Iloilo City News October 2017

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City gov’t holds Halloween carnival

(Iloilo City PIO/PN)

ILOILO City – The city government held its Halloween celebration at city hall yesterday.

With the theme “Iloilo City Halloween Carnival: Sweets or Treat,” the activity initiated by the City Gender and Development Team aimed to promote stronger bond between city hall employee-parents and their children.

A mass for the dead was held at 8 a.m. at the third floor. This was followed by a program until noon. It included a carnival costume and fancy booth contests.

The costume contest was open to children, grandchildren and relatives of city hall employees aged three to eight years old.

The participants were required to wear costumes that conformed to the theme of the celebration.

The depiction or use of scary costumes was strictly prohibited.

The participants were judged based on the following criteria:

• adherence to the theme – 30 percent
• originality and creativity – 20 percent
• visual impact – 20 percent
• projection and audience impact – 20 percent

The fancy booth contest was at each floor of city hall, given with 8 x 2.5 meters maximum space.

The use of indigenous and recyclable materials was encouraged but the depiction of scary characters was not allowed.

The booths were evaluate d based on the following:

• craftsmanship (use of materials, neatness and cleanliness) – 20 percent
• use of indigenous and recyclable materials – 10 percent
• creativity (interpretation of chosen theme, uniqueness) – 30 percent
• impact or appeal to the kids – 40 percent.

PSA unveils products, services innovations

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

ILOILO CITY, Oct. 29 (PIA6) -- The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Friday unveiled innovations intended to provide access to data products and improve the services of the agency.

Jenelyn Banares, Statistical Specialist II of the Statistical Standards Division of PSA Central Office presented the three innovations during the Regional Dissemination Forum on the Demographic and Socioeconomic Characteristics of the 2015 Census of Population held here.

The innovations which are featured in the agency’s website include PSA Data Archives (PSADA), Inventory of Statistical Standards in the Philippines (ISSiP) and e-Classification Mobile Application.

PSADA is a systematic repository of data collection activities of the PSA. It serves as a gateway to microdata and documents of the agency’s surveys, censuses and administrative-based statistics. It hopes that all collected microdata are proficiently documented, widely disseminated and properly preserved. Likewise, it aims to promote the rational use and appropriate interpretation of statistics generated by the PSA.

As of June 2017, Banares said that there are already 70 PSA surveys downloaded in the PSADA and updating is ongoing.

On the other hand, ISSiP is a compilation of statistical standards used by various agencies in the Philippine Statistical System.

Banares added that statistical standards include statistical concepts, definition, methodologies and procedures and classifications for official statistics.

E-Classification Mobile App is a user friendly android mobile search engine application that can be easily accessed by the public and private sectors for searching codes or descriptions about the various Philippine standard classification systems used in categorizing economic activities, products and services, geographic codes, among others.

Also launched during the forum was the PSA 6 regional website and the provincial landing pages.

PSA 6 Statistical Operations and Coordination Division Chief Marlene Aviar said the regional website which is still a work in progress is a part of their initial efforts to adopt appropriate technology in the development of their products and services.

The one-day Regional Dissemination Forum on the Demographic and Socioeconomic Characteristics of the 2015 POPCEN was attended by representatives from the national government agencies, local government units, private institutions and media, and PSA Statistics Officers from the different provinces in the region as part of the activities for the 28th National Statistics Month celebration in Western Visayas this October.

Iloilo City to craft emergency response protocol

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- Acting Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III has ordered the Iloilo City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) to craft an emergency response protocol in reference to the Oct. 14 incident when a Cebu Pacific aircraft swerved and got stuck at the Iloilo International Airport runway.

The protocol would include, among others, the conduct of evacuation and identification of possible emergency and evacuation centers, should a similar incident happen in the future.

The crafting of a protocol came after a meeting between officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and Cebu Pacific Air and Espinosa on Thursday where he was briefed on the various efforts undertaken by concerned agencies during the incident.

In an interview Thursday afternoon, Espinosa said he was informed during the meeting that hospitals within the vicinity of the airport were identified to serve during emergency cases.

Espinosa, however, said in such incidents, city hospitals are “more equipped”, especially for burn cases.

The CDRRMO was also instructed to look into the burn units of hospitals in the city.

“Not all hospitals are equipped with burn unit protocol. We will work together, establish a new protocol,” he said.

A simulation exercise will be held in December to include airport emergency situations.

Meanwhile, during the meeting, Espinosa also asked representatives of the CAAP on how the airport is being maintained. He likewise grilled Cebu Pacific on the integrity of its airplane and the capability of its pilot during the Flight 5J 461 incident.

