Iloilo City News October 2015

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Iloilo City - Archived News

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


Good nutrition begins in the family – DOH

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

ILOILO CITY, Oct. 31(PIA)—The Department of Health-6 said it is in the family where good nutrition and healthy lifestyle begin.

DOH-6 Director Dr. Marlyn Convocar said any effort at making children and other members of the family healthy is always attributed to how they are brought up and trained in the family.

“This follows also that what and how food is prepared for the family determines the growth of each one, especially children,” Convocar said, during the Regional Nutrition Awarding recently.

She told the health and nutrition workers that many of the stunting and wasting among children were traced to have begun in the nutrition practices at home.

She added that besides obesity, stunting and wasting among children are rising cases of malnutrition in many parts of the country based on the latest surveys on nutrition situation.

“We, the health and Barangay Nutrition Scholars should be models of good nutrition, starting with our families, not only with the communities we serve,” she added.

Convocar said that while BNSs and nutrition action officers are teaching good nutrition, they themselves should manifest change in behaviour as far as nutrition practices are concerned.

“We have the “10 Kumainments” to guide us,” she said.

The DOH, being chair of the Regional Nutrition Committee, has worked actively with the NNC, to intensify advocacy for the adoption of the “10 Kumainments” to reach every family.

Meanwhile, Covocar said, their immediate thrust now is to campaign for good nutrition at the first 1,000 days of the child, starting from conception, which encourages families to prepare nutritious foods even for pregnant women, and follow this with habits and practices that promote good nutrition and healthy lifestyle.

“The family is a great influence even in the eating habits of its members, especially children, as this is where undernutrition, stunting and wasting start,” Convocar said.

NNC -6 Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Nona Tad-y said the Nutrition Month celebration for 2016 will revolve on the 1,000 and she invited the BNSs and other partners to try conceptualizing the possible theme for the celebration.

USAID holds forum on water security, climate change


ILOILO CITY, Oct. 30 (PNA)-– The United States Agency International Development (USAID) is helping Iloilo improve its water security and become resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Stakeholders gathered Thursday for the “Coping with El Niño and Climate Change: A Water Demand Management Forum” held at Richmonde Hotel in Iloilo City.

The forum was part of the USAID Water Security for Resilient Economic Growth and Stability (Be Secure) Project, a four-year project being implemented in six areas: Iloilo, Basilan, Leyte, Maguindanao, Misamis Oriental and Zamboanga City.

Ramon Alikpala, senior technical adviser for water, USAID Be Secure Project, explained that climate change and water security are serious global problems.

USAID is helping Iloilo provide strategic and long-term solutions to address these issues affecting some critical areas in the country.

“We are also helping the national government improve its policy and develop new laws to improve water management, and push for better regulation of water use,” he said.

USAID provides technical assistance, including the Climate Projection component of the project being undertaken by the state weather bureau PAGASA.

Alikpala explained baseline data is important to address the problem. “It is very easy to say ‘let’s conserve water’ but then, how?” he said.

Water conservation involves changes in behavior. Thus, the USAID also helps PAGASA make the Climate Projection data understandable to the public.

The local government units can use the PAGASA data to improve their projections and plan their preparations for the adverse impact of changes in climate, in the case of Philippines, the El Niño or prolonged drought, he said.

To help water districts in addressing the water security issue, the USAID also provides technical assistance to them.

In the case of Metro Iloilo Water District, the USAID Be Secure Project will hire international consultants to help the utility firm with their strategic planning, he said.

"There are private firms willing to help water districts improve their services, we will get international consultants for them to review the proposals of these investors," he said.

“In the case of Iloilo, we don’t give money directly for infrastructures; we are more about empowering people help themselves; it’s a lot of capacity building.

"We would spend for climate studies for climate projections, which the province can use to improve their projections, Alikpala said.

"In the case of water district, we will get international consultants to help with their strategic planning or review proposals of private investors which offer to help them improve their services,” he said.

According to Pagasa, rainfall level in Iloilo and Guimaras in Oct. is “way below normal” or greater than 60 percent reduction from the normal rainfall.

Glutinous native ‘kakanin’ dominates Ilonggo tables during All Saints Day

By Perla G. Lena [(PNA), CTB/AJP/LCP/CBF]

ILOILO CITY, Oct 29 (PNA)-– Despite the advent of modern technology, Ilonggos honor their dead in the tradition of their forefathers through prayers, candles and flowers. But their tables are laden with native foods and “kakanin” delicacies as their traditional offering to the departed love ones on All Saints Day on November 1 and All Souls Day on November 2.

Native delicacies whose prominent ingredients are the glutinous “malagkit” rice in the form of suman, puto, cuchinta, suman latik, maja blanca, baye-baye, bibingka, kalamay hati, ibos and arros ala valenciana that lay side by side with spaghetti, lechon and other Americanized dishes are served to members of the family and friends who drop by.

The glutinous rice goes with muscovado sugar and coconut milk to make the delicious and yummy “kakanin” as the family gathers to enjoy and savor the family reunion and bonding.

There is no clear explanation why the Ilonggos prefer the native glutinous “kakanin” and delicacies on this celebration. Started by the Ilonggo great, great grandparents, the “kakanin” was adapted from generations until today.

Perhaps the ingredients are easily accessible and cheaper. A kilo of malagkit rice cost Php65 while a kilo of moscovado costs Php60 and a coconut head is Php25 with no price increase ahead.

Senior Ilonggos believed that serving native food invite souls of departed family members to dine so that the souls will not disturb other family members inside the house. The old ones still believe that once dead souls greet anybody from the family members, it causes illness particularly fever.

On the other hand, the Transportation Management and Traffic Regulation Office (TMTRO) will be on standby in the next 48 hours to help in traffic management in the city’s 16 public and private cemeteries. Traffic aides and barangay tanods will also help ease the traffic flow.

In Molo district, the public cemetery have prominent personalities buried there. Among them were the late Senator Rodolfo T. Ganzon and Jose Ma. Arroyo Ray Pidal, the grandfather of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.

The prominent Lopez Clan has their own private cemetery in Jaro district where the late Philippine Vice President Fernando Lopez and his wife Mariquit were buried.

