western Visayas. PhilHealth has reimbursed PHP116.95 million for 20,949 cases last year, she said.

In February this year more than PHP13 million was released for reimbursement.

Diocson said that the cost of PD is lower than hemodialysis.

However, not all patients suffering from the illness can avail of the package. The patient must fulfill the selection criteria with approved pre-authorization and must comply with the qualifying contribution of three months within six months prior the availment of the package.

The kidney center of St. Paul’s Hospital Iloilo has competent staff composed of nephrologists, 12 nurses, two aides as well as visiting doctors.

The other two health facilities contracted by PhilHealth are the National Kidney Transplant Institute (NKTI) in Manila and the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital in Bacolod City, both being government hospitals.

Seafarer certification, assessment now available at MARINA 6


ILOILO CITY (PNA) -- Seafarers no longer have to travel to Manila to secure certifications and assessments as these services are now available at the regional office of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) in Western Visayas.

MARINA-6 Senior maritime industry development specialist Juliet Nacion said that the services have been cascaded at the regional office here, which was chosen as one of the three pilot areas to perform the functions of providing examinations and giving of certifications and assessments to seafarers. The other regional offices are Cebu and Davao.

“Before, it was only performed by the central office but now, our regional office could handle these functions to fast track renewals and applications of seafarers. A MARINA advisory regarding the transfer of functions was already released,” she added.

She added, however, that the conduct of examinations to seafarers is yet being processed and maybe available later this year.

Nacion said that the new strategy has its advantages as it allows seafarers to cut on their expenses because they no longer have to travel to Manila. They can also spend more time with their families and communication is easier because the staff of MARINA here speaks their language.

Further, Nacion also said that it will also lessen the large number of seafarers applying at the central office.

A a separate space at the regional office will be identified to accommodate seafarers who will be processing their papers.

The regional office can accommodate more than 100 seafarers a day.

Digital TV now in Iloilo


ILOILO CITY, June 27 (PNA)-- Ilonggo households can now experience Digital TV viewing with the launching of ABS-CBN TVPlus here recently.

Glen Enginco, ABS-CBN TVPlus sales cluster head, VisMin, said Iloilo was the first city in Western Visayas to get access to digital TV.

Enginco explained that digital terrestrial television (DDT) provides a clearer picture and sound compared to analog TV.

“The ABS-CBN TVPlus sources its signal from a tower located in Guimaras. Compared to analog, the signal from the digital TV tower is not affected by the clouds or other interruptions that affect analog TV signal,” he explained.

Using digital transmission, TV viewing is crystal-clear, which is a huge distinction from the current analog system that most televisions in the country still use.

The digital TV service covers Iloilo City and the island-province of Guimaras.

Enginco said digital TV coverage also include the following areas: Ajuy, Alimodian, Anilao, Badiangan, Banate, Barotac Nuevo, Barotac Viejo, Cabatuan, Calinog, City of Passi, Concepcion, Dingle, Dueñas, Dumangas, Guimbal, Igbaras, Janiuay, Lambunao, Leganes, Leon, Maasin, Miag-ao, Mina, New Lucena, Oton, Pavia, Pototan, San Joaquin, San Miguel, Santa Barbara, Tigbauan, Tubungan, and Zarraga.

Regina Napile, product marketing head, ABS-CBN TVplus, said the network’s digital TV box was compatible to all types of TV, and the user could always switch from digital to analog if one desires.

ABS-CBN is the first media and entertainment company in the Philippines to make historic switch from analog to DDT in 2015. It is also the first network to roll out digital TV outside Metro Manila.

PPP says 53 projects now in the pipeline


ILOILO CITY (PNA) -- A total of 53 projects to be implemented under the public-private partnership scheme to include the proposed expansion of the Iloilo International Airport are now in the pipeline.

Undersecretary Andre C. Palacios, executive director of the PPP center, speaking before members of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Western Visayas on Friday, said that the expansion is among the projects that fall under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

He added that around 60 percent of the projects that are on the pipeline are part of the DOTC projects.

The expansion of Iloilo’s international airport with an estimated budget of Php30.4 billion is part of the five regional airport projects that were included in the PPP.

“The idea is to increase capacity before we have congestion like in Manila,” he said adding the Iloilo airport is already nearing its capacity. The project is yet to be subjected to bidding procedures.

Palacios expressed hope that the 53 viable projects will attract more international players.

“The reason that we want international players is that the increased competition is actually better for the end-user. The project will become of better quality and cheaper,” he said.

He also disclosed that they have already awarded 12 projects, higher than their prior target of only 10 projects. Three projects were completed, short of their five targets while four are under implementation.

In his message, he encouraged local government units and national agencies to visit the PPP center for possible technical support and even avail of international consultants with no cash outs.

PPP, he said, is the third and last option in the development of projects.

“It offers last option because not all infrastructure projects should be through PPP,” he said.

EMB highlights care of nature through music


ILOILO CITY (PNA) -- The Environmental Management Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has found a creative way of raising public awareness on the need to take good care of natural resources this Environment Month through music.

Dubbed as ‘Musika ng Kalikasan,’ the DENR tapped the Troubadours Choir of the University of San Agustin (USA) and the Iloilo Prima Galaw for series of performances about taking good care of nature held at the Robinsons Place here, Friday.

