Iloilo City News March 2018

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Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
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Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm
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Iloilo food outlets ordered to serve free potable water

By Perla Lena

ILOILO CITY -- Serving free and potable service water to customers is now mandatory for all restaurants and other food outlets in this city.

The Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) on Tuesday approved on final reading the “Free Potable Service Water Ordinance of Iloilo City” penalizing those who will fail to comply with its provisions.

Councilor Ely Estante found the ordinance necessary as he cited that there are “food establishments that only provide service water when the customer personally asks upon ordering”.

Other establishments only offer such necessity with a corresponding monetary value while other establishments offer “hulog-hulog piso” or “coin-operated water vending machines,” said the ordinance author.

Moreover, he cited that there are food outlets that serve water but their “sources could not be considered as safe and clean”.

The ordinance mandates that food establishments post a “Free Service Water” signage on conspicuous places of the establishments and that they shall regularly maintain and clean their water dispensers, water vending machines and water storage containers.

The legislation makes the owner proprietor, juridical or natural persons liable for the failure to serve the potable water and post the required signage.

They will be warned during the first offense while a fine of PHP3,000 will be imposed in the second offense.

Penalty for the third offense will be a PHP 5,000 fine plus suspension of the business permit and closure until such time that offending business establishment comply with the ordinance. The City Health Office has been tasked to lead in the inspection for the purpose of ensuring compliance while the City Legal Office shall summon violators or file necessary cases.

Complaints against establishments violating the ordinance shall also be coursed through any of the two offices. (PNA)

Senior citizens in Iloilo undergo disaster training

By Cindy Ferrer

ILOILO CITY -- Some 40 senior citizens in this city underwent a one-day training on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) on Friday, which was mainly aimed at preparing them for calamities.

The training, led by the Office of Civil Defense Western Visayas (OCD-6), was attended by pesidents and members of the various federations of senior citizens in this city.

Melissa Banias, chief of the Capability Building Section of OCD-6, said the training mainly focused on the inputs of Republic Act 10121, otherwise known as the Philippine Disaster Reduction and Management Act of 2010.

Banias said that the training enhanced the knowledge and understanding of senior citizens on DRRM.

It also helped increase community- level support and participation in DRRM efforts.

Different topics were discussed such as weather hazards, hazard awareness, disaster preparedness and response, disaster rehabilitation and recovery, legal basis and key concepts on climate change, among others.

Speakers from the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), among others, were invited to discuss the topics.

In line with the goal to achieve a safer, adaptive and resilient Filipino communities, Banias said that the training for the senior citizens is part of the OCD's effort to provide DRRM training to the basic society sectors identified by the National Anti-Poverty Commission.

Banias said that the senior citizens were really "active" and "participative" during the training. "It seem like they did not feel tired. Retired but not tired and we really feel that the spirit of volunteerism is still alive in them," she said,

"In fact, they even suggested that they will form a prayer group and organize themselves so that in times of calamities, they will conduct prayer brigade in every district. They also signified that if ever we need their help, they are willing to be a volunteer in their own capacity as seniors," she added.

Other sectors lined up to undergo a similar training are persons with disabilities, women, youth and students, farmers and landless workers, artisanal fisherfolks, cooperatives, and others.

SSS loan restructuring program resumes April 2

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- Delinquent members are encouraged to avail of the loan restructuring program of the Social Security System (SSS) that will start this April 2, said Assistant Vice President for Western Visayas Division Raul Casiano.

“This is the continuation of our loan restructuring that ended April 2017. So we are going to resume it April 2 to October 1,” Casiano said on Monday.

He said they would like to give a chance to delinquent members, especially those with big accounts, to settle their loans.

“Probably they failed to avail of the previous loan restructuring program,” he added.

Those who availed of the previous restructuring yet were not able to pay, then their loans will just revert to the original amount and will incur penalty. “This is another chance for them to apply again,” he said.

Casiano said they are waiting for documents as to members who availed of the previous program. Nonetheless, those who are interested are advised to visit any nearest SSS office and accomplish their required forms, he said. Meantime, he said that they are still waiting for advice regarding the second tranche of the increase in the pension of their members. The second tranche is supposed to be implemented this year.

While there is no guidelines yet, Casiano said that they will just continue to collect more, increase more members by registering employees who are not members of the SSS and encourage inactive members, self-employed and voluntary members to continue paying contributions.

Coast guard Iloilo gears for influx of passengers this Lent

By Cindy Ferrer (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Iloilo is prepared for the influx of passengers as the Lenten season nears.

PCG-Iloilo commanding officer Lt. Rodolfo Dela Peña said they have already activated the “Oplan Biyaheng Ayos” last March 21 and are on “full force” to ensure orderly operation in various sea terminals here.

He said they have already established passenger assistance desks in each port terminals to address possible concerns and complaints from the passengers.

Each assistance desk has two coast guard personnel and representatives from other concerned agencies such as the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA), among others, he said. There were also K9 dogs in each port terminal, he added.