NNC cites Best performers in nutrition

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

ILOILO CITY, Oct. 28(PIA)—Awards in various categories were given to best performers in the implementation of nutrition programs in their respective local government units.

The regional awarding is done yearly by the National Nutrition Council-6, as its way of recognizing the commitment and support of individuals and LGUs to nutrition.

Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Nona Tad-y said these awards consist of the 2014 Green Banner Awards, Outstanding Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNSs) for the city, provincial and regional levels, and for the longest serving BNSs.

The CROWN Maintenance Awardee for its exemplary accomplishment in nutrition program implementation is the municipality of Jordan, Guimaras. CROWN stands for Consistent Regional Outstanding Award for Nutrition and this is already won by Jordan for the second year.

For the 2014 Regional Green Banner Awardees, included the town of E.B. Magalona in Negros Occidental as Outstanding Municipality, while the town of Numancia in Aklan, besides being the Outstanding Municipality in the province, is also the Outstanding Municipality in the Region.

La Carlota City, meanwhile, was the Outstanding City in the region, and the province of Negros Occidental garnered the recognition as Outstanding Province in the region.

The NNC also awarded 11 Outstanding BNSs in the city level and five in the provincial level.

The Regional Outstanding BNS was Maria Magdalena Yales of Bgy. Abuanan, Bago City, Negros Occidental, who was also awarded among the 2014City Outstanding BNS.

Runners-up cited were Maria Luisa Maldecer, Bgy. Poblacion, La Carlota City, and Annabel Fernandez, Bgy. Cabatangan, Talisay City, all of Negros Occidental.

Further, NNC also cited 13 longest serving BNSs, the latest of the BNSs who have rendered 30 and more years of service in their communities, they were given certificates and P400/year of service.

Dr. Marlyn Convocar, Department of Health-6 regional director, said that this year’s awardees should work harder to sustain their performance, while inspiring others to also strengthen their commitment to keep good nutrition a lifestyle choice in the communities.

The awarding ceremony was attended by more than 500 nutrition and health workers and stakeholders all over the region.

Nona Tad-y said the presence of these nutrition advocates were not only for the awards but also to share the joy of those who have been recognized for the hard work in promoting good nutrition.

Iloilo reinvests Php116M from district hospitals


ILOILO CITY, Oct. 27 (PNA) -- The Hospital Management Office has turned over to the local government unit of Iloilo some Php116 million reinvestment from the income of the 12 district hospitals in the province.

Iloilo Provincial administrator Raul Banias said that in 2014, 12 hospitals were able to generate the said amount from the hospital fees and savings.

“The money will be used as supplemental budget for the improvement of the hospitals,” Banias said.

Banias also said that the fund will also be used to improve the infrastructures of hospitals, hospital facility upgrading, equipment procurement and to even hire more personnel.

During the State of the Province Address (SOPA) of Iloilo governor Arthur Defensor this October 27, he emphasized that the reinvestment from the hospitals will be able to capacitate the personnel to improve their work performance and attain customer satisfaction that are at par with private hospitals.

In 2015, Banias said that there will still be about Php150 million to be turned over to the province.

Further, the three performing hospitals which earned enough to cover both the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) and personal services will be given incentives.

Banias said that best performing hospitals could convert their personnel who are under contract of service into permanent personnel.

More tech-voc trainings up for Ilonggos through TESDA, Iloilo LPRAT programs


ILOILO CITY, Oct. 26 (PNA) -- More Ilonggos are expected to benefit from the technical-vocational skills training offered under the Bottom Up Budgeting (BUB) Program of the Technical Education and Skills Development (TESDA-Iloilo) and Local Poverty Reduction Action Team (LPRAT).

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who is also the LPRAT chairman, encouraged first-time beneficiaries to avail of trainings in order to help them find employment opportunities.

Technical Institute of Iloilo City (TIIC) Molo campus Administrator Maria Mathilde Octavio noted that 90 beneficiaries have been identified to start training following its launch Friday.

The recipients will be 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.

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

Iloilo, nominee for Best Peso Award


FOR two consecutive years already, the Iloilo Provincial Government’s Public Employment Service Office (Peso) is again a nominee for the Best Peso Award of the Bureau of Local Employment in the first class province category for year 2014.

Representing Governor Arthur Defensor Sr., Peso Manager Francisco Heller Jr. and his staff Cynthia Dario are in Pasay City Monday, October 26, to attend the 2014 Best Peso Awards Night, the highlight of 15th National Peso Congress, at International Convention Center.

Peso Iloilo was qualified as nominee after a thorough and careful selection of entries that were submitted by the different regions to BLE, according to a letter from BLE Director IV Dominique Tutay.

Dario said their office’s accomplishments for 2014 earned them the Best Performing Peso in the Western Visayas and became an entry to the national level search.

“We are happy and proud that our office is again a finalist to this national search and we hope that we can get the 2014 award this time around,” Dario said.

From January 2013 to June 2015, Peso Iloilo helped deploy 5,419 applicants for employment in local (4,254) and overseas (360) during five job fairs and 88 special recruitment activities.

It partnered with 448 companies, wherein 303 were local while 145 were overseas agencies, to deliver sustainable employment facilitation, job generation and livelihood programs.

Aside from organizing job fairs and recruitment assistance to employers, Peso Iloilo directs qualified applicants to agencies with vacancies matching their qualification, provides career guidance and employment coaching, organize skills training program and provide employment to poor but deserving students during their summer and Christmas vacations.

It also provides for labor market information, which refers to the movement of labor and supply in the province and for the same period, it has solicited a total of 34,714 job vacancies/ job orders from both local and overseas manpower agencies.

Dinagyang 2016 launched


ILOILO City – The city government, Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation, Inc. (IDFI) and the San Jose Parish Church signed a tripartite memorandum of agreement for the 2016 edition of the Dinagyang Festival.

The signing yesterday officially launched the Dinagyang season, the highlight of which is the ati tribe competition on Jan. 24, 2016.

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog represented the city government during the signing while IDFI was represented by its chairperson, Ramon Cua Locsin and former president Lee Chuan.