Rabbi Chris Carbajal, EMB-6 chief for environmental education and information said that the celebration is their way to remind the public of their responsibilities as agents of change.

It is also one way to encourage them to support the environmental programs of DENR-EMB for sustainable and equitable development.

“This encourages everyone to celebrate and protect species that are on the danger of extinction as well as do efforts to address climate change,” he said.

During the event, the programs of the DENR were also showcased through an audio-video presentation. It includes National Eco-Saver Program, Basura Patrol Program, Adapt-an-Estero Water Body Program, among others.

“Let us all be responsible for our only home, our mother earth; and let us all become a catalyst of change,” Carbajal further said.

This month’s celebration anchors on the theme ‘Go Wild for Life, Combat Biodiversity Loss.’

Iloilo City wins nat’l anti-TB award


ILOILO CITY, June 24 (PNA) -- Iloilo City won the Manuel L. Quezon Achievers’ Awards given by the Department of Health (DOH) during its 2016 Bayani ng Kalusugan ceremony in Manila June 23.

Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog stressed the citation is another manifestation of the city’s efficient and effective delivery of public health services by providing easier access and bringing them closer to the constituents to avail of the treatment.

The national anti-tuberculosis (TB) award recognized the city’s effort and commitment towards achieving a TB-free country in the near future.

It is given to outstanding local government units (LGUs) and individuals who provided support and utmost dedication to DOH Tuberculosis Control Program through resource mobilization, advocacy and health human resource resulting to improvement in quality of service delivery and patient care at Directly Observed Treatment Short-Course (DOTS) facilities.

DOH acknowledged the vital support and assistance of LGUs and health partners involved in TB program resulting to reduction of cases.

Health centers here are implementing DOTS which provides free anti-TB drugs to patients.

DOH said TB is preventable and curable, thus no one should die of this disease by availing proper medication.

TB patients only need to submit themselves for treatment regularly and religiously take medications as a proven strategy to ensure the completion of cure.

Under the program, patients are required to take four kinds of drugs for six months.

Health workers must be proactive to seek patients and provide proper counseling and needed medication. An intensive follow up can ensure the progress of patient.

DOTS can prevent new infections among children and adults, stop resistance to anti-TB drugs and is cost-effective, noted DOH.

It is a comprehensive strategy endorsed by World Health Organization (WHO) and International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (IUATLD) to detect and cure TB patients.

TB, an airborne ailment transmitted through bacteria-infected droplets from coughing, sneezing or spitting, is one of the Top 10 major killers with 75 Filipinos dying of the lung disease daily with five deaths per minute, according to medical records.

PHP11.2-B mega dam project's actual construction to start on Q3 of 2016


ILOILO CITY, June 23 (PNA) -- The actual construction of the PHP11.2-billion Jalaur River Multipurpose Project (JRMP) II will start on the third quarter of this year, according to Senator Franklin M. Drilon.

“Next week, I will sit down with the ambassador of Korea and we will together finalize the timetable for the project,” he said.

The bidding of the project is now on its last stage with two Korean contractors having submitted their bid folders. The actual award for winning bidder will be done next month.

Drilon pointed out that the project will address the concern of the poor people in the province.

Specifically, he said that the project will benefit 22 towns in the province, increase the rice productivity of the farmers by about 200,000 tons per year and will irrigate 33,000 hectares of rice lands in Iloilo.

“If there is any game changer that can turn around the poverty levels of Iloilo, this is the project that will do it given the fact that when we start constructing the project, there will be thousands of jobs created given the magnitude of the project that we are undertaking,” he said.

Drilon further said that he is glad that he will be pursuing the project with re-elected governor of the province Arthur Defensor Sr.

Drilon was here Thursday to administer the oath-taking of the elected officials in the province of Iloilo.

DOT slates 6 tourism seminars Q3 of 2016


ILOILO CITY, June 22 (PNA) -- The Department of Tourism (DOT) here is preparing to roll out three trainings to further equip stakeholders with necessary skills as the industry continues to grow in Western Visayas.

“Just as we are encouraging our tourism-related and tourism-oriented establishments to be DOT-accredited, we are also raising the standard of the tourism workforce assigned within establishments and destinations. Quality of service is also one of the factors why tourists come and experience Western Visayas first,” DOT regional director Atty. Helen Catalbas said.

The proposed trainings include tourism awareness sminar in Bucari, Leon; eco-guiding seminar for northern Antique and the province of Capiz; seminar for tourist transport operators and drivers; community kulinarya/street food kulinarya for the Antique and Tourist Oriented Police for Community Order and Protection (TOPCOP) Phase I and II for PNP personnel of Guimaras.

Recently, DOT Region 6 in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources 6 (DENR 6) conducted a tourism awareness seminar for the community-based rural tourism of Bulabog Putian National Park in Dingle, Iloilo. It was attended by DENR personnel, representatives from the different barangays of Dingle, barangay officials and forest rangers.

Director Catalbas explained that tourism development should go down to the grassroots because most of the workforce and raw materials are from rural areas. She added a strong economic activity creates more livelihood opportunities for the community and attracts investors to invest their money.

