Pag-IBIG Fund to lend P50-B for 60,000 housing units in 2012

May 14, 2012

DAVAO CITY, March 16 (PNA) — The Pag-IBIG Fund is targetting 60,000 housing units with loan facility totaling P50 billion by yearend, this was disclosed by its Chief Executive Officer lawyer Darlene Marie Berberabe.

Berberabe made the announcement Thursday during the inauguration of the Fund’s Tagum Branch new office building.

She also led the signing of memorandum of agreements between market vendors association, operators and tricycle drivers associations of Mati City, Davao Oriental.

The MOA signing between the local government units of the cities of Tagum and Mati will facilitate implementing a scheme making registration and membership of Pag-IBIG Fund a pre-requisite for renewal of business permits.

The CEO reported that as of the first three months this year they were already able to lend P12 billion even as she explained that peak of housing projects will come towards the second of the year.

She admitted that with the stricter implementation of policies last year after the Globe Asiatique controversy, there were developers which stopped contracting with Pag-IBIG Fund.

But slowly they started coming back, after seeing a more defined and clear implementation of policies.

This year’s target she said is of 10 percent increase from last year’s target of 55,631 units valued at P38.3 billion.

Cumulative figure of the Fund’s housing program totalled to 841,661 housing units amounting to P313.4 billion.

Berberabe is hopeful about their program, given varied strategies through housing fairs and fora in coordination with the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association and Organization of Socialized Housing Developers Association of the Philippines.

“We will match their projects with the funding of Pag-IBIG Fund,” she said.

She said they are also supported by big developers like the DMCI, Megaworld, Filinvest, Rockwell and Ayala’s Avida.

There are still foreclosed properties she said where 60 percent of these units are occupied by the buyers themselves “and we are offering condonation of penalties until June 2012.”

She said they want these home borrowers to avail themselves of the offer and later become real home owners of the property they occupy.

Meanwhile, Berberabe said the Fund’s gross income amounted to P24.8 billion in 2011 which is 11 percent higher than in 2010 and the biggest in 31 years.

The net asset last year was pegged at P11.959 billion making the Fund’s total asset now of over P302 billion.

“But the growth of the Fund is not restricted to its finances. The past year was a year of changes, growth and action,” she said.

Berberabe said their efforts to provide quality service to our members have been recognized when Pag-IBIG Fund became ISO 9001-2008 Certified in 2011, the first among key shelter agencies in the country.

And we will continue to work hard and act on concerns that would benefit the members.

She said they are looking at 200,000 employers who did not register their employees even as she said that they already filed 167 cases against them (employers).

With the Fund’s program dubbed as “Be A Responsible Employer”, they are offering condonation of penalties for those who have not registered or those delinquent employers where condonation of penalties is pegged at P1.2 to P1.8 billion, she added. (PNA)
hbc/PrixDDB/ldp


Pag-IBIG signs deal with Mati City’s tricycle drivers, market vendors

May 14, 2012

DAVAO CITY, March 16 (PNA) — Pag-IBIG Fund chief executive officer Atty Darlene Marie B. Berberabe led the signing of memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Mati City’s associations of tricycle drivers and fish vendors. The signing was held on Thursday in Tagum City which coincided with the inauguration of Pag-IBIG Fund Tagum Branch new office building.

However, Berberabe said they wanted to reach out also to all informal sectors as they wanted them to benefit from the Fund’s program on provident savings and home financing.

Republic Act 9679 requires for universal coverage including those informal groups even as Berberabe said those earning P1,000 up can become Pag-IBIG Fund members.

Berberabe was joined by the Fund’s Southern Mindanao Group vice president Jose W. Banzon, Jr. in singning the agreements and witnessed by Tagum Branch manager Cesar Labuguen. The affair was also graced by Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon, the officers of Pag-IBIG Fund, housing developers and representatives of other government agencies and private offices.

Among those who entered into an agreement with Pag-IBIG Fund were the Mati Market Vendors Association led by its president Jerome A. Gupit, Mati Science College Tricycle Operators and Drivers’ Association (MASTODA) with its president Romel Matapid and Badas Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association headed by Santiago Alberto, Jr.

The City Governments of Mati (Davao Oriental) and Tagum (Davao del Norte) also signed separate memorandum of understanding with the Fund represented by Mati City Mayor Michelle Rabat and Tagum City Vice Mayor Allan Rellon for implementing a scheme where registration and membership with Pag-IBIG Fund is a pre-requisite for renewal of business permits.

Meanwhile, Rabat said they wanted their job order employees of about 900 workers who are street sweepers, canal cleaners, civil security unit staff, traffic aids become members.

“We wanted these job order workers be covered and able of the benefits of Pag-IBIG Fund,” she said.

Romel Matapid, president of MASTODA said for our members not to be burdened by one time payment of the P200 monthly contribution, they designed a scheme to pay it daily at P7.

He said they learned of the membership coverage through flyers and posters and they were interested on the savings benefit of the program kay ang kwarta nga among ihulog naa may interest ug dibidendo (the money that we save will earn interest and dividends).

Speaking of dividends, Berberabe said that Pag-IBIG Fund’s board of trustees chair Vice President Jejomar Binay declared some P8.491 billion worth of dividends, equivalent to 71 percent of the Fund’s net income for 2011 and to be divided among the 102 million members.

She said dividend rate was pegged at 4.13 percent, the highest so far.

Berberabe said they took pride in the fact that Pag-IBIG Fund continued to sustain its financial growth through the years, making it one of the strongest and most stable institutions in the country today. (PNA)
RMA/Prix Digna D. Banzon/ldp


The CEO is a woman

December 18, 2010

It’s a woman again for Pag-IBIG Fund and this time Atty. Darlene Marie B. Berberabe is the new Chief Executive Officer who hails from Batangas City vice Jaime A. Fabiana of Davao City. The first woman head was Zorayda Alonzo, the CEO who, during her time, checks on us if time warrants, while Joe was assigned in Cotabato to open the Branch Office there in the late 80s. Like a Mom, CEO Alonzo by then was concern of the family with Kim at 3 and I was preggy with Joe3 and Joe’s sick father (bed-ridden) left under my care at home. The transfer of work assignment was untimely “sana” with the family situation that time. But after about four years in the wartorn Cotabato the CEO surprised me on my birthday with his transfer to Davao City. The four long years were hard but the transfer was indeed a great relief. I will never forget Mrs. Alonzo in my life time and with a woman again i could only anticipate no less but the good and the best for the workers of Pag-BIG Fund and the members of the Fund … kasali ako dyan sa members. The men (leaders) were exceptionally good but there is something in women perhaps (because of the hand that rocks the cradle). I am not being biased, with this writer being a woman too.