Dela Peña said they are specifically focusing on the Iloilo Ferry Terminal and Ortiz Wharf in this city because they are expecting thousands of passengers to visit Guimaras Island for the “Pagtaltal sa Balaan Bukid”.

Last year, PCG recorded around 10,000-20,000 passengers who visited the island. Dela Peña said that they are expecting around the same number or more to go to the island next week.

Meanwhile, he said that they are still waiting for any notice from shipping companies about the reduction of the number of trips on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Black Saturday.

“We are yet to be informed by the shipping companies. Once we will receive notices from them, we will announce it immediately to the public for their guidance,” he said. Dela Peña said that there are shipping companies during this season that have cut-off the number of their trips in the past.

Further, Dela Peña warned the public that they will be strict in their inspection.Carrying of illegal drugs and deadly weapons are strictly prohibited.

He also reminded the public to buy their tickets in advance, at least two to three days before travel, to avoid heavy queues in ticketing booths that sometimes lead to commotion.

Investments in Iloilo to boost ‘Build, Build, Build’ program

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The city government here is campaigning for more investors to come in as its way of supporting the national government’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

Mayor Jose Espinosa III, speaking before members of the Regional Development Council in its first regular quarter meeting here Friday, said “Iloilo city is a state where everyone wants to invest”.

“To further make this city’s local economy sustainable, inclusive and resilient by supporting the President’s (Rodrigo Duterte) ‘Build, Build, Build’, in Iloilo City we encourage invest, invest, invest,” Espinosa said.

He added that the city’s economy is “yearning to compete in the global arena for Iloilo means business”.

The mayor told event participants – heads of various regional line government agencies and private sector representatives -- that the local government’s Trade and Investment Promotions Board is headed by Ilonggo business tycoon, Henry Chusuey.

He added that the city government is not remiss in its commitment to take good care of the welfare of its constituents amid the surge in interests of foreign and domestic investors. He said Iloilo City’s “Pag-ulikid Movement” serves as an umbrella for its entire developmental program.

“This is a movement that aims to cater to the needs befitting our llonggo constituents. It is a holistic, inclusive and sustainable approach in governance where all needs are looked after,” he said.

Iloilo City eyes local transport plan

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The city government here through its City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) has started to collate data to support the crafting of the local transport plan.

Jeck Conlu, head of the Public Safety and Traffic Management Office (PSTMO), said the plan speaks of the total picture of the city’s transportation sector, hence they need data like the routes and number of public utility and private vehicles, among others.

Conlu said they target to complete the plan before the year ends because it is going to be “comprehensive” and it will take a long process.

It will be crafted together with the CPDO, PSTMO, Transportation Committee of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP), other concerned agencies and the transportation sector.

“This projects the next 20 years and part of this is the modernization program and the new mode of transportation,” he said.

He added that before they can sit down to craft the plan, they need first to attend a workshop that will be conducted by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

The workshop in Iloilo City is slated sometime April or May this year.

Meantime, he said that the plan will serve as basis whether or not they have to open additional franchise for taxi and open or close new routes.

He said that initially, there is a shortage of taxi units, especially when big malls in nearby municipalities and in the metropolis will start to operate.

“We cannot yet determine if how many are needed,” he added though.

Right now there are more than 3,000 taxi units that are registered in the city but not all are operational, he said.

The Association of Taxi Operators of Panay earlier said that there is a need of around 200 to 300 more units.

However, the LTFRB could not open a new franchise if there is no recommendation from the local government units, which in turn will be based on the local transport plan.

CSC extends nominations for search for outstanding gov’t workers

By Lilibeth A. French (CSC/JSC/laf/PIA6 Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY, March 23 (PIA6) -- The Civil Service Commission (CSC) extended the deadline for the submission of nominations to the 2018 Search for Outstanding Government Workers (Honor Awards Program).

The deadline for submission was initially set on March 30, 2018 and was moved to April 4, 2018.

CSC 6 said this is due to the observance of Holy Week which coincides with the last week of filing of nominations to the 2018 HAP.

Also, CSC Regional and Field Offices requested for the extension of deadline of the submission of nominations.

“The extension will give ample time for nominees to package their nominations and attend to all documentary requirements that will be submitted to the CS ROs and FOs,” according to CSC 6 in a press report.

HAP has three categories: (1) Presidential Lingkod Bayan, (2) CSC Pagasa, and (3) Dangal ng Bayan awards.

For more details about the awards program, visit CSC website: www.csc.gov.ph. For inquiries and other concerns regarding the Search, contact the nearest CSC Field Office or the CSC RO VI at telephone no. (033) 321-1253.

DOT recommends ideal Lenten sites in W. Visayas

By Cindy Ferrer (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- As the Lenten season nears, the Department of Tourism 6 (Western Visayas) has some recommended sites for the public to visit.

DOT-6 regional director Helen Catalbas said the towns of Barotac Viejo, Calinog and Alimodian are among the places in Iloilo province that would reenact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday. These places are ideal to visit for Catholics, she said.