The Dinagyang Pamukaw will be on Dec. 11, 2015 while the opening salvo is on Jan. 8, 2016.

The Miss Iloilo Dinagyang beauty pageant will be on Jan. 20, 2016 at the University of San Agustin Gym.

The fluvial procession is on Jan. 22, 2016 while the Kasadyahan is on Jan. 23, 2016.

The city government and IDFI will be releasing more schedules of activities in the weeks to come.

Meanwhile, Alex Soncio, organizer of the Miss Dinagyang pageant, said there are 10 candidates.

“Stressful (sic) ako kay ang Iloilo Miss Dinagyang word of mouth, gina-look forward gid sang Ilonggos and tourists. So as chairman gina himoratan ko gid nga mag level-up,” said Soncio.

German consulting firm offers business, pleasure trip for local businessmen to Germany

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

ILOILO CITY, Oct 23 (PNA) -- A German firm based in Mandurriao district of this city is proposing a 10-day business and pleasure trip to Germany for local businessmen and industrialists to study and observe the operation of noted German factories producing noted brands.

The trip will include sightseeing of famous landmarks and tourist places in Germany and an opportunity to partake of the famous German cuisine.

General Manager Heinz Dieter Bender of 168 YelloBill Consulting and Service Agency said they are offering their services to all Philippine business owners and industrialists as part of their obligation to show the origin of German quality products and quality workmanship.

Bender said the trip is initially scheduled this first quarter of 2016.

Travel schedule showed that participants will start the trip from the Iloilo International Airport to Singapore with German tour guides fluent in Ilonggo, Tagalog, English and German.

They will be in transit in Singapore to the German Lufthansa Airlines to Frankfurt International Airport (Fraport) where a Mercedez Benz minivan will transport the participants everyday to high quality production facilities. The tour guides will acquaint the travelers of the procedure of German companies and brands never offered to ordinary travelers.

During the daily trips, the participants will observe Germany’s panorama of lush green forests and ancient structures blended with technically advanced architecture. They will be introduced to the distinct taste of local cuisine and a chance to experience driving in the Autobahn, drinking beer in a Pub, ride with the Intercity Express and visit and dine in castles and palaces.

Lodging will be at the legendary 5-star design hotel Roomers located in the heat of Frankfurt am Main.

Bender said Filipino travel participants will be treated to an open door Mage-Sunnovation, a factory of solar construction elements for applications in architecture. The factory can customize the number of cells, individual geometry, transparency and colorization of solar designer modules.

Next stop is at Main Site, and energy consultancy which specializes in renewable energy and energy-efficient heating in cooling systems like water cooling for entire buildings. The Wertheim Village is an outlet shopping village offering all kinds of luxury brands and appliance discounted up to 60 percent.

Experience a picturesque ferry ride on the river Main passing the floodgate in Kleinostheim and drive through the historic Einhard Basilica. Next stop is at the ANWR, a conglomerate for shoes, leather ware, financing, realty and corporate consultancy, tax and economy analysis, enterprise resource planning education and advance training.

The next appointment is at Mannesmann VDO; one of the world’s leading manufacturers of automobile parts and shopping at the Hessen Center with 115 indoor shops at 3.8 hectare space.

The trip will also include a visit to the Johannesburg Palace, Pompejanum Mansion, the fascinating Ronneburg Castle and the famous raptor show with various birds of prey.

Day 5 will bring the participants to the Henkell and Co wine cellars, Bebrich Palace and ride the famous Nero mountain railway to the palatial state theater. They will also visit the Casino Wiesbaden and the thermal brimstone well, Kochbrunnen and take a ride at the intercity Express train.

Day 6 will start at Schmemnn pipe displacement and welding and a taste of the popular local cuisine at German roadhouse.

Thereafter, the participants will go to Solingen or the city of blades to visit the WSH cutlery, the international leading manufacturer of hair cutting machines and manufacturer of high quality tools for manicure, pedicure, haircare and scissors. They will also learn more about Solingen in the grinding shop Wipperkotten which has been producing blades since the 17th century.

Day 7 will be a visit to Idar Oberstein, the city of gemstones and jewelry and the Fissler, the leader in German cookware and at the gemstone museum. They will get to explore the gemstone mine Steinkaulenberg, which the only visitable gemstone mine in Europe.

The participants will also visit the Neiderwald Monument built in 1879 as the foundation of the German Empire. The participants will relax at panoramic botanical garden Palmengaten housing the plant life from all over the world in the last day of the tour.

Bender said that interested participants will have to call or email their interest at landline 63 33 3211 211, VoLP 49 6021 1304 188, CP 63 926 6674 428 or or

DOT-6 to launch contest advocating water conservation


ILOILO CITY, Oct. 22 (PNA)-– The Department of Tourism-6 is set to launch a contest that will encourage water conservation among communities in Western Visayas.

Regional Director Helen Catalbas said the contest dubbed “Operation Water Fall” will reward households and establishments like stores, restaurants, hotels, among others, with reduced water consumption.

The contest is not only for tourism stakeholders, she said, as water conservation for tourism purposes involves the community as well.

“Water conserved in all households, industries and tourism facilities could contribute to the overall water sufficiency of a tourist destination,” she said.

The contest was conceptualized during the tourism stakeholders meeting aimed to lay plans on how to conserve water and address the adverse effects of El Niño to the sector.

Catalbas said they are still finalizing the mechanics of the contest.

“The tourism industry is one of the strongest consumers of water so we will be meeting to come up with strategic plans on how we can conserve our water resources,” she said.

She said the sector must collectively address or mitigate the impact of long droughts to tourism.

To date, the DOT has not received any reports of adverse effects of El Niño to tourism stakeholders.

Iloilo City is Top 5 in PCCI’s most business-friendly LGU search


ILOILO CITY, Oct. 21 (PNA) -- Iloilo City made it to the Top 5 finalists in the highly urbanized city (HUC) category of the search for most business-friendly local government unit (LGU) award of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog presented Tuesday the city’s accomplishments and replied to queries of panel of judges. The final result will be announced next week.

He stressed that the citation is a clear proof of the city government’s efforts to improve service delivery and create conducive business climate to attract investors.

