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Negros Occidental News

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List of Municipalities in the Negros Occidental Province within Western Visayas Region VI in the Republic of The Philippines
Binalbagan || Calatrava || Candoni || Cauayan || Enrique B. Magalona || Hinigaran || Hinoba-An || Ilog || Isabela || La Castellana || Manapla || Moises Padilla || Murcia || Pontevedra || Pulupandan || Salvador Benedicto || San Enrique || Toboso || Valladolid
Cities in the province of Negros Occidental: Bacolod City (Capital) || Bago City || Cadiz City || Escalante City || Himamaylan City || Kabankalan City || La Carlota City || Sagay City || San Carlos City || Silay City || Sipalay City || Talisay City || Victorias City


Negros Occidental Archived News
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Barangay anim 4500.gif
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.
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

Contents

New law on service charge seen to boost productivity

By ERWIN P. NICAVERA

THE just-signed law mandating that 100 percent of the service charge collected in restaurants and hotels be distributed among their employees is seen to boost the workers’ productivity.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11360 on August 7.

It amended Article 96 of the Labor Code of the Philippines giving restaurant and hotel workers only 85 percent of the service charge collected from customers while the remaining 15 percent was retained by the management.

Wennie Sancho, secretary general of General Alliance of Workers Associations (Gawa), said the signing is a welcome development that would increase the income of the hotel and restaurant employees.

Sancho said this incentive should motivate the workers to increase their productivity, because productivity goes with the pay.

“We hope that this positive development -- the 100 percent service charge for the employees -- will give more reasons for the workers to strive to increase their productivity and provide better and quality services to the customers,” he added.

It can be recalled that on May 28, the Senate ratified the bill granting 100 percent of the service charge to restaurant and hotel employees as well as to those of similar establishments in the service industry.

The Congress Bicameral Conference Committee, earlier that day, adopted the reconciled version of the Senate Bill No. 1299 and House Bill No. 8784.

The bill covers rank-and-file service industry workers as well as supervisors.

Under which, all service charges shall be equally distributed among these workers from the previous 85 - 15 percent sharing.

The new law, however, excludes employees who are classified as managers from getting a share in the service charge.

The law describes managers as those “who lay down and execute management policies or hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, discharge, assign or discipline employees or to effectively recommend such managerial actions.”

Sancho, also the labor representative to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Western Visayas, said they hope that there would be a faithful implementation of the law.

Sancho said sometimes the law exists but the problem is on the implementation.

The implementing rules and regulation (IRR), he said, should also be strengthened to implement the spirit of the law for the good of the workers.

“In spite of the veto of security of tenure, I think this is one development that could apiece the sentiments of the workers,” the labor leader said, adding that service charge in the hotel and restaurant industry is huge.

Senate committee on labor chairman Senator Joel Villanueva, in a report, said based on the inspection data from the Department of Labor and Employment, there are 157 companies violating the regulations on service charge as of January 10 this year.

Villanueva said the agency admitted that they do not actually examine whether 85 percent of the total service charge collected is actually and accurately distributed to the covered employees.

“The law allows frontline service workers to enjoy the fruits of their labor, the reward for providing good and quality service,” the senator added.

NegOcc gears for updating tourism development plan

(EPN)

THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental, through its Tourism Division, is gearing up for the updating of its province’s tourism development plan.

Members of the Provincial Tourism Planning Committee attended the leveling off activity with representatives of Department of Tourism (DOT)-Western Visayas at the Provincial Capitol in Bacolod City on Tuesday.

During which, the enhanced tools for data assessment and resource profiling were rolled out by a group of consultants together with lawyer Sedfrey Cabaluna of DOT-Western Visayas.

Also, the planning team met with Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Board Members Araceli Somosa, Ernesto Bascon and Jeffrey Tubola.

Cristine Mansinares, provincial supervising tourism operations officer, said the next four weeks will be allotted for consultations with the rest of the planning committee members and rapid area assessment in key tourism development areas in the province.

“The plan will mainly integrate the infrastructure needs leading to existing, emerging and potential tourism sites,” Mansinares said.

This is a pre-requisite as stated in a joint memorandum of the DOT and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Tourism Road Infrastructure Project (Trip), she added.

1.5K Negros artists, culture workers avail of NCCA scholarships

By Nanette Guadalquiver (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- Some 1,500 student-artists, cultural workers and other participants from Negros Island attended the workshops, lectures, seminar and forums offered under HANAS: Scholarship Program in Culture and the Arts in the past eight months.

Funded by a PHP4-million grant from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), HANAS was initiated by the West Visayas Museum Association (WVMA), Inc. and Colegio San Agustin (CSA)-Bacolod.

Fr. Tito Soquiño, vice president for Student Affairs and External Relations of CSA-Bacolod, said they are proud that through this project, the various programs and projects of the NCCA that were implemented in Negros Island were sustained and interconnected.

“For us, this is a pioneering project that tapped the expertise of the international, national, regional and local artists and cultural caregivers as resource persons and the convergence of thousands of next generation of artists, educators and cultural workers,” Soquiño said during the culmination ceremony held at the school auditorium on Saturday.

He acknowledged the support of the NCCA through Deputy Executive Director Marichu Tellano, who is also an alumna of CSA-Bacolod.

For her part, Tellano said that with the success of the HANAS scholarship program, the NCCA sees a more dynamic and vibrant culture and arts scene in Negros.

Soquiño also expressed his gratitude to WVMA headed by president Tanya Lopez, executive director of The Negros Museum, for serving as conduit for the project.

Of the more than 1,500 scholars, a total of 121 participants received their certificates of completion for being able to finish 120 hours of workshops in three weeks in six tracks, including film, dance, theater, museology, weaving and creative curriculum. The rest of the participants received certificates of attendance.

Since December last year, HANAS has conducted 63 workshops, lectures, seminar, and forums attended by students and teachers of CSA-Bacolod, and other schools as well as cultural workers, “patadyong” weavers and museum staff from various communities.

The other participants came from the University of St. La Salle, Carlos Hilado Memorial State University, cities of Bacolod, Bago, La Carlota, Kabankalan, Silay, Sagay, towns of Murcia and Valladolid in Negros Occidental, Bayawan City in Negros Oriental, provinces of Siquijor, Cebu, and Iloilo.

About 20 inmates of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Metro Bacolod District Jail-Male Dormitory Annex, also underwent an integrated theater arts workshop for the creation of their own mask theater guild.

Rudy Reveche, executive and workshop pedagogy director of HANAS, said he hopes the new knowledge and skills acquired, and the friendships made by the participants and trainors would inspire and guide them to come up with new ideas, solutions, platforms and advocacies that would preserve, promote, and sustain the cherished Christian values and Filipino heritage.

“We are the warriors for the environment, arts and cultural caregivers, and peace advocates for our nation and for the planet we live in,” he added.

Labor office to provide over 1,000 jobs in Negros Occidental

By TERESA D. ELLERA

AROUND 1,232 residents from the Fifth District of Negros Occidental will soon be provided jobs with the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced (Tupad) program of the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole).

The Fifth District Representative, Ma. Lourdes “Marilou” Arroyo, met with Dole-Western Visayas Director Cyril L. Ticao last Friday, August 2, in Negros Occidental to discuss the implementation of the program in Himamaylan City, La Castellana, Isabela, Hinigaran, Binalbagan, and Moises Padilla.

Displaced barangay workers in those areas would gain benefits from the program as 41 workers from each barangay are entitled to receive a minimum wage of P365 per day for 15 working days, or a total of P5,475 including the P256 for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and P50 for Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) insurance.

They will be engaged in community projects such as repair, maintenance, and improvement of public utilities and infrastructures; de-clogging of canals, debris clearing, and rehabilitation of farm-to-market roads and similar facilities; tree planting, seedling preparation, and other agro-forestry community projects.

“Tupad is a great program that provides immediate assistance to the displaced workers by giving them income opportunities in midst of emergency situations. I already coordinated with Dole Regional Director Ticao to ensure the smooth implementation of the program for my constituents in the Fifth District of Negros Occidental,” Arroyo said.

Tupad, a community-based package of assistance program of Dole, provides emergency employment for displaced, underemployed, or unemployed workers, and self-employed people, as well as for individuals who have lost their livelihood because of natural calamities or disasters.

Organic agri uplifts Negrense farmers

By Liez'l Marie Lamasan (LTP/LML-PIA6 Negros Occidental)

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL (PIA) -- Developing organic agriculture is vital in enriching the lives of local farmers, according to Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson.

“Agriculture is our tool for lifting people out of poverty, our tool for food security and sufficiency, and most importantly, our tool for survival, ” Lacson said, citing that agriculture is more than just a farmer planting crops or raising livestock.

Speaking before the organic practitioners and stakeholders at the Symposium on Organic Farming, Lacson also underscored the need to improve the market potential of organic products, and to strengthen the crop insurance and protection measures to diminish crop losses.

Meanwhile, Negros Island Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Foundation (NISARD) president Edgardo Uychiat shared the necessity to level up organic agriculture in Negros Occidental.

Uychiat also conveyed his appreciation to the governor for supporting the province’s worthwhile endeavors in organic farming.

Topics discussed during the symposium include Potential Organic Market for Negros Island Producers; Spreading Organic Farming Practice in the Philippines; and Exporting Organic Banana to Japan.

The activity was anchored on the theme, “Scaling up Organic Production in Negros Island, a program of the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental and the NISARD, Inc."

SM Bacolod joins national quake drill

(PR)

THE SM Supermalls and properties of the SM Prime Holdings all over the country participated in the National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED). This is the third NSED exercise this year, initiated by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). Held nationwide Thursday, August 8, the drill started at 2 p.m. and lasted for about 14 minutes from evacuation to the headcount of participants.

A total of 528 were recorded at the drill, composed of mall and tenant employees, security and agency personnel, contractors at the ongoing hotel construction within the mall’s premises, and even some mallgoers.

This same drill was also joined by local government units, the business sector and schools, as encouraged by the NDRRMC, in coordination with their local counterpart offices, the Bureau of Fire, Philippine National Police, Red Cross of the Philippines, non-government organizations involved in disaster rescue and response and aligned volunteer groups. The NSED is carried out during the day to simulate the normal hours conducted by business establishments and schools to raise public awareness for disaster preparedness.

During Thursday’s “earthquake,” SM City Bacolod activated its Emergency Response Team, where the different units carried out their functions in response and clearing, setting up command centers, communication, traffic and customer management, rescue, extraction and treatment of injured personnel.

Aside from this national participation, SM malls also regularly conduct internal disaster preparedness seminars for all personnel employed in the mall and its tenant stores throughout the year. The topics cover incidents on possible scenarios that can occur. For earthquakes, the mall promotes duck, cover and hold as the first safety response an individual can practice.

Panay-Guimaras-Negros bridge study to be completed this year

By Azer Parrocha (PNA)

MANILA -- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on Wednesday said the feasibility study of the inter-island bridge connecting three major islands in Western Visayas is expected to be completed before 2020.

“The feasibility study for the Panay-Guimaras-Negros (bridge) is expected to be completed this year,” Anna Mae Lamentillo, chairperson of the Build, Build, Build Inter-agency Committee, bared this in a press briefing in Malacañang.

Lamentillo said the DPWH is being “very careful” in relation to the design and construction of the project given its magnitude.

“May requirement po kasi (there’s a requirement). For an inter-island bridge for example, may required na pre-feasibility study, feasibility study and detailed engineering design,” she added.

She assured that the bridge has been included as one of the priority projects under the Build, Build, Build program of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Once completed, the bridge is expected to be another option for traveling across Western Visayas to prevent incidents such as the recent Iloilo-Guimaras Straight sea mishap that killed 31 people from occurring.

The Proposed Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges Project is undergoing a feasibility study under CCC Highway Consultants Co., Ltd. of the People’s Republic of China.

Based on the project profile, the two proposed bridges are the Panay-Guimaras Bridge, which will start in Leganes, Iloilo and will end in Buenavista, Guimaras, and the Guimaras-Negros Island Bridge, which will start and end in San Lorenzo, Guimaras and Pulupandan, Negros Occidental, respectively.

Some road sections in Guimaras Island have already been developed and paved, now known as the Guimaras Cross Island Roads as part of the preparation for the construction.

FNRI offers low-cost rice fortification machine

By By Lorenzo O. Lambatin, Jr.

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL (PIA) -- Rice fortification technology is now more affordable for rice millers with the low-cost blending machine designed by the Department of Science and Technology’s -Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) in partnership with HDN Technologies, an equipment fabricator.

A press release from agency said other machines cost from P350,000 to P700,000 while a DOST-FNRI-designed blending machine will only cost approximately P250,000 only.

Aside from savings, it is more stable, robust, compact, works in bigger capacity and less prone to breakage.

About P500,000 additional investment covering equipment and raw materials are needed to start production of iron-fortified rice, the press release further said.

Prospective adoptors, particularly, rice millers, can write a letter of intent to DOST-FNRI director Dr. Mario V. Capanzana.