“This office has only one cause and that is to make the lives of the Western Visayans better through tourism,” Catalbas concluded.

More than 3,000 to join simultaneous nationwide earthquake drill on Wednesday


ILOILO CITY, June 21 (PNA) -- More than 3,000 workers and students from two pilot venues in Iloilo are expected to join Wednesday’s nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD) capability building section chief Melissa Banias said that simultaneous drills will be held at the Megaworld and at the Jaro National High School (JNHS) to start at 9a.m.

Some 1,000 workers selected from three to four buildings inside the Megaworld Property will be joining the simulation exercise while around 2,000 students and teachers of the JNHS will also be part of the drill.

Banias explained that in addition to raising the awareness of the public on what to do in case of earthquake, the exercise will also serve as venue to “unify communication from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to the regional level.”

It will also serve as a test of their sustaining capability as one of the worst affected in case of calamities is the communication line.

She said that the regional communications and electronics office of the Philippine National Police (PNP) will setup their communications equipment at the Megaworld. The same will also be done by the communications group of the Philippine Army (PA).

Also, through the drill they will also be able to “define the roles and responsibilities of national government agencies,” she added.

The RDRRMC has already identified team of evaluators to observe the conduct of the exercise as well as undertake the post-evaluation activity.

Iloilo chosen as pilot area for HIV-AIDS program


ILOILO CITY, June 20 (PNA) -- The battle against the dreaded humanimmuno virus (HIV) continues as a joint undertaking of the Department of Health (DOH), Population Commission (PopCom), local government units (LGUs) and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) to stem the tide of HIV-AIDS spread in this highly urbanized city.

DOH and UNICEF selected five highly urbanized cities in the country as pilot areas for HIV-AIDS program, especially for the young people.

The cities are Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, Quezon and Iloilo to lead on increasing youth participation in adolescent and reproductive health programs.

NGO partner Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) reported the virus upsurge among the male young people aged 17-33 years old. A total of 16 positives out of 124 walk-in clients sought voluntary HIV testing at the FPOP clinic based in Iloilo City since February to June this year.

The HIV positive results were submitted to DOH central office for further validation and it will take about a month before the final result be known, according to Robert Figuracion of FPOP.

However, monitoring of these male clients continues and positives include five students including two 17 years old, two overseas Filipino workers, one commercial sex worker and eight working adults.

Earlier, DOH reported that HIV is attacking Filipinos every 19 hours and the move is to stop its spread to infect other people.

Iloilo hails 150 years of the finding of much-loved Marian icon

By Tara Yap

Iloilo City – The Redemptorist religious congregation in Iloilo is joining the 150th year celebration of the Mother of Perpetual Help, which is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by the Roman Catholic Church as represented by a revered 15th Century Byzantine icon.

Fr. Ramon Fruto of the Redemptorist Order in Illoilo said the Mother of Perpetual Help is close to the hearts of the Ilonggos.

He pointed out that despite the discovery of the Marian image in Italy a century and a half ago, it is in the Philippines where the Mother of Perpetual Help, known by the byword, “Make Her Known to the Whole World,” is highly popular.

“They did not anticipate that the picture of the Mother of Perpetual Help would be best known in the Philippines,” Fr. Fruto said.

Fr. Fruto, who has the distinction of being the first Filipino Redemptorist priest, noted that the first novena mass in honor of the Mother of Perpetual Help was held at St. Clement’s Church in Iloilo City.

While novena masses in honor of the Mother of Perpetual Help are often associated with Baclaran Church in Manila, the practice actually started in Iloilo City on May 13, 1946.

In this, the 150th year anniversary of the much-beloved icon of the Blessed Mother of Jesus, Fr. Fruto hopes that the faith of Ilonggos and other Filipinos would be strengthened in their caring for their communities and the country.

Carlos Garcia, chairperson of St. Clement’s Liturgy and Worship Committee of the Parish Apostolic Council, said one of the activities in commemorating the 150th anniversary of the finding of the image of the Mother of Perpetual Help’s 150th anniversary is an art exhibit at the Museo Iloilo.

The exhibit, which opened last June 10, 2016, involves paintings and other works of art by Ilonggo artists depicting the Mother of Perpetual Help in an exhibit that opened last June 10, 2016.

Garcia added that the Photographic Society of Iloilo (PSI) also organized an exhibit for St. Clement’s Church recently.

Ayala Land to help reduce backlogs in housing sector, generate local employment in Iloilo


ILOILO CITY, June 17 (PNA) -- BellaVita Land Corporation of the Ayala Land Inc. here is aiming to help reduce huge backlogs in the mass housing sector and generate local employment in Iloilo.

Later this year, BellaVitta will start building 1,800 house and lot units with Php656 million budget in its 11.7-hectare land in San Miguel, Iloilo. The project was launched here on Thursday.

“This is our way of answering calls from national government to help reduce the huge backlogs in the mass housing sector,” BellaVita president Lyle Abadia said.

The company has already engaged 14 housing projects, 12 of which in Luzon, one in Mindanao and this first socialized housing project in the Visayas.

With this, it already built 16,000 units that generated about Php9 billion income with around Php5 billion investments.