The LGUs’ entries were assessed based on key areas namely trade, investment, and tourism promotions; public-private sector partnership; micro small medium enterprises development; quality management system, innovations and human resources development; quality customer service; and local government collaborations.

The award is an initiative of PCCI to recognize and promote models of effective governance and highlights the LGU's ability to institute good governance reforms to promote trade and investment in their localities and ensure accountability, transparency and efficiency in the conduct of their day-to-day operations.

PCCI spearheads the annual search for most business-friendly awards to commend LGUs that have become successful in creating or enhancing an environment conducive to business.

It aims to complement the efforts of government to institutionalize standards in delivering quality services to the people as mandated by Anti-Red Tape Act.

Its slogan, “What’s good for the citizenry is good for business” represents a framework for achieving continuous improvement of LGU services to their areas benefiting both business and citizenry.

PCCI is the voice of the country’s business sector working with stakeholders to advocate growth and sustainable development.

Iloilo City council OKs mandatory conduct of emergency drills in public, private institutions


ILOILO CITY, Oct. 20 (PNA) -- Public and private institutions in the city are now required to conduct emergency drills.

On Tuesday, the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) during its regular session passed the “Emergency Drills Ordinance in the City of Iloilo” which requires drills in educational institutions; health care institutions and public and private establishments, offices and agencies with 35 or more occupants.

Under the ordinance, educational and health care institutions are required to hold simulation exercises at least four times a year and twice a year for public and private establishments, offices and agencies.

The two drills must be held in March to mark the celebration of the Fire Prevention Month and in July in time for the celebration of the National Disaster Consciousness Month. The remaining drills will be at the discretion of concerned institutions.

Councilor Lady Julie Grace L. Baronda, the author of the ordinance, said that the ordinance “seeks to mitigate risks caused by disasters or calamity by preparing city residents on the proper response and actions to take in cases of fires, earthquakes and other hazardous phenomena.”

She added that along with the conduct of drills are orientations and information drive on disaster risk reduction.

Meanwhile, penalties shall be imposed upon owners, managers, operators or administrators who “willfully and deliberately refuse to conduct drills without justifiable reasons.”

A fine of PHP3,500, PHP5,000 and suspension of business license for 15 days and PHP5,000 and revocation of business permit or license will be meted during the first, second and third offense offense, respectively.

Tenants, occupants or employees of establishments that refuse to join without valid reasons will be fined PHP3,500 while students will face disciplinary action to be imposed by the head of their school.

The ordinance is yet to be approved by the city mayor and will take effect 15 days after its publication in newspapers of general circulation in the city.

Iloilo City gov’t job hires, contractual employees to enroll with e-AlkanSSYA program


ILOILO CITY, Oct 19 (PNA) - - More than 685 job orders and casual employees of the city government here are set to enroll with the e-AlkanSSSya program of the Social Security System (SSS).

This after the city government and the SSS signed Monday a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for this program.

SSS Iloilo branch head Emilia B. Solinap said they are looking forward to enroll the more than 2,000 job orders and contractual workers of the city government so they could also avail of SSS benefits once they retire.

These workers will be paying their premium, to be deducted automatically from their salary and remitted to SSS, starting November this year. Once they get separated from government service they have an option to pay their premiums as voluntary members.

Minimum premium payment is P330 per month.

Aside from Solinap other signatories to the agreement include Raul Casiano, SSS OIC assistant vice president for Western Visayas; Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog and city administrator Norlito Bautista.

Meanwhile, aside from the Iloilo City government, SSS has already entered into an agreement with the local government units of Cabatuan and Oton, and the rehabilitation center of the Department of Health (DOH) that is based in Pototan, all in Iloilo as well as the provincial government of Guimaras.

Negotiations are also underway for the municipalities of Sara and Barotac Viejo while SSS is set to orient job hires and contractual workers of the LGU of Sta. Barbara.

Solinap added that they hope to also encourage personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to enroll in the program.

Iloilo prepares P233M for El Niño


THE Provincial Government of Iloilo increased the budgetary requirements needed in its contingency plan for El Niño by P6 million or from initial P226.90 million to P233.07 million.

The province is expected to spend most of the funds to agriculture wherein a total of P94.7 million is allocated to minimize possible damage in crops (P80.6 million), fisheries (P7 million) and livestock (P7 million).

The Department of Agriculture augmented the province with P5 million for the procurement and distribution of rice, vegetable and corn seeds susceptible to drought.

There are also provisions for procurement and distribution of rodenticides, pesticides, and production of bio-control agents for pest control.

The Provincial Agriculture Office will also spearhead an immediate restoration of coral species that are more adaptive to warm temperatures and build new habitats to serve as breeding ground for fish and other sea creatures.

The Provincial government is confident that it can build the capacities of farmers to mitigate the effects of El Niño, according to Provincial Agriculturist Ildefonso Toledo.

The revised action plan, which is set to take effect this October 2015 up to June 2016, provides detailed strategies and measures to adapt to the effects of strongest El Niño foreseen to hit the country.

Aside from agriculture, the plan also covers other socio-economic areas like human health (P11.8 million), social capital (P57 million) and environment (P4.8 million).

A total of P55.6 million will also be utilized to construct more water systems, purchase water saving technology, installation of rainwater harvesting technology and cloud seeding.

Media plugging and production of information, education and campaign materials require P5.1 million, while the training for disaster risk reduction requires spending of P4-million.

Provincial Planning and Development Officer Mario Nillos said they will soon organize a province-wide caravan to orient the public of El Niño and what they can do about it.

GSIS Iloilo improves collection efficiency


ILOILO City – The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Iloilo Office posted 99 percent collection efficiency in premiums payments for the second quarter of 2015.

The collection efficiency improved by two percentage points from the 97 percent posted in the first quarter, said Atty. Dionisio Ebdane Jr., GSIS VisMin Group senior vice president.

For 2015, a total of 1,527 collections were posted out of the 1,560 open items for premium accounts.

GSIS also posted 80 percent collection efficiency for loans payments this year equivalent to 1,051 collections out of the 1,306 open items.

Meanwhile, Ebdane said the agency secured a strong financial standing for the past four years with P232 billion of revenue posted in 2014.