“We would like to help and we would like to know how to maintain the status as the best airport in the country and number 12 in Asia,” Espinosa said. He even offered to send personnel to help clean the airport to ensure that it is well-maintained.

The acting mayor underscored that the airplane, the airport and the pilot should always be on “tiptop condition” to ensure the safety of Ilonggos.

“Hope it won’t happen again, although accidents do happen,” he said.

Iloilo City going global, says Ilonggo Broadway winner

(Iloilo City PIO/PN)

ILOILO City – Ilonggo award-winning Broadway producer Jhett Tolentino turned over two of his trophies to the City Gallery to serve as inspirations to the Ilonggo youth.

“Every time I am here, especially during Dinagyang, I always try to bring people who have yet to visit our place. I hope to continue that because they really need to see our city that is becoming global and its progress unstoppable,” said Tolentino who hails from Barangay Calumpang, Molo district.

Tolentino shared his trophy as one of the Top 10 Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines awarded by President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang on Dec.12, 2016.

The other trophy was from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) – Ani ng Dangal for giving international recognition to the Philippines last year.

The City Gallery has become a popular study tour site among students and attraction to visitors.

“I will always be proud of my roots,” said Tolentino.

He hoped to bring more recognition to the city.

Tolentino won a Tony Award for producing the “Best Revival of a Play” A Raisin in the Sun in 2015.

He had also produced the Tony “Best Musical” A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder in 2014 and the Tony “Best Play” Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike in 2013.

Early this year, Tolentino also won his first Grammy Award (Best Musical Theater Album) for the play The Color Purple he produced.

Tolentino encouraged the Ilonggo youth “to dream something big and something that scares you and do not settle for less, because dreams are for free.”

Iloilo Airport ranked among Asia’s best

By Tara Yap

Iloilo City – The Guide to Sleeping in Airports, a travel website, has ranked the Iloilo Airport number 12 in its list of 25 best airports in Asia.

The Iloilo Airport outranked several other Philippine airports on the list including the Mactan–Cebu International Airport, which placed 13th, the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao which placed 17th, and the Clark International Airport in Pampanga, which ranked at 22.

Of all the Philippine airports listed, the Iloilo Airport, which also caters to international flights, is relatively the newest, having only started operation in June 2007.

Only last week, the airport made headlines when a Cebu Pacific flight skidded off one of its runways causing a 2-day shutdown.

Chinese group eyes Iloilo trade linkages

By Tara Yap

Iloilo City—Another group from China is looking into possible investments and cultural ties with this city.

Officials from Quanzhou City, Fujian province, recently visited the Iloilo City Hall and met officials led by Mayor Jose Espinosa III.

Chen Mingfu, Vice Chairman of CPPCC Quanzhou Municipal Committee, expressed during the meeting that the recent trip will bring closer cooperation and closer ties between the two cities.

Chen said Quanzhou is the biggest of three major urban centers of Fujian province and its businesses thrive in manufacturing, construction and petro chemicals.

He cited that Iloilo City can be an ideal investment destination for Quanzhou companies as it has

stable electricity, water and manpower supply. He also lauded the fast and efficient business permit licensing of the city government.

Since President Rodrigo Duterte established closer ties with China last year, several Chinese government officials and Chinese firms have conducted inspections both in the city and province of Iloilo.

Chinese firm BYD Auto Industry Co. Ltd. is conducting a study for a monorail system while a state-owned Chinese consultancy firm is also conducting study for the long proposed Iloilo-Guimaras bridge.

‘Malasakit Desks’ to be set up in Western Visayas

By Cindy Ferrer (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The Office of the Presidential Assistant in the Visayas (OPAV) will set up “Malasakit Desks” in Western Visayas before the end of the year.

This was announced by Presidential Assistant in the Visayas Michael Dino in a press conference here Monday.

Dino said the “Malasakit Desk” is a one-stop-shop to be established in government-run hospitals mainly to help the poorest of the poor seeking health-related programs and benefits from the government.

Dino said the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod are among the pilot areas where the program will be carried out but the hospitals are yet to be identified.

The program will be implemented in partnerships with the regional line agencies in Western Visayas such as the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

“These four agencies will send representatives in each hospital. We will be establishing a room for them where individuals could go to ask for guidance,” he said.

Prior to that, Dino said that a health officer will also be assigned to assess individuals if they are qualified to seek assistance from the “Malasakit Desk.”