The FNRI-DOST is located at General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City with telephone/fax numbers: 837-234 or 837-3164; direct line: 939-1839; trunk line 837-2071 to 82, local 2296 or 2284.

This is in line with the Philippine Food Fortification Act of 2000 or RA 8976 which mandates rice fortification with iron to address the problem of anemia mostly due to iron deficiency anemia.

About 11.1 percent of the Filipino population is anemic according to the DOST-FNRI 2013 National Nutrition Survey.

The blending machine is a vital equipment used in rice fortification. It blends the iron rice premix with ordinary rice without damaging the grains and achieving uniformity even in higher capacity.

By just adding P2.00 to P3.00 per kilogram to the price of ordinary rice available in the market, a consumer can now have iron-fortified rice.

Details of the technology transfer and commercialization can be discussed through a series of consultative meetings with DOST-FNRI.

MassKara dancers perform in Long Beach, California

(PR)

FOR the second straight year, the MassKara Festival dancers performed in the City of Long Beach in California Sunday, August 4.

The 10-member MassKara dance group performed for two times at the "2nd MassKara Festival in Long Beach" at the Bandshell at the Recreation Park.

They were well-applauded by members of the Filipino-American community.

They were invited by the Long Beach-Bacolod Association (LBBA), headed by Peter Ramirez.

The cities of Long Beach and Bacolod have sisterhood ties.

The MasssKara dance group was composed of Joedem Casabuena, John Rey Alulod, Richard Lopez, Mark Philip Lamirez, Argie Tacadao, Airick Bayking, Joenel Buenaventura, Nestle Ramirez, Alvin Cardiente and Junel Caagoy-Yap.

They were choreographed by Segundo Jesus "Panoy" Cabalcar.

The performance of MassKara dancers at Long Beach was part of the Bacolod City Trade and Tourism Mission to USA 2019, headed by former councilor Em Ang.

The MassKara dancers also performed at Disneyland Park in Anaheim.

They were the first Filipino group to perform in Disneyland and also the first mask-based festival in the world to do so.

Prior to the performance at the Recreation Park, they performed at the Gala Night of the "2nd MassKara Festival in Long Beach" at the Marriott Hotel in Long Beach City.

The following day, they performed at the Trade, Travel and Consumer Expo, hosted by the Asian Journal Publications, at the SouthBay Pavilion in Carson City.

They also performed at the San Francisco Filipino Cultural Center in San Francisco, California.

For the San Francisco leg, they were invited by the Rotary Club of Daly City Colma Evening, through its president-elect, Leila de la Peña-Marin, who is from Bacolod City.

DA pushes for development of rural-based organizations

By ERWIN P. NICAVERA

TALISAY CITY -- Recognizing the important role of food production area in the value chain, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has recognized the need to also bring development in the rural areas through one, helping organizations there.

Agriculture Undersecretary for High Value Crops and Rural Credit Evelyn Laviña, at the sidelines of the opening of the 5th Farm Home Extensionists Association of the Philippines (Fhexap) National Congress at the Nature’s Village Resort here yesterday, said the agency is pushing for the development of rural areas as these host the farmlands.

Laviña said most of the developments are concentrated in the city, and that many in the rural areas still need support from the government.

“Our food production is at the rural areas so we need to really keep up with the call of the time,” he said, adding that the development should be more focused on the need of the commodity.

In the bid to further stimulate growth and development in the rural areas, the DA continues to explore collaboration and partnership especially for its extension initiatives.

Fhexap, for instance, which is accredited under the Agriculture Training Institute (ATI), is being assisted by the DA in terms of “capacitation” especially of women in the rural areas through the agency’s gender and development (GAD) programs.

The association is a non-profit organization composed of coordinators of rural improvement clubs (RICs), GAD and other rural-based organizations in different local government units (LGUs) and that of the DA.

With a vision to be a harmonized, unified and responsive association for the delivery of extension services for farm and home development, Fhexap mainly focuses on women development like assisting them to become entrepreneurs.

Laviña said that, given their entrepreneurial skills and creativity, women also play a vital role in agriculture development.

“They have small hands so it’s easier for them to cook and package things,” she said, adding that they want to see women-members of the association to upgrade their products for distribution in the country and eventually for export.

Laviña also recognized the need for local women organizations to be organized properly so they can get more assistance from the government.

“Through this, it would also be easy to monitor them. The more they are successful, the more assistance will be given to them,” the undersecretary said, assuring that the agency has programs for them like provision of support services, credit and insurance, among others.

Themed “Farm Home Extensionists: Community Force Multipliers towards Progressive Women Entrepreneurs and Management towards Farm Tourism,” the three-day event gathers at least 100 members nationwide.

Rosemarie Martin, president of Fhexap, said the national congress is aimed at underscoring the agribusiness aspect of the women-groups assisted by the association.

Martin said the activity is more of a sharing, women inspiring their fellow women.

“We thought of reactivating the Home Economics Extension Association of the Philippines mainly to help rural women,” she said, adding that extensionists are geared towards agricultural production development.

Currently composed of over 400 members nationwide, Fhexap goals include to develop programs that support the social and economic needs of the members that shall ultimately benefit rural women.

Aside from sessions and open forums, the activity also includes exhibits showcasing the products of rural-based organizations in the country including those in Negros Occidental.

DTI: Toyota special service drive on

(PR)

IN LINE with its corporate commitment to product safety and quality, the Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. will initiate a special service campaign for the curtain shield airbag computer on some of its Toyota Rush units.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Negros Occidental, in a press release, said the special service campaign shall cover 12,124 Toyota Rush units sold in the Philippine market which were produced from April 2, 2018 to February 7, 2019.

Due to inappropriate airbag computer programming of the involved units, the curtain shield airbags may deploy upon impact on the rear wheel.

As a preventive measure, Toyota will notify the concerned customers through official notification letters.

Customers may bring their unit at any authorized Toyota dealer for the replacement of the airbag computer assembly with a new one at no cost.

Collaboration with LandBank, PCIC seen to benefit more NegOcc farmers

By ERWIN P. NICAVERA

THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental, through the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), is stepping up its collaboration efforts with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) to benefit more farmers in the province.

OPA personnel sat down with officials and representatives of LBP-Negros Occidental Lending Center and PCIC Provincial Extension Office in a coordination meeting held at LBP-Gatuslao Office in Bacolod City earlier this week.

Dina Genzola, provincial supervising agriculturist, said the meeting was aimed at strengthening the support system and linkages in order to reach out and assist more marginal farmers in the province.

“Local farmers need more support especially in terms of production, technology, farm mechanization, packaging, processing, credit access and crop insurance,” she added.

Among the programs offered by the LBP include the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF), a lending program that aims to improve the sustainability of small farmers and fisherfolk with the lowest interest rate of two percent per annum.

Genzola said more marginalized farmers and fisherfolk in the province can also avail other agricultural programs and extension services from the LBP as well as the PCIC in boosting their yield and income.

The PCIC is an active partner of the provincial government in ensuring the crops of local farmers and fisherfolk.

Through the Negros First Universal Crop Insurance Program (NFUCIP), for instance, the agency provides indemnity claims to enrolled farmers during crop production losses due to calamities, pest infestation and diseases.

It can be recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte, in his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona), ordered to the LBP to be aggressive in helping local cooperatives.

Duterte said “You know, you are called Land Bank but you are now the number one commercial bank in the Philippines.”

“Land Bank should go back to land. Why are you mired in so many commercial transactions? Bumalik kayo where you were created for and that is to help the farmers,” he said.

The President gave the LBP until the end of July to give him a plan or else he will ask Congress to reconfigure it.

“If there is no viable plan for the farmers and it is just all commercial transactions, might as well abolish it and give the money to the congressmen for their development funds,” he added.

For his part, Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino earlier said they are upbeat that the government-own bank will further strengthen its programs in the province following the President’s pronouncement.

Masculino said the LBP in Negros, based on their experience, always tried its best to provide loans to the farmers despite bulk of requirements, which are part of the process.

“We hope that the President’s order will further improve the services of LBP in the province so more farmers will have easy access to it,” he added.

DOST opens undergrad scholarships

By Liez'l Marie Lamasan (LTP/LML-PIA6 Negros Occidental)

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL (PIA) -- The Negros Occidental Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) renewed its call among graduating senior high school students in the province to apply for the undergraduate scholarships of the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI).

These science scholarship grants are included in the Republic Act 7687 and Merit scholarships.

Under RA 7687, poor, talented and deserving students are encouraged to apply.

Meanwhile, the Merit scholarship is intended to those applicants whose socioeconomic status exceeds the set values of certain indicators.

Further, scholarship hopefuls may be eligible to apply if they have met the following criteria: (a) natural-born Filipino citizen; (b) member of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) Strand senior high school graduating class or member of the top five percent of the Non-STEM Strand senior high school graduating class; and, (c) of good moral character and in good health.

They should pursue any of the Science and technology (S&T) programs covered under the DOST-SEI Undergraduate Scholarships in any of these academic institutions: State universities and colleges (SUCs); tertiary institutions identified as Centers of Excellence or Centers of Development, or Level III accredited by Federation of Accrediting Agencies of the Philippines (FAAP) for the S&T programs; and DOST-SEI identified network institutions.

Qualifiers have grant privileges such as tuition fees, book allowance, P.E. uniform, group insurance, transportation allowance for those studying outside of home province, monthly stipend, and graduation clothing allowance.

Upon completion of the degree, DOST scholars are required to render service in the country to a minimum period corresponding to the span of time they enjoyed the scholarship.

This year’s exam covers Logical Reasoning, Science, Math, English, and Mechanical-Technical as these categories gauge aptitudes that determine academic and professional success in STEM areas.

Application forms are available at DOST regional and provincial offices. It may also be downloaded at www.sei.dost.gov.ph.

All requirements and accomplished forms should be submitted at the DOST Regional Office 6 or PSTC on September 6, 2019 as the date of examination is scheduled on October 20, 2019.

For more scholarship details, contact the Negros Occidental PSTC at (034) 435-9175.

Provincial scholars sign agreement

By Easter Anne Doza (LTP/EAD-PIA6 Negros Occidental)

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL (PIA) –- Some 348 incoming college students are now full-fledged provincial scholars after signing the Memorandum of Agreement with the Provincial Government here.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson represented the province in the signing of the agreement held at the Negros Occidental Multi-Purpose Activity Center in Bacolod City.

The scholars were grantees of different scholarship categories namely District Educational Scholarship (DES), Pagkaon Scholarship, Indigenous Peoples’ Scholarship, NOPMANS – Medicine, Degree Completion Scholarship, Provincial Educational Assistance for Capitol Employees (PEACE) – Post Graduate, PEACE – Bachelor’s Degree, and Best of Negros.

Before the signing of the agreement, applicants for the scholarships underwent a series of examinations and interviews before qualifying in the scholarship category, according to a release from the Provincial Capitol.

Lacson congratulated the scholars and told them to do good in their studies as they pursue a college education.

“Take advantage of the opportunity given to you and take it seriously in order to get a job after graduation, and eventually improve the quality of your lives,” Lacson told the scholars.

Meanwhile, Board Member Agustin Ernesto Bascon, chairman of the SP Committee on Education, said that the Provincial Government reaffirms its commitment and dedication to the scholars as they intend to bring progress not only in the province but to each and every family in Negros Occidental.

Ananias Ricaplaza, Jr., a Pagkaon Scholar on BS Agriculture and who graduated Cum Laude at Central Philippine State University (CPSU) – Kabankalan in 2014, said that he is thankful for the scholarship opportunity given to him and encouraged his fellow scholars to do their best and not lose hope in every challenge that they will encounter.

NegOcc agri office, state school to develop organic farm

By Erwin Nicavera (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- A partnership to develop a 500-hectare organic farm is being proposed by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) with the Central Philippines State University (CPSU) based in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.

Negros Occidental Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said on Tuesday he has started talks with CPSU president Aladino Moraca to come up with a scheme to promote the province’s organic agriculture industry.

He added that they will tap the parents of the students, who are recipients of PHP20,000 per semester school incentives from the national government.

“Instead of giving them directly their allowances, we are looking at utilizing the fund for organic farming whether livestock or crops,” Masculino said.

More than 1,000 students of CPSU Kabankalan campus are children of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries, and 90 percent are children of farmers.

Masculino said Moraca informed him that they all receive a total school allowance of about PHP52 million per year.

Under the scheme, the parents will be tasked to plant in their respective farms utilizing the allowances of their children for inputs like fertilizer.

Through this intervention, it will be ensured that the incentives given by the government to them are put to good use and they can contribute to the expansion of organic agriculture areas in the province, Masculino said.

The OPA and CPSU-Kabankalan are finalizing the agreement targeted for implementation during the second cropping season this year.

“Once realized, the scheme will result in an additional 500 hectares of organic farms,” Masculino added.

The OPA chief noted that there is a need for an aggressive campaign to boost organic agriculture production in Negros Occidental.

He said farmers who would like to shift from conventional to organic farming should be given other assistance, not only technical support.

“Organic fertilizer is the most limiting factor. Farmers must be given assistance at least as a startup input,” Masculino added.

