Saturday, November 29, 2008

Davao's Uyanguren Is Newest Location Of Popular 168 Mall

Davao's very own Chinatown aka Uyanguren is the newest location of one of the 168 malls, famous for selling very cheap goods straight from China.

The mall, which does not really look like your traditional mall but merely a place where stalls are located, is already operational but as of last week only a few stalls have opened to the public.

City councilor Susabel Reta has pushed for the naming of this district as Chinatown considering that most of the stores here are owned by the Chinese. Lately though, the street has been invaded by Korean businessmen so the name might be a misnomer.

The opening of the mall is very timely for Christmas shopping but then again watch out for China-made food and other items that might be dangerous to your health.

Investors Urged: Put Money In Mindanao Livelihood Projects

Mindanao Business Council chair Vicente Lao urged investors attending the Mindanao Investment Conference which opened at the Marco Polo Hotel Tuesday day to put their money on livelihood projects for Mindanao even as he said no amount of economic growth can justify the increase in poverty incidence in the island.

Over 300 participants from the business and government sectors, peoples organizations and non government organizations joined the Investment Conference.

“We have the idea that the region’s economy is doing well but the increase in poverty incidence belies that,” Lao said. Mindanao, he added, is the second largest island but it lags behind in terms of economy as shown by the fact that 16 of the 23 poorest provinces in the country are in Mindanao.

Lao said Mindanao’s insurgency problem is caused by lack of opportunities in the region that is why these people have to do something else instead of making a living.

“Let us throw away the parochial concept of investment because it is no longer economically profitable to grow everything in your backyard,” he said. Instead he added, people should develop the networking concept and the value chain concept of supply and demand.

He said it would be more viable for the island to work as a whole network group where one product is produced by another area, using resources from another area and similar networking arrangements.

Lao also urged the community to help promote small and medium enterprises citing the SME’s role in Davao City’s economic turn-around.

“The 36,860 business permits issued by the city of Davao last year is evident of the SME’s role in promoting development,” Lao said. He said the conduct of the Mindanao Investment Conference will hopefully equip SME’s with inputs to manage their businesses

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

8 Councilors Say NO To PALC For Shrine Hills Developer

The eight “conscience votes” from Davao City councilors failed to stop the approval of the Preliminary Application and Location Clearance or PALC for the Crown Communities and DM Consunji development project in Shrine Hills.

Among those who voted NO to the PALC application are Councilors Rachel Zozobrado, Pilar Braga, Karlo Bello, Teresita Marañon, Angela LIbrado, Susabel Reta, Louie Villafuerte and Myrna Dalodo-Ortiz. Councilors Danny Dayanghirang and Halila Sudagar abstained while 13 voted yes for the PALC.

“The issues raised have gone beyond mere legalities and zoning,” Councilor Rachel Zozobrado said. “I am not convinced by what was presented and I still have doubts as to its safety considering that Datu Luho creek is already stretched to its maximum capacity and they did not present any alternative,” she added.

Councilor Pilar Braga said it has always been her position that Shrine Hills should be a protected area. “It should not be pressured with development to preserve it as the emerald jewel of Davao City.” Instead of a housing development, why not make it a nature park, she said.

“The safety of the Maa residents should also be top priority and I believe that no mitigating measure in the future could give the assurance of safety to the people living downhill,” Braga said.

The approval of the PALC for the DM Consunji development project has been delayed for weeks already due to the ongoing debate in the Council as to the safety of the project.

Maa residents, who cited the Cherry Hill incident, have also expressed their opposition to the project for fear that it will result to more flooding and landslides in the area. Maa is located just below the Shrine Hills and any earth movement will affect the various subdivisions located downhill.

The residents however said they are not against the development per se provided an independent study of the stability of the slope is conducted. They are also asking the developer to present a drainage alternative considering that the Datu Luho creek is already congested resulting to flooding in the area whenever it rains.

Councilor Danny Dayanghirang said the Zoning Ordinance classifies the area as residential so he sees no problem with the PALC approval.