Aside from the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod in Western Visayas, Dino said that “Malasakit Desks” will also be established in four hospitals in Cebu City, two in Bohol, and one each in the provinces of Samar and Tacloban.

Dino said he is yet to meet with DOH-6 regional director Marlyn Convocar to discuss the program.

He will also meet with Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. on Tuesday together with the local chief executives in the province to hear their concerns and also discuss the “Malasakit Desk.”

70 streetkids get educational aid from city

(Iloilo City PIO/PN)

ILOILO City – A total of 70 street children were given P2,000 each during the distribution of educational assistance from the Iloilo City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) recently.

There were 12 selected indigent recipients each from Molo, City Proper, Mandurriao, La Paz and Lapuz; and 11 each from Arevalo and Jaro districts.

The beneficiaries were thankful for the big help for them to continue their education amidst poverty.

The program aims to benefit elementary street children especially those who are less-fortunate and whose parents have no reliable source of income.

Meanwhile, 60 select senior citizens got free eyeglasses from the Iloilo City Health Office through a project in collaboration with Department of Health-6. The distribution was held at city hall on Oct. 3.

“I am very thankful for these eyeglasses because I can see things clearly now, and we hope that there will be more project to help us senior citizens,” said one of the beneficiaries who asked not to be identified.

Wearing glasses will be a big help for older people in doing tasks well because of clear vision.

Most of them were suffering from eye refraction, eyestrain, and headache as screened Dr. Gertrude Q. Baldomar.

Crablets, tilapia fingerlings dispersed at Iloilo River

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- Some 4,000 mud crab juveniles and 10,000 saline-resistant tilapia fingerlings were dispersed at the Iloilo River on Friday.

The activity was part of the stock enhancement program of the City Agriculturist Office (CAO) with the South East Asia Fisheries Development Center- Aquaculture Department (SEAFDEC-AQD) in Tigbauan, Iloilo providing the needed crablets and fingerlings.

The stocks were released along Zone 4 of the river in the vicinities of barangays Navais, Mandurriao and Fundidor, Molo of this city.

“We are expecting that after a quarter of the year, these stocks would invade our aquatic population and sustain the productivity of our river,” CAO head Romulo Pangantihon said.

The portion where the stocks were dispersed has been identified as a fishing area as stipulated in Regulation Ordinance ‎2009-247.

The fishing area extends from Carpenter’s Bridge upstream.

Pangantihon said strict regulation is necessary otherwise the stocks will be depleted.

He added that several fisherfolks have claimed to have been able to send their children to school and became professionals out of the income they earned from fishing at the Iloilo River.

“We would like to sustain this activity at the Iloilo River,” he stated.

Friday's dispersal program was also aligned with the Fish Conservation Week celebration that is being spearheaded by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

DOH advocates for increased newborn screening

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The Department of Health (DOH) here is calling on parents to have their children undergo the newborn screening (NBS) program for early detection of disorders that can lead to mental retardation and death.

Dr. Reynilyn Reyes, DOH head of family, health and nutrition cluster in Western Visayas said Thursday that the NBS program is not screening alone. “It is a system that screens children, evaluates, follows up and gives diagnosis. The most important is that they are being managed when found positive,” she said.

The standard NBS covers six disorders but the expanded one can detect up to 28 disorders. The standard NBS disorders include congenital hypothyroidism (CH), congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), galactosemia (GAL), phenylketonuria (PKU), maple syrup urine disease (MSUD) and glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD Def).

The expanded covers standard NBS, hemoglobin-pathies, amino acid disorders, organic acid disorders and fatty acid oxidation disorders.

“We wanted to delay or reduce developmental delays among children,” Reyes said.

DOH data revealed that as of July 2017, there were 379 positive cases in Western Visayas. The highest came from Negros Occidental with 158 and Iloilo with 111. There were 27 in Aklan; 51, Capiz; 23, Antique and nine in Guimaras.

“These children really look normal upon birth. The newborn screening detects those that cannot be seen by the naked eye by just a drop or couple of drops of blood,” Reyes said.

The G6PD Def has thousands of positive cases, she added. Other positive disorders are CH with 314; CAH with 34 and GAL with 17.

The child with CH looks normal upon birth but when left undetected after one week, the intelligent quotient (IQ) of the child diminishes. Their muscles are also weak, she explained.

The CAH is a defect on enzymes that regulate electrolyte and sugar in the body. This may cause death of the child. Also, the private part of the child will not develop, thus there is difficulty in determining whether it’s a boy or a girl.

GAL also lacks enzymes that will make it difficult for the child to digest protein. Reyes said that a child with GAL becomes blind due to cataract.