Abadia said that they will also generate and prioritize local employment in Iloilo.

Initially, the company is planning to hire 200 to 250 construction workers and apart from it, they will also hire personnel, janitors, maintenance crew, among others.

Each housing unit of BellaVita to be built here in Iloilo costs Php450,000.

The company aims to attract minimum wage earners and those from informal business sectors who can afford the monthly amortization of around Php3,000.

Abadia also said that their main mission of expanding more their housing units is to reach out to the majority of the countrymen.

Specifically, he said that they wanted to encourage renters to start owning their home with more or less same monthly cost they are paying for the rent, investors who are looking for rental income opportunities, parents who want to invest for their children’s future home, employees who want to live near their place at work and Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) families who want to ensure that their hard earned money does not go to waste.

“We are inviting those of our counterparts in the government institutions like civil servants, people working in BPOs, manufacturing sector and private offices and families of OFWs or even those engage in informal business sector,” he added.

Initial phase released by BellaVitta is 200 units, 53 percent or 105 units of which are already sold.

The entire housing project is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Iloilo eyes trade mission to New York, USA


ILOILO CITY, June 17 (PNA) –- A group of businessmen of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce will visit Iloilo this July as part of the preparations for the proposed trade mission to New York in October this year.

This was revealed by Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog after he met with the business group during his trip to New York last week for the annual Philippine Independence Day celebration by the Filipino community.

“Hopefully this time we meet biggest businessmen for us to invite them to come and invest in Iloilo,” he said.

He recalled that the business summit hosted by this city in Makati years back was able to generate some PHP150 billion in commitments.

“Iloilo is going to benefit from this,” he said.

During his visit last week, the chamber conferred Mabilog with a Service Award for Business “for distinguished service promoting businesses for the City of Iloilo in particular and province of Iloilo in general.”

Megaworld: Demand rising for commercial properties in Iloilo project

By Leslie D. Venzon [(PNA), SCS/LDV]

MANILA, June 16 (PNA) -- Property developer Megaworld Corp. said demand has been increasing for commercial properties in its mixed-use master-planned community development in Iloilo City.

Harold Geronimo, Megaworld head of public relations and communications, cited particularly the Metrobank and Union Bank which bought lands in the 72-hectare property development project where they would establish their regional offices.

“They purchased titled lots where they can (also) build their boutique hotels, showrooms, shop houses,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the BCI Asia awards 2016.

Geronimo said the commercial lots comprise nine hectares. Each lot averages 1,000 square meters to 1,500 sqm per lot.

“Right now it's 80 percent (occupied). And the remaining 20 percent, a lot of Cebu and Davao investors have been calling… I think there has been an interest from Cebu and Davao businessmen to set up their businesses in Iloilo,” he said.

Megaworld senior vice president Jericho Go added, “What is creating the interest, I think it's because of the infrastructure.”

Another firm to distribute water in Iloilo City


ILOILO CITY, june 15 (PNA) -- Another water firm showed interest to join the water distribution business in this city.

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog here has endorsed to the city council a letter from the Manila Water Philippine Ventures Inc. signed by business development manager Joyce Tabutol asking for a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the conduct of a feasibility study on water distribution in the city of Iloilo.

City councilor RLeone Gerochi, chairman of the SP committee on energy and public utilities, said his committee recommended a resolution granting authority for the city mayor to sign the MOU for the sole purpose of conducting the study by the Manila Water Philippine Ventures Inc. and Agsirab Water Resource Corp. designed for a water distribution venture in the city.

The second water firm intention follows closely the earlier investment venture of South Balibago Water Resources Corp. which signified water distribution in 34 housing subdivisions and three barangays in Jaro district not served by the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD).

Iloilo City gov't eyes online business tax payment


ILOILO CITY, June 14 (PNA) -- The city government here is working on the online business tax payment system to make it easier for its clients to make transactions and subsequently claim their business permits.

“That has been the target since last year. But there are technicalities that should be worked on,” said Norman Tabud, chief of the city’s business process and licensing office (BPLO).

Paying the business tax is one of the steps that transacting clients have to pass before they get their business permits.

Currently, payment is done through walk-in. With the online payment, the processing will be cut by one step to secure a business permit.

During the renewal period for business permits, a long queue for payment has been observed although during regular days around 300 transactions are entertained daily.

With the online payment, Tabud said those outside of Iloilo City can already pay their dues.

On Tuesday, the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP), in its regular session, approved an authority for city mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog to sign a non-disclosure agreement that will facilitate testing of the online business tax payment gateway of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

Tabud said there are also other banks that offered the same.

Nonetheless, he hoped that the online payment for business tax will go operational in 2017 in time for the renewal of business permits.

Iloilo art exhibit marks 150th anniversary celebration of Our Lady of Perpetual Help


ILOILO CITY, June 13 (PNA) -- An art exhibit in this city kicked off Ilonggos’ celebration of the 150th anniversary since the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help was entrusted to the care of Redemptorist fathers in 1866 in Rome, Italy.

The fathers of Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer or Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris (CSSR), through the help of Ilonggo businessman, photographer and Marian devotee, Carlos Garcia collaborated with Ilonggo artists for a Marian-themed group exhibit at the Museo Iloilo that will end on June 19, 2016.