NegOcc farmers earn P1.1M thru 15-day product selling

By ERWIN P. NICAVERA

PARTICIPATING farmers and fisherfolk in Negros Occidental have earned at least P1.1 million during the just-concluded People’s Organization (PO) Product Selling at the Capitol Grounds in Bacolod City.

The figure is the initial gross sales generated by members of 17 farmers and fisherfolk associations in the province as of 2 p.m. Monday, July 15.

Luisa Tutor, senior environment management specialist of the Provincial Environment Management Office (Pemo), said the 15-day activity until Monday has enabled local farmers to earn higher income.

Tutor said such sales could not be generated if farmers were just in their farms, especially those in the upland areas.

“Through the product selling, we are bringing their products closer to the market,” she said, adding that it also helped them tap other potential buyers in Bacolod City and nearby localities.

Aside from showcasing agricultural products, mostly organic and naturally-grown, the activity was also positioned to promote environment conservation among Negrenses.

The activity was considered a “green event” as participating farmers are using biodegradable materials as their packaging materials and containers instead of plastic.

These include leaves, abaca, paper and native baskets, among others.

Tutor earlier said that through the annual event, the provincial government is promoting conservation economic enterprise.

This is because the participating farmers have been defending the natural resources through pro-environment practices, she added.

The PO Product Selling was part of the 27th Provincial Environment Month celebration themed “Air Pollution: We can’t stop breathing, but we can do something about the quality of air that we breathe.”

Now on its sixth year, the activity showcased wide-variety of products like rice, vegetables, roots crops, processed food, dried fish, herbs and fruit trees, among others.

These are mostly organic and naturally-grown crops and commodities.

Tutor reiterated that the activity is also a measure to encourage farmers to become entrepreneurs.

“We hope to have instilled with them the values of being agripreneurs,” she said, adding that farmers and fisherfolk are pushing for a bigger and longer product selling next year.

Pemo, meanwhile, awarded Canlamay ISF Upland Farmers Association of Barangay Canlamay in Ilog as the highest in gross sales.

For best booths, the winners are Makcata ISF Farmers Association of Barangay Rizal in San Carlos City (first place), Canlamay ISF Upland Farmers Association (second place), and Victorias ISF Farmers Association of Barangay Gawahon in Victorias City (third place).

Consolation winners for the best booths are Minapasuk Farmers Association of Barangay Minapasuk in Calatrava, Pandanon ISF Farmers Tuguisan Association of Barangay Pandanon in Salvador Benedicto, and Kumaliskis ISF Farmers Association of Barangay Kumaliskis in Salvador Benedicto.

Tourism frontliners in southern Negros city get skills training

By Erwin Nicavera (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- Some 30 tourism frontliners in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental underwent a three-day training and workshop until Friday to boost their skills in handling guests.

City tourism officer Jerick Lacson said that through the initiative, the Tourism Development and Promotions Office also aims to standardize the housekeeping system for all accommodation establishments.

The participants of the customer service satisfaction and housekeeping training and workshop, held at the Sipalay City Tourism Multi-Purpose Center, included frontliners as well as owners and managers of resorts, pension houses, hotels, and restaurants.

The trainers and resource persons were from the Northern Summit Technical Institute, a school accredited by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

“We aim to level up the skills of tourism frontliners in handling guests and visitors, and also standardize the housekeeping system for the establishments,” Lacson said.

The training also assisted the participants in creating a monitoring mechanism that will be used by the owners to check if they have adapted the system or if they have applied what they learned from the activity, he added.

Lacson recognized that most of the tourism frontliners in the city are capable but do not have a technical background in customer service and housekeeping.

They are not degree holders in tourism or hospitality management, and some are even high school graduates only, he noted.

“We want to level up the tourism services in the city as part of the city government’s thrust for sustainable tourism. We envision Sipalay City to be a competitive tourism destination not just with a variety of attractions, but also quality tourism services and standards,” Lacson added.

Bacolod water firm gears up for joint venture deal

By Nanette Guadalquiver (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- The Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) will be transparent when it enters into a joint venture agreement with a private firm to improve its water supply and facilities, an official said Wednesday.

“There is definitely transparency on this matter. We are doing this for the benefit of the City of Bacolod. We press on because our cause is just. We are on the right track,” Board chairman Lorendo Dilag said in a press briefing, adding the process is constantly reviewed by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC).

Dilag made the assurance amid apprehensions and concerns raised by employees and consumers on such a move.

As of Thursday, the joint venture selection committee is drafting the terms of reference for the bidding to challenge the unsolicited proposal of Villar Group’s PrimeWater Infrastructure Corporation.

In 2016, Baciwa received three unsolicited proposals, but only PrimeWater was able to pass the legal, technical and financial requirements. Still, other proponents can submit bidding documents to challenge the former’s proposal.

Dilag said considering that they do not have enough funds for expansion and improvement of services, the board of directors considered a joint venture with a private proponent.

He pointed out that through the partnership, Baciwa aims to improve water availability to 24 hours-seven days a week to existing consumers and new growth areas; install or construct additional transmission and distribution lines supported with technically advanced infrastructure, and replace or rehabilitate aging infrastructure and facilities.

Baciwa also seeks to reduce non-revenue to acceptable industry standards, provide efficient and responsive customer service, and provide septage management system for sanitary de-sludging and treatment services, he added.

Dilag also assured the residents that Baciwa will not be privatized and any increase in water rates can only be done by the joint venture upon the approval of the Local Water Utilities Administration, and after public hearings are held.

Meanwhile, Board director Mona Dia Jardin said Baciwa “really needs finances to improve (its) service”.

“That is why the board of directors opted for a public-private partnership or a joint venture to speed up the delivery of service to the people. It will add up to better customer service,” she added.

Jenelyn Gemora, assistant general manager for operations, said the proposed partnership will not involve the sale of any assets of Baciwa since it will be a contractual joint venture.

“All assets will still be owned by Baciwa. We will just outsource the development and they will infuse capitalization. At the end of the 25-year-contract period, these assets will all be returned to Baciwa,” she said.

Gemora said all Baciwa employees will be absorbed by the joint venture partner or they may also opt to retire and avail of the retirement package and livelihood assistance.

“No one will lose his or her job,” she added.

On the other hand, Samuel Penado, assistant general manager for administration, said if no one else pre-qualifies, the selection committee will no longer evaluate the other proponents.

“Therefore, two months after the publication (for bidding in August), we can award the project to PrimeWater. By first week of October, we will know,” he added.

Gemora added that by the time the contract ends, Baciwa would have served 92 to 95 percent of the total population of Bacolod, from the current 54 percent.

To date, Baciwa has 57,000 water concessionaires.

Bago City gets boost at Australia summit

By ERWIN P. NICAVERA

BAGO City is one of the three cities from the Philippines that have gained boost at the just-concluded 2019 Asia Pacific Cities Summit (APCS) and Mayors' Forum held in Brisbane, Australia.

Mayor Nicholas Yulo, who was the lone local chief executive-representative from Western Visayas, said the international summit is actually an eye opener to the mayors across the Asia Pacific Region.

Yulo said the summit and forum centered on four main topics, such as sustainability, livability, mobility, and innovation and technology.

"Innovation and technology is moving the world so rapidly but there are issues that we need to address otherwise the future may not be secured," he added.

The summit underscored that one of the biggest issues now is the decaying oceans due to dumping of garbage.

The one single problem is plastic, Yulo said, adding that problems related to air pollution were also highlighted.

"Here, they showed how other cities are innovating to tackle these problems using the ever changing new technologies available to us," the mayor told SunStar Bacolod.

The three-day APCS and Mayors' Forum was held at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from July 7 to 10.

The organizer, in its website, said activity enables participants to connect and collaborate with key influencers of cities and join the conversation about the innovation, mobility, livability and sustainability of cities.

The 2019 APCS marks the 12th occasion of the event for the Asia Pacific Region.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner, in a statement, said with a focus on driving cities through business and innovation, the summit is a key platform for city, business, industry and emerging leaders to connect and shape the region's urban agenda.

Schrinner said it will offer world-class speakers, an inspiring and topical program, a dedicated business introductions program as well as an array of networking opportunities.

"The summit will continue to build on its success as one of the region's leading forums, and a key platform for driving innovation, city partnerships and economic growth in Brisbane and the Asia Pacific Region," he added.

Aside from Bago City in Negros Occidental, the two other cities from the Philippines are Ilagan in Isabela and Calbayog in Samar.

For Bago alone, its top official said the city has gained boost as participating mayors were empowered on how to respond to the problems presented.

Yulo said it enabled them to design strategies and measures that could be applied to address pressing problems in their respective community.

"The summit makes us look at and address issues with new sets of eyes," he added.

Visayan artists trained on business of performing arts

By Erwin Nicavera (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- About 50 groups and individuals in the Visayas attended the Business of Performing Arts Capacity-Building Seminar initiated by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

During the seminar held at The Negros Museum here on Tuesday, Marjo Evio, chief of CITEM home lifestyle and creative industry division, said the country’s creative industry needs to be further “professionalized or galvanized”.

“According to some studies, the creative economy will lead the next revolution economies,” she said.

Evio cited how Korea was able to export its K-Pop products, including its music, shows, and artists, and Filipinos are even one of the biggest fans of such foreign culture.

She added that the Filipinos’ talents in music, design, culinary, arts and culture, and graphics, communication, and digital designs have not been fully maximized yet.

“Though known for its talents, the Philippines has not yet maximized the potentials of its creative industry,” the CITEM official said, adding that Negros has the potential in the areas of design, culinary and performing arts.

As a measure to help grow the industry, both the CITEM and the CCP are jointly hosting the capacity-building seminar in four areas in the country as part of their Create Philippines and Manila International Performing Arts Market (MIPAM) initiatives, respectively.

Themed “Bridging Business and the Arts,” the activity is aimed at equipping performing artists with the right skills and tools to run their organizations professionally.

Resource speaker Alessa Libongco-Lanot, who talked on Basic Branding Principles, underscored the importance of having one's own brand or signature.

“The unique combination of your qualities, features, and traits will make your brand or organization irreplaceable. Create your own brand story,” Libongco-Lanot said.

The seminar is also designed to prepare local performing arts, individuals and groups as exhibitors for the upcoming MIPAM and Create Philippines event, a three-day festival at the CCP Complex in Pasay City this coming September.

The event will bring together performing arts groups, design agencies and other stakeholders for business matching and networking opportunities alongside other activities aimed at improving their business and creative capacities.

Evio said some “creative” people might not think about the business aspect of their work.

“So we are equipping them to thrive in the sector, to improve especially in terms of business,” Evio said.

Jose Mari Chan’s firm launches residential project in Bacolod

By Nanette Guadalquiver (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- Singer-songwriter and businessman Jose Mari Chan launched on Monday a residential subdivision project developed by his family-owned firm in Mansilingan village here.

Chan, president of Morning Glow Development Corp. (MGDC), led the groundbreaking ceremony of the seven-hectare Villa Florencia Subdivision on Murcia Road, together with Mayor Evelio Leonardia.

Alongside the development is the Villa Magdalena Commercial Center.

Both projects are operated by the MGDC, with Chan’s daughters Elizabeth Ann Chan-Parpan as managing director and Marie Angelica Chan as sales and marketing director.

Chan, who has been named the honorary mayor and adopted son of Bacolod in 2018, noted the thriving business climate in Bacolod that is drawing more investors.

“If business is thriving, it means the investors are confident with Mayor Leonardia and his administration. If you don’t trust the city government, then you will not venture here. It is a credit to him,” he said.

Chan was around 12 years old when he first came to Bacolod, where his late father opened a sugar trading company in 1960.

As a businessman engaged in sugar milling, he sits as the chairman and chief executive officer of Binalbagan-Isabela Sugar Company Inc. and A. Chan Sugar Corporation.

Meanwhile, Leonardia said the launching of the Chan family’s residential subdivision project is significant in the area, which is supposed to be barren and uninhabited but is now becoming another growth area of the city.

“Mansilingan is one of our biggest barangays. It is a vast piece of land with so much potential. I’m sure the Chan family’s investment will stimulate more growth in this area,” he added.

NegOcc IT center named top-performing Tech4ED hub in Visayas

By Nanette Guadalquiver (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY – The Negros Occidental Language and Information Technology Center (NOLITC) was awarded as the top-performing Tech4ED hub in the Visayas Cluster 1 by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

NOLITC, a technical-vocational training school owned by the provincial government based in this city, was tops in the total number of platform-based users as of April 2019, as well as in trainings conducted from November 2018 to April 2019.

School administrator Ma. Cristina Orbecido, who presented the awards to Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson on Monday, told the Philippine News Agency the award is an indication of the center’s sustained commitment to promote digital literacy in the countryside.

“We have been maximizing the programs and services of NOLITC Tech4ED Center every year to reach the unserved and underserved clients,” she said.

During the Tech4ED Center Conference held in Iloilo City recently, NOLITC bested 185 other Tech4ED Centers in the Visayas Cluster 1.