Lenten this year will fall on the last week of this month.

Catalbas said that public could also come and witness the “Pagtaltal sa Balaan Bukid”, a Lenten presentation on the hillside on Jordan, Guimaras Island.

During this event in the island province, devotees could walk for more than two kilometers passing 14 stations before they reach the mountain top of the province known as the Balaan Bukid.

Meanwhile, Catalbas said the public may go to some island beaches and other resorts in Western Visayas since the Lenten season would serve as vacation to some people and the height of summer season.

“Being a region composed of many islands, we are calling for our visitors to stay safe,” she said.

Also, Catalbas appealed to local government units (LGUs) to be prepared to welcome visitors if they have tourism sites.

Catalbas also asked LGUs to prepare portalets since these would be among the needed facilities by visitors.

She also appealed to residents near the sites to be considerate to visiting public in terms of providing safety and security.

First arbitration center outside Manila opens in Iloilo City

By Cindy Ferrer (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The Philippine Arbitration Center in the Visayas (PACV), the first outside Metro Manila, opened here on Saturday.

The center is also the first school-based arbitration center in the whole Southeast Asia, said Lawyer Joenar Pueblo, PACV’s President, in a media interview.

Located inside the University of San Agustin, the PAVC was established in cooperation with the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center Inc. and the University of San Agustin College of Law.

Pueblo said that one of the main functions of the center is “encouraging commercial arbitration of cases” rather than going to court, which usually takes a long time.

He added the arbitration center “speeds up the solution of disputes of commercial cases” and “de-clogs the cases in the court”.

“We have an arbitration center of international caliber here and it is good because it is inside a university,” he said.

Cases in arbitration only takes one year to be resolved, faster compared to ordinary cases that would take five to ten years, Pueblo said.

Pueblo said that arbitration is a requirement in resolving conflicts in line with biddings and awards. Also, the PACV is a factor that would help attract British investors, he said.

Pueblo was referring to the two-day trade mission of the members of the British Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (BCCP) last March 8-9 in this city.

“The arbitration started in Great Britain. When they see that there is arbitration center here in Iloilo, I think it would attract them more because they would think they are advanced because they are doing arbitration,” he said.

Although the center is located in this city, Pueblo said it would serve clients from all over Visayas.

The center would provide venue, procedure and technical assistance to parties willing to arbitrate, he said.

He added that the PACV is partnered with existing arbitration centers from the different parts of the world.

Iloilo City gov’t to honor outstanding women

By Lilibeth A. French (Iloilo City PIO/LTP/laf/PIA-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY (PIA6) -- The Iloilo City government will honor 14 women who showed exemplary performance in their particular field that significantly contributed to the development of Iloilo City in time for the National Women’s Month celebration this March.

This year’s winners of the Search for The Outstanding Women of Iloilo City (TOWIL) will be formally recognized on March 27 at 4 P.M. at Robinsons Place here.

They are Helen Romero for professional category; Dr. Mary Barby Badayos-Jover for academe; Rhea Inocencio-Peñaflorida for business; Liberty Porras for culture and arts; Dr. Marlyn Convocar for government service; Rysty Ann Espinosa- Borja for judicial; and Ma. Ramelia Vasquez for media; Dr. Ellen Dumayas-Abelita for medical; Ivy Gurrea for non-government office (NGO) or civic organization; Senior Police Officer 3 Ruth Laudato for protective service; Emma Victoria for religious; Floramie Navales for sports; Stella Muzones for persons with disability; and Japhet Grace Moleta for volunteerism.

Mayor Jose Espinosa III, in a press report, said through the award the City Government recognizes the role of women in our society and gives the recognition they deserve.

City Population Officer Mary Ann Ramos, co-chairperson of the event, said the citation recognizes women who have made exemplary contributions in the metropolis.

DA opens 2nd ‘TinDA’ in Western Visayas

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) opened on Friday its second “TinDA sa Parola” and “Bugas para sa Masa,” a marketing scheme where farmers and fisherfolks are provided a venue to sell their products directly to buyers with less intervention from middlemen.

The whole-day activity gathered farmers and farmers associations from the municipalities of Leon, Estancia, Dingle, Alimodian and San Dionisio, Iloilo and even from Guimaras, among others inside the DA regulatory compound at the Parola area.

The establishment of the “TinDA sa Parola” was in response to the instruction of DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol during the launching of the “TienDA para sa Bayani” in Dingle, Iloilo on February 22 for the regional office to establish a similar center in the city.

“The main purpose is to directly connect with the consumers,” said DA-6 (Western Visayas) Regional Executive Director Remelyn R. Recoter.

Recoter said that they are using "tinda", to make the program more localized as people here are more familiar with the word.

The “Bugas para sa Masa”, on the other hand, sells rice at a range of PHP35 to PHP38 per kilo.

Among those sold are rice and corn blend as part of the plan of Secretary Piñol to “reduce the pressure on the rice industry”.

“We would like the rice-corn mix to be disseminated because per the study of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, rice-corn mix has health benefits,” she said.