According to Fr. Ramon Fruto, CSSR, director, St. Clement’s Retreat House, the art exhibit is a commemoration of the year when Pope Pius IX entrusted to the Redemptorists the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Fr. Fruto said Iloilo and the devotion of Ilonggos to the Mother of Perpetual Help is an important part in the history of Filipino’s devotion to the Blessed Mother.

The novena of Perpetual Help was started in Iloilo after World War II, he recalled.

“A group of Americans from Boston, who were then recuperating from war-time wounds requested the Redemptorist head to start the novena here (Iloilo) as part of their healing and devotion,” he said.“It started in Iloilo, and Ilonggos should be proud,” he stressed.

Now, the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is most venerated in Baclaran, where thousands of devotees flock to the Redemptorist Church to seek intercession and to thank God for blessings and granted prayers.

Fr. Fruto recalled that in the early years of the image in Baclaran, around 1950’s, the Perpetual Help novena started small, until devotees multiplied and the CSSR built bigger church that could accommodate the growing number of devotees.“It maybe because of commerce in the area,” he quipped, but stressed that Mary occupies a special place in the heart of Catholics as “Pinoys have a special love for mothers and children just like also for the Sto. Niño.”

He called on Marian devotees and the public to not separate life and prayer.

“The novena coupled with the faith of the devotees inspires us to care for one another, to care for the country, to care for nature.

With lots of material temptations available that would make a person abandon his faith in God and his compassion to others, Fr. Fruto called on the public: “Life and prayer must go together. The values of the gospel and the values of society must go together.”He urged devotees to let prayer influence their own conduct in their daily lives.

“It’s really the faith that inspires people, through them we hope to influence the society,” he said.He said the image was first brought to Rome by a merchant who traveled from Crete, Greece.

“The merchant entrusted the image to his friend with instruction that it must be enshrined in a Church,” he said.

However, the merchant and his friend died, and the image was kept by the friend’s wife, refusing to enshrine it in a church where the public could have venerated it.

Fr. Fruto said the image of the Blessed Mother appeared in a dream of the woman’s six-year-old daughter, with instruction that her image must be placed at Church of St. Matthew the Apostle (then under the Augustinians) located between St. Mary’s Major (Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore) and Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, Italy.

But the Church was destroyed when Napoleon invaded Italy, and the image was never seen.

The Redemptorists built the Church of St. Alphonsus on the same land where the Church of St. Matthew once stood.

A former altar boy who knew the location of the image became a Redemptorist priest, and the congregation searched and eventually found the image in a small chapel in Italy.

The Pope agreed to have the picture enshrined in the Redemptorist Church with a condition: “Make her known throughout the world.”

“That became a by-word for the Redemptorist, but they did not anticipate that the picture would best be known in the Philippines,” Fr. Fruto said.

To get a glimpse of artist renditions of the Holy Mother and Child Jesus, visit the exhibit until June 19.

Implementation of PHP1.711-B projects up in Western Visayas


ILOILO CITY (PNA) -- The implementation of 29 projects worth PHP1,711,842 is now ongoing in Western Visayas, according to regional director Wenceslao Leaño, Jr. of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) here.

The ongoing projects are part of the 77 projects with a total budget of PHP6.609 billion from the 2016 appropriation of the DPWH.

Leaño explained that PHP6.609 billion budget has been divided into 11 projects with an appropriation of PHP150 million and above, 51 projects with funds of PHP50 million to PHP150 million and 15 projects that are below PHP50 million each.

Included in the 29 are five projects worth PHP489.912 million. These are road and bridge projects with an allocation of not less than PHP50 million but not more than PHP150 million.

These include the PHP100 million widening of the Aklan East road, PHP98 million completion of the Solong Bridge with approaches in Antique, PHP100 million construction of Dumalag-Mambusao road in Capiz, PHP57 million construction of Mantangingi Bridge in Guimaras and road opening of the Nabitasan-San Rafael by-pass Road in Iloilo City worth PHP134.912 million.

Meanwhile of the 77 projects, 24 are yet to be issued notice to proceed (NTP), six were bid out just recently while 18 projects are under the preliminary detailed engineering (PDE) stage, he added.

Among the projects that are yet to be implemented are the PHP250 million construction of Kalibo Circumferential Road, Calangcang to Mina Section in Kalibo, Aklan; PHP200 million construction of road leading to Sibalom Natural Park and other tourist destinations in Sibalom, Antique; widening of Iloilo-Capiz Road (new route) in Cuartero, Capiz worth PHP190.730 million; upgrading from gravel to paved of San Miguel-Sebaste Road in Sibunag, Guimaras worth PHP180.213 million and construction of the PHP200 million Tumagbok Bridge in Miagao, Iloilo along Iloilo-Antique road.

“The infrastructure projects are expected to answer the traffic congestion in the national roads as well as provide convenient access to identified tourist destinations in various provinces in the region,” he said.

Leaño said that monitoring of the projects will be regularly done to ensure that the implementation will go on smoothly and they will be completed on time.