Tech4ED, or Technology for Education, Employment, Entrepreneurial, and Economic Development Project, provides access for individuals and communities to bridge the digital and education divide through information, communication, technology, government services, non-formal education, skills training, telehealth, job markets, and business portals.

In 2018, the DICT elevated NOLITC to the Hall of Fame of the National Tech4ED Awards after three years of being a Center for Excellence.

The NOLITC Tech4ED Center, which started in 2016, has been recognized for achieving consistent exemplary performance in delivering sustainable ICT-enabled services and for exhibiting commendable impact in the growth and development of the community.

This year, it is one of the finalists for the Gender and Development (GAD) Awards under the DigiPinay Category organized by DICT.

The GAD awards ceremony will be held next month during the Knowledge Exchange Conference in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

Forum on directing process set on July 12

(PR)

COMMUNITY theatre group in Bacolod City will conduct its seventh Friday Madness event, where a forum on Directing Process on Stage will be conducted on July 12 at the Negros Museum, Bacolod City.

The Performance Laboratory or PerfLab, a community theater based in Bacolod City, will have a forum on Directing Process with three Negrense Directors, as part of their outreach program to educate the community about theatre and performance art.

This is the seventh Friday Madness event of PerfLab that started January this year through mounting a staged reading of Café Specials, a play written by local director Fundador Tipon.

The event continued every first Friday of the month were plays were read by local theatre artists and enthusiasts, followed by moderated interaction of audience and the artists or the playwright themselves.

Among the plays they performed through a reading Bata sa Bulan by Roger Venzal, Venise Buenaflor and Charlene Tupas in February, The Vagina Monologue by Eve Ensler in March in celebration of the international women’s month, Tic Tac Toe and Sa Haya sang akon Amay by Peter Solis Nery in April, In My Father’s House by Elsie Coscolluela, and Rite of Passage by Glenn Sevilla Mas last month.

Friday Madness aims to provide a space for local artists and theatre enthusiasts to meet in an informal setting, and encourage exchange amongst artists and audience, PerfLab Artistic Director Tanya Lopez said.

“Amidst the dominance of digital screens, we believe that the process of coming together as a community of readers and storytellers can be a powerful tool to preserve human connection,” she said.

Lopez said that the seventh Friday Madness they decided to put up a forum to further explore the sharing of experiences among artists, and theater enthusiasts.

The forum on July 12 is free and open to all Negrense cultural workers, artists, and performance art enthusiasts.

For more information contact Noel Pahayupan @ 09459668095 or email at n.abadapahayupan@gmail.com.

NegOcc town farmers benefit from solar irrigation system

By Nanette Guadalquiver (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- Some 60 farming families in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental who are into rice and sugarcane production are benefiting from the PHP5.99-million solar-powered irrigation system (SPIS) funded by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said in a Facebook post on Sunday that Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino informed him such irrigation facility in Barangay Bato is the first of its kind in the province.

“Rice and sugarcane farmers in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental who have relied on rains all their lives…are now enjoying the blessings of the magic of modern agriculture technology through the SPIS,” he said.

Piñol said the SPIS could irrigate 60 hectares of rice farms and 40 hectares of sugarcane fields.

The facility in the southern Negros town is one of the almost 200 units being established all over the country as part of the DA’s modernization program, he added.

Masculino said that “previously, farmers either relied on rain or used diesel engine driven pumps”, adding that they have also tried using electric-driven pumps but the cost was too high for the farmers.

“With this solar power, the farmers will save a lot of money and it will increase their productivity,” he added.

In Western Visayas, the DA-Regional Field Unit 6 has identified 34 sites for the establishment of the SPIS. The first nine units funded by the agency in 2018 included the one in Hinigaran.

The eight others are located in Patnongon, Antique; Guimbal, Iloilo; and Western Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center in Jaro, Iloilo City for corn; Sibalom, Antique; Pototan and Dingle, Iloilo; Jamindan, Capiz; and Madalag, Aklan for rice.

Piñol said the DA is also working to avail a PHP44-B loan from the Israeli government to establish 6,200 units of computerized SPIS which could provide water for 500,000 hectares.

Out of the number, Western Visayas is entitled to 388 units, or 65 in every province, the DA-RFU 6 earlier said.

Local food, products star at 11th Negros Business Week

By ERWIN P. NICAVERA

LOCAL products, mostly food, are getting boost at the 11th Negros Business Week, which will open at the Robinsons Place Bacolod today, July 6.

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and officials of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) will lead the opening of the 12-day event themed “Driving Progress in Harmony.”

The event will gather at least 30 enterprises mostly food producers and processors from localities outside Bacolod City.

Frank Carbon, chief executive officer of MBCCI, earlier said this year's business week is more of a food exposition as it showcases the rich culinary culture of Negros Occidental.

Food is also a major tourist drawer. It's a perfect match with nature tourism, he said, adding that "food is one of the strengths of the province."

Through the annual business week, MBCCI is trying to bring small producers in the city where market and big buyers are located.

This is part of their efforts on exposing startups and small enterprises, enabling them to see how they will reach and eventually saturate the urban market.

"We want to connect small producers to bigger distributors who can help market their products," the business group said.

Also, the 11th Negros Business Week is positioned to trigger growth and development toward the rural areas especially agriculture and fishery communities in Negros Occidental.

Carbon said the resources in rural areas are abundant yet it lack investments, thus employment generation there is minimal and the opportunities are limited.

As they continue to push for collaboration and partnership between the public and private sector for growth and development, Carbon said there is a need to further urge the government to bring in investments among rural areas.

"Progress in harmony speaks for an equitable development, it should not only be directed towards the urban areas," he added.

NegOcc to update tourism dev’t plan

By Erwin Nicavera (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- Negros Occidental’s provincial government will work with the Department of Tourism (DOT) 6 (Western Visayas) to update its tourism development plan.

Cristine Mansinares, provincial supervising tourism operations, said Friday the technical group of DOT-6 will help the province draft the revisions.

She met with DOT-6 Director Helen Catalbas recently and part of the discussion was the new road development projects leading to tourism sites in Negros Occidental.

These identified road networks will be included in the new plan, she added.

“We were given a deadline until December this year to make the necessary updates on the province’s tourism development plan,” Mansinares said.

She noted that the tourism development plan should be adopted by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) and endorsed by the Provincial Development Council.

“We should provide more attention to road networks leading to DOT-accredited farm tourism sites,” Mansinares said.

In 2018, tourist arrivals in Negros Occidental, including its capital Bacolod City, hit almost 1.76 million, which was 2 percent higher than the 1.72 million visitors recorded in 2017.

The DOT-6 has been pushing for more road networks to boost the region’s tourism industry.

In 2018, there were 168 proposed tourism road projects in Western Visayas. Of the number, 79 projects amounting to PHP2.48 billion were included in the 2018 General Appropriations Act.

These included 13 projects in Negros Occidental totaling PHP520 million, and one project worth PHP90 million in Bacolod City.

“These road projects have made more tourism destinations accessible to tourists and provided a livelihood in the community. Tourism facilities begin to emerge with the influx of tourists,” Catalbas said.

According to DOT-6, strong road networks often lead to a better economy, and with investments pouring in, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) also get to benefit from it.

Catalbas noted that roads also connect people, culture, heritage, and traditions, adding that air, land, and sea

connectivity is one of Western Visayas’ competitive advantages.

“The strengthened linkage of Western Visayas to more major hubs in the Philippines made the region accessible to more domestic and foreign tourists,” he said.

Czech Republic holds tourism biz exchange in NegOcc

By Erwin Nicavera (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- A delegation from the Czech Republic visited Negros Occidental this week to hold a tourism business exchange as part of the province’s collaboration with their embassy since 2015.

The team, led by Tourism Authority Director Michal Prochaázka, met with Governor Eugenio Lacson at the Provincial Capitol on Tuesday, together with Provincial Supervising Tourism Operations Officer Cristine Mansinares and local tour operators, at Seda Capitol Central hotel on Wednesday.

“During the business exchange, we presented what we have in Negros Occidental that can also be promoted among Czech nationals,” Mansinares said.

She said some of the tourism sites she highlighted were visited by the Czech tourism official and tour operators from three companies.

“They wanted to create a program on Negros Occidental that can be sold to Czech nationals and their clients in Europe,” Mansinares said.

The team is currently going around the Philippines to update local tour operators of their new tourism products and programs.

Mansinares said one of the visiting tour operators, who has roots in La Castellana, Negros Occidental and has established a business in Prague, will create the itinerary that can be marketed in the Czech Republic.

“Considering that it is a landlocked country, the province has a potential market there, especially for beaches and other sea products," Mansinares added.

Aside from the tourism exchange program, another partnership between the province and the Czech Republic includes the establishment of trail marking at Mount Kanlaon Natural Park in 2015.

Also, it was Czech architect Antonín Raymond who designed the Angry Christ Church or the Saint Joseph the Worker Chapel in Victorias City, which has been declared as one of the important cultural properties in the Philippines.

NegOcc farm products fair promotes environment conservation

By Erwin Nicavera (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- Various people’s organizations (POs) in Negros Occidental supported by the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO) are selling agricultural products, mostly organic and naturally-grown, in a 15-day fair at the Capitol grounds here.

Luisa Tutor, senior environment management specialist, said on Wednesday the “green event” gathers local farmers from upland and coastal areas.

The activity, which runs until July 15, is part of the 27th Provincial Environment Month celebration themed “Air Pollution: We can't stop breathing, but we can do something about the quality of air that we breathe.”

Tutor said the participating farmers are using biodegradable materials like leaves, abaca, paper and native baskets as packaging materials and containers instead of plastic.

“Through this annual event, we are promoting conservation economic enterprises as our participating farmers have been defending our natural resources through pro-environment practices. Environment conservation would mean sustainable livelihood for them,” she added.

This year’s fair is participated in by 17 farmers and fisherfolk associations showcasing various products such as rice, vegetables, roots crops, processed food, dried fish, herbs and fruit trees.

She added that through the activity, they also encourage farmers to become entrepreneurs to generate more income.

The PEMO’s vision is to achieve a healthy environment, create empowered communities, and promote sustainable economic growth, Tutor said.

Bacolod Council approves Intangible Heritage Ordinance

(PR)

THE Bacolod City Council approved last June 26 a landmark ordinance authored by Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. that would safeguard, develop and promote Bacolod City’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Gamboa said because of the importance and relevance of this type of cultural heritage, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has created a separate unit, the Intangible Cultural Heritage Unit (ICH), to purposely and solely document, recognize, create, maintain and transmit that such given expression and practice is well preserved and safeguarded.

Cecilia V. Picache, head of the ICH-NCCA, commended the ordinance as a “welcome development considering that ICH is not yet as widely known as our tangible heritage” which deemed said ordinance as a “landmark ordinance,” an unparalleled ordinance that is considered the first in the Philippines.

To institutionalize and localize said ICH of Bacolod City that would intersect with existing executive orders and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) World Heritage guidelines, Gamboa caused the crafting of the “Intangible Cultural Heritage Council of Bacolod City” Ordinance, which shall function mainly as to oblige the City Government of Bacolod to ensure viability of its ICH, including the identification, documentation, research, preservation, protection, promotion, enhancement, transmission, particularly through formal and non-formal education, as well as the revitalization of the various aspects of its intangible cultural heritage to pass on from generation to generation.

“When we talk about Cultural Heritage, there are two types. These are the Tangible Cultural Heritage (something which can be touched), like for example, historical memorials, monuments, edifice, structures, buildings, collection of objects, among others,” Gamboa said.

He added, “The Intangible Cultural Heritage (something which cannot be touched) on the other hand are traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants such as, oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festival events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional craft, among others.”

Gamboa, earlier last year, authored and approved the “Tangible Heritage Ordinance” known officially as an “Ordinance Providing for Protection and Conservation of Bacolod City Cultural Properties, Historical Markers, Monuments and Shrines” thus, he said, "completing the connection and conservation of all memories of the past which identifies us from the rest of the world, deepening our sense of unity, belongingness, and national pride."

He said one of the requirements for the Seal of Good Local Governance given by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is to have an ordinance specifically focused on the preservation and conservation of our local heritage, both the tangible and intangible.

Gamboa also said this is timely because very soon, the city will have its museum, which would house and maintain an inventory of these documented artifacts, instruments, expressions and practices be preserved as part of our ICH.

Cardinal Tagle, Papal Nuncio to arrive in Bacolod Monday

(TDE)

HIGH officials of the Roman Catholic Church in the country will arrive in Bacolod City next week.

Based on the Diocese of Bacolod’s official newsletter Adsum, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia will attend the National Assembly of Diocesan Mission Directors scheduled on July 8 to 11 in the city.

The event is expected to be attended by 100 priests, religious and lay missionaries.

During the said event, Tagle is expected to deliver a talk entitled “Pastoral Conversion: From Maintenance Mode Only to Missionary Mode Also.”

Caccia, meanwhile, will host an evening mass on the second day of the assembly.