“The applicants have already complied with the requirements,” councilor Peter Laviña said. Laviña, who voted yes, said “I believe that all the engineering measures are available to address the concerns about the project.”

Just like Laviña, Councilor Victorio Advincula also said all the issues taken during the sessions are best discussed during the application for a development permit.

City Approves P25T Financial Assistance For today’s Mindanao Investment Conference

Davao City Investment Promotion Center chief Bobby Teo (left photo) welcomes participants to the MinICon.

The City government of Davao has approved a P25 thousand financial assistance for the two-day Mindanao Investment Conference which will open at the Marco Polo Hotel today.

“We are expecting up to 300 participants to join the conference,” Mindanao Business Council (MinBC) executive director Ednar Carlos Dayanghirang said. The organizers of the event said the Conference is doubly significant because it is not only the business sector that have signified their intention to join the MinICon but even peoples organization and non government organizations from various parts of Mindanao have confirmed their participation.

Dayanghirang said they are thankful for Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s support for the Conference both in terms of promotion and financial assistance. He also confirmed the P25 thousand financial support from the city government.

The Conference will focus on seven agricultural products including seaweeds, banana, coffee, rubber production, honeybee, Pangasius and moringa or malunggay.

MinBC chairperson Vicente Lao, who presented the agribusiness opportunities (that will be tackled during the Conference) to the members of the City Council last Tuesday, said they are very excited about the prospects of the propagation of Cream Dory or Pangasius since this will clearly augment the region’s aquaculture production.

Pangasius, Lao said, is like a cousin to the catfish. However, Pangasius fish can weigh as much as 40 kilograms and can grow as long as four feet.

Lao said Pangasius growing is fairly new to the Philippine but it is a growing industry in Vietnam and neighboring Asian countries. Pangasius fillet is presently being exported by Thailand and Vietnam for around $3 per kilo.

This was confirmed by Vitarich marketing associate in Mindanao Elvin T. Millan who said there is a big demand for the Pangasius fish in the world market.

Vitarich is one of the companies that is already into the Pangasius business and they are exploring several business options including contract to buy, contract growing, contract processing, commercial growing and trading partner. Vitarich has prospective growers not only in Davao but also in General Santos City and the Cotabato Province. The company, he added, is now ready to disperse the Pangasius fingerlings to these growers.

Gamay'ng Belen Competition

Museo Dabawenyo is sponsoring a miniature Belen competition to symbolize the simplicity and humility of celebrating Christmas.

If you are a Dabawenyo then you are qualified to join the contest. Use your creative juices to come up with a three-dimensional belen depicting the nativity scene.

Participants can use any material but the use of recycled materials is encouraged. The entry should measure 2’ X 2’ X 2’ and any entry that does not conform to this will be automatically disqualified.

You may have several belen ideas but you can only submit one entry.

Get your entry forms from the Museo Dabawenyo and submit the form with your entry at the Museo Dabawenyo, corner CM Recto and Pichon Streets before December 1, 2008.

All entries will be exhibited at the Museo Dabawenyo from December 4 until January 10, 2009.

Interested? Call or visit Museo Dabawenyos and look for Orly Escarilla or Richard Dian Vilar.

The first prize winner will get P10,000 while the four runners up will get P5,000 each. There will also be five consolation prize winners who will receive P1,000 each.

Will SP Issue PALC For Shrine Hills Developer?

Members of the city council are set to decide today on the issuance of a Preliminary Application and Location Clearance or PALC for Crown Developers and DM Consunji. The PALC will give the developers a go signal to continue with their development works for their proposed housing in Shrine Hills.

The decision whether to approve or disapprove the PALC for the Shrine developers has been put on hold for several weeks already because of strong opposition from the Maa Homeowners who claim that allowing such development would not only pose drainage and flooding problems in Maa but will also endanger their lives.

Fearful that another Cherry Hills tragedy might be in the offing if the Shrine Hills developers are allowed to continue with their project sans an independent slope stability study as well as the determination of an alternative drainage outlet instead of the congested Datu Loho creek.

