Iloilo City News March 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.


Iloilo City cited as center of excellence for BPOs


ILOILO CITY, March 31 (PNA) -- Iloilo City is now a Center of Excellence for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies.

The metropolis was recognized as an established hub for Information Technology-Business Process Management (IT-BPM) operations by the Information and Communications Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ICTO) and IT-Business Process Association of the Philippines (BPAP) during an awarding ceremony in Makati City on March 30.

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog stressed the citation is a manifestation of the city’s business-friendliness, conducive investment climate, and strong economic promotions in attracting major locators to settle and expand here.

Prior to the excellence award, the Next Wave Cities were assessed based on big talent pool, presence of infrastructures, good business environment, and cost competitiveness.

Iloilo City was earlier declared the top location for business environment and risk management (BERM) with a score of 96 percent because of its low vulnerability to natural disturbances and business friendliness.

A perfect score for BERM means that a location has at least four approved sites by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), is not covered by a travel advisory, has an ICT Council, has very low vulnerability to natural disturbances, and a crime rate of less than two percent.

The city government is collaborating and working closely with Iloilo Federation for Information Technology (IFIT) composed of private sector and academe in responding to the needs of BPO industry.

IT-BPAP President Jose Mari Mercado said Iloilo has developed a good ecosystem to attract multinationals and BPOs. He added the next step is to develop the local ICT industry to motivate students to take up IT-related courses and capacity development programs supported by the industry to support the human resource requirements.

Other centers of excellence are Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Metro Clark, and the cities of Bacolod and Davao.

USAID highlights importance of saving water


ILOILO CITY, March 30 (PNA) -- As Ilonggos join the observance of the World Water Day, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in a forum here highlighted the importance of saving water.

USAID- Be Secure Project team leader for Climate Resiliency Elisea Gozun said the reality shows that water in our country is very limited, however, there are always opportunities to save water.

“To make sure that we have water for the future, each one of us must be water efficient,” she said.

She also pointed out that the quantification of the saving is a major incentive for people especially for big users.

“What we really want to happen is for users to become conscious that they can actually save water,” Gozun said.

“It is good for the environment, it is good for the climate, it is also going to be good in their pockets,” she added.

However, Gozun pointed out that the political will of the village chiefs, specifically in Iloilo should be the frontline in the advocacy of saving water.

Gozun recalled that during the administration of President Corazon Aquino in 1989, there was a national law requiring all villages to have rainwater catchment and storage as one of the best practices in order to save water. However, she said that only small percentage of the villages in the country implemented the law.

USAID recorded that the country is having over 130 billion cubic meters of rainfall every year.

Further, as part of the corporate social responsibility, Gozun said that they were hoping to appeal to companies and tie-up with government agencies specifically the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Department of Agriculture (DA) to reuse waste water through wastewater treatment.

“We need to work with the nature and maximize what we have,” she said.

USAID led the celebration of the World Water Day in Iloilo with over 100 stakeholders participants joining at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol, Monday.

‘Tiendas Ilonggas’ opens at Capitol


ILOILO CITY, March 29 (PNA) -- An exposition featuring products and services of women-led enterprises was revived to highlight the need for women’s economic development this women’s month celebration.

Dubbed as Tiendas Ilonggas, the product exposition is now jointly organized by the Gender and Development Unit of the Province of Iloilo and Junior Chamber International Iloilo (JCI) Ilang-Ilang Inc.

It opened on Monday (March 28) and will run until Thursday (March 31). It was first known as Tienda sang Kababaihan (Women’s Market) in 2012 until the term “Tiendas Ilonggas” was coined in 2014.

It is anchored on the theme “Kapakanan ni Juana, Isama sa Agenda! (Include Women in the Agenda)” and in JCI’s belief that economic justice can best be won through free enterprise.

Alma Raven, co-chairperson of the provincial gender and development council (PGADC) believed that prioritizing women’s economic empowerment in the legislative and executive agenda of the next administration can help the country attain sustainable development.

“The government has to act on the issues plaguing women in this country, not only in terms of economic empowerment, but as well as in social development, security, justice and peace, climate change and disaster risk reduction and gender responsive governance,” she said.

Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. said gender and development has been integrated in its social programs but there are still challenges to fully mainstream it in the province.

He stressed achieving women’s empowerment requires sound public policies and long-term commitment.

The Philippine Commission on Women has recognized the Province of Iloilo as one of the local learning hub in gender and development mainstreaming in 2015.

On her part, JCI Iloilo Ilang-Ilang President Carol Salvatierra said that through this exposition, they can help women entrepreneurs promote their products and encourage the public to patronize it.

Salvatierra added the activity is part of All About Her, a program that endeavors to provide sustainable solutions to the needs of women addressing their health concerns, legal rights and economic development.

Tiendas Ilonggas is participated by women micro entrepreneurs from Pavia, Oton, Calinog, Miagao, Dumangas and Tigbuan and corporate companies such as Avon, Boardwalk, I-Fern Iloilo, Manulife, Mama’s Love, Tibiao Bakery, Biscocho Haus, Globe Telecom and Beauty Essentials. Products vary from food to non-food items locally made in Iloilo.

Registration for nat’l youth confab until April 1

By Lilibeth French (JCM/laf/PIA6-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY (PIA6) -- The registration for the 11th National Youth Parliament (NYP) set in Iloilo City ends on April 1, 2016.

Organized by the National Youth Commission (NYC), the biennial event will run from June 1 to 4 and is expected to gather around two hundred youth leaders and youth sectoral representatives across the country.

The conduct of NYP is mandated by Republic Act 8044 where youth delegates will craft recommendations to address youth issues to serve as the government’s guide in policy formulation and youth development.

