Public-private partnership tapped for flood warning system in Davao City

July 30, 2010

The partnership between the Davao City government, the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) and Smart Communications, Inc. (SMART) led to the setting up of a weather and flood alert system as part of the city’s disaster preparedness program.

 The warning system was launched during the inauguration of the Public Safety Command Center (PSCC) attended by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) deputy administrator Susan Espinueva, national and local government officials and other officials from the private sector.

 In a briefing, it was explained that the system consisted of the automated weather station (AWS), river level gauge, personal tracker, land and sea tracking devices which were fabricated and programmed by ADDU engineering faculty and students.

 The Ateneo students composed of Charese Olmoguez, Ann Marie Roselle Balinas and Flora May dela Cruz with Engr. Marloue O. Pidor as mentor,  made the concept and design and was funded by SMART.

These students created an upgraded version of the search and rescue management system which placed second during the 2008 SWEEP Innovation Awards organized by SMART.

SWEEP or Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program is an educational initiative of telecommunications firm of which ADDU is a partner-school.

Data generated by these devices once deployed will be transmitted via SMART’s cellular network to a website which can be accessed by the PSCC.

 PCSS head Mario Verner Sebial Monsanto said in cases where information would indicate the rise of water from where the gauges were deployed. This will be communicated immediately to the responders and to concerned officials and leaders.

He said SMART also donated 20 manual rain gauges and these units are deployed in the city’s flood-prone barangays. The barangay captains will then designate a point person to monitor these rain gauges everyday to ensure that the units are working and safe.

According to Mon Isberto, head of public affairs group of SMART he said that the AWS form the core of an early warning system for the city which has been experiencing floods in some of its districts in recent years.

Aside from the unit located within the Central 911 Compound, three more AWS will soon be deployed in SMART’s relay station in San Fernando, Bukidnon and cell sites in Marilog and Buda.

He said the reason they came in to support the project is because it is an idea that is demand driven as suggested by the Davao City officials.

 There is also a need since Davao City is experiencing flooding even when there is no rain and Davao City is the only city in the country that has the capability for now.

 “It is unique to Davao and no other local government unit has that capability,” he said.

Right now they are still developing the concept as to whether it is the ideal one because they still have to prove it.

“But the longer you do it, the more effective it becomes. And with more data collected you can already see relationships on how long and how big the water rises and its extent as to areas,” he said.

 He said when we will succeed with this, and then we can in the future share it with other local government units although he said they have already about 3 or 4 local government units (LGUs) already in mind.

The Ateneo group calibrated their AWS based on World Meteorological Organization (WMO) standards under the guidance of weather specialists from PAGASA.

 The group underwent a week-long immersion program with the state weather bureau. Complementary to the AWS is river monitoring instrument also developed by the engineering students and these will be set up along Bantol and Lacson Rivers and on the bridges of Suwawan and Waan, all in Davao City.

By observing both rainfall and river level information, the Davao’s Rescue 911 Service will be able to provide timely flood warning.

The original design of the disaster alert system to be implemented by Davao City where officials can better track sea vessels during emergencies was also expanded to track land vehicles where the ADDU group worked closely with Rescue 911, Davao City’s 24-hour emergency response team, and the Davao Gulf Management Council and the Philippine Coastguard in testing the sea and land-based prototypes.

 Two sea tracking devices will be issued to the Coast Guard while two land vehicle tracking device will be assigned to Rescue 911 for use in their ambulance and mobile patrol vehicle. A personal tracker has also been designed to be worn on the vest of Rescue 911 personnel. (PNA) LAP/DDB/lvp

RP Supermarkets group notes high consumer confidence

July 28, 2010

The Philippine Association of Supermarkets, Inc. (PASI) noted high consumer confidence in the country that is brought about by positive indicators of the economy.

PASI president Carlos V. Cabochan said under the leadership of President Benigno Aquino III, consumer confidence is up and shoppers are going back to the stores.

Cabochan said there is high confidence among consumers, the housing and commercial building constructions is also high as well as with car sales and shoppers are back into the stores.

“Given this, we look forward to an extended six years honeymoon period with the new leadership,” he said.

 However, the large retail and wholesale players have continued to expand their operations through outlets across geographical locations. Local independent retailers and wholesalers are beginning to feel the heat as chains penetrate regional locations.

And this has disrupted equilibrium in markets as sales activity with shift from one player to another and from one geographical location to another.

Manufacturers/suppliers have not been spared from this disruption as their volumes of sales are not constant across channels.

With this environment, they need to get new ideas and techniques from experts for the supermarket owners to respond in a changing retail and wholesale business environment and to strengthen their competitive positions.