G6PD Def is the lack of enzymes that may cause anemia.

The expanded NBS has detected nine positive cases of hemoglobin-pathies and one each for organic acid disorders and fatty acid oxidation disorders, which could mean that it is “alarming.” Possibly children whose cause of death was undetected could be due to these very rare disorders, she said.

The standard NBS costs PHP550 while the expanded NBS is PHP1,500. The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) covers up to PHP550.

Children are supposed to be screened 24 hours up to one week after birth.

However, Reyes said that the NBS coverage is low. In 2016 around 110, 520 children were screened, around 50 percent of the number of live births for the year.

“We need more advocacy telling them of the importance of screening,” she said.

She cited that among the challenges the NBS program is facing are the lack of PhilHealth coverage as with the case of mothers, increased teenage pregnancy and even lack of kits for the NBS as part of operational issues.

Iloilo City strengthens disaster resiliency hub

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The partnership between the local government and a private higher education institution here -- University of Iloilo-Phinma — will further strengthen the Iloilo City Disaster Risk Resiliency (ICDRR) hub.

Donna Magno, head of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), in an interview today, said that UI-Phinma through its Information Technology program, will “develop and provide animations that will tell stories about responsibilities of every person in relation to disaster risk reduction management.”

Also, the university will conduct a pilot test for the flood monitoring and early warning device developed by its students. It will be piloted in Barangay Sooc, Arevalo.

A memorandum on this was signed between the city government and the B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University (JBLFMU) Friday last week.

The ICDRR also known as Kabalaka Gallery is located inside the JBLFMU-Molo campus.

This city government had also entered into an agreement with the West Visayas State University (WVSU) College of Mass Communication and the JBLFMU for the operation of the hub.

The hub has three zones to include information, learning and “kabalaka”, which means worrying over or caring. The information zone talks about hazards and disaster timeline, among others. The learning zone talks about what to do about before, during and after disasters, risks, games and other how to do materials. The kabalaka area talks about the initiatives of the city government in line with DRR.

The WVSU produced short films on handling persons with disabilities (PWDs) during disasters while JBLFMU produced videos on how to prepare kits and how to use scarf during disaster.

“We dubbed this as the first DRR hub in the country,” Magno said.

The hub was recognized as one of the country’s best practices in an event organized by the Local Government Academy (LGA) of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Galing Pook Foundation.

She said that Iloilo City and Batanes were chosen to present during the two-day “Festival of Best Practices” social resiliency category held in Manila last week.

DTI-West Visayas launches radio consumer education program

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Western Visayas on Friday launched its first radio consumer education program to “increase level of awareness on consumer protection.”

“It will provide its audience proper information that affects their daily lives, issues and concerns on consumer rights and responsibilities, product quality and safety and frontline government services and projects,” said Felisa Judith Degala, chief of the consumer protection division of DTI-6.

The launching of the program was among the highlights of the Consumer Welfare Month celebration this October in the region.

Undersecretary Teodoro Pascua, who graced Friday's launching, said that the national awareness on consumer rights based on the survey conducted by the Pulse Asia for the period March to June this year was at 80 to 81 percent compared with the 68 percent for the same period in 2016.

“We are really trying to raise the awareness because the problem begins not when the problem exists but before you meet the problem. So if you are able to identify what are the safeguards, what are the precautionary measures that you can take, then you take away the probability of the imminence of problem,” Pascua said.

In Western Visayas, the consumer index is at 68 percent, according to DTI director Rebecca Rascon. She added that they still have to “penetrate down to the barangays,” thus the radio program.

Dubbed as “Konsyumer Kag Iban Pa sa Rehiyon 6” is a localized version of the “Konsyumer at Iba Pa” program aired over the DZMM teleradyo.

It is an interactive 30-minutes program aired every Saturday over Bombo Radyo Iloilo with a series of episodes to be hosted by the DTI and its other partner agencies.

Meantime, Pascua underscored the need for consumers to “be ready with e-commerce and the digital world.” “Fortunately or unfortunately, our circumstances already augur for that,” he stated.

Nonetheless, he said that “basic rights remain the same, whether it’s a face -to-face issue or internet.”

“That’s why we are saying consumer rights during the digital age must be emphasized, otherwise, we will be jumping without knowing what danger lies beneath. Join us advocate it and not only to the millennials,” he urged.

This year's celebration anchors on the theme "Consumer Rights in the Digital Age."