“Revenue posted growth from P96 billion in 2010, P123 billion in 2011, P137 billion in 2012, and to P135 billion in 2013. In 2014, revenue rose to P232 billion,” he said.

Total assets stood at P787 billion in 2013 from P567 billion in 2010. In 2014, assets already reached P910 billion.

Total income also increased from P64 billion in 2010 to an all-time high of P139 billion in 2014.

GSIS said claims were also processed within the prescribed turn-around time, owing to the reduced number of documentary requirements and the e-crediting of benefits to the eCard or UMID card accounts of members.

DepEd-6 prioritizes construction of classrooms for senior high school


ILOILO CITY, Oct. 16 (PNA) -- The Department of Education-6 (DepEd-6) is currently prioritizing the construction of classrooms for Senior High School (SHS) according to Leah Belleza, information officer of DepEd-6.

Senior high school will roll out in 2016 in which students will go to Grades 11 and 12 as the last two years of the K to 12 Basic Education Program of DepEd.

The different tracks for the eight learning areas as part of the SHS’ core curriculum requires additional facilities and learning materials for incoming senior high school students.

“The learning materials to be used are already prepared,” Belleza said

“What DepEd-6 is prioritizing right now is the construction of the classrooms,” she added.

Belleza also said that the DepEd central office has already prepared the budget allocation for the construction of classrooms.

Some schools in Western Visayas that will offer senior high school have already started the construction of classrooms needed while others are still conducting their pre-bidding and bidding process.

However, while DepEd is prioritizing the construction of classrooms for SHS, it is also continuing its mobilization and campaign for the K to 12 program.

Belleza said that there is currently an ongoing signing of pledge of commitment in the different Local Government Units (LGUs) to support the implementation of K to 12 in Western Visayas.

On October 27, the K-12 Regional Dialogue will be conducted here in Iloilo by the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) and Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) to ease the public’s apprehension on the government’s readiness to fully implement the program.

Further, there is also an ongoing validation of the non-DepEd schools to offer senior high schools in the region.

Western Visayas students participate in Global Handwashing Day celebration


ILOILO CITY, Oct.15 (PNA) -- Students from different public and private elementary and secondary schools in Western Visayas joined the celebration of this year's Global Handwashing Day on Thursday.

According to Leah Belleza, information officer of the Department of Education (DepEd) 6, the Iloilo Central Elementary School and the Buntatala National High School led the celebration in Iloilo.

A short program after the flag-raising ceremony was conducted simultaneously in schools to inform the students and the community of the significance of handwashing with soap and share the key messages particularly the critical times of handwashing and demonstrate the proper steps of handwashing.

A consolidated narrative reports with pictorials concerning the Global Handwashing day celebration are to be submitted by schools to the regional office through the Regional School-Based Management Coordinator, and the Regional Health and Nutrition Unit.

The activity aimed to increase awareness and understanding among students and teachers on the importance of handwashing with soap and water as the simplest, most cost-effective way of improving sanitation and hygiene.

In addition, it also seeks to promote handwashing as the best way to preventing life threatening diseases such as reducing the incidence of diarrhea, reducing acute respiratory infection, and prevent skin and eye infections and intestinal worms.

In support to the United Nations' (UN) declaration of a Global Handwashing Day and pursuant to House of Representatives Resolution No.1436 otherwise known as the “Implementation of Annual Global Handwashing Day”, the Department of Education (DepEd) 6 joined the celebration.

The theme of the celebration this year is “Raise a Hand for Hygiene”.

DOT strengthens tourism marketing strategies in West Visayas


THE Department of Tourism (DOT) Western Visayas is strengthening its portfolio defining its marketing strategies of tourism products and services in six provinces and cities to attract more visitors to come and experience the region.

DOT regional director Helen Catalbas said the regional tourism product portfolio highlights each province’s or city’s top tourism products that also concur with the nine tourism products recommended by market-product analysis to be prioritized to enrich tourist experience and boost product diversification.

These tourism products were identified in the Western Visayas Tourism Action Plan 2013-2016, which underwent thorough consultations with various stakeholders in the region.

Catalbas said the region offers nature-based tourism, sun and beach tourism, diving and marine sports tourism, cultural tourism, cruise and nautical tourism, eco-tourism, pilgrimage tourism, indigenous tourism and agrifarm tourism, leisure and entertainment tourism, Mice tourism, health, wellness and retirement tourism and educational tourism spread among the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental and the cities of Bacolod and Iloilo.

The portfolio provides convenience for the tourists who are looking for the best places where to spend their vacations. These tourism products are best bought from DOT-accredited tour operators either for individual or group travels.

The increase of tourist arrivals in 2014 could be attributed to the massive promotion and marketing of Western Visayas by DOT Western Visayas, local government units (LGUs) and private sector among its residents, other Filipinos and foreign markets under the region’s flagship campaign banner “Experience Western Visayas First”.

Each province records increase on their tourist arrivals causing significant growth in Western Visayas tourist arrivals for 2014 aimed to hit the 3.3-million regional tourist arrivals target in 2016.

Iloilo City ready for Dinagyang 2016

By Lydia C. Pendon

PREPARATIONS are underway for the Iloilo Dinagyang 2016 that will be held in the fourth week of January 2016.

Councilor Eduardo Penaredondo said the City Council on Tuesday, October 13, has approved a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the City Government, Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc., and the San Jose Parish Placer for a month-long festival celebration in Iloilo City.

The Ilonggos are celebrating the Feast of the Sr. Santo Niño every January through the Dinagyang Festival.

Iloilo City is bracing up for the return of many international delegates to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) by bringing their families to savor the festival and Ilonggo food and cuisines.

Penaredondo said the City Government is giving financial assistance to the festival with P1 million to be given upon signing of the memorandum of agreement, P6.7 million by December 2015 and P4 million before the festival proper.

Iloilo PSWDO holds Children’s Summit


ILOILO CITY, Oct. 12 (PNA) -- The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) gathered more than 150 high school students and parent leaders from all over Iloilo for the opening of Children’s Summit at the Casa Real de Iloilo on Monday.