Cabochan said the entry of big players is affecting the small ones and PASI will continue to assist the small ones on how to survive this big challenge.

PASI’s membership nationwide consists of 35 big companies, over 200 supermarkets and over 400 convenience stores.

He said they continue to look for a better collaboration between retailers and manufacturers to bring down costs and working together they become more efficient as well as maintain the prices.

 Meanwhile, Cabochan cited the Davao scenario where retailers here enjoy healthy competition because supermarkets become wholesalers for sari-sari stores owners.

 “The prices for both groceries and sari-sari stores are almost the same as they were able to maintain lower prices,” he said. Cabochan was here during the recently held PASI National Conference held at the Marco Polo Davao.(PNA) LDV/DDB/lvp

Real estate developers start green campaign in Davao City

July 27, 2010

 Developers of building structures and subdivisions in Davao City embark on the Davao Green campaign in support to the environment protection program of the government.

Carlos Vargas of the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Association (CREBA) and coordinator of the Davao Green Campaign said their advocacy will focus on three concerns namely green development, green energy and green technology.

He admitted that developers in this city have yet to incorporate the Green Building and Green Architecture even as they have sought the help of the Davao City government to work on projects that would showcase their green campaign.

Vargas said they are thinking of setting up an area in Barangay Mintal here where they will showcase homes and locations that would follow everything related to their green campaign.

Green building, he said, is a bit expensive but this would turn out cost effective in the future.

“There are buyers of homes already looking at this concept and in fact some are interested and willing to follow environment friendly designs,” he said.

Green building, also known as green construction or sustainable building, as defined by Wikipedia is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from sitting of design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.

This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability and comfort.

Vargas said they already submitted a proposal to the city government for the mass transportation that will play to the different working areas here from their respective communities.

In this way, he said the number of vehicles will be reduced thus pollutions from cars may be reduced. He said they are eyeing a space in the downtown area where they could build a medium rise building for low cost occupancy with an estimated cost of P500,000 per unit.

He said locating residential units within the area of work would also be cost effective. The downtown area project is a consortium of the CREBA, he said adding this could be a start as well as support to their green campaign here. He said they are in constant talks with other CREBA associations in our cities of the country for them to get ideas and techniques on how to efficiently implement the green campaign as well as sustain their advocacy. (PNA) LDV/PDB/lvp

Davao City, an area for smoke-free studies of foreign countries

July 26, 2010

After the successful implementation of anti-smoking in Davao City, the city became the site for study-tour of foreign nationals that are starting to implement the ban of smoking in their countries.
Dr. Domilyn C. Villareiz, co-chair, Anti-Smoking Task Force of Davao City said they had been receiving visitors from other countries in order to observe the implementation of the ban of smoking in the city with their recent visitors from Hanoi, Vietnam and from Thailand.

She said scheduled to visit the city are groups from Malaysia and Indonesia and they are interested in the implementation of the program saying that they have package destination where they bring these foreign nationals to observe.

Mostly, she said are in restaurants, parks, malls and in areas that are often frequented by the public.

Given the success of implementing the Anti-Smoking Ordinance, Villareiz said they get to be invited to lecture or talk to gatherings abroad and in other parts of the country.

Villareiz attributed the success of the implementation to the concerted efforts of both private and government as well as the effective strategies they adopted based on the law provided under Republic Act 9211 and City Ordinance No. 043.

Other cities in the Philippines also has crafted their own laws namely San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, Talisayan, Misamis Oriental, Sorsogon City, Umingan, Pangasinan, Amlan, Negros Oriental, Baguio City, Hagonoy, Bulacan, Legaspi, Albay, Malabon, San Carlos City, Tabaco City, Albay.

She said Baguio, San Carlos and San Jose have similar ordinances with Davao City while most of the cities and municipalities anti smoking ordinance followed the definition of Davao on enclosed places. The 17 cities in Metro Manila will be implementing RA 9211.

Villareiz stressed that under RA 9211 are some provisions that involves advertisements and promotions of cigarette products.

She said cigarette is a legal industry product but with prohibitions under the law they have to implement it just in the case of advertisements and promotions they already issued notices to stores displaying signages of their stores with cigarette markings.

“Definitely this is not allowed by law and some 35 stores were given notices to remove the signages,” she said.

Distribution of collateral like parasols and t-shirts are prohibited and for the public to be wearing or using them will also be reminded and when caught the next will be given sanctions and fine, she said.

Contrary to what other quarters noted, she said anti-smoking is not a hindrance to progress and tourism and definitely there is an increase in tourist arrivals in the city.

The other benefit of anti-smoking campaign is that it helps people increase their life span considering that they will be spared of suffering from respiratory illnesses when they do not smoke.