Diocesan Commission on Mission and Ecumenism head Reverend Father Louan Torrefranca also noted that Caccia’s visit in the city would be his first as Nuncio.

Contract for P799-M Bacolod coliseum inked

By Mae Singuay (PN)

BACOLOD City – The contract for the construction of a P799-million coliseum in the city has been signed.

This was after the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) approved a request authorizing Mayor Evelio Leonardia to enter into the contract.

With 10 “yes” votes, the request was approved during the last session of the outgoing city council on Wednesday.

Councilor Wilson Gamboa voted “no” while councilors Cindy Rojas, Ricardo Tan and Claudio Jesus Puentevella were on leave.

The budget for the construction of the “Bacolod MassKara Coliseum” will be from the P1.7-billion loan of the city government from the Development Bank of the Philippines.

The loan will also fund three more flagship projects under the administration of Leonardia, who won in his reelection bid as city mayor in the May 13, 2019 midterm elections.

The other projects are the P350-million development of the Progreso Village Relocation Site, the P350-million site and facility development of the city-run Bacolod City College; and the P200-million roads and bridges construction program.

Leonardia, representing the city, and Jordan Tiu, president of contractor Jejors Construction Corp., signed the contract also on Wednesday. The SP immediately ratified it after the signing.

Councilor Caesar Distrito, chairman of the SP Committee on Laws, Ordinances and Good Government, said the construction cannot start until a notice to proceed is issued.

The coliseum will be built in the 7.4-hectare property donated by Vallacar Transit, Inc., Yanson Realty Development Corp., and Olivia V. Yanson in Barangay Alijis.

Seminar-workshop boosts Carp implementation in Escalante

(EPN)

THE Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Negros Occidental - North recently conducted a tripartite seminar-workshop on synchronization of plans and programs relative to the implementation of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) in Escalante City.

A two-day activity held at Balay Kauswagan in Sagay City was participated by 115 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) from different barangays of the northern Negros Occidental locality.

It was in coordination with the city government, 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army, and Philippine National Police.

DAR-Negros Occidental I, in a statement, said the activity aims to discuss issues relative to the implementation of Carp.

These included the role of the military and police in ensuring the security of farmer-beneficiaries, and the need to align the measures of the agency and city government.

The planning session also included workshop on strategic formulation to counter insurgency as this poses threat to the community, it said, adding that concerns on Carp coverage process were also discussed.

DAR - Western Visayas Regional Director Stephen Leonidas, who spoke at the seminar, stressed the importance of active participation of ARBs in the planning and designing of projects and programs to better address their needs.

City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office Head Ildefonso Prietos, who represented Mayor Eddie Montero, said the local government is thankful for the services given to their constituents especially farmers.

"ARBs are fortunate that projects and services are now being delivered right at their doorsteps," he said, urging the farmers to cooperate for the program's success.

The activity was also attended by Officer-In-Charge Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II Carlos Padilla, Land Bank of the Philippines Agrarian Operations Chief Peter Cañoso, 79th IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Emelito Thaddeus Logan and Civil Military Operation Major Win Love Bag-ao.

TUP Visayas obtains ISO certification anew

By Nanette Guadalquiver (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- The Technological University of the Philippines Visayas (TUPV) based in Talisay City, Negros Occidental has obtained an ISO 9001:2015 recertification in its bid to produce more excellent graduates who are globally competitive and relevant in a technology-driven world.

Prof. Eric Malo-oy, campus director of TUPV, said they are gearing towards becoming the premier state university with recognized excellence in engineering and technology at par with the leading universities in Southeast Asia.

“The university is pursuing quality management and believes it should not just be contained in its own sphere,” Malo-oy said on the sidelines of the launching of TUPV’s partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry for the establishment of a shared service facility for metal powder coating on Wednesday.

Last June 11, TUPV was recertified on the Quality Management System ISO 9001:2015 by TUV Rheinland in a ceremony held at Nature’s Village Resort in Talisay.

Dr. Jesus Rodrigo Torres, president of TUP, with Ma. Leonor Validor, vice president for planning and development, and Malo-oy received the ISO 9001:2015 recertification awarded by Maria Luna Villacrusis, senior manager for marketing and sales of TUV Rheinland, in the presence of the faculty, staff, and other administration personnel.

The international organization for standardization certification or the ISO 9001:2015 refers to the Quality Management Systems (QMS) anchored on the seven quality management principles -- Customer Focus, Leadership, Engagement of People, Process Approach, Improvement, Evidence-Based Decision Making, and Relationship Management.

The ISO 9001 ensures quality orientation by the core processes to optimize the university’s management system.

Malo-oy said TUPV is expanding its degree program offerings, and starting this school year, they will accept students in Bachelor of Science in Chemistry.

“It is one of the five new programs we are pursuing,” he said.

TUPV is also seeking approval to offer Mechatronics Engineering, Instrumentation and Control Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Chemical Engineering.

Founded in 1977, TUPV currently has about 2,000 students and more than 90 faculty members. Its bachelor courses include Electronics and Communications Engineering, Engineering Technology, and Mechanical Engineering while its certificate courses are Chemical Engineering Technology, Computer Engineering Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology, and Mechanical Engineering Technology.

NegOcc ARBs showcase products in agripreneurial expo

By Erwin Nicavera (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- Farmer beneficiaries in Negros Occidental are showcasing their agricultural products in the week-long Agrarian Agripreneurial Expo 2019 to mark the 31st year of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

The activity, held at Ayala Malls Capitol Central here until June 30, is hosted by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Negros Occidental-South.

Being sold are food products such as muscovado, sinamak, coffee, oatmeal cookies, taro and carrot chips, fresh fruits, virgin coconut oil, and personal care items like moisturizing soap.

Provincial agrarian reform program officer Teresita Mabunay said Tuesday the agency extends its services to post-land distribution as part of the program’s holistic approach to help alleviate the lives of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) and provide them a better and financially-stable future.

“Let it be known that CARP implementation does not end with the distribution of lands to the landless farmers,” she added.

Mabunay noted the agency is mandated to deliver a more responsive and integrated package of support services to the ARBs and their organizations needed to make the land become productive.

Negros Occidental has the largest land reform area in the country. As of 2018, a total of 187,677 hectares of land have been distributed in the province since the program started in 1988.

Meanwhile, the ARB organizations participating in the expo were identified through the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development and Sustainability Program, formerly called Program Beneficiaries Development Division.

Some of them are recipients of various DAR programs such as the Village Level Farm-Focused Enterprise Development and LinkSFarm.

Mabunay urged Negrenses to support local farmers by visiting the expo and purchasing their goods.

During the expo, a film on the success stories of various ARB organizations, highlighting their struggles and accomplishments, is also being shown.

The DAR Negros Occidental-South has also set up a consultation desk to address inquiries about the land reform program and its support services.

DTI, TUP Visayas launch metal powder coating facility in NegOcc

By Nanette Guadalquiver (PNA)

TALISAY CITY, Negros Occidental -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-6 and the Technological University of the Philippines Visayas (TUPV) have forged a partnership for the establishment of a shared service facility (SSF) for metal powder coating, which is the first of its kind in Western Visayas.

The facility, hosted by TUPV at the Luis J. Montinola Resource and Research Center in Barangay Matab-ang here, was put up through the PHP2-million grant sourced by the DTI from the fund allocation of outgoing Senator Loren Legarda.

DTI-6 Regional Director Rebecca Rascon said during the project launching on Wednesday the facility will primarily benefit members of the Association of Negros Producers (ANP) who, in the past, had to ship their metal-based products to Cebu for powder coating.

“Having to do that, they have to spend more. With this facility, they will have lesser production cost,” she added.

Rascon said the ANP had requested for such facility years before, during her stint as provincial director of DTI-Negros Occidental, and she is glad that the project has finally been realized.

Rascon and TUP president Jesus Rodrigo Torres signed the memorandum of agreement on the SSF project in the presence of Prof. Eric Malo-oy, campus director of TUP Visayas, and DTI-Negros Occidental provincial director Lea Gonzales.

The DTI’s Shared Service Facilities project is a major component of the micro, small, medium enterprise (MSME) development program that seeks to achieve the government’s goal of inclusive growth and job generation. Under the SSF project, MSMEs are provided with machinery, equipment, tools, systems, skills, and knowledge under a shared system.

Malo-oy said that clients can save up to 80 percent in production costs when they avail of the services of the DTI-TUPV powder coating facility.

“Let us continue to help the MSMEs grow and become more competitive in the market through (this) facility. This will ensure the dramatic enhancement of the metal products from Negros Occidental and the region at a much lesser cost, and contribute to the national direction of inclusive economic growth,” he added.

Engr. Ace Zander Antonio, head of TUPV Research, said the SSF managed by the university will improve the learning experience of the students since they will have hands-on experience in the powder coating process.

“The SSF will enhance the collaboration among industries and the academe within the province as it would provide an avenue for cooperation, whether for research or production,” he also said.

ANP chairperson Christina Gaston, who attended the launching activity, said about 25 to 30 of their members who are in the gifts, decors, houseware and furniture sector can directly benefit from the powder coating facility.

“When we shared the information that this facility has opened, we also had inquiries from our food processors and manufacturers who also want powder coating for their interiors and their equipment,” she said.

NegOcc IT center trains 5K tech-voc scholars

By Nanette Guadalquiver (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- The provincial government-run Negros Occidental Language and Information Technology Center (NOLITC) has trained a total of 5,027 scholars since 2012.

The trainees have graduated in various competency-based programs and services under the Negros First Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP) as shown in the technical-vocational center’s accomplishment report as of May 2019.

The report details the contribution of NOLITC, one of the priority programs of outgoing governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., to the growth of the information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) sector in the province through talent development.

NOLITC has been offering courses on call center training, English language proficiency, 2D animation and visual graphic design, medical billing and coding, and software development.

Of the 5,027 graduates, 82 percent or 4,099 have gained employment both in the voice and non-voice sectors.

Ma. Cristina Orbecido, NOLITC school vocational administrator, told the Philippine News Agency on Monday that the center’s success is a “strong reason” to expand its programs and services.

“We have established partnerships with Australia and Japan, and these international markets have huge human resource requirements that we can explore,” she added.

Last month, the provincial government broke ground for Negros First Global Institute of Technology (NFGIT) in Talisay City, an offshoot of the NOLITC located at the Paglaum Sports Complex here.

Through the health sector program, the NFGIT will provide international standard caregiver training to provide students global qualifications that will guarantee their employment, Orbecido said.

Meanwhile, the direct jobs of NOLITC graduates since 2012 have transformed the economic landscape of the province into one of the most competitive IT-BPM destinations in the country.

Figures showed that every graduate earning a minimum of PHP10,000 a month contributes to money in circulation of about PHP40.99 million monthly, or PHP491.88 million annually in Negros Occidental.

Through scholarship vouchers from the Technical Education and Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) and other revenue streams, the center has generated more than PHP50.6 million in revenues from the Negros First TWSP.

Orbecido noted that with these assets, the NOLITC has gained fiscal economy by generating enough revenues every year and surpassing its allocated budget maintenance and other operating expenses.

Also, by capitalizing on quality and innovation, NOLITC has also received national awards and recognitions from the TESDA, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and Department of the Interior and Local Government between 2012 and 2018.

In 2018, the DICT elevated NOLITC to the Hall of Fame of the National Technology for Education, Employment, Entrepreneurial, and Economic Development (Tech4ED) Awards after three years of being a Center for Excellence.

The NOLITC Tech4ED Center has been recognized for achieving consistent exemplary performance in delivering sustainable ICT-enabled services and for exhibiting commendable impact in the growth and development of the community.

Biz sector upbeat on growth of NegOcc countryside

By Erwin Nicavera

BACOLOD CITY -- The Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) has expressed high hopes for further growth of the rural areas in Negros Occidental under the new provincial leadership.

“We are bullish with the new set of provincial officials,” Frank Carbon, chief executive officer of MBCCI, said on last Thursday.

Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., whose third and final term ends on June 30, will be succeeded by Vice Governor Jose Eugenio Lacson.

Lacson earlier said he will work with outgoing 3rd District Rep. Alfredo Benitez as his consultant on economic development in a bid to push for more infrastructure projects outside Bacolod City and bring in more investors to the province.

Carbon welcomed the incoming governor’s thinking on business and investment since this is what Negros Occidental needs.

“We expect that incoming governor Lacson will sustain the gains initiated by the outgoing governor, particularly those geared towards inclusive growth,” he added.

The MBCCI, which consists of at least 150 member-companies and more than 20 business associations in Negros Occidental, has been pushing for bringing in investment to the agricultural areas, including fishery, in the province.

The MBCCI has recognized that since private investments are poured in urban areas, it should be compensated by public investments of national government agencies and local government units among rural areas.

While it is helping prepare local startups and their products through seminars, training, and trade events, the government should also work on bringing investments and developments such as infrastructure to the countryside, the business chamber said.

“We keep on thinking about export while there are still opportunities locally, including here in Negros Occidental.