I’ve heard of the new CEO from my hubby and his first meeting with her upclose was when he defended at the SM (senior management) a project for southern Mindanao. The meeting was good and the discussion was comprehensive, he said. The more that he was impressed during the corporate officers meeting where she stressed about strict adherence to government rules and policies and to stick to what is right. I am also impressed with this.

I’ve read about her in the papers and online and here are some interesting information (that were earlier reported) for a law professor appointed as PAGIBIG chief.

Atty. Darlene Berberabe is a professorial lecturer in the College of Law, UP Diliman.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude and valedictorian from UP in 1989. She graduated salutatorian from the College of Law in 1999. She is an associate lawyer in Quisumbing Torres (Baker & Mckenzie) Law Office and was a professor in the Department of Philosophy, UP Diliman. In the College of Law, she is a professorial lecturer who teaches Legal Theory. Her MA thesis in 1995 was on the Divine Command Theory. She wrote “Retail Trade Liberalization” which was published in the Asia Pacific Legal Bulletin in 2000. She is described as a labor law specialist.

Prior to her appointment as Pag-IBIG chief, Berberabe was the head of the Corporate Legal Department of multinational company Procter & Gamble (P&G) Distributing (Phils.), Inc. She joined P&G in 2004. Before that she was a Labor Associate at the Quisumbing Torres (Baker & McKenzie International) Law Office from 2000 to 2004. An academician, Berberabe was also a Professor of Philosophy for 10 years at UP Diliman, the first female Philosophy Professor; and Professorial Lecturer of Labor Law, Legal Method and Legal Theory at the UP College of Law from 2002 to 2008.

The above data is so rich and tough but I think she’s one good person by heart. She even asked Joe about us and the children and when she was in Davao City, December 15 to lead the loyalty service awarding of employees from Southern Mindanao, Northern Mindanao and the Visayas Group she took time for foto opportunities not once but many times with the employees which she readily obliged herself.

I know there are more good things to come to HDMF (with credit of course to the former bosses), the office is my husband’s bread and butter even as we are equally proud to be part of that one big family now stronger at 30.

I am looking forward to my first interview with the woman who is the boss of my husband together with my Davao business reporters friends.

Photo courtesy of Eric Morales.


Five countries to participate in First Phil Global Banana Summit in Davao City

October 30, 2010

Oct. 28 (PNA) — The First Philippine Global Banana Summit that will be held during Davao Trade Expo (DATE) 2010 at Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on November 5 to 7 will be joined by representatives of five countries and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

DATE 2010 conference director Lizabel Holganza said among the countries that confirmed participation in the event among them Thailand, Taiwan, US and Malaysia. But they are still awaiting final confirmation of attendance from Vietnam and India.

She said the three-day summit will be a gathering of global and local experts in the field of agriculture where delegates will find value in an exchange that includes market trends, innovations in Research and Development, cutting edge technologies and best practices among the banana industry players. She said the plenary sessions will feature presentations of Dr. Ulrich Hoffman of the Trade, Environment and Development Branch Division of UNCTAD, Switzerland.

There will also be presentations of Mr. David Wolf, Agriculture Attache’ of the United States Department of Agriculture, and Agro-K President Dr. Ambrose Rajamannan, she said. The resource persons from the Philippines include Dr. Larry Digal of the University of the Philippines and Mr. Rene Dalayon, President of the Mindanao Banana Farmers and Exporters Association (MBFEA).

The plenary sessions will cover topics such as the challenges in banana growing and exporting, best practices of banana production, strengthening the economic value chain of the banana industry, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for Global Agriculture and Global Banana Economic Forecast for the next decade.

The global conference is spearheaded by the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and private stakeholders such as Tagum Agricultural Development Company, Inc. (TADECO), Control Union Philippines and Davao Region Local Governments.

Holganza said the three-day event is seen as an exceptional gathering of banana industry stakeholders as well as government leaders, policy-makers and of businessmen not only from Davao and the Philippines but also from the different parts of the world.

She said this is an event that every stakeholder must not miss as we all work to push our agriculture especially the banana industry to greater heights in the global arena even as she urged small farmers and banana farm growers to join and learn something from the summit. (PNA) LOR/Digna D. Banzon/lvp


RP’s real estate brokers beef up info campaign on RESA Law

October 27, 2010

DAVAO CITY — The Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines (REBAP) Davao chapter has beefed up its campaign on the Republic Act 9646 or the Real Estate Services Act (RESA) of the Philippines to guide both the public and the brokers better understanding of the amendments of the law. REBAP Davao chapter vice president Winstone V. Pulido said they welcome the law as it will continually professional their sector.

He said with the number of unlicensed brokers operating in the island, RBAP do not have way to monitor the activities of some of these sellers.

The new law is beneficial to the buying public of transacting as they will be shielded from transacting to unregistered brokers that led overpricing of the property and engage in unethical practices.

He said the government has been taking serious steps to provide protection for property buyers and they see this as a good step for them to be encouraged to invest more in Philippine real estate.

The law states that a licensed broker is allowed to have under him only 20 sellers but the practice before the approval of the new law was many real estate projects had only one or two registered brokers with 200 to 300 sellers.

He said with RESA, the practice of real estate broker will now be regulated even as he said that a broker before he or she will be allowed to take the real estate brokers examination for licensing need to acquire 24 units under the continuing education program (CEP) and this arrangement will be honored for the 2011 examinations.

By 2012, prospective examinees need to comply 120 units under the CEP, he said.