Citing statistics, she said three out of 10 Filipinos smoke or about 34 percent are smokers.

She also said the cases in Davao City posted a drop in the lung cancer mortality and morbidity rate from 113 deaths in 2008. It dropped to 38 in 2009.

Villareiz said the World Health Organization (WHO) sponsored Tobacco and Poverty Study in the Philippines that was completed in 2006 revealed that among the poorest of the poor, 64 percent of their monthly expenditure is spent on food, while tobacco comprised 2.5 percent, bigger than clothing at 2.3 percent, education at 1.4 percent and health 0.9 percent.

The study also revealed that tobacco greatly contributes to poverty since tobacco users are at a high risk of falling ill or die prematurely of cancer, heart attacks, respiratory diseases or other tobacco-related diseases thus depriving families of much needed income and imposing burden on health care costs which are mainly “out-of-pocket” expenses.

Meanwhile, the anti-smoking campaign in Davao City started in 2002 and it already earned two international and one regional awards. One of the international awards was given by the World Health Organization in 2008 for its Anti-Smoking Ordinance.

Also last year, she said Davao City got a regional award from the South East Asia Tobacco Central Alliance for its extensive advocacy on anti-smoking.

The other international award will be given in February 2010 by the Global Smoke-Free Partnership (GSFP) Award for Governmental Body with Exemplary Leadership in Implementing Smoke Free Policies. Other countries that will be recognized together with Davao City are Guatemala, Colombia, Turkey and India but these are on participation of non-government organization. (PNA)

SM to open two more malls in Mindanao next year

July 26, 2010

SM will open its second mall in Davao City and one in General Santos City next year, according to Glenn D. Ang, SM Supermalls vice president for operations.Ang said with the coming in of two malls in the island, Mindanao will have four SM malls by 2011.

He said by the third quarter of 2011 these malls will start to operate and will be bringing in to Davao City the first hypermarket in the island.

He said General Santos City mall will have the same concept with the rest of the malls.

SM has an existing mall at Ecoland, Matina in Davao City and in Cagayan de Oro City.

Meanwhile, Ang said their existing 37 malls will have an addition of five this year, making the total number 42 by end of 2010.

He said every year, five new ones are added and more areas are in the plan.

Ang also said they want to establish call centers in the near future. “It is management direction to have a business process outsource (BPO) in every mall,” he said.

Likewise, Ang said their succeeding malls will adopt the Green Building scheme and one will be up by July of 2012.

Although he did not give details, he said this will follow green architectural designs, green landscape and environment-friendly facilities.

But he said their malls system-wide are now environment friendly as they adopt the use of less energy types of lamps and waterless urinals and the re-use of water for their cooling facilities.

“SM has a strong advocacy for the protection of the environment,” he said.

Ang also said part of their expansion program is the opening of SaveMore Stores and by end of 2011, this type of store will number about 200 nationwide.

Ang was in Davao City for the formal opening of the 11th Global Pinoy Center (GPC) at SM City here. The center at SM City Iloilo was also launched on the same day.(PNA)

Thank you learn-finance …

July 26, 2010

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SMI education program for IPs, employees continues

July 25, 2010

The education program of Sagittarius Mining, Inc. (SMI) in Tampakan, South Cotabato continues to help not only tribal groups as it also undertakes education program for its employees in order for them to better understand the local culture, specifically that of the Blaans.

At the 2009 Sustainability Report of the Tampakan Project it showed that the company’s Cultural Induction Program (CIP) consists of three modules that aim to provide staff and contractors an insight on how to relate with the B’laans.

The participants are contractors and employees from SMI’s various departments. The first module is an introduction to Blaan culture, through an extensive discussion of the Blaans’ history, belief systems, worldviews, customs and traditions.

 The second module gives tips on practices that should be observed when in a Blaan village, and dealing with Blaans in an office setting. The third underscores cultural commonalities with other dominant Philippine ethno-linguistic groups by encouraging the participants to understand and respect cultural differences, he said.

SMI operates a mining site in Tampakan town where its area covers three barangays, namely, Danlag, Tablo and Pulang Bato where deposits of copper is estimated at 2.4 billion metric tons containing 13.5 million metric tons of copper and 15.8 million ounces of gold.

The report also stated that SMI continues to demonstrate its commitment to social responsibility by contributing to the social, economic and institutional development of communities by forging meaningful partnerships with stakeholders.

In its website, it showed, among others, their support to the host community where in its report in 2008, it implemented the Tampakan Social Improvement Program (SIP) after an extensive stakeholder consultation process.