Multi-sectoral partnerships sought for disaster management plan

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) has gathered representatives from the academe, civil society organizations (CSOs) and private sector for the two-day multi-stakeholder dialogue to get their involvement in disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM).

OCD regional director Rosario Cabrera on Wednesday said that their output in four thematic areas will be integrated in the regional DRRM plan to have “comprehensive programs, projects and activities for the region.” The thematic areas are prevention mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery and rehabilitation.

During the last day of consultation, Cabrera shared that some of the representatives raised their concern on the policy of involving state universities and colleges (SUCs). In the criteria provided under the national DRRM council issuance, only non-state are involved, she said.

“However it does not limit them to be involved in the activities on DRRM. Probably, it’s only their representation in the council. However we consider that as one of the inputs that we will bring to the attention of the NDRRMC,” she assured.

“But then in relation to the four thematic areas, we can have them involve as we would like also to get more support from the CSOs, NGOs (non-government organizations),” she added.

The updated RDRRM plan will be presented for approval to the national council on October 17.

Meantime, OCD has extended technical assistance to the conduct of incident command system (ICS) for the municipality of Bingawan, Iloilo that culminated Wednesday afternoon.

“This is the mechanism that we will use particularly in the response of a major disaster to ensure efficient and effective coordination of operations,” she explained.

The ICS has been cascaded to all provinces of Western Visayas.

A comprehensive plan formulation workshop is also being held for the town of Leganes.

Iloilo City switches to high gear in solar energy

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) here is massively promoting solar energy, especially to commercial establishments with big electricity consumption.

Engr. Noel Hechanova, in an interview Tuesday, said they always bring with them representatives from Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) to talk about loan windows for funding concerns during their information drive.

Also, they are targeting the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) if it also has a program for those opting to shift to renewable energy, particularly solar.

“We partner with government financing institutions that promote solar energy,” he stated.

The city government, through its CENRO, has developed models in promoting energy efficiency in the context of greenhouse gas reduction emission.

The campaign is being assisted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Be Leaders (Building Low Emission Alternatives to Develop Economic Resilience and Sustainability Project) and implemented by the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) based in North Carolina.

In September, during a forum on public-private partnership in Iloilo City, establishments shared their success stories after shifting to solar energy.

Dr. Ronald Raymond Sebastian, chief executive officer of the John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University (JBLFMU), said that they save around 60 percent of their electricity bill since they shifted to the solar energy. Their solar panels provide around 78 kilowatts for one of their campuses.

“We saw the efficiency of solar panels,” he said adding that all their campuses - Molo, Arevalo and Bacolod - will be adopting solar energy.

On the other hand, Robinsons Malls in Iloilo also saved about 10 percent of what they used to pay.

“Right now Robinsons Land Corporation is one of the biggest solar producers at the malls level,” said its mall operations manager Kristin Hortelano adding that they found it easier to return their investment with the solar energy given the high rate of power.

Paul E. Weisenfeld, executive vice president of the International Development of the RTI, described as “phenomenal” and "real recipe of success" the partnerships among Iloilo City, universities and private sectors in “looking for ways to promote energy efficiency that drive economic resilience , that drive economic growth for the people of Iloilo.”

“You don’t have that kind of collaborations all over the world what you have here between the private sector, city government and the academe. When you bring those partners together, you really can see tremendous thing happen,” he cited.

Currently, all major malls in the city are using solar energy because they saw the “value” and it will be beneficial to them in the long run, he said.

“They also see the benefit that carbon dioxide will be avoided,” he said.

Hechanova said that the next target of their advocacy will be the households.

“Eventually, we will draft a program for household,” he said as he cited that there are available loan windows for households that will be used specifically for solar panels.

Hechanova added that they looked forward to start their household level campaign by middle of 2018 as he emphasized that a 20 percent discount on real property (RPT) is being offered for those who would like to shift to renewable energy.

Those interested are encouraged to visit his office to learn more about the program.

Iloilo hailed for pro-PWD programs

By Erly Garcia (Capitol News/PN)

ILOILO – This province has won another prestigious award, this time in recognition of its programs and projects for persons with disabilities (PWDs).

The Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled (PFRD), Inc. has conferred on Iloilo province the 2017 Apolinario Mabini Award for the Local Government.

Lourdes Dela Llana Pimentel, chairperson of the 2017 Apolinario Mabini Awards, said the province “qualified with the standards of a local government Unit that has rendered exceptional services to the mass of citizens with disabilities within its jurisdiction in the last two years.”

PFRD is a non-government organization established in 1949 dedicated to the promotion of measures to prevent disability, protect and rehabilitate the disabled and equalize opportunities for disabled persons.