We are thinking of developing our home, resources, and domestic market for us to become stable before thinking of other countries,” Carbon added. (PNA)

Prov'l gov't gives maritime scholarships to students

By Liez'l Marie Lamasan (LTP/LML-PIA6 Negros Occidental)

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL (PIA) -- Eleven students have been granted with a Study Now, Pay Later scholarship under the provincial government’s Maritime Bridging Program Scholarship.

These scholars will undergo a six-month bridging program from Mechanical to Marine Engineering at VMA Global College, that eventually leads them to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering.

The project is a tripartite endeavor of the provincial government of Negros Occidental, VMA Global College, and manning companies, aimed to provide educational benefits to the poor but deserving students.

During the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing, it was emphasized that the maritime school will select the qualified grantees under the Negros Occidental Scholarship Program (NOSP).

The MOA likewise required the scholars to embark on all the necessary training programs and coordinate with the shipboard training officer (STO) and VMA Training Center’s training director for completion before they will be endorsed for a shipboard training program.

For its part, the provincial government vowed to pay the tuition and school fees, while the manning companies committed to grant employment for these students after a year of shipboard training.

Meanwhile, governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr., underscored the provincial government’s thrust in providing quality education and producing globally competitive Filipinos by offering opportunities, such as the maritime scholarship, to the less privileged and deserving Negrense youth.

VMA was represented by its college president, Dr. Elizabeth Salabas while the manning companies include Veritas Maritime Corp., Phoenix Maritime Corp., Leonis Navigation Co. Inc., and Orophil Shipping International Co. Inc.

Among of those who also attended the MOA signing were vice governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, provincial consultant Roy Balicas, provincial budget officer Percival Salado, Jr., Negros Occidental Scholarship Program head Karen Dinsay, and the grantees' parents.

BFP-NegOcc initiates BICS training

By Easter Anne Doza

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL (PIA) -- The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Negros Occidental initiated the three-day Basic Incident Command System (BICS) Training Course to 41 participants held at Buenos Aires Mountain Resort in Bago City.

Participants included 37 fire officers from the different towns and cities and representatives from invited government agencies – Philippine National Police, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, National Police Commission and the Philippine Information Agency.

BICS is an eight-module training course which will enable participants to obtain the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are essential for the application of basic concepts and principles of ICS in any disaster situation.

BFP Provincial File Marshal Fire Superintendent Pamela Rojane Candido shared that BICS started and implemented by firefighters in the United States and eventually adopted in the Philippines.

“I hope the BICS is not just a new learning, but will prepare us of any eventuality may it be human-induced or natural disasters,” Candido told the participants.

Resource persons were cadres or experts including retired police general Ranulfo Demiar, Amity Public Safety Academy Administrator Radny Pabon, Bago City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Dr. Merijene Ortizo, Bago City Fire Marshal FSINP Vencie Jojo Aldeguer, Office of Civil Defense 6 Engr. Joseph Paul Nogra and Candido.

“The most important thing for me is to know the fact that a lot of people now know about the ICS, with the hope that we can implement this even in our own little way in our respective area of jurisdiction,” Demiar urged participants. *(LTP/EAD-PIA6 Negros Occidental)

18 PDLs graduate through ALS

(LTP/EAD-PIA6 Negros Occidental)

BACOLOD CITY (PIA) – Eighteen Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) from the Metro Bacolod District Jail-Male Dormitory (MBDJ-MD) graduated from elementary and secondary school modules through the Alternative Learning System (ALS) of the Department of Education (DepEd).

One of the 18 PDLs finished elementary while 17 finished the secondary school modules.

Curriculum Division Chief of DepEd Dr. Janalyn Navarro proclaimed the 18 as graduates in a ceremony inside the jail facility.

MBDJ-MD Chief security and control officer Jail Senior Officer 4 Jayson L Baltazar congratulated the graduates for working hard to advance their learnings while inside the jail facility.

Baltazar also cited the ALS mobile teachers as well as the MBDJ-MD welfare and development Unit officer Jail Officer 1 Trisha Galicia who worked together for the benefit of PDL.

The graduates who all passed the Accreditation and Equivalency Test were handed their certificates signed by the Secretary Leonor Briones, this after months of undergoing the ALS modules.

One of the PDLs paid tribute to the family members present, ALS mobile teachers, and the MBDJ-MD management for the opportunity and assistance to finish their education.

The PDL shared that he was not able to finish his education because of financial difficulties and encouraged fellow PDLs to enroll in ALS while serving time in detention so that when they will be released, they can find a job and look forward to a better future.

Meanwhile, Baltazar urged the PDL graduates to continue their desire for better things in life and give importance to education.

P231-M road projects unveiled in northern Negros

By Nanette Guadalquiver (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- Three road projects worth PHP231.652 million, implemented under the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP), were unveiled in three areas in northern Negros on Wednesday.

The projects, two of which are located in Cadiz City and the other in Toboso town, were turned over by Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. together with DA-Western Visayas Regional Executive Director Remelyn Recoter and Regional Technical Director for Operations Manuel Olanday to officials of the local government units in separate rites.

In Cadiz, the two projects were endorsed to Cadiz City Mayor Patrick Escalante.

These include the 12.46-kilometer farm-to-market road from Barangay Caduhaan to Sitio Aluyan worth PHP146.539 million. The project will benefit 633 households and provide access going to Aluyan Elementary School and complement the PHP23.446-million 40-linear meter Dalayapan Bridge.

In Toboso, Mayor Richard Jaojoco received the symbolic key to the 4.7-kilometer Sitio Magtuod to Sitio Vergara farm-to-market road in Barangay Bug-ang.

The PHP61.6-million road project will benefit 448 households and also provide access to teachers and pupils of Vergara Elementary School.

“These PRDP projects will surely boost the economic activities in these areas,” Marañon said.

The governor acknowledged the efforts of the local governments of Cadiz and Toboso for helping implement the projects.

Recoter said Marañon actively worked for the realization of these projects.

In September last year, the DA-6 and the provincial government also turned over the 3.3-kilometer road from Barangay Gomez to Barangay Zamora in Pontevedra town in southern Negros. Also a PRRD-implemented project, the road is benefiting 435 households.

Recoter earlier said Negros Occidental has been included in the top three local government units (LGUs) in the country which had availed of the highest amount of projects under the PRDP.

The PRDP, jointly funded by the World Bank, the national government and the participating LGUs, is a six-year national project under the DA that aims to establish a modern, value chain-oriented and climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries sector.

Through partnerships with the LGUs and the private sector, it provides key infrastructure, facilities, technology and information to raise incomes, productivity and competitiveness in targeted areas.

The funding of PRDP projects is under a counterparting scheme. For infrastructure projects, World Bank’s counterpart is 80 percent with 10 percent each for DA and recipient-LGU.

Mambukal to hold Community Environment Day

(PR)

THE Mambukal Mountain Resort in the Murcia, Negros Occidental will hold a Community Environment Day on June 21 to create awareness and action on environmental protection.

It will be held in cooperation with partner agencies and organizations.

Resort manager Ellen Marie Jalandoni said they are encouraging and campaigning for the awareness of the emerging environmental issues of deforestation, waste disposal, ecological balance and sustainable consumption that affect the community.

She said as a bat sanctuary, a bird-watching site, home of a number of species of butterflies and other interesting animals and life forms, there is a need for the Mambukal resort to provide ecological protection and balance to be able to prevent the impending destruction and disappearance of these wonderful creatures that naturally took habitation in Mambukal.

"As a community, we should work together to further create cooperation and a holistic approach for these environmental concerns," she said.

Mambukal also seeks partnership with different offices in the provincial and national government, Philippine Army, non-government organizations such as Philippine BioDiversity, Energy Development Corporation, the academe and the community of Barangay Minoyan and the Municipality of Murcia.

Environmental awareness will be extended through talks on "Stewardship of the Environment," "Waste Disposal and Segregation" and Protection MMR as an Ecotourism Mountain Destination."

There will also be clearing, clean-up and tree planting of bamboos, native and flowering trees and shrubs in Mambukal Mountain Resort.

Bacolod City unveils new landmark

By Nanette Guadalquiver (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- The Bacolod City Esplanade, located beside the Government Center, has been opened to the public on Monday night.

The PHP37.2-million concrete structure, implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), is part of the construction of the 440-lineal meter revetment wall with flood wall, including improvement of riverbanks, along the Lupit River.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who led the switch-on ceremony with Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya and District Engineer Abraham Villareal, said Bacolod has reached another level having such kind of a structure for its people.

“Not every city has an esplanade,” he said.

Leonardia added that with the opening of the esplanade, the space at the Government Center has been extended and he encouraged Bacolodnons, who frequent the area to also bring their activities to the new venue.

The mayor said the city government needs to make the esplanade inviting, which means that public safety should be ensured first and foremost.

According to the DPWH, the esplanade will serve as protection of the riverbanks from possible erosion and a good venue for recreation, social and fitness activities of Bacolod residents and tourists.

Earlier, Leonardia sent a letter to Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran requesting the City Council to pass an ordinance with the intent to make the esplanade free from vendors to maintain peace and order.

The mayor told Familiaran that he and Gasataya met with Ma. Regina Piccio, president of Fernando F. Gonzaga Inc., whose family donated the property for the Bacolod City Government Center. Piccio expressed concern over the possible proliferation of vendors in the esplanade and suggested that an ordinance be passed regulating the activities in the area.

Leonardia noted that while the city is thankful to Gasataya for initiating the construction of the esplanade, he also considers Piccio’s request valid since the esplanade shall definitely become a “landmark and a tourist attraction of the city.”

The proposed ordinance shall regulate the activities at the esplanade, including the construction of permanent and or temporary structures intended for vending, the mayor said.

Bacolod celebrates Charter Day

By MERLINDA A. PEDROSA

“AFTER 80 years, we will now have our history in proper order.”

This was the statement of Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia as Bacolod is celebrating the first June 18 Charter Day today.

Leonardia said that starting this year, June 18 of every year is now a “special non-working holiday” in Bacolod, after President Rodrigo Duterte signed last year Republic Act No. 11146 that declares June 18 as the correct date for “Bacolod City Charter Day.”

This year’s Charter Day celebration guest of honor and speaker is Senator Cynthia Villar. The program will be held at the Bacolod Government Center at 6 p.m.

The city will also award the top tax payers, outstanding government employees and mayor’s special citation.

As part of the celebration, at 10 a.m., the city will hold the inauguration of new seaport terminal at Bredco Port in Reclamation Area. Followed by a mass at Lupit Church at 12:15 p.m. then a grande parade at 1:30 p.m. and an inauguration of Halandumon Tower at Gonzaga-Gatuslao Streets at 9 p.m.

Leonardia said this is the first June 18 Charter Day celebration of Bacolod.

“For the past 80 years, it was celebrated every October 19. But starting this year, it will be celebrated every June 18,” he said.

Bacolod Representative Greg Gasataya had filed House Bill 7044 on June 13, 2017, upon the request of Leonardia, to correct Republic Act 7724 that erroneously set October 19 as the date for the celebration of the Charter Day of Bacolod City.

Bacolod is celebrating its 81st Charter Day this year, and this time it has been moved to June 18. For the past 80 years, it was celebrated every October 19.

Last night, the City Government also held its countdown at the Bacolod Government Center with a fireworks display, which was sponsored by Bredco Port.

Meanwhile, Barangay Pahanocoy (Okoy-Okoy Festival) was adjudged champion in the street and arena dance competition and bagged all the five special awards during the 1st Halandumon Festival at the Bacolod Governmen Center Football Field on Sunday evening.

Barangay Pahanocoy received P50,000 in cash and trophy, bested 11 other barangay-participants.

The champion team was also named Best in Concept, Costume, Production Design, and in Choreography, receiving P10,000 for each award.

Performers from Barangay 17 (Dinagyso Festival) was chosen first runner-up and received P30,000 in cash and a trophy. Barangay Banago (Sambod Festival) was also chosen second runner-up and received P20,000 in cash and a trophy.

Other participants are Barangay 3 – Hinugyaw Festival; Barangay Vista Alegre – Patubo Festival; Barangay 2 – Pakinhason Festival; Barangay Villamonte – Dinagyawan Festival; Barangay 14 – Pamukadkad Festival; Barangay Estefania – Kauswagan Festival; Barangay 35 – Pitik-Pitik Fetsival; Barangay 32 – Sugba-Sugba Festival; Barangay Alangilan – Kalaparan Festival; Barangay 38 – Kabulakan Festival; Barangay Mansilingan – Magsinadya Festival; and Barangay 27-Pandayan Festival and was adjudged as Best in Original Music.

The Halandumon Festival, conceptualized by Leonardia in 2017, was intended to start in 2018 in time for the 80th year celebration of Bacolod.

Halandumon is a Hiligaynon word which means memorable or worthy to be remembered.

Bacolod port operator to inaugurate new terminal

By MERLINDA A. PEDROSA

PORT operator Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp. (Bredco) will inaugurate its new passenger terminal at the Reclamation Area in Bacolod City on June 18, the city’s Charter Day celebration.