Filipino citizens aged 15-30 years old on the day of the Parliament who have not been a previous NYP delegate and willing to shoulder his or her travel expenses to and from Iloilo City may apply for the Parliament.

Interested youths may apply online through or visit the NYC Facebook for details at They may also submit their paper application addressed to Asst. Secretary Jo Jan Paul Penol, NOC Chairperson, 11th NYP, National Youth Commission, 3F West Insula Bldg., West Avenue, Quezon City.

Application forms are also available at Student Affairs Office and at the nearest NYC Area Office. Here in Iloilo City the NYC Area Office is located at the DTI Building in JM Basa Street.

DA: Farmers should ensure safety against animal diseases

By Lilibeth A. French (JCM/LAF-PIA6 Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY (PIA6) -- Department of Agriculture 6 (DA 6) has called on local farmers and traders to ensure that Western Visayas remains free from Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Bird Flu.

Dr. Jonic Natividad, Chief of the DA 6 Regulatory Division, said vigilance and cooperation of the livestock and poultry industries are important to keep out these diseases in the region amidst the continuing threats of animal diseases due to El Nino and the New Castle disease virus that hit some poultry farms in Luzon.

“Maintaining this status will need more than the usual vigilance among our farmers and traders especially in the transport of their animals and by products,” said Natividad.

As FMD and Bird Flu free region, local farmers can freely transport and trade their livestock and poultry including their meat products and other by products to other parts of the country that further boost production and eventually the industries.

However, Natividad explained that even though the region is declared FMD and Bird Flu free, farmers, traders and growers have yet to secure a permit from the Bureau of Animal Industry if they intend to transport their live animals and from the National Meat Inspection Service for the transport of meat and meat products.

Meanwhile, he said they have not received any report that local hog farmers will join the call of an agricultural group for a pork holiday to protest the continued entry of smuggled meat in the country.

In fact, preliminary data from DA-BAI showed that since March 1 to 23, around 1, 404 hogs were already transported in and outside the region.

Natividad assured that DA 6 through the BAI has placed measures to prevent the entry of smuggled meats in the region.

The BAI has deployed veterinary quarantine officers to check and facilitate the exit and entry of animals and by products in the various ports of the region.

Iloilo acquires lot for gym, grandstand

By Lydia C. Pendon

THE Iloilo City Council confirmed on Tuesday the purchase of three parcels of land along the Iloilo River at Muelle Loney intended for the construction of a new city gymnasium and grandstand.

The City Government has purchased the property owned by the Panay Railways Inc. (PRI) after the Bureau of Customs claimed the present site where the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand stood.

Councilor Eduardo Penaredondo, chairman of the council committee on appropriations, said that despite opposition from two Council members, the confirmation was approved for the purchase of 2,385 square meters of the riverbank property amounting P32,197,500 with a down payment of P12 million.

A Deed of Sale with Real Property Mortgage was drawn up between the city and PRI for the property to be payable in three separate installments.

The new grandstand is eyed to be erected at the property used to be the depot and end station of trains plying from Iloilo City to Roxas City more than 50 years ago.

The trains used to carry commuters between the provinces of Iloilo and Capiz including the transport of farm products such as coconuts, rootcrops, rice, fish and shellfish, fruits and vegetables and sugar canes and the finished product such as raw sugar and molasses from the sugar mills in central Iloilo and Capiz.

Iloilo sea ambulances team to undergo training

(Sunstar Iloilo)

THE Sea Ambulance Operations Team (SAOT) of the Iloilo Provincial Government underwent a six-day training on first aid, basic life support and water search and rescue recently.

The training held at Iyang Beach Resort in Concepcion, Iloilo was facilitated by the Philippine Red Cross–Iloilo Chapter and the Provincial Agriculture Office.

SAOT is composed of the Iloilo Provincial Bantay Dagat crew, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (MDRRM) personnel and representatives from the local government units of Carles and Concepcion.

It was organized to serve as manpower component of the two new Bantay Dagat patrol boats cum sea ambulances established by the provincial government with the help of Italian firm Societa d’ Amico di Navigazione’ through Italian Ambassador Massimo Roscigno.

Societa d’ Amico di Navigazione’ donated US$100,000 for the construction of the two sea ambulances.

The sea ambulances are equipped with collapsible stretchers and medical kits and have an accompanying rubber boats each.

Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr. earlier said the rubber boats will be used to pick up and carry the patients from the shore.

One sea ambulance will be serving the island barangays of Carles and Estancia while the other one will serve Concepcion and Ajuy.

The two sea ambulances will also help in the campaign against illegal fishing activities in northern Iloilo as they will also conduct routine patrol operations.

Defensor noted that the effect of his no-nonsense campaign against illegal fishing activities are now being felt by small fishermen and the people in the coastal areas.

The governor said, he received reports that there are now plenty of fishes and other aquatic resources in the marine waters of northern Iloilo. (PR)

LTFRB activates Oplan Ligtas Biyahe for Lenten Season


ILOILO CITY (PNA) -- The Oplan Ligtas Biyahe Semana Santa 2016 of the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Western Visayas is now in full swing to ensure the safety of motorists this Holy Week.

Oplan Ligtas Biyahe Semana Santa 2016 aims to address inconveniences brought by the influx of passengers and ensure safe travel during the peak of the holy week, said Atty. Jose Mari Lamparero, LTFRB legal counsel.

The campaign included inspection of transport terminals, inspecting vehicles for their road worthiness as well as to check if their permits and papers are in order. The campaign also tries to single out colorum vehicles.

Buses are inspected for road worthiness. Those with worn out wheels, missing or non-working accessories like tail or brake lights are to be pulled out of service. Bus companies are also encouraged to extend operation hours so the volume of passengers could be accommodated.