The legitimate practitioners of brokering as a business are subjected to fees and taxes while a good number of “fly-by-night” brokers that would number to about 2,500 in Davao City alone escape government regulations and payment of taxes and fees, he said.

“And this would some up to millions of losses of government in the form of taxes as most unlicensed brokers charge 5 percent commission,” he said.

The RESA Law is in support to professionalize and regulate the practice of real estate in the country through the development of technically competent, trained and accountable real estate practitioners.

The law defines that real estate broker is a duly registered and licensed natural person who, for a professional fee, commission or other valuable consideration, acts as an agent of a party in a real estate transaction to offer, advertise, solicit, list, promote, mediate, negotiate or effect the meeting of the minds on the sale, purchase, exchange, mortgage, lease or joint venture, or other similar transactions on real estate or any interest therein.

Pulido said the REBAP supports the information dissemination campaign of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to reach out to as many brokers to have themselves get licensed and legalized their profession.

Pulido said although this will be a huge task ahead, the passage of the RESA Law is a good start to professionalize their sector and at the same time protect the interest of the public from unscrupulous agents.

With the real estate industry in Davao City hitting a positive growth, he said, a lot of real estate development is opening up in the city especially that there is a demand for houses here from the neighboring regions wanting to locate here.

Meanwhile, he said brokers who will attend the First Mindanao Real Estate and Housing Conference in Davao City scheduled on Oct. 5 to 6 will earn units and credited under as allowed by PRC. (PNA)
LDV/PDDB/lvp


DILG urges Mindanao officials to support first real estate, housing conference in Davao City

October 1, 2010

Sept. 29 (PNA) — The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is urging Mindanao officials to support the holding of the First Mindanao Real Estate and Housing Conference in Davao City on October 5 to 6 at the SM City Event Center.

Chamber of Real Estate & Builders’ Associations, Inc. (CREBA) Davao Chapter president Carlos Vargas said DILG Secretary Jesse M. Robredo encourages the island’s chief executives to participate in this activity.

Vargas said Robredo issued Memorandum Circular No. 2010-102 addressed to provincial governors, city mayors, municipal mayors, DILG regional directors of Regions IX, X, XI, XII and CARAGA to participate in this activity as it will highlight best practices in green development, community-based alternative sources of energy and green financing.

The CREBA-sponsored conference is co-hosted by DILG and the Environment Management Bureau XI with the theme “Challenges of Global Warming on the Real Estate Industry.

Green Development our contribution to our future”. He said main speaker of the conference is Dr. Michael E. Nunez, CREBA vice president for Green Technology and Sustainable Development who will discuss New Approaches to Green Technology and Sustainability in Real Estate.

Other topics include Best Practices in Green Technology where Alsons Development Corp., Uraya Land, and Kisan Lu Devt. Corporation as presentor for “Green Developer”, Adtel Inc. Member Lopez Group of Companies as presentor for “Energy Provider” while Engr. Nazario Cacayan, executive director YAMOG Inc. as presentor for “Community Based Renewable Energy Development (Micro Hydro, Solar Power, etc.)” and B. Brillo L. Reynes, DBP-Senior Vice President for “Green Financing for Developers and Local Government Units”.

Secretary General Nestor Borromeo of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) is invited to brief stakeholders of the agency’s priority plans and programs to be followed with a roundtable discussions on housing concerns with the government’s shelter agencies namely Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, Pag-IBIG Fund, Socialized Housing Finance Corporation, National Housing Authority, Land Registration Authority and Environment Management Bureau.

Also invited is Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio who will deliver a message. The manifesto for housing concerns will also be presented by CREABA to the mayor.

Davao City planning officer Roberto P. Alabado III will brief the participants of the city’s planning of Sustainable Residential Communities.

The other topics are “Basic PINOY Green Bldg. Technology” to be discussed by Jesus B. Pring, Jr., chief executive officer of AGTECHPIN, Inc., Products and Services for the Real Estate Industry and local government units (LGUs) by Simonette C. Ngosiok, SME Community Consultant PLDT SME-Nationa Vis-Min Operations, New Software for Real Estate Application by Cecille Sibayan, ABM Computech Enterprises, Inc.

The chairman of the Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Services Eduardo G. Ong will discuss Republic Act 9646 or the Real Estate Service Act of the Philippines. (PNA) LAP/Digna D. Banzon


More than P400-M new investments get tax incentives in Davao City

September 21, 2010

DCIPC officer-in-charge Jason Magnaye during the Davao Business Forum at the MediSpa, SM City Davao

The newest investments in Davao City valued at P441 million that passed through the Davao City Investments and Promotion Center (DCIPC) gets exemption of paying mayor’s permit and fees.DCIPC officer-in-charge Jason Magnaye said this is on top of the approved investments during the first semester amounting to P612 million.

He said they need to work hard in order to meet their target of P1.9 billion this year.

The recent approved investment is still in line with real estate where one is a subdivision project worth P119 million and the other, a commercial building for mixed use with investments at P322 million.

Magnaye also said that the earlier investments consist of two projects on real estate, one in tourism while the other in agri-business.

In the pipeline are on real estate and commercial buildings, he said.

Meanwhile, he said majority of the investments in Davao City for the past several years are in line with real property development.

He said for the past three years, projects in the city were dominated by property development getting a share of 83 percent of the total investments.

He cited that since DCIPC started in 1995, property development got the biggest chunk as it cornered 61 percent of the total investments.

On the other hand, Magnaye is optimistic of hitting their target as they incorporate service marketing in finding new investors.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio also goes out of her way in meeting with prospective investors and personally discussed with them what the city can offer.

He said the mayor also conducts personal visits to and assessments of existing projects of interested investors like in Manila in order to see for herself their projects.

Magnaye cited for instance that the Mayor led a small team to conduct ocular visit to the World Trade Center (WTC) in Manila as she is interested that a developer would invest in convention center here.

Although he stressed that they cannot dictate on the kind of investments he said perhaps they could influence.

A team from WTC composed of some senior officials will be coming to Davao City by end of September to check on the city’s investment area.

“The fact that a senior official is coming over would indicate that they are interested,” he said.