Councilor Danny Dayanghirang said that technically the approval of the PALC is possible because the area has been classified under the Zoning Ordinance as a residential area.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Auto LPG Industy Summit In Davao City

Is liquefied petroleum gas for automobiles safe?

This and other questions regarding the use of LPG for automobiles will be tackled during the Philippine Auto-LPG Summit which will be held at Davao City's Waterfront Insular Hotel on November 27.

The Summit aims to inform investors, importers, manufacturers, suppliers, converters, distributors, motorists, service providers, consumer groups, local government units and other interested groups and individuals about the existing regulation laws on auto-LPG use.

This is already the second leg of the summit , the first one was held in Metro Manila for the Luzon stakeholders.

This is an ideal venue to disseminate information about the mandatory standards on automobile cylinders, the guidelines on registering vehicles using LPG and the requirements and procedures for the dispensing stations, Department of Trade and Industry senior trade and industry development specialist Engr. Alvin Aranas said.

Aranas said retailers and users of auto-LPG should be aware of the safety measures and regulations for the use and sale of auto LPG before selling their products.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rainy Week For Davao City

As of today, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration has declared that there is as yet no tropical cyclone within the Philippine area of responsibility. However, Dabawenyos can expect rainy days for the rest of the week.

According to Pagasa, there will be cloudy skies, scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms for Mindanao and Palawan. The same thing goes for Northern and Central Luzon but with possible landslides and flashfloods over the eastern sections.

So get your colorful umbrellas, raincoats and jackets and have fun despite the rain.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Kidapawan City Beats Davao As Mindanao’s Richest City

Kidapawan City in North Cotabato is the richest among the cities and municipalities in Mindanao based on the 2003 poverty incidence data, besting General Santos City, Davao City and even Cagayan de Oro City.

“We were also surprised with the result of the survey but this can be blamed on the inflation rate in Davao and in the other cities and municipalities which were rated behind Kidapawan City,” National Statistical Coordination Board XI head Estrella R. Turingan said during a press conference held at the Philippine Information Agency yesterday.

NSCB defines poverty incidence refers to the proportion of population or number of families with per capita income below the poverty threshold. Turingan said this is the first time that they were able to get statistics up to the municipality level due to budget constraints. NSCB generates statistics on the provincial level every three years and the 2003 data is their newest available data.

“We were only able to afford conducting the survey up to the municipality level because the project was financed by the World Bank,” she said.

Kidapawan City is a first class city and is the capital of North Cotabato. It is known primarily as a tourist destination for those who want to climb Mt. Apo, the country’s highest peak.

With a poverty incidence of only 12.46%, Kidapawan City bested General Santos City (13.98%), Polomolok (14.29%), Davao City (14.94), Tagum City (15.42%), Cagayan de Oro City (15.50%), Koronadal City (16.18%), Digos City (18.22%), Padada (21.99%) and Hagonoy (22.60%).

Kidapawan City is the only area in North Cotabato that has made it to the top 10 richest cities and municipalities based on poverty incidence. The provinces of South Cotabato and Davao del Sur each had three areas in the Top 10 list.

“Poverty threshold is driven by the price of the basic necessities for the current year; it appears that the average income of Davao City’s residents are not enough to catch up with the price increases in the city,” Turingan said.

City Council Approves Tax Exemption For Jose Mari Chan Concert

The Davao City Council has approved the tax exemption of the Jose Mari Chan concert.

The concert is scheduled at the CAP Auditorium on November 29, 2008, 7:30 PM.

Tickets for the Jose Mari Chan concert are worth P1,500, P1,000 and P500.

Chan has become popular for his mellow crooning style. Among the songs he popularized are "Christmas In Our Hearts", "Constant Change", "Deep In My Heart", "Sing Me A Song Again Daddy" and "Please Be Careful With My Heart" among others.

State Insurance Fund Healthy Despite Delinquent Payment From Gov’t., Private Employers

The Employees’ Compensation and State Insurance Fund remains healthy despite delinquent payments from employers in both the government and the private sectors.