Taxis, likewise, are inspected and checked if meters are properly calibrated and the seal is not tampered with as well as if they comply with the flag down fare “minus ten” as dictated by the LTFRB. Violators will be meted with a fine if they do not cooperate.

The LTFRB will also issue temporary special permits to out of route vehicles, but only on a limited scale.

Medical teams are also present at the terminals to provide medical assistance and check the passengers vital signs such as blood pressure and give medications if needed.

During the start of the long weekend, the LTFRB will still be on call and will be coordinating with various agencies as well as the media for any assistance on transport related emergencies.

Western Visayas avails more than Php108.6-M incentive fund from Kalahi-MCC


ILOILO CITY, March 23 (PNA) -- Five local government units in Western Visayas have availed of more than Php108.6 million incentive fund from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) after showing good performance in the implementation of the Kapitbisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KC).

MCC has infused USD12 million as incentive in addition to the USD120-million grant for the KC-MCC that is set to culminate in May this year. The program benefited six regions, including Western Visayas.

“They have performed well in the past so we have decided to use this amount as an incentive grant,” Tomi A. Cabueños Jr., national program manager of KALAHI-CIDSS, said during Tuesday’s learning forum here.

The five LGUs were identified as best implementer for the past three years. The town of Sibunag in Guimaras availed of Php35 million for its road projects, the biggest among the chosen LGUs.

On Monday, the project was already turned over to the recipient town, which also extended a Php5-million counterpart fund.

The four LGUs are based in Aklan namely Madalag and Tangalan with Php20 million each; Libacao, Php14 million and Ibajay with Php19. 6 million for their road projects.

The KC-MCC is being funded by the government of the United States of America.

On Tuesday, MCC resident country director John A. Polk said that the country is eligible for another fund agreement in the future given the successful implementation of the five-year program.

Iloilo tourist arrivals up 29%; Carles is top destination


ILOILO CITY, March 22 (PNA) -- Tourist arrivals in Iloilo province increased by 29.36 percent last year compared to 2014.

Data from the Iloilo Provincial Tourism Office show that tourist arrivals in 2015 reached 206,204, higher than the 2014 data of 159,398.

The tourists are composed of 203,108 domestic visitors and 3,096 foreign visitors. Provincial Tourism Officer Gilbert Marin said this gave the province a corresponding tourist receipts amounting to PHP3.7 billion.

The municipality of Carles recorded the most number of tourist arrivals with 36,229. Carles, which is 147.6 kms. from Iloilo City, boasts of its beautiful island beaches. It is also where the once famous Sicogon Island is located. The island is currently being developed by Ayala Land, which aims to revive it as a premier tourist destination in the province.

Concepcion town is next with 29,178 tourist arrivals. Concepcion is also blessed with many beautiful island beaches.

Third is the municipality of San Joaquin, which registered tourist arrivals of 19,978. San Joaquin boasts of its heritage church and cemetery and fine beaches. An agri-tourism destination is also very popular in the said town.

The municipality of Guimbal is number four with tourist arrivals reaching 19,142. Guimbal also boasts of beautiful beach resorts and other historical attractions.

Fifth is the municipality of Janiuay with tourist arrivals of 11,632.

The other five municipalities with high tourist arrivals are Banate with 6,489, Pototan with 6,606, Tigbauan with 6,252, Oton with 5,654 and New Lucena with 5,437.

Western Visayas provinces avail of PHP454.9-M fund for KALSADA program


ILOILO CITY, March 21 (PNA) -- Five provinces of Western Visayas are recipients of some PHP454.9 million fund under the Konkreto at Ayos na Lansangan at Daan Tungo Sa Pangkalahatang Kaunlaran (KALSADA) program this year.

Budget and Management regional director for Western Visayas Alfonso Bedonia Jr. said that the funds were already released to the provinces except for Antique, which is yet to comply with some requirements.

Iloilo got the biggest share at around PHP117 million while Aklan as PHP110.9 million. Capiz was allotted PHP60.06 million; Guimaras has PHP90.7 while Antique will receive PHP84.3 million.

The province of Negros Occidental which still draws its 2016 funds from Western Visayas was provided PHP57.2 million.

The fund that was taken from the Local Government Support Fund of the 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA) would allow recipient provincial governments to undertake road projects.

Provinces with higher unpaved roads have more chances of getting a bigger share of the fund. However, in addition to their inventory of unpaved provincial roads, recipient must also pass the Good Financial Housekeeping of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and undergo assessment on public financial management.

Bedonia added that in 2017 they have included in the proposed budget funds for unpaved city roads.

94 Ilonggos complete BuB project’s technical-vocational skills training


ILOILO CITY (PNA) -- Ninety-four Ilonggos completed the free technical-vocational skills training offered under the Bottoms Up Budgeting (BUB) Program of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA-Iloilo) in partnership with the Local Poverty Reduction Action Team (LPRAT) of this city.

They completed the one to three months training conducted at the Technical Institute of Iloilo City (TIIC) Molo campus

Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog, who is also LPRAT chairman, said the project is part of the city government's roadmap for transformation, equity and economic progress in the metropolis.

He encouraged first-time beneficiaries, especially the youth, to avail of trainings that would help them find employment opportunities.

TIIC Molo campus Administrator Maria Mathilde T. Octavio said the graduates were added to the growing number of manpower such as technicians and craftsmen equipped with skills and training fully-certified by TESDA that will help spur the city's growth.

The recipients were trained on National Certificate (NC) including Carpentry NC II, Masonry NCII, Electrical Installation and Maintenance NC II, Plumbing NC II, Shielded Metal Arc NC I and NC II, Massage Therapy NC II and Processed Food NC II.

They will then take the assessment test for NC which serves as credential when applying for jobs locally and abroad.