The SIP identifies and defines the projects that best respond to the key social challenges and opportunities in the host and neighboring communities. By focusing on education, health, skills training and enterprise development, it aims to help communities establish sustainable economies that can survive long after its operations end.

Particularly for the Tampakan Project, the SMI granted free elementary, high school and college education in the Tampakan communities benefitting some 5,700 students.

Meanwhile, SMI stressed that with their approach to sustainable development (SD), it will continually improve on performance, ensure the efficient use of resources and maintain a safe and healthy workplace as it create value for their stakeholders in order to contribute to a sustainable environment.

Acosta emphasizes that in achieving SD it must be safe, environmentally and socially responsible way between the people, the communities, government and other stakeholders.

The leaders of Blaan tribes in Tampakan town in South Cotabato continue to partner with SMI on projects that benefit the youth through scholarship program.

Danleg tribal chieftain Dalena Samling said their scholarship program is not only for the elementary and secondary levels but also college education. Samling said school ages belonging to their tribe are now in school.

“I am grateful of this opportunity kay sa akong panahon wala ko nakaeskwela (during my time I didn’t have the chance to go to school),” she said.

Her group comprises of 2,000 indigenous people (IPs) of the Blaan tribes who are residents of Barangay Danlag.

Sbangken tribal chieftain Tonio Binuhay, meanwhile said school age children of his tribe who are also B’laan of 1,800 are also beneficiaries of the program. He said of their college scholars, four already finished college education. He said this education program when sustained will help improve their quality of lives. The groups of Binuhay are residents of Barangay Tablo. (PNA) DCT/PDB/lvp

Mindanao farmers eye int’l market

July 24, 2010

(This photo from Wikimedia Commons … thank you)

Some 25,000 farmers in Mindanao will be equipped with skills and new technologies to produce high-quality cacao beans that are acceptable to the international market. Party of Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA)–a private, nonprofit organization that promotes broad-based economic growth — will use the proceeds of the US$ 5.4 million funds awarded to it by the US Department of Agriculture in transfering the skills and new technologies to cacao farmers.

Nic K. Richards, ACDI/VOCA chief, said during the recent launching of CoCoPAL Integrated Farming System Project here that the amount granted to the project would be monetized to produce 13,200 metric tons of high-quality cocao beans. Richards said they will use the proceeds over a three-year period to improve the capacity of smallholder farmers in targeted Mindanao provinces.

The project was dubbed as CoCoPal, deficting cocoa, coconut and the Palayamanan concept of rice-based diversified farming. It hopes to improve the income and food security of the farmers including a total of 15,000 indirect beneficiaries.

Richards said that initially, the project targeted eight provinces and two cities from Western Mindanao and Southern Mindanao namely Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga City, Basilan, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao City and Compostela Valley Province.

He said the demand for cacao was high as developed countries like Europe and the US were looking at Southeast Asia for sourcing their supply.

Most ot these countries source out their beans supply of 250,000 tons annually from Africa. But the risk of having a steady supply is highly vulnerable to political instability, drought and expensive freight cost, compared to the Philippines where shipping cost could be lower than in other African countries.

Shipping cost in Africa could reach about US$ 100 per ton of beans. He said the concept here is to train the farmers on good production and processing techniques and link them to a value chain approach and become micro entrepreneurs. Under the project, there will be 250 trained CoCoPal extension facilitators assisting the farmers.

There will also be 75 Village Technology and Extension Farms (VTEF), a one stop innovative learning sites to be managed by the different farmer-groups.

 The project will also include the putting in of 150 post harvest facilities around Mindanao from small to medium- scale such as bamboo-type solar dryer to kiln dryer and the semi-industrial using new technology and innovation.

Richards said the organization had similar project here in 2006 and the farmer-participants were already shipping cacao beans to the international market. In the last six months, the farmers posted a first shipment of 100 tons of quality cacao beans from farms in Calinan, Davao City and San Isidro, Davao Oriental.

Richards also said the organization will link the farmers to the market of companies that have big demand for cacao. Meanwhile, Richards said the other project of ACDI/VOCA is the Sustainable Cocoa Enterprise Solution for Smallholders (SUCCESS).

He said Alliance Philippines Project Phase II is also a project of ACDI/VOCA that also received funding support from the USDA.

It is in partnership with the Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines (CocoaPhil), World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and MARS, Incorporated, a worldwide manufacturer of confectionery, pet food and other food products.

Fay Fay Choo, commercial manager of MARS Inc. said the company is looking at the Philippine production of 100,000 metric tons of cacao beans in 2020 valued at US$ 300 million.

“We are optimistic that the Philippines can deliver that is why we did not hesitate to set up the MARs Cocoa Development Center in partnership with the Sunset Farms in Malagos, Calinan, Davao City,” she said.