Magnaye said they double up in finishing their inventory and data as to real property investments as these comprise of the common data that investors ask. The other basic data as to infrastructure and other related information are also being readied by their office, he said.

He said a series of review and assessment are being made by them to ensure that investors get relevant and appropriate data as this will help them decide in locating here.

He also said they will continue to improve on their services and reach out to other sectors as they align with the development direction of the city. (PNA)
DCT/DDB/lvp


High demand for environment friendly appliances noted in Davao

September 16, 2010

Buyers of appliances here now opt to purchase low power consuming units.Alex Bautista, store manager of SM Appliance Center, said there is now a market demand for environment-friendly appliances both for the brown and white lines units.Brown lines refer to audio/video units while the white lines are refrigerators, airconditioning units and ranges. Other items are referred to as small appliances. Bautista said there are a thousand codes but these three are the common and basic.

He also said the brown lines are the bread and butter of the appliance stores.

Meanwhile, he said they need to adjust to the market demand by providing consumers ample choices of energy saving appliances.

He explained that five years ago buyers looked at the cooling capacity as far as airconditioning units were concerned but now the buying choice is directed to how much energy is saved.

He said their latest is the 1 HP split type aircon where savings generated is 40 to 60 percent of the energy used.

“Although the cost is higher than the conventional type but we noticed that buyers do repeat purchases of the same kind,” he said.

Bautista also said that with the booming construction of real property here be it in hotels or condominium, the purchases of these type of units also contributed to the increase in high demand.

He said it has been the company’s mandate to promote environment-friendly appliances to their customers and this is being carried out in their 48 branches nationwide. (PNA)
LAP/Digna D. Banzon/lvp


Newly installed MinDA chair lobbies support for infra projects

September 15, 2010

 

The newly installed Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chairperson Luwalhati R. Antonino prioritizes the building of support group that will finance unfinished infrastructure projects in the island.Antonio assumed office on Thursday and a ceremonial turnover was held at the MinDA office in Davao City.

She replaced outgoing MinDA chair Secretary Jesus Dureza.With a cabinet rank position, Secretary Antonino carries Mindanao representation in the national bureaucracy and will have a strong participation in the national development planning process.She said among her priorities are the road networks and energy even as she said that they will help the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

“When the President asked me to head MinDA, he specifically told me to look at Mindanao development paying particular attention on the power issue as well as help in the peace process,” she said.

She said there are a lot of things to be done with the support of the President.

However, she said as far as the peace process is concerned, MinDA’s role is to help in coordinating because it is the OPAPP which is on top of this. They will only coordinate, and their coordination will also be with the local government units. (PNA)
V3/DDB/lvp


Pinoy known chef urges HRM, culinary students to “think out of the box”

September 11, 2010

Chef Gene

working on their dishes

the champion

final judging

d winning salad

second placer

third placer

Most Institute students Miyake and Cuevo with were awarded a diploma for their mixed green salad

DAVAO CITY, Sept. 10 (PNA) -– A Filipino known chef told Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) and culinary students to explore more style and technique through research during the Mindanao’s Culinary Festival (MCF) 2010 held from Sept. 8 and 9 at the SM City Event Center here.

 Chef Gene Gonzalez, founder and president of Center for Asian Culinary Studies told the students that “you have to think out of the box” and the only way to do it is by way of doing research.

Gonzales was one of judges in the competing culinary and hotel and restaurant management students.

“You come from a place that has tropical varieties of agri products although I am not saying that you abandon the western style,” he said.

And through research he said one gets up-to-date trends, styles and innovations. Name different style of food preparations be it the Thai, Vietnam or the Filipino ensaladas, he said there are so many other explorations that they can create.

 The preparation of food is important in competitions and for those who cannot make it, just continue participating in events like this.

“Compete in every cooking competition because this will improve your knowledge and skills,” he said.

He told the students to pay particular attention to safety and hygiene as well as professionalism.

The two-day competition was joined by 19 schools from Mindanao namely Aces Polytechnic College, AMA Computer College, Brokenshire College, Computer Sense College of Technology, Davao Central College, Davao Doctor’s College, DMMA College of Southern Philippines, Emar Human and Environmental Coll ege, Inc., Gabriel Taborin Technical School, Holy Cross of Bansalan, Mats College of Technology, Mindanao State University – Naawan, Misamis Oriental, MOST Institute, Philippine Women’s College, St. Joseph Technical Academy, University of Mindanao-Davao, University of Southeastern Philippines, University of Southern Mindanao-Kabacan.

 There was also competition among commercial establishments on professional bartending and waitering namely Bangkok Wok, Brox Coffee Shop, Caution Entertainment Bar and Restaurant, D’Leonor Hotel, Emar’s Hotel Restaurant and Beach Resort, Palos Verde-Indangan, Palos Verde-Maa, Tine’s Event Service and Company and Zigudu Restobar.

Head of organizing group Mary Ann Montemayor of Konkordans said this year’s festival is an all new event as participants are faced with new schemes.

She said this new aspect of the competition will challenge the minds and creativity of the teams even as she said they want both the students and professionals continue to learn new techniques and styles as well as be more imaginative and creative.

Graduating culinary students of MOST Institute, Robert Cuevo and Jurichi Miyake said win or lose they will continue participating in competitions to hone their talents and skills.

The two from MOST Institute after winning the school’s sponsored “iron chef” emerged as champion and made them the school’s official representative to MCF 2010. Cuevo and Miyake competed in the Salad/Dessert Competition.

Miyake said among others he want to work in Japan as he would like to learn and become a “sushi chef” while Cuevo dreams of Barcelona where there are lots of expert and famous chefs and to try his luck if he could work with one of Spain’s famous chefs.

The two said there are lots of opportunities abroad and chefs are paid well. “Perhaps if we are lucky to be given the opportunity to work abroad, our intention is to build capital then come home and start our own business,” Miyake said. (PNA) LOR/Digna D. Banzon/lvp


Members assured: Pag-IBIG savings are safe; blacklist proceedings vs Globe Asiatique starts

September 8, 2010

The Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund) today assured its members that their savings are safe and that added safeguards to protect the integrity of the Fund are being put in place upon the directive of Vice President and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Chair Jejomar C. Binay.