The City Social Welfare and Development Office which identified the trainees, noted the plan aimed to empower the people to acquire knowledge and skills that help transform them to become self-sufficient and financially stable enterprising individuals.

The BUB scheme seeks to give assistance for city indigent residents to acquire skills, tool kits and training allowances to enhance their standard of living as well as provide economic advancement and better quality life.

City gov’t mounts photo exhibit to highlight World Water Day


ILOILO CITY (PNA) -- An exhibit on display at SM City here until today highlighted the week-long celebration of the World Water Day in Iloilo City.

The exhibit, a project of the city government through the city environmental and natural resources office, in partnership with the Be Secure Project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was aimed at opening the eyes of the public on the significance of water.

The celebration has for its local theme “Dagana nga tubig, mainuswagon nga Iloilo,” which speaks of progressive Iloilo and the role of abundant water.

The exhibit showcases bodies of water and efforts to preserve Iloilo Batiano River and Dungon Creek, among others that have economic importance to Iloilo City.

Meanwhile, Ramon Alikpala, senior water security adviser of the Be Secure Project said that this year’s celebration tackles the problems on water shortage due to El ñino weather phenomenon, water pollution, the importance of water conservation as well as the economic importance of water.

Iloilo City ENRO head, Engr. Noel Hechanova, said that a university caravan and youth forum was held in three universities in the city while a tour of the Iloilo River was set on Friday.

An Adopt-an-Estero/Orchestrated clean-up drive targeting Iloilo River, Batiano River, Mansaya Creek, Dungon Creek and Calajunan Creek will be done on March 19.

World Water Day is an international event, celebrated in the 22nd of March regarding the importance of water not just for human consumption but as an economic importance.

DOLE targets more than 11,000 for SPES 2016 in Western Visayas


ILOILO CITY (PNA) -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has allotted P35.95 million for the implementation of its Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) this year eyed to benefit some 11,397 target recipients.

The amount will serve as the 40 percent counterpart for the salary of the beneficiaries. The recipients are poor and deserving high school, technical-vocational and college students, as well as out-of-school youths who wish to continue their studies this 2016-2017 academic year.

The province of Negros Occidental, which is consistently the top implementer of the program in terms of placement and fund utilization, got the amount of P14,739,910, or around 41 percent of this year’s SPES budget, for the placement of 4,672 student-beneficiaries.

The province of Iloilo followed with P11,144,810, or 31 percent of the total SPES budget, to pay the 40 per cent of the salaries of 3,533 student-beneficiaries.

Capiz has some P3,595,100 allocation for 1,140 students or OSYs while Guimaras has P719,020 for the 228 beneficiaries.

Both Antique and Aklan have P2,876,080 for their targets of 912 beneficiaries each.

Ligutom disclosed that as of March 11, 2016, the region already received total pledges of 11,310 from various partners both in public and private sectors.

He, thus urged indigent students and OSYs to avail of this program by going to their respective local government units which implement the program.

The SPES is a program intended to help poor but deserving students and out-of-school youth pursue their education by encouraging their employment during summer and Christmas vacation (for high school students only) or any time of the year (for tertiary and tech-voc students), provided that the number of days shall not be less than 20 days or more than 52 days within a period of one year.

The employer pays the beneficiary 60 percent of his/her salary, while the DOLE pays the remaining 40 percent in the form of educational voucher applicable as payment for the student’s tuition fees and books in education institution.

On top of the income, the beneficiaries are covered by insurance for one year from the start of their employment.

They also earn the necessary work experience and develop work ethics which are necessary in their future employment.

To avail of this program, the beneficiaries should be at least 15 but not more than 25 years old with combined income after tax of parents, including her or his own not exceeding P108,174, the latest annual regional poverty threshold level for a family of six.

DA pushes hybrid rice technology to Visayan farmers


ILOILO CITY, March 16 (PNA) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) continues to push for the utilization of high yielding hybrid rice varieties amid the low utilization recorded among Visayas farmers.

Today, DA in collaboration with the Rice Productivity Advocacy Board (Rice Board) gathered some 3,500 farmers and agricultural extension workers from four regions of Visayas for the 2nd National Rice Technology Forum and field days in Pototan, Iloilo to present before them some of the high-yielding hybrid rice varieties grown in the area.

The forum is expected to boost rice productivity in Regions 6, 7, 8 and 18 through good quality hybrid rice, according to Agriculture Assistant Secretary Edilberto de Luna, who is also the DA national rice program coordinator.

De Luna said that Visayan farmers, particularly Iloilo farmers, are receptive of the hybrid rice technology.

He said achieving rice sufficiency is the foremost challenge of the rice industry. The rice program will continue to encourage farmers to plant elite rice varieties so as to help the country address the yearly increasing food demands and move closer to achieving self sufficiency.

The development of rice industry in the country embraces the public-private partnership with the private sector supplying rice seeds and technology with high yield advantage of 33 percent more than the inbred certified seeds. The government on the other hand, will provide the necessary tools, equipment and infrastructures.

Rice production in Vietnam costs P6 per kilo, in China, P8, while in the Philippines is P11 per kilo. The Philippine farmers have to move forward in the highly competitive rice industry in time for the 2017 ASEAN integration, the agriculture official added.

However, overall acceptance of hybrid rice production in the Visayas is still low and way below 30 percent as majority of Ilonggo farmers still use the registered rice seeds or inbred variety.

The low utilization of hybrid seeds stagnated production in Western Visayas at 3.31 metric tons per hectare average yield as compared to the national average of 4.03 metric tons production in rice yielding areas in Nueva Ecija, Isabela and Pangasinan in Region 3.

Furthermore, high quality hybrid rice seeds cost more at P4,500 per bag of 20 kilos as compared to the registered varieties at P1,600 per bag that Ilonggo farmers find very costly.