PSWDO chief Dr. Neneth Q. Pador said the summit is an annual activity organized by their office as part of their advocacy to promote the welfare and development of children.

This year’s theme is “Promoting Children’s Rights for a Fun and Meaningful Childhood Towards Developing More Responsible and Responsive Citizens.”

The summit featured the following topics: “Career guidance towards becoming a globally productive, gender sensitive and responsive” by lawyer Fevi Fanco of the Department of Education; “Drug-free communities for the children of today and tomorrow” by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) regional director Paul Ledesma; and “Enjoying childhood for stronger and more responsible Filipinos families of the next generation” by Ma. Arby Mendoza of the Provincial Population Office.

Pador said another batch of youths will gather next week for the same activity.

She noted that the Children’s Summit is important as it empowers the youth and enhances their capacity to express themselves and relate with others in the group.

Iloilo’s 1st CityMall opens in Jaro


ILOILO City – CityMall Commercial Centers, Inc. (CMCCI) has finally opened the doors of its first CityMall here.

Located near Jaro district’s Tagbak transport terminal – a major transport hub that serves as gateway to northern Iloilo and the provinces of Capiz and Aklan – the opening of CityMall yesterday was graced by Sen. Franklin Drilon, Rep. Jerry Treñas and Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, among others.

They were joined by DoubleDragon Properties Corp.’s Edgar “Injap” Sia, CityMall ambassadress Anne Curtis, and Tommy Que of Iloilo Commercial Development Corp.

Standing in an 8,000-square meter lot, the newly-opened CityMall houses Jollibee Food Corp. (JFC) stores namely, Jollibee, Greenwhich, Chowking, Mang Inasal, Red Ribbon, and Highlands Coffee; SM brands like Simply Shoes, Watsons, Banco de Oro (BDO), and Ace Hardware; and Que-owned Iloilo Supermart, among others.

CMCCI signed a 26-year lease agreement with Iloilo Commercial Development Corp. for the location of its CityMalls in Tagbak, Jaro and Ungka, Pavia, Iloilo City.

Iloilo Commercial Development Corp. is owned by the Que family that operates Iloilo Supermart – the largest community mall chain in the city.

The CityMall in Pavia has an area of 11,918 square meters and located right beside the Pavia People’s Transport Terminal. It is scheduled to open next year.

Another CityMall will be established in Parola as part of the 1.3-hectare Guimaras-Iloilo Ferry Terminal (GIFT). It is expected to operate also next year.

CMCCI is a company owned by DoubleDragon Properties Corp. and SM Investments Corp.

DoubleDragon is owned by Ilonggo businessman and Mang Inasal founder Edgar “Injap” Sia and Jollibee founder Tony Tan Caktiong, while SM Investments Corp. is owned by business magnate Henry Sy.

The said company is 66-percent owned by DoubleDragon and 34-percent owned by SM Investments Corp.

DoubleDragon opened its first CityMall in the country in Roxas City in March this year.

CityMall Tagbak is the fifth CityMall in the country. Its other locations are in Tetuan in Zamboanga, Consolasion in Cebu, and Anabu-Imus in Cavite.

The company is targeting to open 100 CityMalls by 2020 and hit P1-billion net income by 2016.

Mud crab congress this Oct.


ILOILO City – The Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) based in Tigbauan, Iloilo will hold a “mud crab congress” from Oct. 16 to 18.

The three-day gathering in this city will focus primarily on mud crabs’ biology, hatchery, nursery, go out production, and socio-economics.

Generally cooked with their shells on, mud crabs are considered among the tastiest of crab species, and demand for them is high in South and Southeast Asian countries.

SEAFDEC researchers recently warned of the adverse effects of the drought this year until the middle of 2016 on the country’s mud crab production, including that in Capiz, the recognized “Seafood Capital of the Philippines.”

According to Dr. Fe Estepa, head of SEAFDEC’s technology verification demonstration division, between 150 to 200 participants are attending.

“They will be talking about their experiences…if the technology really works on hatchery, nursery and go out production,” said Estepa.

The congress is in collaboration with the University of the Philippine Visayas and Department of Science and Technology.

SEAFDEC was established in 1967 with the main objective of promoting fisheries development in Southeast Asia.

It also aims to help governments achieve food security and alleviate poverty through transfer of new technologies, research and information dissemination activities.

Iloilo City to open neurological center


ILOILO CITY, Oct. 9 (PNA) -- A center that will cater to indigent residents of this city who are suffering from neurological diseases will soon be established at the Iloilo City Maternity and Reproductive Health Center in Lapaz district.

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog this week approved the opening of the center for neurological diseases clinic or stroke clinic that will start operations in January next year.

The clinic will be provided with medical personnel and necessary equipment to assist patients who could not afford to spend for the rehabilitation in private clinic, said Jose Rey Delfin, spokesperson of the city mayor’s office.

The clinic will examine and evaluate patients with neurological disorder. Rehab and physical therapy will be provided to indigent patients.

Also, it will treat people in an outpatient basis or if necessary refer them to specialists, he added.

Further, the clinic will lead in the information and education campaign on neurological diseases.

It will also serve as a training center with its plan to accept Physical Therapy (PT) trainees.

The mayor saw the need for its establishment as study showed that 61 percent of the mortality and morbidity in Iloilo in 2009 was caused by cardiovascular disease or stroke.

In the Philippines, the World Health Organization (WHO) cited stroke as most common neurological disease and the second leading cause of death in 2014, he added.

Historians to gather in Iloilo on Oct. 22-24


ILOILO CITY, Oct. 8 (PNA) -- Nineteen historians from different higher educational institutions in the Philippines and abroad are set to present scholarly papers on local history in October 22 to 24 at Casa Real de Iloilo, Iloilo City.

The scholars will gather for the 36th National Conference on National and Local History to be hosted by Iloilo province, in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Philippine National Historical Society, Inc.

The papers will cover various topics, including the three papers dealing with the experiences of Iloilo and Negros Occidental.

Historian Iloilo Board Member Demy Sonza will discuss the history and relevance of reviving the Old Provincial Capitol building in his paper entitled Casa Real de Iloilo: The Tale of a Heritage Provincial Capitol.