She said MARS is a US$ 28-billion business that operates in six basic segments, including chocolate. The company has 65,000 associates in over 250 locations with 135 factories in 68 countries worldwide, she said.

“Our headquarter is in McLean, Virginia, USA and our chocolate brands are M&M’s, Snickers, Dove, Galaxy, Mars, Milky Way, Twix and Bountry,” she said. For Bountry, she said we see a huge growth potential including the desiccated coconut, which is an important ingredient for this production aside from cocoa.

The Philippines, she said, could tap this and see a year- on-year growth of two to three percent. “I know the Philippines can deliver total quality beans to the world market because it has good planting material, great soil and skilled farmers. When cacao is properly nurtured it produces aroma and there is premium in the aroma,” she said. (PNA) RMA/Prix Digna D. Banzon/lvp

US$47.1-M processing plant up soon in Davao Sur

July 22, 2010

STA. CRUZ, Davao del Sur (PNA) — The CJ Toyota Philippines, Inc. is putting up a processing plant in Barangay Darong, Sta. Cruz, here with an estimated cost of 47.1 million U.S. dollars for the production of xylose, a natural sweetener derived from coconut shells.The company said the product is mainly produced as raw material for xylitol which is known to be one of the major functional sweeteners used in the production of gum. It has the capacity to produce 15,000 metric tons of xylose per year.

The produce will be exported to various markets in Korea, Japan, and Europe. The project is expected to finish by January 2011.

Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Cagas, in his message during the recent ground breaking ceremony, said the investment of CJ Toyota Philippines, Inc. in Sta. Cruz town is a welcome development for the entire province of Davao del Sur, saying that they need more income for their people, more jobs and more utilization of their resources.

Korean Ambassador Choi Joong Kyung was also present during the event.

“I have always believed that the best possible partnership between Filipinos and Koreans is in (the agriculture) sector where the Philippines has a big potential. The combination produced by Korea’s technical artistry with the Philippines’ natural environment and skilled manpower will produce pioneering results,” Choi said.

CJ TPI is made up of four partner companies which CJ President Kim Jin Soo tagged as a “dream team”.

CJ Cheiljedang Corporation, Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Binggrae Co., Ltd., and the Anflo Management and Investment Corporation (ANFLOCOR), the only local company among the four.

“I’m confident that all the elements [of the four companies] will be put together in one bowl to generate one of the strongest players in this business world,” Kim said.

Also among the dignitaries who graced the ceremonies were Davao del Sur Congressman Marc Cagas and Mayor Joel Ray Lopez.

The executives of the four companies were led by their respective heads Toyota Tsusho Corporation Managing Director Makoto Hyodo, Binggrae President Lee Kun Young, and ANFLOCOR Chairman Don Antonio O. Floirendo Sr.

Sta. Cruz town is the industrial hub of the province where many foreign and local investments operate, among them the San Miguel Brewery plant that is also located in barangay Darong. It is also the site of Franklin Bakers Company, a plant that produces dessicated, processed and value added coconut products for export to the US. (PNA)

DTI Davao eyes development of Sasa Wharf as key tourism destination

July 22, 2010

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Davao is looking at developing the Sasa Wharf as key tourism destination in the region.Trade Undersecretary Merly Cruz said Sasa Wharf was one of the areas in the city where tourists and businessmen were taking banca rides in going to the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte; and Mati City in Davao Oriental.

Cruz said DTI also planned to put up a port of international standards in Samal as part of the tourism corridor being developed in the Davao Region.

“What we are looking at is the establishment of a gantry crane and a passenger terminal that will be at par with international standards,” she said.

A fast craft now traverses the route between Davao City and the town of Lupon, Davao Oriental, shortening the travel time between the two destinations to one hour from a previous three-hour travel time.

“This is in line with our bid to showcase Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) as a single window for tourism,” Cruz said.

She said negotiations with the management of Ekran Berhad wre in its final stage, where visitors from all over Asia were expected to converge in the region once the five-star casino resort re-opens its doors. (PNA)

Davao dailies continue to carry the Pag-IBIG story and Dee’s foto

July 20, 2010

The Mindanao Times gave the Pag-IBIG story a big space of more than half-page  July 19, 2010 issue (FOC)

while  EdgeDavao : The Business Paper … weekly issue July 19 to 25, 2010 carried the foto (also FOC)

News, advertisements, and entertainment –, Philippine News for Filipinos

July 18, 2010

VIEW THIS …..Column of Randy David PUBLIC LIVES re foto of Globe Asiatique President Delfin Lee @ Pag-IBIG. Please click the link below

News, advertisements, and entertainment –, Philippine News for Filipinos.