De Luna said the situation was further aggravated with no more government subsidy on seeds and fertilizers.

The government focuses more on providing agricultural infrastructures for irrigation, like the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project (JRMP), improvement of existing irrigation systems, deep wells, water pumps, water impounding projects, post-harvest facilities like rice processing centers, municipal level facilities like rice mills and road infrastructures such as farm to market roads and bridges to provide farmers with easy access to the markets, credit assistance and farm mechanization.

The DA is vocal on the gains of hybrid seeds production and show off farmer cooperator Rodel Parcon of Barangay Dapitan, Pototan who was able to harvest some 12 metric tons of rice per hectare in 2014 using the high yielding hybrid rice seeds in his demonstration farm.

Parcon said that in 2015, his regular yield using hybrid seeds was 160 cavans per hectare at two croppings a year for he is fortunate to have enough supply of irrigation water.

Seed board president Recher Ondap assured the board has ready and enough supply of hybrid rice seeds for Visayan farmers that can be availed through their farmer associations and cooperatives and the agriculture provincial and regional offices.

World Water Day focuses on “Water and Jobs”

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

ILOILO CITY (PIA)—This year’s World Water Day Celebration on March 22 revolves on the theme “Water and Jobs,” according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-6.

The Environmental Management Bureau of the DENR is leading the activities for the celebration.

Atty. Jonathan Bulos, EMB regional director, said the theme underscores the importance of water and jobs in transforming people’s lives.

“Businesses use water in their daily operations, and the water industry and water –related services are instrumental in improving people’s lives by giving them jobs,” Bulos said.

The UN World Water Development Report of 2015 stated that there are about 1.5 billion people who work in water-related sectors and millions of them are unrecognized and unprotected.

The EMB will spearhead the clean-up of identified esteros in Iloilo City, together with the city government and the “adopt-an-estero” partners, on March 19.

“Cleaning the estero may be a small thing, including picking up garbage, but this collective effort help our communities have clean esteros for water to flow,” Ninfa Adolfo, chief of Special Projects Section of the EMB.

Meanwhile, DENR-6 Regional Director Jim Sampulna said that managing water resource is important as it impacts on the economy and the environment.

“There are still so many things to learn about water-related issues,” Sampulna said, adding that these issues transcends the other issues the society faces today.

On the other hand, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said the local government units has an important role in ensuring that the water bodies in their respective areas are safe for its intended use.

“LGUs must take an active role in rehabilitating the dying rivers, lakes and other water bodies to benefit the people,” Paje added.

The celebration of World Water Day started in 1992 when the UN Conference on Environment and Development recommended for an observance on water.

The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating March 22, 1993 as the first World Water Day, and has since then been celebrated annually.

Firm to invest P450M in Iloilo water system

By Daxim L. Lucas (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

PRIVATE water utility firm South Balibago Resources Inc. (SBRI) made a formal offer last week to set up a P450-million water treatment and distribution system to supply high-density areas in Iloilo City currently unserved by the local water utility.

The proposal involves putting up a water treatment plant near the Jalaur River in Pototan, Iloilo capable of producing 10 million liters per day (MLD) of potable water; the laying of 17-kilometer transmission pipe from Pototan to Iloilo City, and installation of 60-kilometer distribution pipes in subdivisions traversing seven villages in the city’s Jaro district.

Once completed, more than 12,000 households and commercial establishments in Jaro district would benefit from SBRI’s Level III water system project, SBRI managing director Cristina Isabelle Alejandro told the Iloilo City council in a briefing.

SBRI is a subsidiary of Balibago Waterworks System Inc. (BWSI), a private water utility firm established in 1958.

The company currently operates 46 franchises (including those of SBRI) and has seven franchises under construction. Its franchises span 15 provinces, namely Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya, Aurora, Benguet, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Laguna, Batangas, Iloilo, Bohol and Saranggani.

SBRI has been serving parts of Iloilo province for the past five years. It has been operating a Level III water supply and distribution system in Passi City since 2011; a bulk water supply in Pototan serving the Zarraga Water District since 2014; and is currently negotiating a Level III water supply and distribution project in the Municipality of Bingawan.

It also serves hotels and resorts in Panglao, Bohol from water sources 30 kilometers away in the municipality of Corella. In Saranggani province, SBRI recently bagged a bulk water supply contract to serve the Maasim Water District.

P1.7-B BPO tower to rise in Iloilo City

By Lydia C. Pendon

ALL is set for the construction of a business process outsourcing (BPO) tower worth P1.7 billion that will house a call center, other offices, and parking spaces in Iloilo City.

The City Council endorsed the project on Tuesday as a requirement for the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) endorsement of a proposed economic zone for a Presidential Proclamation.

Candice Magdalane Tupas, chair of the committee on trade, commerce and industry, said the project is a big boost to the city.

A letter dated January 27, 2016 of SM City mall manager Gilbert Domingo requested for the Council's endorsement of the SM City BPO Twin Tower that was required for Peza endorsement.

A consultative meeting with stakeholders was conducted on Monday, March 7, for the proposed construction of the 18-storey building that will be built across the SM City Mall.

Base on the initial plan, the tower's lower ground floor will serve as a terminal for public transport, while the second to fifth floor will be the parking areas for the SM clients.

Other offices will be located at sixth to eighth floor.

The SM management is preparing all documents for their pre-qualification clearance and is requesting only 20 percent of the total floor area to be declared accredited by the Peza.

The target date of completion of the first six floors is on November 2017.

UK rekindles trade with Iloilo

By Tara Yap

Iloilo City – The United Kingdom is rekindling trade relations with the city and province of Iloilo.

British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad expressed an indication in the matter as he asked Iloilo-based businesses to export goods to the United Kingdom (UK), where, he said, such activity is free of tariff.