“The Pag-IBIG Fund remains firm in its commitment to protect its members’ hard-earned savings. Our members need not worry about the safety of their savings. Their funds are intact, and will remain under their names and will be lent or, at maturity, released only to them for their benefit,” Emma Linda B. Faria, officer in charge of the Pag-IBIG Fund, said.

Faria said the agency’s budget for services and lending operations, both for housing and short-term loans, as well as funds allocated for claims, remain unaffected by the discovery of spurious transactions involving Property developer Globe Asiatique.

“Pag-IBIG is still on track in meeting its income/dividend targets for the year 2010,” she said, adding that the Fund will continuously review existing Pag-IBIG guidelines and policies “to further strengthen internal audit processes and enhance risk management measures. “

At the same time, Faria said the Agency has started proceedings to blacklist Globe Asiatique. She also revealed that as of August 31 2010, the company racked up notices of buyback totaling P1.1 billion for Xevera housing loans.

“While this amount is by no means small, this represents only half of one percent of the total assets of the Fund and is fully collateralized. We would like to assure our members that this will not affect the agency’s financial stability and capability in providing the necessary services to them,” she said.

The Vice President had ordered a thorough probe into the Xevera case during his first week as chair of HUDCC. Binay is also the chair of the Pag-IBIG Board of Trustees.

“We are ready to file the appropriate charges to protect the Fund. I have also directed the Pag-IBIG management to take the necessary steps to prevent a repeat of the Xevera case and to assure the members that their savings are being managed professionally,” he said.

Faria explained that as a condition for accreditation, developers guarantee against ineligible or fraudulent borrowers, non-completion of projects, and fraudulent transactions.

They also issue guarantees on loans against default within a period of two years. Developers also commit to buy back faulty accounts.

A breach of any of these guarantees is ground for blacklisting developers, aside from failing to remit collections under a Collection Service Agreement (CSA).

“In the case of Globe Asiatique, we have initiated the blacklist proceedings based on the results of our investigation,” she said. Earlier this year, the Fund was alarmed with its discovery of spurious transactions in the developer’s Xevera housing projects in Pampanga involving fake borrowers.

These findings were discovered through Pag-IBIG’s own validation and internal control mechanisms.

The Fund immediately implemented protective measures, including suspension of Globe Asiatique’s access to the HDMF housing program express lane facility.

The Fund also issued notices of buyback for accounts with confirmed breach of warranties. Likewise, Pag-BIG terminated GA’s Collection Servicing Agreements given the latter’s failure to remit payments to the Fund.

A full audit of all Xevera accounts was also ordered. The Pag-IBIG Fund is also speeding up the conduct of a thorough investigation on the matter to determine the administrative, civil and criminal liabilities, as may be appropriate, of concerned parties, she added.

Faria also assured accredited developers and borrowers that the Fund will continue to take out qualified housing loan applications.

“The Fund’s housing program has not just made us the biggest provider of housing loans; it showed that we are one of the more stable and viable government institutions in the country today.

Our institutional strength and our financial stability have enabled us to not just continuously honor our obligations to our members, but also allow the Fund to meet its mandates,” she said.  Source : www.pagibigfund.gov.ph


RP architects call for all sectors to focus efforts to help preserve the environment

August 31, 2010


Groups of certified architects in the country are calling for all sectors to focus their efforts to help in the preservation of the environment.

With this, the Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Association (CREBA) Inc. in Davao, in cooperation with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and other government agencies, is holding a conference on real estate focusing on green development.

CREBA Davao president Carlos Omar A. Vargas said the conference is being held amid the need to push strongly their advocacy of recognizing the need to adopt green development in the real estate industry.

Vargas said the event will be held on October 6 at the SM Event Center of SM City Davao with the theme “Challenges of Global Warming on the Real Estate Industry. Green Development our contribution to the future.”

He said among the topics that will be discussed are the new approaches to green technology and sustainability in the real estate development, planning of sustainable communities, best practices (for real estate developers, local government units and alternative source of energy), and the green financing of the Development Bank of the Philippines.

He said there will be recognition of best practices among builders in the region on green development.

Vargas said such act of recognizing them could perhaps serve as inspiration to others so that their success could be replicated.

As the present state of the environment calls for all sectors to focus their efforts in helping to preserve it, the construction industry is doing its share even as it is considered as the biggest threat to the environment.

Meanwhile, Architect Florizel C. Chavez, manager of Designways Construction and president of Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines, Davao Chapter admitted that in construction, lumbers are used extensively.

But there are already substitutions on the use of lumber for scaffoldings to steel. It is now being used in other countries although still in limited scale in the Philippines.

He said there are not enough businesses engaging into this kind of services for rental of steel forms for building constructions aside from the fact that it is expensive on the part of the builder.

Chavez said adopting Green Architecture and Green Building is more expensive but if this is quantified in terms of longer use and the effect to the environment, the impact is advantageous.

He said based on estimate, it could be 20 percent higher in cost of a particular project.

However, he said architects already infused basic green architecture in designs of buildings and houses like the big windows and should be positioned it in the southeast as concentration of more air emanates from this direction.

“Bigger and more windows would lessen the use of light and air conditioning units,” he said.

Also, the collection of rain water is already a part of the new design for houses while septic tank must follow three chambers in compliance with the Clean Air Act, he said.

He said they are extensively advocating the Green Building, and events are held to sustain our education campaign among our members into this endeavor. (PNA) LDV/DDB/lvp


Gov’t to focus on socialized housing projects – Binay

August 25, 2010

DAVAO CITY, Aug. 21 (PNA) — The government will further lower the interest rates of housing loans for socialized housing packages to allow more people to access housing loans, especially the informal sector at very affordable rate.

 Vice President Jejomar Binay, the country’s Housing czar, announced during the national conference of the Organization of Socialized Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP) on Friday at Grand Men Seng Hotel here that studies are ongoing to lower the interest rate to 3 percent.