@Inquirer’s Opinion Page July 18, 2010 …Public Lives of Randy David

July 18, 2010

Church, others hopeful of P-Noy’s campaign vs corruption

July 18, 2010

also posted @
DAVAO CITY — After President Benigno Aquino III formally announced his agenda in governance during his inaugural speech on June 30, the Catholic Church on Sunday took note of the government’s move to curb corruption.

Fr. Gilbert Sataya, during the homily at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bangkal, Davao City, cited the call of Pres. Aquino’s administration to work on addressing the issue on corruption.

He likened the Gospel that “with the huge harvest, few came to do the task” to the call of the President, which he said was a big challenge to the Cabinet members.

While he urged the parishioners to bring the messages to as many people of taking part in the Church evangelizations of spreading the good words, he said everyone should take part in the task in making the Philippines a better country.

In a separate interview, taxi driver Epifanio Amihan said sa pagpaminaw naku sa mga gibatbat sa bagong President bahin sa pang gobiyerno sa iyang inagurasyon, dili naku isalig ning tanan sa iyaha kay maningkamot ko nga makatabang ko pananglitan sa pagsunod sa balaod sa trapiko (after listening to the President’s detailed agenda of his government, I will do my share of helping the government by way of following traffic rules).

“Mouyon ko sa pagpawala sa “wang wang” kay ang datu ug pobre pantay dapat nga mogamit sa karsada (I support the ban of sirens because there shoud be equal road access between the rich and the poor,” he said.

“Bahin sa korupsyon sa gobiyerno, dili ma ni mawala gyud pero kung kitang tanan motabang ilabina nang taga gobiyerno makuhaan gyud ni (with regards corruption, I don’t think this will be eradicated but if all of us will help especially those in government, I think this will be lessened),” he said.

Government worker Roger Martel of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in Davao said that what the President said was a call for government personnel to work harder.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said she was happy to hear the President stressing hard on tackling government corruption and for government workers to show more of their skills and talents as public servants.

President Aquino said not all in government were corrupt and for those who were performing well he said “panahon na nila ngayon na magpakitang gilas (it’s time for them to show their utmost abilities)”.

Duterte-Carpio, as part of her priorities as the new mayor of Davao City, started reviewing the performance of the city government workers and for those who lacks skills will be trained while they will offer retirement packages for those who would want to avail of the package although everyone will be assessed as to their performance.

Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) president Engr. Robert C. Quinto welcomed the President’s directive of transparency in dealing with the business sector.

He said this was a big boosts for the business community and for those prospective investors.

On the other hand, Philippine Constructors Association (PCA), Inc. president Levy Espiritu said he liked the President’s governance and he was firm and bold when he detailed his agenda during his inauguration speech.

Global Link chief executive officer Patrick Lawrence Tan said there was high optimism in the construction industry especially when President Aquino launched a call against corruption.

“The construction industry probably was the worst sector and hearing him said that the stakeholders are happy and with high optimism they are willing to support this government”.

He said this can be seen perhaps after three years but then they are happy to work in an environment where the leader is sincere in pushing for a better Philippines. (PNA)
RMA/Digna D. Banzon/lvp/rsm

Construction industry players to submit new scheme to gov’t for infra works

July 18, 2010

Also published @
The construction industry players are working on a scheme which they could partner with the public sector in support to the government’s implementation of infrastructure projects.
Levy V. Espiritu, president of Philippine Constructors Association, Inc. (PCA) said the association’s proposal would be presented to President-elect Simeon Benigno Aquino III during the Construction Industry Congress in Manila next month.

He said that details of the mechanism were the results of group discussion among stakeholders in the different regions of the country since January this year.

He said the association was looking at a model that was used in the neighboring Asian countries where private and public collaborated through the Public and Private Partnership (PPP) program.

He said a roadmap of the construction industry, which hopes to spur development of the country for the next six to 10 years, would also be presented to the President.

Espiritu said the financial institutions like banks were willing to finance the identified projects, in collaboration with the government, with their P7 trillion deposits and special deposit account.

He said the locals can fund these projects and the Philippines, through the PPP, is more than capable to do the projects on their own and funded locally.

He said while the government needs infrastructure to the development of the regions, it is also appropriate to tap the private sector for project development.

Espiritu cited that in public education, the Department of Education (DepEd) still needs several school buildings but DepEd does not have the resources which the private sector can pitch in.

He also cited the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) as an example of a consortium where the PPP model has been applied.

In the PPP, the industry players collaborate with the government for the implementation of important projects.

He said they are optimistic that the new administration will consider the proposal as this will do away with sourcing out funds through loans.