This was revealed by Employees Compensation Commission executive director Dr. Benjamin Vitasa during the ECC Convergent Project held at the Apo View Hotel yesterday. A total of 180 participants from the government and private sectors belonging to an estimated 90 industries attended the conference which seeks to promote awareness about the program.

“The funds for the State Insurance Fund can last several more years if the present rate of payment continues,” Vitasa said. A total of 8,000 private sector employers and 1,5 million government employers are presently contributing to the fund at the rate of P30 per worker per month (private sector) and P100 per worker per month (government sector).

However, VItasa admitted that not all employers are paying the mandatory contribution for the Employees’ Compensation Program. Even employers from the government sector do not pay the mandated P100 per worker monthly contribution for the fund. Some government employers are only paying P30 per worker per month, he added.

Payment for the ECP is mandated by law to provide a compensation package for public and private employees in case of work-related injury, sickness or death. The ECP is implemented by the Social Security System for private sector workers and by the Government Service Insurance System for government workers. It does not however cover self-employed workers.

Vitasa did not mention any specific penalty for employers found not paying the mandatory contribution for their workers. However, he said, if an accident happens and the employer failed to log it and report it to the SSS the employer is made to pay a certain percentage of the compensation due the worker instead of the whole amount coming from the ECC.

Those who suffer from an injury or illness as a result of their work can apply for compensation either with the SSS or the GSIS. These agencies will evaluate if the claim is really work-related. Claims that are denied can be appealed to the ECC.

“It is very easy to appeal a claim to us because you do not need a lawyer; just inform us about your denied claim and we will decide in 30 days,” Vitasa said. The ECC, he added, has a very high percentage of case disposition with 95% of cases resolved in 2007 and already 88% resolved as of the third quarter of 2008.

Vitasa said “we have approved 11% of the 700 cases appealed to us last year where ruled in favor of the workers.” Those whose cases are denied by the ECC can appeal to the Court of Appeals and to the Supreme Court.

A sickness is considered work-related if it is in the ECC list of Occupational Diseases, he said. If it is not in the list, he added, then there should be proof that it was caused by the nature of the work or the working conditions of the employee.

He said an employee who meets a work-related accident can also claim under the ECP provided it arises in the course of employment such as when the employee is injured at the workplace (of while going to or coming from work) while performing his official function and other conditions that apply under the law.

He said most of the compensation cases from 70 to 80% come from Luzon particularly regions 3, 4 and the National Capital Region probably because most industries are located in these areas.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mati To Declare Bankruptcy If SC Upholds Decision Declaring City Laws Unconstitutional

The City of Mati might declare bankruptcy if the Supreme Court decides to uphold its recent decision declaring the unconstitutionality of the law converting 16 municipalities into cities.

The Supreme Court's decision is considered a victory for the League of Cities of the Philippines which filed last March 11 an opposition to the conversion of 16 municipalities into cities on the ground of unconstitutionality.

Among the cities that will be affected by the SC's decision are: Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte; Tandag, Surigao del Sur; Bayugan, Agusan del Sur; Mati, Davao Oriental; Tayabas, Quezon; El Salvador, Misamis Oriental; Guihulngan, Negros Oriental; Baybay, Leyte; Borongan, Eastern Samar; Bogo, Cebu; Carcar, Cebu; Naga, Cebu; Tabuk, Kalinga; Catbalogan, Samar; Lamitan, Basilan and Batac, Ilocos Norte.

Mati City Mayor Michelle Rabat, who was interviewed by the media this morning, said "If that happens, we might declare bankruptcy." Rabat and the other mayors of the affected cities are now at a quandary as to how they can get back to their operations as a municipality.

The "unmaking" of Mati alone will result to:
1. lay-off of 600 employees who were hired by the city for new local offices
2. cancellation of the P8 million scholarship program for the city which subsidized the education of 22,000 pupils
3. cessation of the city's health program with 2,400 beneficiaries
4. derail the P5 million budget for the provincial hospital for new rooms and beds
5. cancellation of the P1 million allocation for each of the 22 Mati barangays

Prior to the law in question, the cities were receiving a Internal Revenue Allocation of only P111 million. The new cities received an IRA allocation of P382 million which paved the way for new job opportunities, more public services and bigger investment contracts.