He said current packages offered by the government housing agency of about P400,000 with monthly amortization of P2,300 is not a realistic package for the lower sector but this can be split to packages of P200,000 or P100,000 and with the lowered interest rate the amount for monthly payment could be at P350.

The amount, he said, will only be the cost for the house and the land will be sourced out through the local government units (LGUs) utilizing some of their idle properties through usufruct agreement.

Binay said in administering this kind of project, the developers can be given incentives from the Bureau of Internal Revenue in support to the lowering of cost of business operation.

He said the LGUs will identify the land and put in the roads and they will provide the financing for the construction of houses.

He admitted, however, that there are not enough funds in the government for socialized housing except that of Pag-IBIG Fund even as he said that because the Fund is already tax-exempt, the P2.5 billion savings could be used for projects under socialized housing.

Vice President Binay also addressed the luncheon General Membership Assembly of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCCII) where he said the relationship between government and the private sector is both through cooperation and coordination.

He said business is a continual dealing with the future and they deal not only with communities but the customers and consumers.

“As head of HUDCC, I also ask you to consider investing in building of homes and we should not only build houses for families but homes for families where their bodies could rest, their spirit soar and find love and peace,” he said.

He said this dream could not be possible without the help of the local government units of finding areas where these projects can immediately take off.

“We need to sustain this confidence and we need to show this to the world,” he said. (PNA) scs/Digna D. Banzon/lvp


Big demand for socialized housing, backlogs continue to grow in the country

August 21, 2010

“There is really a big demand for socialized housing and the backlogs continue to grow in the country’s housing business, according to the Organization of Socialized Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP).

OSDHP press relation officer Santiago F. Ducay, however said they are hoping the new administration responds quickly to issues– citing for instance that new housing czar Vice President Jejomar Binay vowed to look into the possibility of lowering further interest rates to make housing more affordable.

Ducay said the current interest rates for socialized housing of a package of P400,000 is about six percent.

He said the current backlog by accumulation through the years is at 3.8 million and as the population grows at 2.8 percent about 900,000 new housing units are needed annually. Of the 900 thousand units, 70 percent of this is for socialized housing.

“If the government build 200,000 for socialized housing, the private sector match this with the same number or about 400,000, there’s still a backlog of 500,000,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ducay said their organization supports the call of President Simeon Benigno Aquino III to fight corruption. He said they respond to the challenges of the Aquino government in fleshing out and flushing out corruption in the construction agency.

Linda A. Tan, national president of OSHDP said they had been true to the call and in fact dropped one developer from their rooster for engaging in activities contrary to their principles of sound business operation.

Tan also heads RJ Lhinet Development Corporation, a builder of medium rise buildings and condominium in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Tan was in the city for a two-day housing convention which opened Thursday and ends Friday at the Grand Menseng. Tan said OSHDP polices its ranks and closely monitor their members.

The OSHDP, she said has to date 150 members. Before a developer is accepted, he has to pass a thorough screening and assessment by looking at one’s background and tract record.

Tan said Congressman Rodolfo G. Valencia, House Committee Chair on Housing and Urban Development disclosed he is filing a bill so that the Social Security System will be compelled to implement 30 percent of its investible fund to be dedicated to housing as stipulated in its charter.

She said when this will materialize, there will be more funds for socialized housing and citing the statement of Congressman Valencia that because Pag-IBIG Fund is now tax exempt perhaps the savings of P2.5 billion could be used to fund socialized housing projects.

“It has been the clamor of our sector for the government for sustainable funds to be made available for socialized housing developers,” she said.

On the other hand, Ducay said Congressman Valencia is also supporting the proposal of the housing sector for the creation of the Department of Housing.

The creation of the housing department will upgrade the Housing Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) to a department status.

“Right now processing of projects is quiet difficult as they deal with different shelter agencies. But if there will be a single department, transaction will be uniform with requirements and procedures,” he said.

The Land Use Law is equally important because developers will have concrete guide how and where to locate subdivisions especially so that lands in the provinces are mostly for agriculture and tourism.

In this aspect, Davao is a focused location city because it is ready with its city/municipal land use plan. All this specific concerns needed in the housing projects, will now be acted upon by the Department of Housing, the body that will regulate and issue policies related to housing.

The other concern that Tan raised is for socialized housing developers to be exempt of cash advances when utilities such as light and water will be introduced to the subdivision.

Tan said for the installation of power in the project site would cost them about P120,000 per post. If there will be more than 10 posts, the cost would be P1 million or more and the return of investment will take long because the refund will only be made when connections are tapped and the utility company starts to earn.

She said they do not expect overnight change but they are willing to cooperate with the government to polish and straighten out policies, so that socialized housing is acted upon and more poor people will have access to housing projects at cheaper cost. (PNA) LOR/Digna D. Banzon/lvp


RP’s home builders holds first nat’l confab in Davao City

August 18, 2010

DAVAO CITY, Aug. 18 (PNA) — About 200 members of the Organization of Socialized Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP), will hold their first national convention to know the direction of government towards addressing the housing needs of the working class of the country to be held on August 19 to 20 at Grand Men Seng Hotel, this city.Dennis Molina, public information officer of OSHDP Davao said the Housing Czar who heads the Housing Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Vice President Jejomar Binay will grace the convention.

Molina said expected to attend are heads of the government’s Shelter Agencies under HUDCC among them the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), Home Guarantee Corporation (HGC), National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC), Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) and National Housing Authority (NHA).

He said House committee chair on Housing and Urban Development Congressman Roodolfo G. Valencia is guest speaker during the opening and will discuss their legislative agenda while Congressman Romero Federico Saenz Quimbo of Marikina City will discuss the highlights of existing or proposed laws that can simulate a better environment for Philippine housing.

He also said Senator Teofisto L. Guingona III is expected to present the Senate Legislative Agenda.

Meanwhile, Engr. Sol Lagmay, vice president of OSHDP Davao Chapter said they want to know which way the government is heading and a clear cut direction needed especially for socialized housing.

Lagmay said there is a big demand for socialized housing but then there are some concerns that their sector need to thresh out with other government agencies.