“As part of the European Union, the UK is offering tariff-free access to the Philippines,” said Ahmad who was in Iloilo last March 10-11, 2016.

“Iloilo has great potential for agriculture and manufacturing. There is great opportunity for people who are in business here to look at the UK as a place to sell their delicious mangoes, fruits and vegetables and other things that are designed and produced here,” Ahmed said.

While meeting with Governor Arthur Defensor Sr., Ahmad noted that economic ties between the UK and Iloilo dates back to the middle of the 19th century when the Port of Iloilo was opened to international trade and saw the sailing to port of British vice consul Nicolas Loney

“I was looking at the history records. If you have to go back to 1856, you will find Nicolas Loney having brought the sugar industry to the region and in many ways the prosperity that this province now maybe has its roots in the transformation that he was able to bring here,” Ahmad said.

Iloilo all set for 3rd Bike Festival

(PNA) LAP/PGL/MADe los Santos/cbf)

ILOILO CITY (PNA) -- This City of Love is advancing its road sharing and road safety advocacy with the holding of the 3rd Iloilo Bike Festival on March 13 – 19 here.

The festival, a public-private partnership (PPP) initiative, is expected to gather around 5,000 bikers and biking enthusiasts, said Dr. Ronald Raymond Sebastian, executive director, Iloilo City Bike Council and CEO of John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University (JBLFMU) on Wednesday.

The bike fest will kick off with the Ronda Pilipinas Criterium Race on March 13 at Iloilo Business Park and cap on March 19 with the 24-kilometer Festival Fun Ride.

The fun ride will start at Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) at IBP, and will traverse through the following major thoroughfares and landmarks: Mapa St., Don Nonato Pison Ave., Boardwalk Ave., Dr. Bernardo St., Benigno Aquino Ave., El 98 St., Ungka, Circumferential Road, MacArthur Drive, Jaro Plaza, E. Lopez St., Luna St., Forbes Bridge, Bonifacio Drive, Gen. Luna St., San Pedro St., Molo Plaza, Carpenter Bridge, Tabucan, Megaworld Boulevard and back to ICC.

Sebastian said no roads will be closed as the festival promotes road sharing and road safety among motorists and bikers.

He noted how Iloilo City is becoming recognized for its biking initiatives.

“In November 2014, the city through Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, Vice Mayor Joe Espinosa III and City Councilors Jay Treñas and Jason Gonzales, along with several notable personalities from the Iloilo Biking Community, was awarded the “Bayanihan sa Daan” awards in recognition of the city’s efforts in making a cleaner and greener metropolis,” he said.

Jojo Castro, head, Iloilo City Sports Development Council Officer, said what makes this year’s bike fest extra special is the holding of Ronda Pilipinas Visayas Leg bike race.

“About 150 best riders in the country are expected to participate in this race, together their 30-vehicle support group and 30-vehicle Highway Patrol Group,” Castro said.

From Iloilo City, the peloton will race to Roxas City to complete the Visayas leg on March 15, he said.

Bikers will also form the “#ibikeiloilo” image, he added.

Other events are Photo Contest, Bike Exhibit, Fitstop Amazing Race, BMX Flatland, Kids Biking Activities, all at Robinsons Place Iloilo; food festival, battle of the bands, and I-Fold Visitour at Iloilo Business Park, all on March 18.

On March 19, the following events will prelude the fun ride: Dirt, 4X, BMX Contests, and Pinta Siklista. Bikers have a chance to win prizes with the Bikes on Lights contest while barangays with biggest bike delegations can also win prizes.

NIA 6 targets groundbreaking of mega dam project by end of March


ILOILO CITY, March 10 (PNA) -- The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) 6 is targeting to hold the groundbreaking of its PHP11.2 billion Jalaur River Multipurpose Project Phase II (JRMP II) by end of this month.

NIA regional director Gerardo Corsiga said that the bidding for the project is already finished. A technical evaluation was conducted on Wednesday.

“We have already submitted the result of the technical evaluation and request to give concurrence to start the project,” Corsiga said.

“The only left was the financial proposal that we are about to open,” he added.

If the groundbreaking will be realized this end of March, Corsiga assured that the physical construction of the project will immediately commence.

The contractor and designer of the project are all Koreans.

However, Corsiga said that there is also an option of providing provision for subcontract to the projects, which will allow hiring of Filipino workers.

Further, he said that election period will not hinder the construction of the project because JRMP II is a special project.

“We also requested exemption from the Commission on Elections (Comelec),” Corsiga said.

A memorandum of agreement signed between NIA, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for security framework was already prepared.

"This is without militarizing the indigenous people in the area. This is just to ensure that the area is safe," Corsiga further said.

Palembang, Indonesia eyes sisterhood pact with Iloilo City


ILOILO CITY, March 9 (PNA) -- Iloilo City will soon add Palembang, Indonesia in its list of sister cities.

On Tuesday, the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) here authorized Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog in behalf of Iloilo City to enter into a sister-city agreement with Palembang, Indonesia in a move to foster international understanding, goodwill and sisterhood through cultural, educational and technological exchanges aside from other wholesome activities.

This following a letter proposal from the City of Palembang asking for a sister-city cooperation between this highly urbanized city in the Visayas for the latter to also flourish, especially in the fields of education, trade and tourism.

City councilor Liezl Joy Zulueta-Salazar, chairperson of the SP committee on domestic and international relations, said that in line with the Philippine International Sisterhood, a winning program of the national government, Iloilo City and other communities may affiliate with cities and other nations of similar characteristics and mutual interests by forging sisterhood agreements.

Iloilo City is set on establishing progressive and friendly relations with other cities around the world in order to promote tourism and economic partnership.