The “TindDA” and “Bugas para sa Masa” will be held twice a month.

Recoter said it will also be implemented across the region.

The program is consistent with the vision of President Rodrigo R. Duterte for an available and affordable food for Filipinos.

P196-M multi-level parking to rise in Iloilo

By Cindy Ferrer (PNA)

ILOILO CITY --The provincial government is eyeing to award the PHP196-million multi-level parking project to the winning bidder next week and the notice to proceed before the end of this month.

The six-storey parking project is part of the redevelopment project of the Iloilo Provincial Capitol Complex. Each floor could accommodate 28 to 32 vehicles.

Provincial legal officer Dennis Ventilacion on Friday said that they are hoping to award the project to the DCMS Trading and Construction once it passes the post-qualification of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC).

DCMS Trading and Construction offered the lowest bid at PHP186 million including the design of project.

If they fail in the post-qualification, they will try the next lowest bidder which offered PHP195 million for the project, Ventilacion said.

The bidding for the project has already failed twice. He said that all four bidders during the first and second biddings were disqualified after they failed in the technical eligibility.

The provincial government then resorted to negotiated procurement and invited all the bidders who participated in the first and second bidding.

"Four responded and four submitted their best offer," he said.

Meanwhile, Ventilacion denied that they have favored one of the participating bidders.

Ventilacion observed that the bidders were unfamiliar with the procurement rules of the government because they were mostly engaged in private procurement.

The six-level parking is part of the PHP400-million redevelopment of the Capitol grounds, which is expected to be completed in 2019.

The parking building will be constructed at Bonifacio Drive in this city.

DOST-PCHRD provides fund for thesis grant

By Lilibeth A. French (DOST6/LTP/laf/PIA6-Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY (PIA6) -- The Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) has make funding available to undergraduate students who have thesis proposals on natural products.

The Funds for Undergraduate Thesis Grant in Natural Products aims to sustain a research culture in natural products to increase the number of researches and later on build a pool of researchers/experts specializing in the field.

It also supports the Drug Discovery and Development program of the DOST-PCHRD aimed at developing safe, effective and affordable alternative drugs from the country’s natural resources.

The project is open to all undergraduate students of Pharmacy, Chemistry, Nursing and Health and Allied Sciences who have thesis proposals on natural products. The proposed thesis study must use plants indigenous in the region and must be completed a year after receiving the grant.

Interested applicants should submit the following documents to the Regional Health Research and Development Consortium (RHRDC): Duly accomplished prescribed research proposal form with college seal; Endorsement letter from the institution signed by the head of the university college dean; Soft copy of the proposal (word format); Hard copy of the proposal using A4 paper (3 copies); and Certificate of plant authentication and Curriculum vitae of the students and adviser using the prescribed form.

They should also submit appropriate clearances from the Bureau of Animal Industry, Biosafety Clearance, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Clearance for studies involving Indigenous Peoples, Gratuitous Permit from the Biodiversity Management Bureau for studies involving collection of flora and fauna from DENR Protected Areas, and Ethical clearance for studies involving human subjects

Thesis grants will be given to two undergraduate entries per region. After completion of the project, a competition will be held to selected qualified students to recognize innovative work on natural products.

Deliberation of thesis grantees and winners will be based on the grading/rating during the en banc meeting and oral presentation.

Two thesis proposals will be selected per region that will get a grant amounting to a maximum of P50,000.00. The thesis fund will be deposited to the bank account of the thesis adviser and will be liquidated after the completion of the study.

A Memorandum of Agreement will be signed between the students, adviser, head of the institution and DOST-PCHRD.

Fund support will also be provided to the top three relevant and innovative thesis studies. Aside from the plaque of recognition, cash prizes will be distributed to the finalists after the oral presentation.

The deadline of submission to the consortium and DOST-PCHRD was scheduled at the end of May and 2nd week of June. The selection of thesis grantees by the Selection Committee will start on June to July and the conduct of study on August to May of the succeeding year.

On the other hand, on the first week of June of the succeeding year, completed studies shall be submitted to DOST-PCHRD where the Selection Committee shall select the oral presenters until July. The oral presentation and announcement of winners will be conducted on August 2019.

Mobile fun kitchen offers easy to cook, nutritious recipes

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- Some 412 Kinder to Grade 6 pupils of the Nabitasan Elementary School in Barangay Nabitasan, La Paz of this city were taught easy to cook food using corn as the main ingredient during the Mobile Fun Kitchen program, held Thursday.

The activity was the second leg of the series of educational roadshows initiated by the Monsanto Philippines as part of its nutritional campaign in the country, said Charina G. Ocampo, corporate engagement lead of the company.

Erwin Vibal and Shamaine Castillo, Monsanto country and regulatory affairs leads, respectively, kept the interest of the pupils as they cooked recipes such as corn cheesy cup and cheesy cream corn soup, among others.

Dr. Clarissa Ojera, principal II of the Nabitasan Elementary School, said that the activity while it helped boost the interaction skills of pupils with visitors, it also gave them idea on farming.