Nereo Lujan, chief, Iloilo Public Information and Community Affairs Office, will present the paper The Life and Works of Pedro Casanave while Earl Jude Paul L. Cleope of Silliman University will present the paper One Island, One Region: A History of Dominance and Union in Negros Island.

Other presenters include Marya Svetlana T. Camacho, Clement Camposano and Grace Liza Y. Concepcion of University of Asia and the Pacific; RegaladoTrota Jose of University of Santo Tomas Archives;John N. Crossley of Monash University, Australia;Marcelino M. Macapinlac Jr. of St. Scholastica’s College Manila; Maria Nela B. Florendo of UP Baguio; Glenda C. Oris of Ateneo de Manila University; Nick Deocampo of UP Diliman; Rolando O. Borrinaga of UP Manila School of Health Sciences; Greg Hontiveros of Butuan Historical Society; Tirmizy E. Abdullah of Mindanao State University - Marawi City; Calbi A. Asain of Mindanao State University-Sulu; LabiHadjiSaripRiwarung of Mindanao State University Marawi; Marco Stefan B. Lagman of UP Diliman; and Analyn Salvador-Amores of UP Baguio.

Bernardita R. Churchill, president, PNHS, is the National Conference convener.

The conference will cap with the launching of Journal of History 2015.

PNHS is the oldest voluntary professional organization devoted to the study and research in Philippine history.

Organizing committee exec praises Iloilo's 'seamless, successful' APEC hosting


ILOILO CITY, Oct 7 (PNA) -- Iloilo’s hosting of 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings was “most seamless, most successful,” according to Junel Ann Divinagracia, executive director of the Iloilo Organizing Committee (IOC).

This was the feedback she gathered from top officials of the National Organizing Council (NOC) like Ambassador Marciano A. Paynor, Undersecretary Natalio Ecarma III and PNP director-general Ricardo Marquez as the city’s hosting of major meetings culminated Tuesday.

“We are deeply appreciative. We worked together for this hosting to be realized. We are thankful that it was very successful,” Divinagracia said.

Iloilo hosted the Strengthening Capital Market and Infrastructure Development meeting in July 23-24, Senior Officials Meeting for Disaster Risk Management on September 23-24, Small and Medium Enterprise Ministerial meeting last September 21-25 and Food Security Week and High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and the Blue Economy and Related meetings from September 28 until October 6.

IOC deputy director Jose Ariel Castañeda said that “finances were managed properly” as he stressed that “we are the most prudent city as far as APEC hosting is concerned.”

“Our preparation was more than a year but we managed resources of the city government to be within the most prudent,” he underscored.

Ambassador Marciano A. Paynor, Director General of the APEC 2015 National Organizing Council (NOC) during Wednesday evening’s volunteers’ appreciation program expressed his gratitude for the collaboration and partnership extended to them by the IOC.

In his message, he cited that Iloilo now has a group that could properly host international meetings.

He also urged local volunteers to “pass on their learnings” to their colleagues.

Iloilo Plan of Action to boost earnings of farmers and fishermen


ILOILO CITY, Oct. 6 (PNA) -- The Iloilo Plan of Action will boost the income of farmers and fishermen by giving micro enterprises direct access to the upper level of the value chain.

Direct access to the upper value chain, one of the elements of the action plan, will allow farmers and fishermen to sell their products at a higher price because there will be no need for middlemen, said Agriculture Undersecretary Asis Perez, Co-Chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and the Blue Economy, here Monday.

"Enabling fishers to directly deal with market is important," Perez said.

The Iloilo Plan of Action is also pushing for APEC economies to have resilient oceans, coastal resources, and ecosystems, which are prerequisite to sustaining production, the undersecretary said.

There can be no boost in production, which is one of the focuses of the Plan of Action, without seagrass beds and mangrove trees that protect the environment, he added.

Once coastal areas and marine ecosystems become degraded, small fishermen are the ones "primarily affected" because they will be unable to increase or sustain their production, Perez explained.

Member economies of the APEC have agreed to adopt the Iloilo Plan of Action, which focuses on three areas: (1) Resilient Oceans, Coastal Resources and Ecosystems, and Sustainable Aquaculture, (2) Fish Loss Reduction, and (3) Agribusiness and Blue Economy.

The Plan of Action will be endorsed at the Leaders' Summit in Manila in November.

After APEC, PHL to push MSME agenda in WTO

By Kris M. Crismundo [(PNA), LGI/BNB/KMC]

ILOILO CITY, Oct. 5 (PNA) -- The Philippines will be putting its agenda for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in a global level as the country pushes for discussions concerning the said industry in the upcoming 10th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In a statement on Monday, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the Philippine Mission to the WTO (PMWTO) submitted two documents on “Fostering the Participation of MSMEs in Regional and Global Markets” to the international organization.

Prior to the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya from Dec. 15-18, DTI Secretary Gregory L. Domingo recently attended the WTO Public Forum in Geneva, Switzerland where he emphasized the need to include MSMEs in the global trade.

The Public Forum is the WTO’s largest annual outreach event, which provides a platform for participants to discuss the latest developments in world trade and to propose ways of enhancing the multilateral trading system.

The event attracts over 1,500 representatives from civil society, academe, business, media, governments, parliamentarians and inter-governmental organizations.

Domingo noted that MSMEs should be at the forefront of trade policy making in order to open more opportunities for small businesses.

He stressed involving MSMEs in global value chains will promote inclusive growth.

Aside from the WTO conference, the Philippines now moves forward with its MSME agenda in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) as the country is hosting this year’s summit.

Only on Sept. 25, the APEC concluded the 22nd SME Ministerial Meeting in Iloilo City with the theme of “Mainstreaming MSMEs in the Global Economy”.

The Philippines underscores the role of MSMEs in the economy as the sector accounts for more than 90 percent of total businesses in the country and employs over 60 percent of the total labor force.

APEC members agree on regional plan to ensure food security


ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Oct. 4 (PNA) -- Member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) agreed on Saturday on a food security plan contained in a declaration following the two-day meeting on food security here.