Among the established sisterhood agreements are with the city of Stockton, California, USA, two cities in China, two cities in south Korea, two cities in Guam, USA and other highly urbanized cities in Metro Manila.

DA, DILG to train technicians on multi-stocking for increased production of fruit-bearing trees


ILOILO CITY (PNA) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) will be signing an agreement with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the conduct of training on multi-root stocking of fruit trees.

Agriculture secretary Proseso Alcala said that Philippines is lagging behind in terms of production. And this new strategy that they will push “is the only way that we could catch up with Thailand.”

The training will gather the chairman of the committee on agriculture of the Sangguniang Barangay (SB) together with two possible technicians in every village.

Alcala said that he wanted the trained technicians to get certification from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

After the training they will be provided with tools by DA. They are expected to go around their barangays teaching their constituents of the new technology.

The multi-root stocking needs a host tree that could accommodate scions of various fruit varieties.

“This will be a good strategy for the next administration,” he added.

Alcala was in Iloilo Wednesday for a forum with farmers and fisherfolks to gather feedback as to DA programs that greatly benefited their sector and those that should be removed or improved.

164 ICCC pioneers to graduate in April


ILOILO CITY, March 7 (PNA) -- At least four possible magna cum laudes of the 164 graduating pioneer batch of Iloilo City Community College (ICCC) are set to receive honors on their Graduation Day set in April.

Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog said the first set of graduates is the realization of dream of providing the poor but deserving students the opportunity to finish college.

The fresh graduates are trained on competencies of four-year Bachelor in Science courses including Office Administration and Travel Management.

The City Government in partnership with the private sector and transport associations has made successful the various scholarship programs, competency trainings and free ride to school for the ICCC scholars.

P2M up for La Paz tennis court rehabilitation

By Lydia C. Pendon

GLOBAL Business Power Corp. (GBPC) has turned over a check worth P2 million to the Iloilo City Government for the rehabilitation of an existing lawn tennis court located at the La Paz Plaza.

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog received the check in a ceremony on Monday, from Maira Montelijao of GBPC as a symbol of solid partnership between the City Government and the power firm in improving the public tennis court.

La Paz Plaza and its more than three-hectare area is dedicated to sports development.

Aside from the lawn tennis court, the plaza is also a site for football competitions, boxing, basketball, softball and baseball field, mixed martial arts, arnis, badminton, and oval for running.

A memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed last December 15 between Mabilog, GBCP executive vice president Jaime Azurin, and GBPC Panay Vice president Petronilo Madrid for the assistance to rehabilitate the only public tennis court in the city.

Mabilog said he is very thankful to the power firm in partnering with the City Government and recognizing the potentials of the city’s local sports development program.

The firm had adopted an initial eight barangays surrounding the power plants in Barangay Ingore, La Paz by providing employment and scholarships to the children.

The power firm has already adopted 20 barangays in the city with the improvement of health centers, barangay halls, and free medicines and establishment of waiting sheds.

NRCO assists 574 OFWs from Western Visayas under Assist WELL program


ILOILO CITY, March 4 (PNA) -- The National Reintegration Center for Overseas Filipino Workers (NRCO) in Western Visayas has extended assistance to 574 OFWs since 2014 through the Assist WELL program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Assist WELL was recently institutionalized by DOLE but it has already been providing support to Filipino workers abroad, whether they intend to go back and stay for good in the Philippines or continue to work overseas.

WELL stands for welfare, employment, livelihood and legal assistance made available to OFWs.

NRCO here disclosed that 250 OFWs from Western Visayas to already include repatriates from Libya were provided welfare assistance.

Moreover, 17 have responded to the ‘Sa Pinas Ikaw ang Ma’am/Sir’ program and are now teaching in various public schools here. The program encourages holders of teacher’s license but working as household service workers (HSWs) abroad to go back to the country and join the education sector.

Also, 202 were granted support under the Livelihood Development Assistance Program (LDAP). This privilege is granted to undocumented OFWs who returned to the Philippines.

Meantime, 99 availed of support under the Balik Pinay! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program, which is focused on women OFWs. Returnees are provided with livelihood skills training and starter kits for self-employment.

Under the legal assistance, four cases were referred to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) while two were tackled under Single Entry Approach (SEnA).

Meanwhile, during the conduct of the Visayas leg consultation of the proposed Labor Employment Plan (LEP) held here last month, Undersecretary Nicon Fameronag said that the Assist WELL is also one venue to keep track of OFWs who have returned to the country for good.

He encouraged OFWs to visit the Assist WELL center nearer them to get counted and likewise to avail of services made available by the government to returning OFWs.

National Greening Program to cover 8,977 hectares in Western Visayas this 2016


ILOILO CITY, March 4 (PNA) -- The National Greening Program (NGP) will cover 8,977 hectares of upland areas in Western Visayas this 2016, according to Forester Bernabe Garnace, NGP regional coordinator.

Garnace hoped that they could now proceed with the implementation as the El Niño weather phenomenon that has affected their preparations is starting to weaken.

“With the El Niño now waning we can proceed full speed with the implementation and hopefully we complete all targets in July so that we can turn over all the gains and accomplishments of the program to the new administration,” he added.

Once completed, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) eyed to plant some 14,956,000 seedlings in the region.

The seedlings will be distributed in four provinces of Panay Island to include 2,356,000 in Aklan’s 1,414 hectares; 1,989,000 in 1,194 hectares in Antique; 6,648,000 seedlings in Capiz’ 3,991 hectares and 3963,000 in 2,378 hectares in Iloilo.

From 2011 until 2015, the DENR registered a 114 percent accomplishment in terms of seedlings planted, which is equivalent to 20,935,148 seedlings covering 36,775 hectares to include still Negros Occidental.