Project engineers were likewise instructed to make sure that possible obstructions such as road-right-of-way and public utilities be cleared before the project implementation.

Iloilo job fairs mark celebration of PH Independence Day


ILOILO CITY -- Ilonggos will celebrate the 118th anniversary of Philippine Independence Day through job fairs that give hope for a better life.

The Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) Western Visayas will hold a job fair on Sunday, June 12, at the Mary Mart Mall for more than 8,000 participants.

Pre-registration is currently ongoing at the Dole regional office. An estimated 2,700 job vacancies are available for local employment and 5,500 for overseas employment.

Available slots are for the service sector such as workers in hotels and restaurants, business process outsourcing and skilled workers such as carpentry, fitters and others especially for abroad construction posting.

On the other hand, the Iloilo City Government through the local Peso office and radio station RMN 774 will conduct a joint job fair on June 10 at the 3rd Floor, cafeteria area of City Hall.

Special projects coordinator Rhod Tecson of RMN 774 said the job fair will be participated by 60 companies recruiting for local and overseas posting. Some 1,000 applicants are expected to participate for local and overseas jobs.

Tecson said that Ilonggo skilled workers are currently in demand abroad for construction projects, hotels and restaurants and other jobs.

Business process outsourcing companies are also looking for local agents while demands in the local tourism and service sector are steadily increasing.

The Provincial Government of Iloilo already conducted a job fair last June 3 for 3,272 applicants for local and overseas work. Held at the Provincial Capitol lobby, a total of 120 companies participated in the fair and 392 were hired on the spot.

The available slots are for drivers, real estate agents, direct sellers, service crew, janitors, mall checkers, sales representatives, merchandisers, office personnel, management trainees and field coordinators.

Negosyo Center to strengthen MSMEs through entrepreneurial seminars


ILOILO CITY, June 8 (PNA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Iloilo will be launching a series of entrepreneurial seminars through its Negosyo Center to encourage more Ilonggos to venture into business.

This June, the Negosyo Center will facilitate the conduct of seminars on taxation, accounting for non-accountants, financing forum (batch one), food safety and manufacturing practices, bag-making using hand-woven materials, and product development this second quarter.

The series of fora for the third quarter will include materials and inventory control, financing forum (batch two), intellectual property protection, business plan preparation, and packaging and labeling consultancy.

Lastly, the fourth quarter will cover marketing fundamentals, franchising, and techno-investment forum for cacao.

Exact dates for the mentioned forums are yet to be announced.

Negosyo Center also holds a regular entrepreneurship seminar on business start-up every second Tuesday of the month at the DTI office, from 9 am to 12 noon.

All seminars are open for everyone and are free of charge.

Roadshow to heighten cooperative awareness on credit info system


ILOILO CITY, June 9 (PNA) -- The Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) here seeks to strengthen the awareness of various cooperatives in Western Visayas on the salient features of Republic Act 9510 or the Credit Information System through a credit infrastructure roadshow slated June 22.

Seventy-five large and medium cooperatives with capital or total asset of Php100 million and above from Western Visayas are expected to join the one day event which aims to educate participants on their roles and obligations in enabling the newly-passed law, according to CDA 6 regional director Atty. Arnel Agrasada.

Jaime Castro Jose P. Garchitorena, president and chief executive officer of the credit information corporation (CIC), in a communication to Agrasada, said that the road show is part of their “nationwide educational campaign to promote the benefits of the Credit Information System to the cooperatives.”

At the end of the activity, participants are expected to appreciate the credit information system as “a key infrastructure in the financial system, create a better understanding of secured transactions and credit information system reforms,” Garchitorena added.

Moreover, it is expected to raise the cooperative’s level of understanding about the benefits of the Credit Information System and roles of CIC and data submitting/accessing entities in enabling the Credit Information System Act (CISA) and familiarize cooperatives with the technical requirements of the CIC Credit Information system through a technical workshop.

The one day event which is supported by the CIC, Philippine Cooperative Center (PCC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will be held at the Aria Function Room of the Amigo Terrace Hotel here.

More than 4,000 Ilonggos to join record-breaking human blood drop formation


ILOILO CITY, June 8 (PNA) -- The formation of record-breaking human blood formation will highlight the national kickoff of the Blood Donors Month celebration that will be held in this city on July 5.

Coordination is now going on between the DOH and the proposed venue, which is the Central Philippine University (CPU). The organizer hopes to gather more than 4,000 participants for the blood formation.

The activity seeks to encourage blood donation, especially during lean summer months, last quarter of the year and holidays. The lean months happen when there are no classes because students, who are the biggest donors, are on a vacation.

Meanwhile, the DOH regional office is now in its thick of preparation for the Blood Donors Month in July.

“This aims to accomplish its mission of having a well-coordinated and efficient networking of blood services facilities based on voluntary blood donation that will ensure safe, adequate, timely and accessible blood supply and the rational use of blood in the region through advocacy, professional education and research,” said Dr. Marlyn W. Convocar, regional director of DOH in Western Visayas.

OWWA 6 celebrates Migrant Workers Day


ILOILO CITY, June 7 (PNA) -- The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in Western Visayas joined the country in celebrating the 2016 Migrant Workers Day to give honor and recognition to the sacrifices of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), Tuesday.