Romeo Casela, manager of Bredco Port, said it’s a special day for the people of Bacolod because it’s the Charter Day of Bacolod.

He said the inauguration will also be attended by city officials led by Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Congressman Greg Gasataya.

The P360-million air-conditioned terminal, which is already operational, is equipped with free Wi-Fi, an x-ray machine and seats that can accommodate about 1,000 people.

The new structure also features a VIP room, prayer room, kids’ playroom, nursing room, and other facilities including those for persons with disability.

Casela said they are also set to construct a new terminal for roll-on-roll-off vessels in the area.

By virtue of City Ordinance 157 series of 1961, Bredco was given the authority to undertake the reclamation and dredging activities of the city’s foreshore land and the construction of port and harbor facilities.

The ordinance also gave the private real estate developer the authority to manage and operate the port.

NegOcc recognized for outstanding dairy milk production

By Erwin Nicavera (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- The Negros Occidental Provincial Livestock Breeding Center and Dairy Farm (PLBCDF) was recognized as one of the country’s outstanding dairy farms in the Gawad Dairy 2019.

The award, bestowed by the National Dairy Authority, was received by provincial veterinarian Renante Decena; Farm Management Division head Placeda Lemana; and PLBCDF manager Joselito Jaballa during the awarding rites held at the Agricultural Training Institute Rural Development Center in Quezon City on Thursday.

The dairy farm, being run by the Provincial Veterinary Office, was the lone awardee from the Visayas out of the 10 recipients this year and the only government-owned and -operated farm to be cited nationwide.

The PLBCDF, located in Barangay La Granja, La Carlota City, was cited as among the dairy farms in the Philippines that adhere to the Food Safety Act to ensure the production of safe and quality milk.

Established in 2001, the facility produces fresh milk for pre- and grade school children and for breeder animals of component local government units in the province.

Decena said the project also aims to encourage Negrenses to shift to milk from other beverages.

“This is done by introducing fresh milk taste to school children and transfer dairy and breeding technology to the backyard level as a source of additional income,” he added.

Decena pointed out that livelihood opportunities are created through the processing of value-added dairy products and livestock dispersal.

The PLBCDF production includes fresh milk and yogurt in chocolate, ube, buko pandan, strawberry, and mango flavors.

The dairy farm produces an average of 100 liters of milk daily from 16 cows on the milking line.

Decena said the dairy farm was one of the pilot projects of the late governor Joseph Marañon under his seven-point agenda for food sufficiency and poverty alleviation, which was expanded by the administration of his brother, incumbent Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr.

NegOcc invades ‘Fiestas in the City’

(Panay News)

BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental is showcasing two of its best festivities in the Department of Tourism’s “Fiestas in the City” to boost travel destinations in Western Visayas.

Cristine Mansinares, provincial supervising tourism operations officer, said MassKara Festival of Bacolod City and Babaylan Festival of Bago City represented the province during the event slated on May 25 to 31.

The six-day event held in Iloilo City presents the different tourism offerings of various destinations in the region.

There will be a daily showcase of cultural performances from each of the component provinces and highly-urbanized cities.

“Our very own MassKara and Babaylan dancers will showcase Negros Occidental’s rich and vibrant culture,” said Mansinares.

She added these festivals reflect the rich culture, history and traditions as well as artistry and creativity of the Negrenses.

4th NOFA Cup fosters grassroots football

By CARLA N. CANET

TWENTY-FOUR teams from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao have competed for the 4th Negros Occidental Football Association (NOFA) cup that kicked off Wednesday, May 29, at the Sta. Maria Football field in Talisay City.

This competition will run until June 2, 2019.

NOFA president Ricardo Yanson, Jr. welcomed the eight teams from Luzon namely Ceres Youth FC, Claret School of Quezon, Federated FA Masbate, Loyola FC, Makati FC, One La Salle, and Sugod Malaya FC.

The 11 teams from the Visayas include Bacong FC, Barotac Nuevo FC, Baybay FC Jaguars, Don Bosco FC - Cebu, Dynamic FC, Greenglobal FC, Janiuaynon Defenders FCI, Kidz United FC, LGU Barotac Nuevo, Nosirfa, and Panay FA.

The five teams from Mindanao include Davao Crocs FC, Golden Harvest, Marawi Ground Zero team, Marist Kidapawan and Mt. Apo Regional FA.

As part of the Grassroots Development Program, the NOFA Cup aims to provide the young players with high level and quality competition in view to bring out the best in each of the player.

This is an opportunity where they can share their talents and learn from each other which is supplementary to their personal growth.

“With your cooperation, we shall continue to do our best to make this a successful and exiting experience for everyone,” he said.

NOFA is under the Philippine Football Federation as provincial football association for the Negros Occidental area.

NOFA President Yanson succeeded former NOFA president Charlie Cojuangco, former 4th District Congressman of Negros Occidental.

IFEX bears global market opportunities for Negros Occidental

By ERWIN P. NICAVERA

NEGROS Occidental's participation at the just-concluded International Food Exposition (IFEX) Philippines 2019 has yielded positive results especially on obtaining global market opportunities for local products.

Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., along with other Provincial Government officials including Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino, was able to meet potential buyers for United States and Mexico markets at the sidelines of the three-day event held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City which concluded Sunday, May 26.

Joy Ogan, executive assistant to the governor, said the interests are into agricultural products like muscovado sugar, coconut products, banana sticks, banana marble, fresh bananas, and pineapple, among others.

Ogan said the province was encouraged to improve the packaging to ensure food safety standards and obtain certification from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"Upon returning to the province from IFEX, we will organize workshops with the exhibitors to identify producer-specific needs and craft individualized development and business plans," Ogan said.

This will address issues from production, processing, packaging and marketing, an effort to effectively systematize the province's program on enterprise development with the goal to make local products globally competitive, she added.

Displaying local products like herbs and spices, beverages, breads and pastries, organic produce, condiments and savories, 18 producers from Negros Occidental joined IFEX Philippines 2019.

IFEX was organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Mission (CITEM) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

In collaboration with other agencies including the Department of Agriculture (DA), IFEX is reputed as the premier business-to-business platform for local and international food companies to discover new markets, launch new products, and transact with the world's biggest buyers.

During the event, Marañon also met with executives of Control Union that focuses on agricultural certifications.

The company also covers the supply chain in agriculture, energy, forestry, sustainability, and textiles in more than 70 countries.

Provincial Supervising Tourism Operations officer Cristine Mansinares, who was also at the event, said Control Union is an accredited international inspection and certification body by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

It issues GSTC certification to tourism enterprises for sustainable tourism compliance.

Mansinares said that apart from the environmental impact, GSTC also measures the business' relationship with the community, respect of traditional cultural heritage and opportunities for local employment.

"Through IFEX, we could really be able to link our participating enterprises to leading buyers around the world," she reiterated.

First-ever ‘green’ mall in Bacolod City to rise in 2021

By Nanette Guadalquiver (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- Property giant Megaworld Corp. is targeting the completion of The Upper East Mall, the first-ever “green” mall in this city, by 2021.

The three-level lifestyle mall, with a project cost of PHP1.2 billion, will rise inside the 34-hectare The Upper East township, a PHP28-billion master-planned development located in the eastern side of Bacolod.

The mall’s design was unveiled by Kevin Tan, chief strategy officer of Megaworld, and design architect Raji Casas in a press conference held at L’Fisher Hotel on Friday.

“We are building not just an ordinary mall. We are curating an architectural masterpiece that depicts the cosmopolitan vibe of our Bacolod township,” Tan said of the mall’s blend of neo-classical and art deco architecture.

The Upper East Mall, which will be managed and operated by Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, will have sustainable features such as solar panel roofing and energy-efficiency features such as perceived air-conditioning cooling design; escalators with crawling features; rainwater harvesting system where the rainwater is recycled for plant watering; and a gray water recycling system, wherein the water discharged from the sewage treatment plant is collected and used for secondary flushing of the mall’s toilets and urinals.

Spanning 24,200 square meters, the mall will partly house rows of restaurants facing a garden of century-old trees surrounded by Koi ponds, as well as four state-of-the-art cinemas and an open food hall with an indoor garden.

Engr. Dick Montes, head of mall operations and technical services group of Megaworld, said about 30 percent of the mall’s power requirement will be sourced from solar energy.

“This will be a grid-type technology so during peak hours of the mall’s operations, part of (the energy requirement) will come from solar power,” he added.

The Upper East Mall, poised to become an architectural landmark in Bacolod, will be highlighted by a 48-meter high clock tower that illuminates at night along the six-lane main avenue of the township, stretching from Lopez Jaena Street to Circumferential Road.

In Negros Occidental, Megaworld is investing a total of PHP35 billion, the biggest so far by a property developer, for its two township developments located in Bacolod City and Talisay City.

Best of Negros food at IFEX 2019

By Erwin Nicavera (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- A total of 18 producers from Negros Occidental are taking part in the ongoing International Food Exposition (IFEX) Philippines 2019 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

The three-day event, which runs until Sunday, serves as a venue to showcase the best Negrense food products among the world's biggest buyers.

Joy Ogan, executive assistant to Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr., said the exhibitors displayed their products such as herbs and spices, beverages, breads and pastries, condiments, and savories at the Negros Pavilion.

Since Negros Occidental is recognized as the country’s organic agriculture capital, the province also has an organic section consisting of organic rice, tablea, molasses and sugars, and salad greens.

Negrense producers participating in IFEX 2019 include Plantsville Health Products, Fresh Start Organics, Muy Bien Turmeric Teas, Sir Jess, Negros Island Organic Producers Association, Dolpings Tablea, L' Negros, Sagay Central Inc., Option MPC, Ceres Pasalubong, Merczi, Virgie's, El Ideal, Clara's Food Products, Green Harvest, Satoca, Syara, and Mumshie.

Ogan said Ceres Pasalubong, Merczi, Green Harvest, and Sagay Central Inc., together with IFEX returnees Option MPC and Muy Bien Ventures, are expected to become the key Negros-based players in the international food trade in the coming years.

Also part of the exhibit is the famed Negros blue swimming crab displayed at The Cold Room: Seafood at Sub-Zero, where buyers can taste the freshness and superior quality of Philippine seafood, she added.

Ogan said the provincial government has allocated PHP650,000 to subsidize participation packages of the 18 producers.

Negros Occidental first joined IFEX in 2013 as the first province featured under the Partner Province Program.

Cristine Mansinares, provincial supervising tourism operations officer, said the province’s participation at IFEX boosts the Negrense culinary tourism.

Mansinares said food is one of the strong tourism offerings of the province.

In IFEX 2018, 26 Negrense producers generated about PHP18 million in sales.

The annual event is organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Mission (CITEM) of the Department of Trade and Industry.

Megaworld invests P1.2B in new mall

By LISBET K. ESMAEL

LISTED Megaworld Corp. is spending P1.2 billion to build a three-level lifestyle mall inside The Upper East township in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental province.

In a disclosure on Friday, the Andrew Tan-led property developer said the development, to be called the Upper East Mall, would have a gross floor area of 24,200 square meters.

“What we are building in The Upper East is not just an ordinary mall. We are curating an architectural masterpiece that depicts the cosmopolitan vibe of our Bacolod township,” said Kevin L. Tan, chief strategy officer at Megaworld.

“This is just the first mall that we are building in this township because there is still more room for future expansion,” he added.

Slated to be finished by 2021, the shopping mall shall feature neoclassical and art-deco architecture, several rows of restaurants, four cinemas and an open-air food hall with an indoor garden.

It will also have sustainable features, including what Megaworld said “its own solar panel roofing, energy efficiency features such as perceived airconditioning cooling design, escalators with crawling features, rainwater harvesting system where the rainwater is recycled for plant watering, and a gray water recycling system where the water that is discharged from the sewage treatment plant is collected and used for secondary flushing of mall’s toilets and urinals.”

“We are excited to see The Upper East transforming into a modern central business district of Bacolod. In the next three to five years, we will see the residential towers, office towers, commercial buildings, hotel, church, parks and this new lifestyle mall rising,” Tan said.

“We will also be opening the Upper East Avenue to the public in two years,” he added.

Shares of Megaworld fell by 5 centavos or 0.91 percent to close at P5.44 apiece on Friday.

NOHS gears up for school opening

(TDE)

THE Negros Occidental High School, the oldest public high school in Bacolod City is gearing up for the school opening on June 3.

Mario Amaca, NOHS principal, said the school has already reached its carrying capacity of 8,000 enrollees.

“Everybody wants to enroll at NOHS but we cannot accommodate all. And I would like to make it clear that we don’t choose grades,” Amaca clarified.

Amaca also revealed that the school still lacks about 3,000 chairs and that he has already requested it from the provincial government and have some old chairs repaired.

He said that three classrooms have already been completed and that five more are nearing completion.

Amaca also said that the school is ready to implement Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (ROTC) for Senior High School.

However, he said they have not yet received the official mandate from the Department of Education about the implementation of ROTC.

Amaca led Friday, May 24, the unveiling of the NOHS steel signage donated by Batch 85.