Apolinario Mabini (July 23, 1864 – May 13, 1903) was a Filipino revolutionary leader, educator, lawyer, and statesman who served first as a legal and constitutional adviser to the Revolutionary Government, and then as the first Prime Minister of the Philippines upon the establishment of the First Philippine Republic.

Mabini performed all his revolutionary and governmental activities despite having lost the use of both his legs to polio shortly before the Philippine Revolution of 1896.

The awarding ceremony for Iloilo province has yet to be scheduled by the organization but it will be definitely held in Manila, according to Dela Llana.

The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) headed by Dr. Neneth Pador is in the forefront of the implementation of programs in pursuit of the administration’s vision to make Iloilo a non-handicapping and PWD-friendly province.

In 2013, the province launched a scholarship program for PWDs where 10 poor but bright PWDs are admitted every year.

Also, the province has partnered with the Latter Day Saints Charities Foundation for the distribution of 600 wheelchairs and 300 assistive devices to qualified beneficiaries.

The two innovative programs became the basis for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region VI to confer on Iloilo province the 2016 Gawad sa Makabagong Teknolohiyang Panlipunan.

Iloilo province is also one of the pioneer LGUs in the country to establish a dedicated Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) within the PSWDO.

PDAO, headed by Mario Abaygar, is tasked to address the needs of PWDs in the province.

PWD students receive aid from city gov’t

(Iloilo City PIO/PN)

ILOILO City – Fifteen persons with disabilities (PWDs) – all students of various colleges and universities in this city – each received P5,000 from the city government.

Four of the PWD students were from the University of Iloilo, three from the Iloilo Science and Technology University, two from West Visayas State University, and one each from St. Therese College, Western Institute of Technology, University of San Agustin, Central Philippine University, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

The City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), in coordination with the Office of Persons with Disability Affairs (OPDA), has been providing qualified PWD students with educational assistance every semester.

“We encourage all PWD individuals to continue striving and working hard to finish their studies for we are always willing to help them reach their dreams by giving them opportunities like this,” said OPDA head Blessilda Mabilog.

A total of P150,000 was allocated for this year’s educational project which is for selected PWDs.

5 unique things to do in Iloilo

By Kara Santos

The province of Iloilo is known for its rich heritage and vibrant festivals like the nationally acclaimed Dinagyang Festival celebrated every January. But even if it isn’t festival season, this charming province is worth a visit any time of the year. Iloilo City, the capital is a major urban center in the Philippines, and a gateway to Panay in Western Visayas.

In a media tour organized by AirAsia Philippines to celebrate its inaugural flight to Iloilo, selected media and bloggers experienced what makes Iloilo special. For fist-time visitors planning their itinerary, here are five things you can do there.

1. Visit a UNESCO heritage church

Iloilo is known for being home to many beautiful and historic churches, the most famous of which is the iconic Church of Sto. Tomas de Villanueva or Miag-ao Church. Considered one of the four baroque churches in the Philippines and inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this beautiful church is a top tourist attraction in the province.

Aside from Miag-ao Church, there are many other notable churches worth visiting including the Jaro Cathedral with its free-standing belfry; St. Anne’s Molo Church, which pays tribute to all-female saints; and the San Joaquin Parish Church, which is largely known for its intricate pediment featuring a military scene.

2. Climb a stairway to heaven

Have you ever wanted to experience Heaven on Earth? Take a road trip to the town of San Joaquin and visit the Garin Farm, a 14-hectare inland resort that integrates agriculture, leisure and pilgrimage all in one place. The farm offers leisure activities like horseback rides, kayaking, pedal boats and ziplines.

However, the main attraction here is their pilgrimage site with 480 steps leading up to a huge Divine Mercy Cross. After passing a dark tunnel of meditation, you reach a blinding white area with a depiction of Heaven’s gate complete with statues of angels blowing trumpets and angelic music. It’s a pretty surreal sight that has become popular with tourists for the photo-ops.

3. Chow down on fresh oysters and Ilonggo favorites

Iloilo is known for Ilonggo dishes like La Paz batchoy and pancit Molo, which are popular everwhere in the country, but best enjoyed in their place of origin. The two most popular Ilonggo restaurants are Breakthrough (for fresh seafood) and Tatoy’s Manokan & Seafoods which specializes in lechon manok, baked talaba, kinilaw tangigue, grilled pantat, lechon and more.