It was the second engagement of the company with the public school. Last year Monsanto also conducted a story telling on agriculture, she said.

“It’s more of teaching them how to cook and interaction,” she said adding that they no longer have malnourished pupils. This year around 98 percent of their 127 feeding program recipients have gained a normal nutritional status.

Ocampo said that the activity also served as venue for them to explain the role of biotechnology in producing and farming nutritious foods.

“Biotech corn has the same nutritional value as the conventional corn,” she cited.

Castillo said that “we use biotechnology to develop new varieties of plant seeds with a range of desirable characteristics such as being able to resist certain insect or harsh weather conditions”.

“By applying biotechnology in agriculture, we protect crops such as corn, lettuce and tomatoes from pests and diseases, allowing us in turn to have a better yield,” she added.

Vibal, country lead of the company, hoped that through this activity they can help “spread information about how to produce food better, how to produce quality food and how to improve the quality of the food itself”.

“This is the best way to gather their interest in agriculture,” he added.

Iloilo City tourist arrivals up by 8.25%

By Leonard T. Pineda I (JSC/LTP/PIA6 Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY (PIA6) -- Tourist arrivals in Iloilo City increased by 8.25 percent in 2017 as compared to previous year, according to the city government here.

Data from the City Tourism and Development Office (CTDO) showed that there were 1,076,976 local and foreign tourists who visited in 2017 which is higher compared to the recorded 994,923 arrivals in 2016.

The CTDO said that the bulk of last year’s arrivals wAS recorded during festival season with 97,732 in January when the city celebrated Dinagyang; and 92,559 in February with Paraw Regatta.

The city’s hosting of several meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) also contributed to the number of guests who flocked to the city in March last year, with a total of 100,228 arrivals.

A total of 89,216 tourist arrivals were recorded in April; 83,089 in May; 76,942 in June; 81,453 in July; 89,314 in August; 78,289 in September; and 89,814 in October.

Arrivals also peaked during holiday season with 98,988 in November; and 99,352 in December.

City Mayor Jose Espinosa III said the increase in tourist arrivals only signified that Iloilo City continues to be a favorite tourism destination.

Awarding for outstanding students of Iloilo set

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

ILOILO CITY (PIA6) -- The Outstanding Students Circle of Iloilo (OSCI) will hold the awarding ceremonies for the Ten Outstanding Elementary School Pupils (TOESP) and Ten Outstanding Junior High School Students (TOJHSS) of Iloilo for Academic Year 2017 to 2018 on March 21 here.

For 15th year in running, the Search for the TOESP and TOJHSS of Iloilo recognizes the capacity and efforts of the Ilonggo learners. It is being conducted by the OSCI in coordination with the Department of Education - Divisions of Iloilo, Iloilo City and Passi City.

Last March 2, OSCI named the twenty pupils and students who made it to the top ten in each level and to be awarded this year.

For the elementary level, the outstanding pupils in alphabetical order include: Kimberly J. Bayog of Santa Barbara Central Elementary School; Ralph Uzzxyll B. Belleza of SPED - Integrated School for Exceptional Children; Lance Vincent Benedict Elle of Leganes Central Elementary School; Francis Immanuel O. Fuentespina of Central Philippine University; Ma. Andrea Leonessa of Cabatuan Cental Elementary School; Caleb C. Salado of Sto. Domingo Elementary School; Angela Kyra U. Salarda of Solomon Integrated School de Iloilo; Rafael Gabriel T. Tamises of Tubungan Central Elementary School; Jacques Simon L. Timtiman of Iloilo Scholastic Academy; and Ellen Faye Ann P. Yabut of Children's Integrated School of Alta Tierra Inc.

Awardees for the junior high school are: Gaile Kellie Davila of St. Joseph School (Iloilo) Inc.; Leann Patrice A. Ganzon of Iloilo National High School; Vince Kenneth P. Handa of Passi National High School; Chelsea Anne Lagon of Ateneo de Iloilo – SMCS; Reynald Mejico Laurea of Duenas General Comprehensive High School; Hyke J. Maybay of Tigbauan National High School; Gertrude Angela P. Moises of Colegio de las Hijas de Jesus, Inc.; Kathleen Ann H. Sison of Hua Siong College of Iloilo; Shayla Iyesa Sy of Iloilo Scholastic Academy; and Edric John O. Tabares of Cabatuan National Comprehensive High School.

OSCI Chairman Henry Caspe said the awardees are Grade VI elementary school pupils or Grade X junior high school students this academic year 2017 to 2018. They were selected after a thorough evaluation based on their academic standing (50%), co-curricular activities (35%) and interview (15%).

They will receive their plaques of recognition during the awarding ceremony which will start at 1 P.M. at the Diamond Jubilee Hall, Mabini Street.

Awardees will also join the ranks of outstanding learners recognized by OSCI composed of former recipients of the awards during the incumbency of the late Governor Conrado Norada.