OWWA’s record disclosed of around 170,000 OFWs in Western Visayas with about 80,000 coming from Iloilo.

As a prelude, the migrant workers office held provincial consultation workshops last week. The outputs from various provinces were consolidated to come up with a regional output, which in turn will be submitted to the national summit in the coming months.

One of the workshop participants, Elias Ledesma, is currently the President of St. Joseph Movement of Migrants and their Families in Pototan, Iloilo with around 300 members. He worked for 22 years in Saudi Arabia.

He said that they are closely coordinating with OWWA because their organization is concerned with the families of OFWs who are left in the Philippines.

“Through our coordination with OWWA, we were able to provide livelihood programs and conducted series of computer literacy trainings,” he said.

Financial literacy training was also initiated, where OFW members and their families were taught how to save their money and how to use the remittances from abroad.

A financial literacy leadership and entrepreneurship training is held twice a month for six months this year by the Ateneo School of Government.

OWWA regional director Ron Lionel Bartolome said that the Migrant Workers Day is in consonance with RA 8482 that gives recognition and appreciation to the OFWs and their contribution in the country and also to honor the sacrifices of their families who are left in the country.

Bartolome said that RA 10801, otherwise known as OWWA Act of 2016 that was signed by President Benigno Aquino III two weeks ago is expected to boost and strengthen the capacity of OWWA to deliver more welfare programs and services, including social protection benefits to OFWs.

392 applicants hired-on-the-spot in Iloilo PESO Job Fair


ILOILO CITY, June 6 (PNA) -- A total of 392 applicants were Hired-on-the-Spot (HOTS) during the one-day Job Fair organized by the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Iloilo at Iloilo Provincial Capitol grounds held June 3, Friday.

PESO Head Francisco Heler Jr. said that the hired-on-the-spots are composed of drivers, real estate agents, direct sellers, service crew, janitors, checkers of mall, sales representatives, merchandiser, office personnel staff, management trainees, field coordinators or supervisors, among others.

The 392 HOTS is 11 percent of the total 3,272 applicants that have participated in the recent job fair.

The Special Lanes of PESO was also able to accommodate 288 applicants composed of the beneficiaries of the different programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 6 especially those that were affected by typhoon Yolanda, and 29 Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and 45 Solo parents, also assisted by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) of Iloilo.

Meanwhile, 120 local and overseas companies have offered about 3,000 jobs during the job fair.

Of the 120 companies, 94 are for local employment composed of seven Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs) and 26 for overseas employment.

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. recognized local companies Gorea Construction Inc., FNC Group of Companies and FNE Enterprises and overseas companies YHMB International Manpower Services, Sara International Manpower Services and Placewell International Services for being the top companies that hired the highest number of applicants in the annual Job Fair.

The firms were acknowledged for their efforts as partners of Iloilo Provincial Government in providing employment to Ilonggos, Heler said.

Further, 14 LGUs in the province have provided free transportation that brought their applicants to the capitol and back to their respective towns on the day of the job fair.

In 2015, PESO Iloilo facilitated the employment of 4,656 applicants through job fairs, which was almost 50 percent higher than the 2,255 placed in 2014.

Heler said that the number of facilitated employment of PESO continuous to increase.

PhilHealth 6 wins Red Orchid Hall of Fame Award


ILOILO CITY (PNA) -- The regional office of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) was recognized as Red Orchid Hall of Fame Awardee for maintaining a smoke-free environment and winning the award for three consecutive years.

The Red Orchid Award is an annual search for a 100 percent smoke-free environment. It is open to local government units, government agencies, health facilities and other public places to implement the 100 percent tobacco-free policy as mandated by the Administrative Order number 10 of the Department of Health (DOH).

Dennis Mas, regional vice-president of PhilHealth at the National Capital Region (NCR) joined other officials of the regional office in receiving the award in a ceremony here on Tuesday.

It was during his term as regional vice-president for Western Visayas that PhilHealth decided to join the Regional Tobacco Framework Network in Region 6. He said that it is normal to see resistance at first.

However, smoking in government offices has been prohibited by virtue of Civil Service memorandum and DOH administrative order. Sanctions can be imposed and the violator may even be dismissed, he added.

Meanwhile, he said that smokers who are planning to quit may seek the assistance of the PhilHealth, which included in its primary care benefit the conduct of smoking cessation counseling.

During the counseling, participants will be guided of the process on how to do it. There will also be discussions on the benefits of quitting and the ill-effects of smoking.

Mas said that this kind of intervention, in a way, would lead to reduction of their reimbursements for upper respiratory diseases.

Aside from the regional office, its offices in Kalibo, Aklan; San Jose Antique; Roxas City, Capiz; Passi City and Sara in Iloilo; Bacolod City; Kabankalan City and Sagay City in Negros Occidental were also Red Orchid Awardees.

Fastcraft terminal undergoes Php19-M expansion


ILOILO CITY (PNA) -- The Iloilo fastcraft terminal and passenger building at Progreso, Lapuz in this city got an added boost with the inauguration of its Php19.2-million expansion of the terminal hall and reception area for passengers going to Bacolod City and vice-versa.

City mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said the project positively showcases what Iloilo City is today in giving comfort and convenience to the passengers crossing Iloilo and Negros and at the same time, and added boost to the tourism industry.

“The city continues to develop everyday and lots of work remain to be done in order to showcase the city as the premier city in this part of the country,” Mabilog said during the inaugural rite.

Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Port Manager Rosenda Sumagaysay said the whole project is the result of efforts of Ilonggo Senate President Franklin M. Drilon and the Iloilo River Development Council to transfer the port services to the other side of the river and give a world class fastcraft terminal to commuters.

The fastcraft terminal complex in Lapuz was constructed three years ago by the PPA.

The passenger terminal was expanded this year, thereby making available an open reception hall for passengers and well-wishers, baggage claim area, ticket booths, three units comfort room, wash area, refreshment with women’s lounge, port integrated clearance office for other government agencies, passenger helpdesk and bay loading areas for taxis and PUJs.

Sumagasay said the extension area will protect the passengers and well-wisher from rain and direct sunlight.

After they bought their tickets, their luggages will undergo a scanner check before they are allowed to enter the inner terminal building to wait for their respective fastcraft.

The June 1 inauguration of the expanded reception hall coincides with the 39th anniversary celebration of the PPA Project Management Office for Panay and Guimaras on June 1.

WV tourism a booming sunshine industry


ILOILO CITY, June 3 (PIA)—After the success of its latest events, the Fiestas in the City year 14, various Philippine Business Missions and the Seatrade Cruise Asia, the Department of Tourism said there is booming tourism future for Western Visayas.

DOT-6 Director Helen Catalbas said there is more to come for the tourism industry of the region.

The recently concluded Fiestas in the City dubbed “Lagaw Ta!” Western Visayas, which ran for a week at SM City-Iloilo, showcased the region’s gastronomic delights, products and tourism destinations.

Among the highlights of the Fiestas were the Western Visayas Travel and Trade Fair, Awarding of the Opearation Water F’All Heroes. Cooking demo by Ilonggo chefs and parade if Western Visayas Festivals and Sagala of Festival Queens.

Western Visayas also joined the Seatrade Cruise Asia in Busan, Korea, 4th China Cruise Summit in Qingdao, china and Tourism Sales Missions in Malaysia and Singapore.

“This business mission is among the many business missions yet that the region will join this 2016,” Catalbas said, adding to it the different international media, bloggers and travel agents coming in to promote Western Visayas in their respective countries.

The DOT-6 also hosted and assisted activities which included the familiarization trips of Australian Travel Agents, media from Taiwan, group of Apl de ApinBoracay island, Asian Traveler shoot in Capiz and Iloilo for their “Incredible Journey” issue and the familiarization and gastronomic experience of Singaporean bloggers in Guimaras.

“I am convinced that Western Visayas’ presence in numerous local and international tourism events will intensify the region’s promotional campaign “Experience Western Visayas First,” Catalbas added.

“Region VI has already created a stir in the international market and we will continue to grab every opportunity to further promote our tourism products and services,” Catalbas said, adding that it is now for the tourism-related and tourism-oriented establishments to enhance and upgrade their services.

Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival heads to New York for June 5 Independence Day celebration


ILOILO CITY, June 2 (PNA) -- Tribu Salognon, the winning tribe during the 2016 Dinagyang Festival, will join the celebration of the Philippine Independence Day in New York on June 5.

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who will leave today together with the contingent, said that Dinagyang and a festival from Baguio City were invited to grace the annual celebration.

It is not the first time for this city’s festival to get invited in New York. It had its maiden visit to the place in 2011 and was again invited in 2013 for the 115th Independence Day parade, dubbed as the biggest Filipino celebration in the United States.

Mabilog said that the performance of the Dinagyang tribe in New York will again boost Iloilo City’s position as a tourist destination, particularly in the month of January.

The contingent will also include members of the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc. headed by its president Ramon Cua Locsin and city tourism officer Junel Ann Divinagracia.

DTI-Iloilo’s Diskwento Sale kicks off


ILOILO CITY, June 1 (PNA) -- Discounts up to 20 percent on school supplies are available at the three-day Diskwento Sale facilitated by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that kicked off here today.

Francis Chung, President of the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) Iloilo Chapter, said that buyers could get five to 10 percent discount on schools supplies like notebooks, pens and paper, among others and 10 to 20 percent on bags, school uniforms and many others.

Five retailers namely Iloilo Society Commercial, City Square Trader, Jeco Distributor Co. Inc., MS Panay Distribution Inc. and D’Twin Stars Industrial Sales and Services participated in this year’s Diskwento Sale.

This year, eight local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) namely Al Di Foods, Brendan’s Everything Special Pasalubong, San Juan MPC, Nating’s Homemade Peanut Butter, Pera sa Basura Handicraft, Sunburst Balai Tablea, Shine Native Products Marketing and Rosary Herbal Products also participated in the caravan sale.

DTI-Iloilo provincial director Diosdado P. Cadena Jr. is urging residents to take advantage of the event as it is an opportunity where parents can save money with the big discounts made available by the participating outlets.

The DTI’s Diskwento Sale will run until June 3.