He also said that when foreign funds come in, it would be 30 to 40 percent higher compared to projects funded locally, which is cheaper of about 40 percent and carries no risk.

Meanwhile, he said there is a boom in construction anywhere in the country as seen from the ongoing demand for housing units.

But, he said while there is demand for housing development, which he said is a multiplier effect in the construction business, homebuyers already shifted to their pattern of acquisition as they shifted to lifestyle buying.

He said developers now are not only building core houses but are already into semi-furnished units.

Manolito P. Madrasto, PCA executive officer, said buyers were now keen on items that were geared towards protecting the environment and these concerns were included in their advocacy of the Green Building.

He said the technologies are now into prioritizing environment protection. (PNA)
RMA/Digna D. Banzon/lvp

Davao daily carried this foto …..

July 18, 2010


First-in-Davao stores of fashion, toys and food expected next year

July 16, 2010

also posted @ and @
Davao City  — About 13 stores, many of them of international brands are locating in Davao City by second quarter next year.

Cora Dizon, vice president and head of business development of Ayala Land, Inc. said these best stores will be locating in Davao Abreeza when it opens in the city May of next year.

She said these are first in Davao stores in the lines of fashion, toys and food.

Specialty stores along fashion of mostly of foreign brands are Promod, Lucerne, XOXO, New York 101, Hot Flops, Store Specialties, Inc., Zara, Aldo, Celio and Pedro.

The food group would include Starbucks, Cafe Laguna, Lemon Grass, Bread Talk, Italianni’s and TGIF. Toys’R Us and Fully Booked will also be locating in Davao and the Robinson’s Department Store.

Robinson’s will occupy a big part of the complex with an investment of P800 million within Davao Abreeza.

Maria Victoria E. Anonuevo, vice president and Ayala Malls Group Head said their market is the AB and C and they target families, office workers, the domestic and foreign tourists and Davao residents and the neighboring areas.

She also said that they follow and ecology-friendly setting by putting in place a green landscape not only outside but inside the mall.

“We want the public to experience an eco-friendly setting while in the mall. We want this to be the eco-hub of Southern Mindanao,” she said.

But she said while they bring in high-end brands, they still reserve a big part of it for the Davao concepts.

Meanwhile Dizon she said the Best in Davao are among their 300 merchants to occupy the mall. Although she did not give details she said these are the stores that offers products of high quality.

Aside from the specialty stores she said there are those that are most frequented by children and the youth and these includes Timezone, the Activity Center, Cinemas, Fast Food, Food Court. It is also a wifi free zone.

The Davao Abreeza occupies a 10-hectares property along J P Laureal Avenue in Davao City. It will be of mixed-used as Ayala Land, Inc. president Antonio Aquino said within the site will not only be the mall, but hotel, residences and for business process outsourcing.

He said it has an initial investment of P3.4 billion that covers the physical structure of the mall and land development.

Within the site will rise two or three buildings and the operation will be in two phases.

He said the ground floor and part of the second floor will be operational by May 2011 while portion of the second floor and the third towards the end of the year.

Aquino stressed that their presence in Davao will allow them to tap into a bigger market in Mindanao and make their presence in the region felt by shoppers.

He said their expanding in Davao and investing in Mindanao is a logical strategic choice where Davao is a major city in the island and one of the region’s economic hub. (prix d. banzon)

VP Binay as the country’s housing czar

July 16, 2010

Malacanang spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Thursday night that President Benigno Aquino III welcomed Vice President Jejomar Binay’s acceptance of the chairmanship of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

Binay as  the new HUDCC chair will oversee operations of all of government’s shelter agencies.  As HUDCC chair he also sits as chair of the Board of  Pag-IBIG Fund.