CHED cites performance of mechanical engineering schools in WV

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

ILOILO CITY (PIA6) -- The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) here has recognized the performance of mechanical engineering schools in Western Visayas in the recent results of the board exam.

According to Supervising Education Specialist Dr. Rex Casiple, the Philippine Regulation Commission (PRC) results showed that six out of 11 engineering schools, or 54 percent, in the region had a passing percentage higher than that in the national level.

“It is also noteworthy that Kim Gonzales of the Garcia College of Technology in Kalibo, Aklan ranked number 5 in the Registered Mechanical Engineers Exam,” Casiple said.

In a media article, Casiple said that the region produced 47 passers out of 90 takers, which is again higher than the national percentage.

Casiple also said that the high performing schools include the Garcia College of Technology, in Aklan, the Western Institute of Technology in Iloilo City, and the Technological University of the Philippines-Visayas in Negros Occidental.

Casiple has always batted for more mechanical engineers as he noted that the country needs more of them in the years to come.

“For one, there is a need for more power plants to be constructed in several parts of the country because of imminent power shortage,” he said.

He further said that the Department of Energy has projected the power deficit of 200 megawatts as of 2015 yet and already it was recommending an additional of some 500 megawatts.

“It is for this that the CHED is campaigning for more enrollees in the course as mechanical engineers are needed,” Casiple added.

The CHED official pointed out that there is Republic Act 8495 or the Mechanical Engineering Law that regulates the practice of mechanical engineers in the country, where establishments, firms or companies must employ only licensed, mechanical engineers for the safety of their operations.

Caravan to highlight Women’s Month

By Lilibeth A. French

ILOILO CITY (PIA6) -- A multi-sectoral caravan slated March 8 here will highlight the official kick-off of the 2018 National Women’s Month Celebration in Western Visayas.

The caravan, spearheaded by the Ugsad Regional Gender Resource Center in Western Visayas, will take off at 7:30 A.M. at the Jaro Plaza old belfry and will pass the city’s major thoroughfares. It will be participated in by Ugsad member agencies and institutions.

“This activity aims to raise awareness of the general public regarding the celebration, as well as to give tribute to the significant contributions of women in nation-building,” said Dr. Mary Barby Badayos-Jover, Coordinator of Ugsad in her letter of invitation to members.

This year’s celebration’s theme “We Make Change Work for Women” was identified by the Philippine Commission on Women last year and shall be used from 2017 to 2022. It highlights the empowerment of women as active contributors to and claimholders of development. It is also aligned with President Rodrigo Duterte administration’s commitment of “Malasakit at Pagbabago” or True Compassion and Real Change.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Information Agency 6 supports the celebration by joining the caravan and observing Purple Thursdays wherein employees will wear purple on the remaining Thursdays of the month (March 8, 15, 22, and 29).

This is to join the call to advance women’s rights and gender equality, to break gender stereotypes, and to stop gender-based violence and discrimination against women.

In the country, the celebration of the National Women’s Month every March is part of the worldwide observance of the International Women’s Day (IWD). It started with the issuance of Proclamation No. 224 in 1988, which declared the first week of March each year as Women’s Week and March 8 as Women’s Rights and International Peace Day.

Then, Proclamation No. 227 s. 1988 was issued providing for the observance of Women’s Role in History Month in March. Also, with the enactment of Republic Act 6949 in 1990, March 8 of every year was declared as National Women’s Day across the country. (LTP/laf/PIA6-Iloilo)

Over P100-M loan available for Western Visayas farmers

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- Obtaining financial support from the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) was made easier under the Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) program.

DA Regional Executive Director Remelyn Recoter on Monday said more than PHP100-million fund has been made available to farmers in Western Visayas.

The regional director said the provision of funds is part of the effort of the national government through the DA to extend easy financing access to farmers.

ACPC used to have the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) as its conduit. However, LBP requires plenty of documents, thus DA looked for a qualified association.

An initial PHP1.8 million was released through the Kooperatiba Naton Multi-purpose Cooperative in Tigbauan, Iloilo for 15 onion growers of Oton during the February 23 visit of Secretary Emmanuel Piñol. A PHP10-million fund has been committed to the town.

Oton is a new area according to Recoter and the target is to increase their coverage to 36 hectares this year. To date, 31.5 hectares in Barangays Buray, Sta. Rita, Trapiche, Tagbak Sur, Turog-turog, Sambaludan, Batuan Ilawod, Galang and Salngan are planted with onions.

Piñol also pledged PHP20 million for Capiz and Aklan farmers.

A separate fund of PHP12 million is committed to onion and garlic farmers in Tigabaun.

Apart from commitment funds, ACPC already released to the Rural Bank of Miagao an initial PHP20 million of the PHP50 million fund that was promised by the secretary for onion and garlic growers of southern Iloilo way back in November 2017.

Piñol also released PHP15 million to Pandan Multipurpose Cooperative, PHP5 million to Egaña Parish Credit Cooperative and PHP10 million to the Antique Provincial Government Credit Cooperative, all in Antique province in 2017.