The policy declarations, which will be forwarded to the APEC economic leaders in November, have four priority areas: stock-take and food security roadmap toward 2020, sustainable development of agriculture and fishery sectors, facilitation on investment and infrastructure development and enhancing trade and market.

"Food security has come to be one of the most urgent and important challenges confronting the world, especially APEC economies," said Undersecretary for Fisheries Asis Perez, the chair of the APEC Policy Partnership on Food Security (PPFS) Meeting here.

The Philippines, a predominantly agricultural country, has focused on attaining food security and rice self- sufficiency in the last five years under the Aquino administration.

This government goal coincides with APEC PPFS goal of attaining an institutionalized food system structure by 2020, that will ensure sufficient food supply for the entire region.

But having a secured supply of food goes beyond increasing production, Perez said, adding it also involves enhancing producers' competitiveness and having fair policy regimes that promote sustainable growth and recognize the participation of women, farmers and fisherman in the value chain.

Among the major agenda during the meeting is the major role that the private sector will play in assisting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) production process, which is part of the PPFS 2015 work plan.

To push this regional agenda, the Philippine government has been working to bridge the gap between the public and the private sectors, especially in the agriculture and fishery sectors so that small entrepreneurs receive the necessary support as they become part of the value chain.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, under the Department of Agriculture hosted the APEC 2015 PPFS meeting in Iloilo City.

Southeast Asian Fish Center showcases biotech to APEC delegates


ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Oct. 3 (PNA) -- The Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) based in Tigbauan here in Iloilo has showcased to APEC delegates the biotechnologies that strengthen the production of the region's fisheries resources to ensure food safety and security.

Delegates of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Agricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group and the High Level Policy Dialogue on Agriculture Biotechnology visited SEAFDEC last September 29 and October 1.

Felix Ayson, head of the Aquaculture Department of SEAFDEC, said these technologies enable seaweeds to grow faster and produce Class A oysters, mud crabs, soft-shell crabs, and abalone in captivity.

Ayson explained that before, farmers could only grow 2 to 3 percent of seaweeds a day, but the technology currently being used by SEAFDEC makes seaweeds grow faster 6 to 8 percent a day.

The technology also allows oysters, which normally grow in clusters, to grow faster individually, making them easy to harvest and market.

Ayson also said his department monitors the environment in which these oysters grow, putting them in Class A category that can be exported to the stringent European Union market.

Class A oysters can be eaten straight after harvesting. They differ from Class B and Class C, which have to undergo relaying activities to be safe for human consumption.

Aside from seaweeds and oysters, SEAFDEC also makes sure mud crabs, soft-shell crabs, and abalones could be bred in captivity.

Soft-shell crabs, or crablets, are transferred from seawater to fresh water after molting, so their shells won't get hard.

In the Philippines, these are sold deep fried straight after cleaning and freezing.

Ayson said the technology allows these species to be produced in captivity -- grow in nursery to a marketable size in grow-out pens.

Farmers urged to organize as mechanization steps up

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

ILOILO CITY, Oct. 2 (PIA6)—Farm laborers and farmers themselves should form associations and cooperatives to avail of machineries and equipment.

The farm mechanization program of the Department of Agriculture through the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), distribute farm machineries, facilities and equipment through farmers cooperatives.

In the current APEC meeting on Food Security, PhilMech Director Rex Bingabing encouraged farmers to become service providers, as with their access to machineries, displacement of labor may occur.

When they organize themselves, Bingabing said, PhilMech will provide farm machineries, equipment and facilities, like tractors, transplanter and mechanical harvester.

“That way they can be called professional farmers,” Bingabing said. The farmers’ productivity can be enhanced for they will be trained further in land preparation, planting and harvesting.

“Moreover, they are more productive because they are managing the machineries,” Bingabing added.

The farm mechanization program is also intended to address post-harvest loses.

“When farmers have access to technologies, they would know how to be productive and prevent losses because of efficient processing,” the PhilMech director said. In an experience with some farmers in Nueva Ecija, PhilMech found out that post-harvest losses have gone down at 10-11 percent through efficient mechanization.

Biotech adds USD 200 million to annual income of corn farmers


ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Oct 1 (PNA) -- The Philippines is one of the successful models in the Asia Pacific for the application of biotechnology in crops, Chair of the Department of Agriculture’s Biotechnology Advisory Team, Saturnina C. Halos, said on Thursday.

Applying biotechnology on corn has improved the economic status of corn farmers, Halos said during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology Meeting here.

She noted that corn farmers using biotechnology have increased their income by USD 200 million per year.

Biotech corn farmers have an 8-percent income advantage over hybrid corn farmers, while return on investments can go as much as 42 percent.

The improved income of biotech corn farmers was mainly due to a 19 percent increment in yields.

Halos stressed that utilizing biotechnology in the APEC region could thus alleviate poverty.

She further said that based on studies, 60.9 percent of Filipino biotech corn farmers spend their income on their children’s schooling, especially university-based education.

“It means, those who can already send their children to university are already out of poverty,” Halos said.

“If you apply that to the current number of farmers, (a) big number of (their) population are out from being resource-poor,” she added.

In 2014, more than 400,000 corn farmers used biotechnology in the Philippines, most of whom started out resource-poor.

On the other hand, 79 percent of local biotech corn farmers use their income for day-to-day expenses; 46 percent for home improvements; 23 percent for farm capital; 4 percent for buying a vehicle; and 0.5 percent for leisure.

The Philippines is one of seven APEC member economies that utilize agricultural biotechnology along with the United States, Canada, China, Chile, Australia, and Mexico.

About 800,000 hectares of land are allotted for biotechnology farming in the Philippines.

However, biotechnology in the country is currently applied to corn crops only.

The APEC region accounts for 90.15 million hectares of farmland or half of the total land area in the world used for biotech crops.

“There is a continuing growth for biotech crops,” said Halos.

She added that there is a sustained growth of 3 percent to 4 percent, or about 6.3 million hectares of farmland expansion, for agricultural biotechnology globally.

Aside from corn crops, biotechnology is applied to alfalfa, eggplant, canola, cotton, maize, papaya, poplar, potato, squash, soybean, sugar beet, sweet pepper, tomato, rose, carnation, apple, beans, and sugarcane.