Looking for a new dining destination? Farm-to-Table, a lifestyle restaurant serves local, seasonal and fresh farm products daily. Chef Pauline Gorriceta-Banusing serves twists on Ilonggo cuisine and seafood with dishes like Shrimp Coconut Soft Taco, Coconut Fish Balls, Eggplant Truffle Lasagna and organic batchoy with fresh egg noodles and a broth base of organic beef and pork ribs.

Farm-to-Table also serves organic coffee, handcrafted beers (Juan Brew, Joe’s Brew, Great Islands Craft Brewing, etc.) and the largest selection of local and international wines you can find in Iloilo. Farm-to-Table Iloilo is currently offering a Sunday lunch and dinner buffet (with fresh oysters, cold cuts, carving stations, a salad and soup bar and various viands) with a promo rate of just P399 per head extended until October!

4. Chill out with a beach vibe right in the city

For beach bums who have more time to spare, Iloilo serves as the gateway to nearby provinces including the unspoiled beaches of Antique, Capiz, Aklan and Guimaras, just a 15-minute ride by boat. A rising eco-tourism gem is Las Islas de Gigantes, a remote group of islands located off the coast of Carles and Estancia towns in northeastern Iloilo, which is roughly five hours away from the city proper. Island hopping in Guimaras.

For tourists who want to get that fun beach vibe but have limited time, boutique resort Urban Sands offers the perfect getaway. Located along M. H. del Pilar Street in Molo, close enough to metropolitan Iloilo City, Urban Sands exudes the vibe of a seaside resort with its native style huts and bamboo covered walls surrounding a swimming pool. When you step inside the resort, you really feel like you’re at the beach. But right outside is the highway, giving you easy access to city comforts like trendy restaurants, shopping malls, grocery stores, and other top establishments in the city.

5. Drink Dinagyang Beer and more at Brewery Gastropub

For beer-lovers looking for a good place to get some quality brews, Brewery Gastropub along Pison Avenue gives diners a chance to enjoy good gourmet food paired with around 100 beer choices from around the world! Brewery Gastropub carries a wide range of handcrafted beers made with natural ingredients from both local and international microbreweries. You can find a variety of bottled beers from Japan, Australia, California and New Orleans here.

They also carry local brews like Guimaras Gose (a tart beer brewed with Guimaras mangoes) by The Cebruery; Guava Ale by Fat Pauly’s from Mindanao as well as in-house brews like the sweet Iloilo Pale Ale (inspired by Ilonggo friendliness and hospitality) and Dinagyang Pale Ale, a fruity, easy-to-drink beer ideal for lazy afternoons or casual nights out with friends.

For the cheapeast fares to Iloilo, book your trips via AirAsia, which now services Manila to Iloilo with three flights daily. Promo fares for Manila to Iloilo from as low as P990 all-in are now available for booking at until October 15 and valid for travel starting October 9, 2017 to March 31, 2018.

Iloilo's PESO wins national award

By Cindy Ferrer (PNA)

ILOILO CITY -- The Public Employment and Service Office (PESO) of Iloilo Province was again recognized as best PESO at the national level for the first class province category during the national congress held in Cauayan City, Isabela on Wednesday.

Cynthia Dario, PESO-Iloilo Senior Labor and Employment Officer, received the award for the province.

PESO-Iloilo won the national award for the second consecutive year, besting six other nominees.

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. said the achievement is the “pride of the province” and the result of the PESO chief Francisco Heler Jr’s outstanding performance. He congratulated the whole PESO staff.

“Many were assisted by the office and were provided with jobs here in Iloilo, in other parts of the country and even abroad, especially in the Middle East,” he said in a press conference on Thursday.

Heler vowed to continue their initiatives to further improve their services in terms of facilitating employment .

PESO-Iloilo was institutionalized in 2015 through the enactment of Provincial Ordinance No.‎2015-122, to help produce a globally competitive workforce by promoting equity in employment opportunities while maintaining quality in the delivery of its employment facilitation services in partnership with the national government agencies and non-government organizations.

Some core services and functions of PESO include registration, referral, placement services, labor market information, career coaching and employment registration. It also covers other special programs of the department including special recruitment activities (SRA), job fairs, electronic manpower skills registry system (E-MSRS), among others.

Last year, PESO-Iloilo partnered with 488 local and overseas companies for job fairs. The partnership provided local employment to 5,419 applicants and 4,254 for overseas placement.

Heler said that they were also able to establish 728 barangay PESO offices.

Heler said they target to have 1,000 barangay PESO offices by the end of this year. He also mulled a grand convention for barangays PESO, which he considers as partners in reaching out down to the grassroots level.