Lagmay mentioned that the slow release of Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) of the Register of Deeds (ROD) has a big impact on the processing documents especially with Pag-IBIG Fund because the latter would require the TCT in the takeout of loans and this becomes a nationwide problem.

Lagmay said there is really a big effect in the conversion and take out because from only a number of days waiting period before it will take months even for the issuance of a certified copy of the title although she said they don’t have problem with Pag-IBIG because takeout would only take seven days for as long as the requirements are complete.

She said they even learned that their counterpart in Marikina would rather have the ROD operations are back to manual to ensure a speedy delivery of the required documents.

“I know the problem is temporary but with the voluminous record stored through the years this will take time,” she said.

She said they expect positive updates from the Land Registration Authority (LRA) as the computerized land titling process will also be discussed.

She said there is big demand for socialized housing especially here in Davao saying that if they look at the profile of the working class, this is the sector that needs housing of this type.

She admitted that there are only about seven developers here engaging in socialized housing, the reason of which is the high cost of raw land.

Properties here she said is quiet expensive and developing units for socialized housing compared to low-cost subdivision is almost the same that is why many would rather choose to build low-cost or middle level subdivisions.

She also said socialized subdivisions nowadays are built with amenities unlike before when they only allocate open spaces.

“But we see this as marketing strategy because buyers even for socialized housing already check on what other amenities the subdivision has other than roads and drainage,” she said.

Meanwhile Molina also revealed that they incur losses in terms of financing because their supposed to be collection in that particular period will also be delayed as ROD could not release to them the corresponding titles.

“The amount could be rolled out as additional capital for their project. When ROD implemented their computerization system starting January this year the process of release became slow and the period of waiting is longer,” he said.

The other concern that Lagmay raised is the attitude of the borrower as to their obligation to pay their loan.

She said with the buyback mechanism of Pag-IBIG Fund, they are strict in terms of loan approval because this will become a problem later.

“We would rather do it the right way like conducting a comprehensive background investigation of the borrower to save us from incurring problem in the future.” she said.

She said they welcome this scheme applied by the Fund because it will also protect them — their company, the borrower and the government housing institution.

As to the public-private partnership scheme, Lagmay said the government really must be strict in the implementation so as to avoid another massive foreclosure with a private corporation like the Balikatan Housing Finance, Inc. (BHFI).

“The borrowers must be screened thoroughly and government must also come up with realistic projects where homebuyers are given options that they can really afford to pay based on their net take home pay,” she added. (PNA)


All set for Davao City’s Kadayawan Festival .. Aug 16 to 22

August 9, 2010

Davao City is all set for this year’s “Kadayawan Festival” celebration again with the public and private sectors working together to come up with a grandiose event despite the limited resources.
 
The Davao City government, along with its private partners, has optimized the resources even as it anticipates a maximum value in return for Kadayawan Festival 2010 or K10.
 
 In K10 the high quality of celebration does not come at a high cost.
 
Rizal Giovanni Aportadera, head of festival secretariat, promotions and documentations, said city mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has appointed city administrator Zuleika Lopez as chair of the steering committee with councilor Al Ryan Alejandre as vice chair for government sector and Engr. Roberto Quinto, vice chair of the private sector.
 
Aportadera said the festival is a yearly activity that Dabawenyos and those of the neighboring cities and provinces and even foreign and domestic tourists look forward as it highlights the rich cultural resources of Davao and the bounty of flora and fauna as well as its food, water and livelihood.
 
Among the awaited events during Kadayawan is the Pamulak, or Floral Float Parade, which is a mobile display of the blooming of flowers and ripening of fruits in creatively decorated floats on parade, showcasing the abundance of vegetation in the region. The other is the Indak-indak sa Kadalanan or street dancing.
 
Committee chair James A. Zimmerman said each year the number of participants increases and new things are featured every time the floral float parade takes the streets of the city.
 
The list of regular participants continues to increase even as he said that there will be both competing and non-competing categories, he said.
 
He said mounting an entry entails big expense compared to the prize that one gets as winner but I think the prize is not their objective of joining but their involvement of making Davao City as a must visit destination of the country.
 
The floral float parade will be on Aug. 22 starting at 8 a.m. with route starting at Magsaysay Avenue to Claro M. Recto Street then to Legaspi and San Pedro streets.
 
The parade will proceed after the Pasasalamat: Thanksgiving Mass at 7:00 a.m. at the San Pedro Cathedral.
 
Mayette Abayon-Ibuyan, chair of the street dancing committee, is optimistic of the successful conduct of this event, saying that participants come from provinces and cities of Mindanao.
She said the regular contingents are among those who will perform this year plus other new entrants making this event exciting, where it showcases the different colors, cultures and traditional dances of the different tribes of Davao and Mindanao.

The street dancing will be held on Aug. 21 starting at 7 a.m. along the streets of C.M. Recto, San Pedro, Bonifacio, Ponciano, Roxas Avenue and showdown will be at 3 p.m. at San Pedro Street.

Other highlights of K10 are the Kadayawan Tabo: Mag-negosyo Ta Day Fair Trade from August 16-22 at the Sangguniang Panlungsod lobby which showcases crafts and crops utilizing principles of fair trade by women’s groups and grassroots small entrepeneurs.

Hulagway or Faces and Places: Davao from August 11 to September 11 at the Museo Dabawenyo where portraits and landscape paintings of Engr. Manuel Mendros will feature Davao City mayors.

The Panagtagbo or Multi-Cultural Performances will be held from Aug. 16 to 19 and 21 at the People’s Park and NCCC Mall. This will feature cultural and traditional dance, music, chants and indigenous crafts and costumes of the 10 distinguished tribes of Davao.

Agri-Trade Fair from Aug. 1 to 31 at SM City Davao Future Development Site which is an annual display and sale of flowers, fruits and livestock and other locally produced products.

Hudyakaan or Street Food and Entertainment is scheduled from Aug. 16-22 at Bolton Steet at 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. It is a street revelry of foods and drinks with nightly concerts by local and national bands.

Kadayawan Tiangge sa Chinatown will be from August 20-22, Unity Arc at Ramon Magsaysay Avenue where street bazaar will be featured of various local and imported merchandises sold at bargain prices.