Recoter said that the fund is not only for garlic and onion growers but can also be availed by farmers planting other crops.

Garlic and onion farmers can avail of PHP150,000 per hectare while rice farmers can obtain a loan of PHP30,000 to PHP50,000 per hectare, with an interest rate of 6 percent per annum.

As of date, more than 300 farmers from Tigbauan, Igbaras, Tubungan, Oton and Miagao are planting onion and garlic, covering about 200 hectares.

At present, the country sources 90 percent of garlic and 50 percent of onion requirements abroad.

OFW center in Iloilo’s 5th district pushed

By Cindy Ferrer (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- A congressman is pushing for the establishment of a center in the fifth district of Iloilo to cater to the needs of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the area.

Representative Raul Tupas said the proposed center will focus on the needs and concerns of the migrant workers from the district to avoid incidents like what happened to slain OFW Joanna Daniela Demafelis, whose family lost contact with her for two years before her remains were found inside a freezer in Kuwait last February 9.

Demafelis, who was sent to her final resting place Saturday, was a resident of Barangay Ferraris in Sara town, Iloilo province.

Tupas said that the establishment of the center is “viable” in their district per his previous talk with Secretary Silvestre Bello III of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Hans Leo Cacdac, administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

According to Tupas, the establishment of the center is among the initiatives of Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III of ACTS-OFW Partylist for the many individuals from the fifth district who are working abroad and their families.

“We are pushing for this office to provide convenience to the family of OFWs who are left here especially in the isolated barangays. Through this, they no longer need to go to Iloilo City or Manila to follow-up their concerns regarding their family who are out of the country,” he added.

Tupas said they will still finalize the plan this week, noting that they still have to identify the area where the center will be constructed, as well as prepare the funds for its establishment.

He expressed hope that once realized, the center would really be a big help for the OFWs and their families in the province's fifth district.

City government to bizmen: re-invest in Iloilo

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

ILOILO CITY (PIA6) -- Iloilo City is business friendly and it is easy to get or renew permits, so re-invest here, said Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III.

Espinosa highlighted the city’s potentials during the Induction of members of the Iloilo City Trade and Investment Promotions Board (ICTIPB) recently.

He said that the growth rate of Iloilo City is one of the highest and even possibly higher compared to that in the national level as he asked the businessmen to capitalize on that.

“If President Duterte says, ‘build, build, build,’ in Iloilo we say invest, invest, invest,” Espinosa told the businessmen.

He also said that Iloilo has become an attraction to foreign investors, citing the British Trade Mission which is set March 8-9 in Iloilo City.

Meanwhile, Ritchel Gavan, head of the Local Economic and Investment Promotions Office, said Iloilo City has a lot to offer to businessmen and that there is enough power supply, water, connectivity, and it is accessible to several international flights.

Gavan said the city government has incorporated programs on education, manpower and livelihood, business streamlining, tax incentives, utilities and peace and order.

“These have augmented and simplified our goal of transforming Iloilo City into a highly competitive and highly urbanized metropolis,” Gavan said.

The ICTIPB is co-chaired by Dr. Henry Chusuey with Felix Tiu, Alfonso Tan, Sandra Gomez, Felipe Uygongco, Ronald Sebastian, Teresa Sarabia and others.

Over 10T TESDA scholarship slots available for Iloilo

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

ILOILO CITY (PIA6) -- The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has made available some 10,092 scholarship slots for Iloilo this year.

Outgoing TESDA-6 Director Florencio Sunico, Jr. said the approved scholarship slots are worth P170 million during the program held before the opening of the second day of the National TVET Enrollment Day in Iloilo at the Iloilo Sports Complex (ISC) Covered Gym on February 28.

The event was simultaneously held in nine different sites in the region on February 27. The enrollment at the ISC Covered Gym was for the First District of Iloilo province and the Lone District of Iloilo City.

Some 45 Technical Vocational Institutions took part in the two-day enrollment activity in 10 sites and an estimated 3,991 interested participants enrolled in the various training programs of TESDA, as of March 1.

A Jobs Bridging Fair was also held on February 28, participated in by 38 companies and employers. Per record of TESDA- Iloilo, around 21 applicants were ‘Hired on the Spot’ to date.

Sunico said the conduct of the National TVET Enrollment Day and Jobs Bridging Fair is a brainchild of Secretary Gene Mamondiong, Director General of TESDA. These aim to step up promotion and advocacy of the various programs and services of the agency and to provide assistance to TVET graduates to find employment.

He said although it is not a mandate of TESDA but it is helping in the facilitation of jobs to ensure that there is return on investment on the scholarship trainings provided by the government in the form of jobs or employment.

“We want to make sure that in every end of the training program, our graduates would be able to find jobs,” said Sunico.

He said the matrix of their performance is enhancing jobs or employability and not the number of graduates.

“The alpha and the omega of every training program of TESDA is, should be, must be, jobs, where we could measure if we have addressed job mismatch,” said Sunico.