This year, PESO-Iloilo is also piloting the JobStart Philippines program in Western Visayas. It is a youth employment facilitation program of DOLE in partnership with the Asian Development Bank and Government of Canada, which aims to enhance the employability of at-risk youths.

Iloilo City prepares for ‘All Saints Day’

By Perla Lena (PNA)

ILOILO CITY-- The city government, through its Public Safety and Transportation Management Office, is now starting preparations for the observance of "All Saints' Day" and "All Souls' Day.’

Jeck Conlu, head of the office, said on Wednesday that one of the major preparations is on traffic management.

A system review of the traffic management division is now ongoing. A revamp is expected as the series of examinations for traffic enforcers has already started.

Personnel of the Special Services Unit and the Police Auxiliary Unit will also be deputized so they can apprehend illegally parked vehicles.

Conlu said he will be seeking legal opinion if an ordinance is necessary to deputize personnel or a department order would suffice.

With this move, traffic auxiliaries will just focus on “directing traffic,” said Conlu.

Moreover, Conlu has established a quick response team (QRT) and a hotline will be provided so that drivers and commuters can immediately ask for assistance.

Conlu said an examination was given to enforcers last week to enhance their capability. The examination and orientation is proposed to be done quarterly.

Those who failed to pass the examination after three attempts “have no reason to be there,” Conlu said. He made it clear, though, that prior to the examinations, a review is also being conducted.

“In order for our traffic auxiliary to be effective, they should be equipped with knowledge with regard our ordinances,” he stated.

Iloilo City has more than 200 traffic auxiliaries.

Biz sector moves to sustain Iloilo's good image


ILOILO CITY -- The business sector here is taking their actions to sustain the good image of the city and province of Iloilo and bring more developments here after it was earlier tagged as "most shabulized" and "bedrock of illegal drugs".

The Iloilo Economic and Development Foundation Inc. (ILED), a non-profit, private sector-led organization on Saturday afternoon launched its campaign dubbed "Proud to be Ilonggo", which gathered people here from various sectors particularly business, professional, civil society, youth, academe, women, religious groups and the media.

ILED president Jocelyn Perez stressed that the group has been tireless in its advocacy to promote Iloilo as an ideal investment hub.

“And why not? When there is really so much going for it,” she said.

"Beautiful airport to arrive into, wide concrete highway to move around in, gleaming new business districts, a beautiful Convention Center, open spaces that can transfrom into industrial and economic facilities, very livable cities, abundant talents, peaceful towns offering countless business opportunities, dedicated and honest public servants who are eager to service investor requirements efficiently, the list is long," she added.

But with disturbing events, which attempted to tarnish the good image of Iloilo and threatened to derail the progress made in Iloilo, he said there is a need to for the Ilonggos to reaffirm their pride and declare that Iloilo is as ready as ever to take its place among the most liveable and business- friendly locations in the world.

“As peace-loving as we, Ilonggos, we must ensure that we do what we can to stay on track,” she said. Perez, who considered herself as among the recent participant in the economic boom town of Iloilo after retiring from over 30 years of employment in a multi-national firm in Manila, chose to make Iloilo has her next habitat.

She started up a business based in Concepcion, Iloilo in partnership with her non-Ilonggo business colleagues and its commercial operations already began last week.

“My non-ilonggo partners are simply delighted to have chosen to invest in Iloilo.I myself am very impressed,” she added.

After the campaign launching meanwhile, ILED chairperson Narzalina Lim, in a media interview, said that they are going to creat a “Proud to be Ilonggo” Facebook Page where statistics of the peace and order status of Western Visayas, particularly Iloilo, will be uploaded.

According to Police Chief Superintendent Cesar Hawthorne Binag, regional director of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 6, who highlighted the launching of the campaign yesterday by presenting the peace and order situation of the region, stressed that “the region remain peaceful and sustainable" despite the recent happenings like the raid of the Maasin town police station by the members of the New Peoples Army (NPA).

Lim said that through the social media page, they will be able to reach out to Ilonggos working or living abroad. “There are many overseas Filipino workers from this region and maybe they were already believing about what were said about Iloilo so, we want ot reach them also because they are an influential sector also,” she said.

Aside from the the promotion of the page, Lim said that they will also give press releases to the national media so they could report things that are happening in Iloilo.

Further, Lim said that they also wanted to let go of disturbing events, which attempted to tarnish the good image of Iloilo.

“Let’s just go ahead and show the world that it’s business as usual in Iloilo,” she said.

“We are so busy with so many events and we still have to continue bringing the investments in,” she added.