Meantime, with the expansion of the program until 2018, Garnace said that 9,036 hectares from this region will be covered in 2017 to be distributed in five provinces namely Aklan with 2,000 hectares; Antique, 2,450; Capiz, 2050; Iloilo, 2471 and Guimaras with 65 hectares.

Its expansion is mandated under Executive Order 193 issued on November 12, 2015. The expansion will cover the remaining unproductive denuded and degraded forestlands.

Iloilo City braces for 3rd Bike Festival


ILOILO CITY (PNA) -- More than 5,000 bikers are expected to participate in the 3rd Iloilo Bike Festival here slated on March 13-18, 2016 in a move to show-off once again that Iloilo City is a bike-friendly and walkable city in the country.

City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who himself a bike enthusiast, will lead the bikers in promoting the bike culture by going around the city’s bike lanes while stopping at some tourist attractions.

Mabilog said that biking is a good exercise for the body and mind. More individuals are now into biking and it is expected that more individuals and corporate persons will join the third year of the activity.

The city government, in cooperation with Megaworld Corp. and Ronda Pilipinas Criterion, scheduled several events for six days starting with an opening program and fellowship and awarding night at the Iloilo Business Park on March 13.

The third bike festival will start with a photo contest and ifold Art Tour on March 15-18.

Slated on March 18 are major activities such as Obstacle and Adventure Course, Kids Biking activities, Bike Expo Show, Interschool Cycling, Flatland BMX Street, Fitstop Amazing Race and the unveiling of a bike statue at the Iloilo Business Park.

On March 20, activities include Bike Fun Ride, selection of the King and Queen of Bike Festival, Pinta Siklista, XCO/4X/BMX, trisikad race, sprint race and battle of the bands.

Agri chief to lead turnover of PHP315-M worth of projects to WV farmers, fisherfolk


ILOILO CITY (PNA) -- Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala will lead the turnover of Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) farm-to-market roads (FMR), farm machineries and fishery projects amounting to PHP315.7 million to associations and the local government units (LGUs) of Aklan, Antique, Guimaras, and Iloilo on Wednesday.

Alcala will turnover PHP148.5 million for the rehabilitation and improvement of Banga-Libacao road with bridges Aklan governor Florencio T. Miraflores, and PHP114.8 million for the rehabilitation of Poblacion-Tacuyong Norte FMR in Leon, Iloilo to Gov. Arthur D. Defensor Sr.

Furthermore, PHP35.2 million worth of farm machineries to include 13 floating tillers, 40 hand tractors with implements, 11 pump and engine sets, four units of 4-wheel drive tractor, five units of hammer mill, 10 units of knapsack sprayer, 16 power sprayers, five mini 4-wheel drive tractors and four rice combine harvesters with mini 4-wheel drive tractors will be turned over.

Meanwhile, PHP7.5 million worth of farm implements, post-harvest equipment and production inputs such as hand tractors, reaper harvesters, mini 4-wheel drive tractors, pump and engines, vacuum pack sealers, hand tractor cultivators, native chicken pullets, goats, rice seeds, garden tools and assorted lowland vegetable seeds will be given away in the form of commitments during the raffle.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will provide PHP9.7 million assistance to three coastal towns in Northern Iloilo.

The projects include community fish landing centers, postharvest kits (banyera and weighing scales), 35-foot fiberglass boats, blue swimming crab stock enhancement projects, and fish stalls to be given to several fishermen associations of Anilao, Barotac Nuevo and Dumangas, Iloilo.

As an attached bureau of the Department of Agriculture (DA), BFAR ensures that the fishery sector would be as competitive as with the crops and livestock animal industries.

Around 3,000 farmers, fisherfolk, AEWs, LGUs and members of the academe expected to attend the one-day Farmers, Fisherfolk and Agricultural Extension Workers (AEWs) Forum at Rose Memorial Hall of Central Philippine University

To encourage the participants to adopt best practices in agriculture and fisheries, five farmers, fisherfolk, and LGU leaders will give testimonies about the impacts of the projects they availed from DA.

“Local farmers and fisherfolk can benefit and learn from the various projects and advocacies of the Department through direct consultations with Sec. Alcala and other DA executives and implementers during the forum,” said Engr. Roy M. Abaya, DA 6 Regional Executive Director.

Lectures and presentations on DA-PRDP, climate change mitigation, crop insurance programs, integrated laboratory services, Land Bank of the Philippines’ credit programs, and BFAR’s Fisherfolk Registration (FishR) System will also be held in the afternoon.

Sec. Alcala and other DA executives will proceed to Bago City, Negros Occidental to grace the Farmers’ Forum in Negros Island Region.

Chocolates, flowers for DENR's female clients this Women’s Month


ILOILO CITY, March 1 (PNA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office will be treating its female clients with chocolates on March 8.

Artemio Salvador C. Colacion, chief of DENR’s regional public affairs office (RPAO) said that the activity is their way of joining the celebration of the International Women’s Day on March 8.

On the said day, their information desk will be manned by male personnel who will present the chocolates to their female clients.

DENR today kicked off the month-long celebration of the Women’s Month with the releasing of violet-colored balloons.

On March 11, the department will open its courtyard to personnel who would like to join the ‘zumba’ dance while on the third week of the month, a disaster preparedness training with emphasis on women will be conducted.

There will also be a food festival where DENR will invite its partner people’s organizations to display their products, especially those that are prepared by women.

The department will cap its celebration with a talk show on March 30 that will focus on the participation and contribution of women on the perspective of men.

Colacion added that the provincial office of DENR in Guimaras instead of chocolates will give their clients flowers as tokens.

This year’s celebration anchors on the theme “Kapakanan ni Juana, Isama sa Agenda!” (Include Women in the Agenda).