250 kids finish Bacolod City Library’s summer workshop

(PR)

A TOTAL of 250 schoolchildren, aging 6 years old and above, have finished the Summer Workshop for Kids 2019 conducted by the Bacolod City Public Library.

These kids attended the culmination program at the Bacolod City Government Center lobby Tuesday, May 21,2019 where they staged a recital of their talents in singing, showcase their prowess in playing guitar and keyboard, and displayed their outputs in drawing.

Bacolod City Councilor Cindy Rojas, chairperson of the City Council committee on Family and Child Care Development, attended the culmination rites and congratulated the children, their parents, and the organizers for completing the workshop.

Bacolod City Librarian Greta Memoria said the courses and classes offered in their workshop are: basic drawing, voice, guitar, keyboard, taekwondo, and Photoshop, foreign languages (Korean, Japanese, and Spanish), and academic subjects such as English 6 and 9, and Mathematics 6 and 9.

Memoria also expressed her gratitude to the parents and guardians of the participants for attending the program, and for giving their children the chance to discover and enhance their talents and skills through the said program.

The workshop was held at the Bacolod City Library for almost a month (April 15 to May 21) for all subjects, and 10 days only for foreign languages.

They even have adults enrolled in Photoshop and in foreign languages classes, she said.

Memoria said this is now the 11th year of their summer workshop that started in 2008.

International actors visit Negros attractions

By Glazyl Y. Masculino (TDG)

BACOLOD City – Canada-based theater artists Dennis Gupa and Thai-Hoa Le explored the famous attractions of Negros Occidental.

Sagay City Information and Tourism officer Mark Raymund Garcia said the two artists were in the province for ”Hanas”, a local term for training organized by the Negros Museum and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA) for performing artists.

Garcia said Gupa is also a director while Hoa Le is an international actor who is part of the X-Men movie, an American superhero film series based on comic books.

They arrived in the province on May 5 and stayed here for a week.

The two artists visited some of the tourist destinations in the cities of Sagay, Talisay, and Victorias, aside from having their intensive training and workshop in the province.

They visited the Carbin Reef and the Suyac Island and tried snorkeling.

They also met with Sagay City’s Art Master Nunelucio Alvarado at Kape Albarako, the famous coffee place in the city.

Alvarado shared to them his art and his passion to teach arts to the community.

They also went to St. Joseph the Worker Parish, commonly known as the Angry Christ Church, a Roman Catholic chapel located inside the Victorias Milling Company residential complex in Victorias City.

They also visited The Ruins in Talisay City, a famous attraction in the province which is the remains of the stately Italianate ancestral home mansion of the Lacson family which was razed during World War II.

Garcia said both artists were impressed with the arts and culture scene in Negros.

DOT trains youth tourism leaders in Western Visayas

By Erwin Nicavera (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- A total of 41 young leaders in Western Visayas are attending the five-day Future Tourism Leaders (FTL) Camp in this city, which was initiated by the regional tourism office.

The training, which runs until May 23, is being hosted by the provincial government of Negros Occidental, in partnership with the cities of Bacolod, San Carlos, Bago, Victorias, Sagay, and Talisay at the Capitol Social Hall here.

The opening program on Sunday was led by Tourism Assistant Secretary Ma. Rica Bueno along with Department of Tourism (DOT) 6 (Western Visayas) Director Helen Catalbas.

Provincial supervising tourism operations officer Cristine Mansinares said on Tuesday the participants represent the six provinces and two highly-urbanized cities in Western Visayas.

Mansinares said the FTL Camp aims to create awareness among the youth and encourage them to participate in the promotion and development of the region’s tourism industry.

“The young leaders will be equipped with skills vital to the tourism sector,” she said.

The sessions topics focus on leadership, sustainable tourism, communication, writing, and maximizing the social media platform.

The campers are also visiting immersion sites in Negros Occidental with best practices on community-based tourism, sustainable ecotourism, and cultural resource management.

These sites are located in the cities of San Carlos, Sagay, Victorias, Silay, Talisay, and Bago, and Manapla town.

Mansinares said a session on policy and advocacy will enable participants to craft a youth tourism legislative agenda for the region based on their learnings and experiences during the camp.

The participants will also form an organization and will be mobilized in the planning and implementation of tourism programs, projects, and activities in their respective communities, she added.

487 kids join week-long basketball camp in Bacolod City

By Nanette Guadalquiver (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- A total of 487 campers joined the just-concluded Bacolod leg of the Alaska Basketball Power Camp 2019 held at Trinity Christian School here.

The Bacolod training camp, which ran from May 10 to 16, saw the most number of participants among the three events conducted in various cities this summer.

Of the 487 campers, 457 were boys while 30 were girls who learned the fundamental skills and core values in playing basketball.

There were 47 participants in the 4-7 years old category; 137 in the 8-10 years old; 166 in the 11-13 years old; and 137 in the 14 years old and above divisions.

Meanwhile, the Manila leg lured 195 campers while Baguio camp drew more than 300 young basketball enthusiasts.

Camp director Jeffrey Cariaso said they teach the participants the core values to be a good citizen and better athlete.

“We want to instill in them the value of hard work, determination, discipline, and respect,” Cariaso, a former Philippine Basketball Association player and Alaska Aces assistant coach, said in a statement on Sunday.

Bacolod head coach, Mark “Tata” Belangel, said the training camp, which the city hosted for the fourth time, has been receiving positive feedback based on the increasing number of participants each year.

“I have seen the growth of the campers since they started joining years before. They have become better student-athletes,” he added.

Belangel said some of the standout campers became varsity players in various schools.

“There are numerous talents in Bacolod waiting for an opportunity to be trained and become champions,” he said.

Belangel noted that coaches in Metro Manila schools have identified Bacolod as a source of top basketball talents.

Former PBA Most Valuable Player Willie Miller, who was among the coaches in the Bacolod leg, said they have always received great support when holding the basketball camp in this city.

“There are very talented Bacolod children with potentials waiting to be unleashed,” he added.

Bacolod showing strong property sector growth

By ERWIN P. NICAVERA

THE condominium segment in Bacolod City is still in its early stages but Colliers International Philippines sees both demand and supply rising once various township projects are completed.

Also, the demand for house and lots remains strong as it is buoyed by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as well as local and foreign investors, the global real property services firm said.

In its report furnished to SunStar Bacolod, Colliers believes that developers should be quick in cashing in on residential opportunities by converting brownfield properties such as the old airport into mixed-use communities.

Developers should also explore land around the fringes of the city, aggressively develop affordable and economic units, and acquire developable land near planned infrastructure projects, the report said.

“Colliers still sees the aggressive development of house and lot projects to continue over the next two to three years especially in the peripheries of the city,” it added.

The reports further showed that the city’s house and lot stock reached 17,660 units as of end of last year.

Of which, about 58 percent are classified as economic amounting to P450,000 to P1.69 million per unit.

It was followed by the affordable segment worth P1.7 million to P3.2 million which accounts for 24 percent.

Bacolod’s condominium segment is still in its early stage, with stock reaching only 1,308 in 2018.

This is much smaller than Metro Manila’s 111,000 units and Metro Cebu’s 38,800 units, it added.

Overall, the company projects a muted pace of condominium development within the city.

“From 2019 to 2021, we expect the completion of about 870 units or only 290 units per annum,” it said, adding that this is still higher than the 150 units completed per annum from 2016 to 2018.

All the upcoming supply is classified as affordable at the cost of P1.7 million to P3.2 million, or 32,000 to 60,000 US dollars, per unit.

Colliers reported that more than 80 percent of the projects are from Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI), which is aggressively expanding its footprint in the city.

Banking on the real estate development potentials of Bacolod, CLI has unveiled its maiden project in the city with an initial cost of P1.5 billion in February last year.

The project called MesaVirre Garden Residences located in a 3.6-hectare property on Lacson Street in Barangay Bata is the fifth of the company’s garden series in the Visayas and Mindanao.

The first four garden residences were established in cities of Cebu, Cagayan de Oro (CDO), and Davao.

The three residential buildings of 16, 19 and 18 floors, respectively, have a total 1,072 studio and a bedroom type units with sizes ranging from 22 to almost 41 square meters.

The completion target for the first two towers is fourth quarter of 2020 while that of the third tower is last part of 2021.

Completion of Kabankalan airport eyed in 2020

(TDE)

SIXTH District Congressman-elect Genaro Alvarez is eyeing for the completion of the Kabankalan City Airport.

Alvarez after his proclamation on Thursday, May 16, said that he has discussed with incumbent Kabankalan City Mayor Isidro Zayco and incoming Mayor Pedro Zayco about the airport and that they have agreed to make it operational before June 2020.

The former Vice Governor said that he will allocate funds along with the funding from Kabankalan City Government and the Provincial Government through incoming Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson to raise the needed funding totaling to about P100 to P150 million to finish the project.

The Kabankalan Airport still lacks the runway, apron and terminal, Alvarez said.

Alvarez was accompanied by his daughter, incumbent Deputy Speaker Mercedes Alvarez, during his proclamation at the Provincial Capitol's Social Hall.

“This could be the last time for me to run because I will return it to Chedeng,” Alvarez said.

DP Alvarez who will be graduating on June 30 said that she will still be around in the district helping his father especially the legal assistance program that she has been extending to the people of the sixth district.

When asked of any advise she could give to her father, DP Alvarez said that she has been guided by the advises of her father during her tenure as congresswoman and deputy speaker of the House of Representatives so she doesn't need to give any advise to him.

The incoming congressman, meanwhile, said that he will continue with his program dubbed as “from womb to tomb” and that he has been preparing free coffins for indigent residents in the district who may die and the assistance they have been extending to the overseas Filipino workers.

Other winners in the May 13 elections who were proclaimed by the Provincial Board of Canvassers on Thursday were Board Members Macho Alonso and Jeffrey Tobola also of the sixth District and reelectionist Board Members Jose Maria Alonso and Victor Javellana of the fourth district.

Business group optimistic of sustained growth in NegOcc

By Erwin Nicavera (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- The Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) is looking forward to the continuity of government initiatives under the new leadership in Negros Occidental to accelerate growth and development in the province.

MBCCI chief executive officer Frank Carbon said on Thursday the provincial government under Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. has already started efforts in bringing development to the rural areas.

There is a need for the land and sea sides to be productive to spur more wealth and employment generation opportunities, he added.

Marañon, whose third and final term ends on June 30, will be succeeded by Vice Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, whose successor in the Provincial Board is former 4th District Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer.

“We want the provincial government together with local government units to put their investments in the rural areas and encourage national government agencies to do the same for a balanced growth in the province,” Carbon said.

He added that focusing government resources to the development of rural areas should be included by the newly-elected officials in their development agenda.

Carbon said that in the provincial level, officials have already recognized the development direction towards the rural areas, which was started by Marañon.

In the capital city of Bacolod, the local government has already put in place a major development plan ahead of the mid-term elections, the business leader said.

He cited the administration’s four priority projects to be funded by the PHP1.7-billion loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines, including the PHP350-million development of Progreso Village Relocation Site; PHP350-million Bacolod City College site development and facilities; PHP200-million construction of roads and bridges; and the PHP800-million development of Bacolod MassKara Coliseum.

Carbon said the MBCCI wants to see these and other programs to push through, especially that 11 out of the 12 incoming members of the City Council belong to the majority.

He noted that the coliseum will encourage more people to come to Bacolod through conventions and meetings while the relocation project is also needed to clear the shoreline of informal settlers.

NegOcc ARB coop develops ecopark in Cadiz City

By By Erwin Nicavera (PNA)

BACOLOD CITY -- The Dalayapan Agrarian Reform Cooperative (DARCO) is developing a 20-hectare ecological park in Barangay Caduha-an, Cadiz City in northern Negros Occidental.

Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer I Milagros Flores said on Friday the Dalayapan Ecopark is expected to start operating next year.

The amenities will include campgrounds, spring pool, and other recreational facilities.

“The ecopark is included in the cooperative’s developmental plan,” Flores said.

She added that DARCO’s success is a pride of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the City of Cadiz.

On Thursday, the cooperative opened the Café Darco inside the area witnessed by local government officials.

Café Darco, which is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, offers a variety of coffee choices, coffee-related drinks and native delicacies in a setting that provides a good view of nature.

Farm manager Dominador Alave Jr. expressed gratitude to those who have supported the initiatives of DARCO, which has received assistance from the DAR and other government agencies since it was organized in 2012.

“It’s hard to believe that we can achieve greater heights of success in our journey as agrarian reform beneficiaries, but it’s happening now,” he said.

Mayor Patrick Escalante assured DARCO of support from the local government to help the cooperative realize its vision of making the ecopark site a tourist destination.

“You have not yet reached your full potential. There’s more to look forward to,” the mayor told the cooperative members, adding that they should not rely solely on sugarcane and must diversify to other high-value crops like banana and cacao.

Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino lauded the cooperative for its achievement as he hoped that the proposed Dalayapan Ecopark will become an agri-tourism site.

“National and local agencies will surely help the cooperative achieve its goals, including the ecopark development,” he added.

Negros Occidental Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.