Globe Asiatique President Delfin Lee apologized to Pag-IBIG

July 16, 2010

Pag-IBIG Fund chief cries foul over housing developer’s accusations

July 16, 2010

Pag-IBIG Fund chief executive officer Jaime Fabiaña yesterday slammed a housing developer for berating Fund officials for “losing the vision to serve,” saying Pag-IBIG “continues to be a strong and viable institution because of its hardworking and dedicated men and women.” Fabiaña was reacting to a report published in the Philippine Star that quoted Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corporation owner and president Delfin Lee as saying Pag-IBIG officials “have been there too long … they have become lazy and have lost the vision to serve.” “Pag-IBIG continues to be a strong and viable institution because of its hardworking and dedicated men and women whose focus to serve the Fund’s more than eight million members nationwide remains unwavering,” Fabiaña said. He cited statistics that showed housing loan approvals grew at an average of 42 percent for the last three years – P22 billion in 2007, P34 billion in 2008, and P46 billion in 2009. “Every day, 300 families are able to acquire homes through Pag-IBIG’s housing loan program. In times of calamity, Pag-IBIG provided an immediate lifeline to 800,000 calamity-stricken members through loans amounting to P14.7 billion. On a daily basis, the Fund releases P185 million in short-term loans which helped finance the emergency needs of 10,454 members,” he said. Fabiaña also belied Lee’s accusation that a memo providing that a member applying for a housing loan must have complied with the twelve-month residency requirement beginning July 1 of this year was unusually timed. “It was not unusually timed. To properly disseminate the new requirement, the Fund has undertaken intensive consultations with developer groups including the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA) and the Organization of Socialized Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP) as well as with the Fund Coordinators who serve as liaisons of Pag-IBIG with employer-companies,” he said. “We also made sure that the Fund included this policy in all its housing loan briefings both here and abroad. It was thoroughly discussed in a lot of meetings,” he added. Fabiaña said the amendment was duly approved by the Pag-IBIG Board headed by former Vice President and HUDCC chair Noli de Castro. “However, in a recent memo, the Senior Management of the Fund heeded the request of developers and members to defer its implementation and allowed the payment of 24 monthly contributions until September 30 of this year, provided housing loan applications are submitted not later than December 29, 2010,” Fabiaña said. According to Fabiaña, the 12-month residency requirement was established under HDMF Circular No. 55 to build up more funds for re-lending. “In March 2000, the residency requirement was two years. In 2001, Pag-IBIG lifted the two-year residency requirement allowing members to pay in lump sum, the 24 monthly membership contributions to avail of a housing loan because there were only a few borrowers then. At that time, total housing loan approval was only P3.5 billion,” he said. “Following the reduction in interest rates and lengthening of loan term to 30 years, Pag-IBIG has experienced immense growth in loan approvals recording an average growth rate of 42 percent for the last three years – P22 billion in 2007, P34 billion in 2008, and P46 billion in 2009. At this rate, it is no longer sustainable for Pag-IBIG to finance the growing demand for housing,” he added. Fabiaña also observed that instant membership has been prone to abuse, citing monitoring reports that indicated that abuses have been committed, particularly in the Pampanga area, “including Mr. Lee’s Xevera Projects, where almost 400 approved accounts were confirmed to be doubtful because the borrowers denied they availed of the housing loans.” Fabiaña said Lee himself “confirmed the existence of these problematic approved accounts.” “In a letter to Pag-IBIG, Lee wrote that ‘based on our internal monitoring, there are buyers who have not been paying since take-out (loan approval). We are closely monitoring some 1,000 accounts which we suspect are of questionable buyers. We have since cancelled 400 of these accounts…’,” Fabiaña said Fabiaña also took exception to Lee’s statement that HDMF officials are “lazy… they put the money in treasury bills and avoid innovative and challenging work that can fulfill the mission to provide low-cost housing to Filipinos”. He said according to the agency’s figures, Pag-IBIG has long surpassed its mandate to provide 70 percent of its funds for housing. “In 2009, 78 percent of the P256 billion total assets of the Fund are housing- related. For the first five months of the year, this has already reached 80 percent representing P204 billion out of the P271 billion total assets,” he said. Emma Linda Faria, Deputy Chief Executive Officer for the support services cluster, said Pag-IBIG “we cannot put all our funds in housing as we must be able to pay our members’ Provident claims on time. Plus we must always be liquid.” On Lee’s estimate that 70 percent of low-cost housing clients of real estate developers would be affected by the policy, Fabiaña said out of the 8 million members of Pag-IBIG, only around 800,000 members have housing loans. There are more than seven million remaining members who have made 24-monthly membership contributions who have not yet availed of a housing loan. “If sales agents are not lazy, they can easily tap this potential,” he said. Fabiaña said the Fund is what it is today – “one of the top government corporations and the leading financier of the government’s housing program” – because of the singular dedication and hard work of its 5000-strong work force of the Fund. “As a result, Pag-IBIG has been recognized locally and internationally for its contribution in housing. To cite a few: a Triple A minus (Aaa) rating from PhilRatings in 2005 for creditworthiness; UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour in 2006 for providing affordable home financing, making the Fund the first government agency to receive such commendation; Congressional Citation in 2008 for its exemplary contribution in the government’s battle against homelessness and poverty; and Civil Service Commission PASADA Awardee since 2007 for exhibiting the value of customer care and meeting the expectation of the transacting public for prompt, courteous, and responsive service,” he said. Fabiaña assured the Fund that he will continuously refine its housing program to ensure that the dream of homeownership can be easily attained by every Filipino worker. (with ref. Margie Jorillo at 811-4198)