He said there can never be total perfect jobs fit. There will always be mismatch, but this can somehow be avoided by informing their constituents, stakeholders and members of the labor force to choose the proper course that are in demand.

During the event, Sunico also turned over the qualification map to incoming TESDA 6 Director Ashary Banto who assumed the post effective March 1.

The qualification map contains programs and projects that will be implemented by the different TESDA provincial offices in the region, their number of beneficiaries, among others.

Sunico served TESDA 6 for eight months during his second term. His first term was in 2011 and it lasted for 9 months. He will assume the post as the new Regional Director of TESDA CARAGA, the post vacated by Banto.

Iloilo’s P11.2-B dam project to break ground in June

By Perla Lena

ILOILO CITY -- Ilonggo Senator Franklin M. Drilon on Friday announced that Iloilo’s Jalaur River Multi-Purpose (JRMP) dam Stage II project is all set for groundbreaking this June.

The construction, which will be undertaken by the Daewoo Engineering and Construction Company Limited, is expected to last for 46 months and will be fully operational by June 2022.

Drilon made the announcement in a press conference here after a meeting with the new Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-Man couple of weeks ago where they discussed the progress of the JRMP dam project.

“He assured me and the Korea government assured me that we will start the actual construction of the dam this coming June of this year,” he said.

The project will be funded by the Economic Development Cooperation Fund or the Korean Exim Bank at USD208 million dollars or equivalent to almost PHP11.212 billion. It will have an interest of .15 percent, payable in 30 years with a grace period of 10 years.

Drilon said that the interest is so far the “lowest that we can get” although it is almost similar to Official Development Assistance given the term.

The contract preparation for the project is ongoing and it is expected to be signed this month.

“There are no major issues left. It’s just a matter of going through and seeing the contract properly executed,” he said.

Once completed, the project is expected to boost rice production in the province by providing year-round irrigation to some 32,000 hectares of rice land.

It will also solve water supply problem in Iloilo with its 87,000 cubic meters of water daily and to produce 6.6 megawatts of electricity. It will also bring in 80 kilometers of new service roads.

“I am confident this will bring progress to our province, and more importantly it will increase the income of our farmers tremendously so that there will be very substantial poverty alleviation in our province,” he said.

JRMP, which is the biggest dam to be constructed outside of Luzon, will be constructed in the town of Calinog, Iloilo. (PNA)

Iloilo City reconstitutes trade and promotions board

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The city government will formally launch its newly-reconstituted Iloilo City Trade and Promotions Board on Thursday as one of the preparations for the visit of the British Chamber of Commerce Philippines this March 8-9.

Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III appointed as his co-chairperson Dr. Henry Chusuey, president of the Boracay Foundation, and owner of six hotels under the Hennan Group of Resorts in Boracay Island. He also has investments in Panglao, Bohol.

The board is composed of investment and trade experts who will be primarily tasked to identify and provide solutions/programs/activities that would ensure the continued influx of investments in the city of Iloilo, states Executive Order 19 of Mayor Espinosa.

“It is essential because we empower and strengthen the public-private partnership. The main driver of our economy is this kind of partnership not only with the private sector but with the academe,” said Ritchel Gavan, head of the city Local Economic and Investment Promotions Office (LEIPO) and member of the board secretariat on Tuesday.

She added that the group would sit in the “policy-making to enhance the business enabling in the city”.

The launch on March 1 is simultaneous with the business meeting dubbed as “Iloilo Means Business, Investment Promotions and Generation” that will gather local business groups in the metropolis.

“We would like to have some sort of an inventory of investible areas of private sector in the city. And we would want to strengthen the relationship between our local businesses because investors are coming in but we also would like to prioritize our local,” she said.

Meanwhile, Chusuey following his oath-taking as co-chair of the board on February 23 said he hoped to see Iloilo City as a tourist destination.

“I assure you I will do my best to help Iloilo, especially in investment. I hope one of these days Iloilo will not only be industrial but will also be a tourist destination,” he said.

Chusuey emphasized that the only industry that can compete with other industries of other ASEAN countries is tourism.

“Iloilo is a nice place I was born here, I stayed here. I would convince also the mayor to do some tourist attraction because that is the only we can fight as of now,” he said.

He committed to “try to convince people to invest in Iloilo, especially in tourism” as he underscored that government and the private sector should do their part.

Chusuey cited that Iloilo has a nice beach although it is not white. But he said that one of the popular destinations in Bali, Indonesia has a gray black beach similar to Iloilo City’s Villa beach in Arevalo.

The only difference is that the place there is clean while Iloilo City has its beach “full of squatters”, he said.

Gavan said that Dr. Chusuey was in the tourism industry, thus “he saw the role of tourism in becoming one of the priority investment areas in the city”.

The previous board was responsible for the 2014 investment forum in Makati that brought in major industry in the city, which was the Information Technology -Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO), Gavan said.

Meantime, Espinosa said members of the board were Ilonggo businessmen with national investments. This was necessary because they may need counterparts for any business they would like to engage.