Dayaw or Kadayawan Opening Rites will be on Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Rizal Park the official launch of the Kadayawan Festival Celebration.

It will be followed by the Hiyas sa Kadayawan at 8 p.m. at the Davao City Recreational Gym. It is a search for the Festival Gem, the indigenous lass who is knowledgeable of her indigenous culture and wisdom, through a pageantry of Mindanaoan myths and legends.

The Kadayawan 2010 celebration among others will also focus on the 10 keys namely Harmony in Diversity, Strong Governance, Community Support, Peace and Security, Sustained Abundance, Gender Sensitive, Dynamic Geography, Health and Wellness, Emergency Ready and Optimized Resources Maximum Value. (PNA)
RMA/Prix Digna D. Banzon/lvp


August 7, 2010

source : www.pagibigfund.gov.ph

PAG-IBIG LOAN APPLICATION GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

a. If Employed or Self-employed:

* Community Tax Certificate

* Proof of Billing (original)

* T.I.N. (Tax ID Number)

* Latest pay slip of borrower and spouse (original)

* 2 pcs HDMF Premium Contribution Certificate (original)

* Marriage Contract or Birth Certificate (Photocopy)

* W2 BIR form (photocopy)

* 2 pcs Notarized Certificate of Employment with Compensation (original)

* Post dated checks for down payment

* 24 month Pag-ibig contribution for members. For non-members, pay 24 months contribution upon reservation

b. If OCW:

* All of the above plus the following:

* 3 pcs Notarized Special Power of Attorney (SPA)

* Income Tax Return and W2 confirmation receipt for the last 2 years immediately preceding date of loan application

* Notarized Employment Contract and Employer’s Certificate of Income duly certified by employer.

Note: All original

BANK LOAN APPLICATION GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

a. If in the Philippines:

* Income Tax Return (latest)

* Certificate of employment with compensation

* Business Permit (if self-employed)

* Community Tax Certificate

* T.I.N. (Tax identification Number)

* Bank Statement (for the last 6 months)

* Marriage Certificate (if married) (Photocopoy)

* Proof of Billing

* Post Dated Checks

Note: All original except marriage certificate, Business Permit, Community Tax Certificate.

b. If Borrower is permanently abroad:

* Federal Income Tax Return (latest)

* Bank Statement (for the last 6 months)

* Special Power of Atty. (SPA) (consul authenticated)

* Certificate of Employment with compensation (consul authenticated)

* Proof of remittance

* Business Permit (if self employed)

* Marriage Certificate (if married)

* Post Dated Checks

Note: All original except marriage certificate

IN-HOUSE FINANCING APPLICATION GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

In-house financing requirements is similar to bank financing.


Housing developers hold national confab in Davao City on Aug.19-20, 2010

August 4, 2010

Manila (PNA) – The Organization of Socialized Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP) will hold its first ever National Convention on Aug. 19 – 20 at Grand Men Seng Hotel in Davao City, OSHDP president Linda A. Tan said Friday.

OSHDP is an assembly of private developers and allied interests nationwide involved in the development of socialized and low-cost housing.

Through the years, OSHDP has gained recognition from both the government and the private sector for successfully carrying its advocacies.

To boost the momentum and the gains that the housing sector has achieved in pump-priming the economy, the OSHDP Convention will focus on the theme: “Sulong Pabahay, Ginhawang Buhay”, A Stronger OSHDP – Government Partnership in Leaping Forward Through Socialized Housing.

The event will serve as an avenue for newly appointed government officials to share their views and their agency’s policies and programs affecting the sustainability of the real estate and housing sector.

All major stakeholders in the housing industry are invited to attend. The convention is expected to provide participants with excellent opportunity to be updated on relevant shelter issues, share insights and network with like-minded professionals in the real estate business.

The convention coincides with the week-long local celebration of the Kadayawan Festival in Davao City.

As such, participants are encouraged to extend their stay in Davao for a weekend of fun and entertainment. Separate local festivities and activities are being arranged specifically for convention delegates. (PNA)
RMA/JCA


ONB posts P7.4B in deposits for first semester of 2010

August 3, 2010

One Network Bank (ONB), the widest banking network in Mindanao, posted a growth in the volume of deposits for the first six months this year amounting to P7.4 billion.ONB President and Chief Executive Officer Alex Buenaventura said the increase grew by 26 percent compared to the volume of deposits of the same period last year with only P5.9 billion.

Buenaventura attributed this to the country’s resiliency and Mindanao’s agriculture business that has improved over the years and has been benefiting the banking sector.

He said the increase in deposits of about P1.5 billion came mainly from savings depositors who contributed an additional P900 million or 29 percent increase against last year’s. There are about 590,000 accounts for the small depositors as of June 2010.

Buenaventura said over the years, an average of 5,000 new accounts has been opened mostly by small depositors either through the affordable “PeraAgad ATM Pinoy Card” of only P100 or the affordable Regular Savings Account also of P100 for the opening amount.

He added the time deposit is also a major contributor to the increase in deposits which contributed P600 million, up by 34 percent from last year’s level.

He said this could be explained mainly by the placements from big depositors or high network clients who have now developed the confidence in trusting their money with a big rural bank.

On the other hand, Buenaventura said the outlook for the second half of the year in terms of net income is much better than actual performance in the first half.

He said the point of view is mainly due to the projected more aggressive lending under the Department of Education (DepEd) Salary Loan Program and One Business Loan Program.

The product features and delivery systems of both programs have recently been enhanced to be more competitive against other banks who have taken out market share from ONB over the last year of less P400 million, or six percent in ONB loan portfolio.

Given these drivers, Buenaventura said ONB accumulates P136 million net income within the first half of this year.

This represents a big 32-percent increase over last year’s net income of only P103 million.

“With our theme for year 2010 ‘The Big Bank in Countryside Mindanao’, now with 75 branches, we are greatly inspired by ONB’s new-found trust and patronage from new big depositors from all over Mindanao,” he said. (PNA)
LDV/DDBanzon/lvp


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