PGMA Finally Hears From Obama

Beggars can't be choosers, as President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo might have realized when she called but failed to talk to United States President-elect Barack Obama at least three times for various reasons.

The first time Arroyo called Obama was when she was in the US while the Presidential campaign was going on. The second and third time she called Obama was to congratulate him for his victory. All calls remained unreturned apparently because Obama was just too busy or too tired to accept the call.

And now, finally, Arroyo can sleep in peace knowing that Obama has finally recognized the Philippines' existence by calling her and assuring her of a continued good relations between the Philippines and the US. Obama's phone call to Arroyo was announced by Press Secretary Jesus Dureza.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

December 1 Is A Holiday

Just when the Filipinos thought their confusion over the changing of the holiday dates is over, Malacañang beats the year-end by declaring December 1, 2008 a non-working holiday. Traditionally, November 30 of every year is a holiday but since it falls on a Sunday, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has declared Monday a holiday instead.

Not that it bothers regular wage earners who will still get their salaries even if it is a holiday. However, it is a different story for daily-paid workers who live on the maxim "no work, no pay".

Holiday merry-makers will also be glad to note that December 26 (the day after Christmas) and December 29 (sandwiched between a Sunday and Rizal Day) have also been declared non-working holidays.

The declaration of the said holidays is part of Malacañang's "holiday economics" which seeks to maximize the days wherein workers can save on gas, fare and whatever as well as spend the day with their families.

The following days in December are also holidays as declared by the President by virtue of Proclamation 1463:

Regular Holidays:
Dec. 25 (Thursday) – Christmas Day
Dec. 30 (Tuesday) – Rizal Day

Special Non-Working Holidays:
Dec. 31 (Wednesday) – last day of the year.

Davao Light's Power Bill Now In Braille

The Davao Light and Power Company has taken their community relations one step forward by making available to their blind power consumers in Cebu and Davao City electric bills in Braille!

Braille is an internationally-accepted system used by visually impaired people for reading and writing. Visually-impaired people can read the bills through their fingers by passing them over the characters which have been embossed from one to six points.

The new Braille bills are expected to empower visually deficient people who can now personally read their power bills. To promote the project, a memorandum of agreement was signed between DLPC and the Resources for the Blind Incorporated. Under the MOA, RBI will provide DLPC with a list of visually-impaired consumers, print and distribute the Braille bills to the blind consumers. DLPC on the other hand will pay for the printing and delivery of the bills.

If you or someone you know is visually impaired then register with the DLPC now to avail of the Braille power bills.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

December 5 Deadline For Layag Competition

Creative Dabawenyos who have a way with boats are urged to beat the December 5 deadline for the Layag competition. The boat racing competition will start from the old ferry dock in Barangay Sasa going towards the Sta. Ana wharf.

Layag is a native boat sailing competition which is one of the events lined up to celebrate the 12th Araw ng Sasa on December 13. This is being held in cooperation with SCOOP and E-ORG or Edge Outdoor Recreation Group.

Sports Communicators Organization of the Philippines Davao president Leonard Paul Palo said seasoned boatmen who are 18 years old or over can compete in the event after payment of the P1,500 entry fee and accomplishment of the registration form which is available at the Barangay Sasa Hall.

The registration fee, he said, already includes the specially-designed sails prepared by the organizers for the event. Participants will use native bancas with a length of 10 to 12 feet. Only one individual is allowed to man each bancaq and he will be provided with a single wooden paddle to help him steer the boat. Participants have to pass through the way-points or buoys as designated by the organizers or face disqualification.

To ensure their safety all participants are required to wear a personal floatation device or life vest.

No Lavish X'mas Decors For Davao City

Goodbye Santa!

Not the real Santa but the different Santa Claus figures being displayed at the ground of the Davao City Hall annually to signal the Holiday Season.

Davao City will cut back on its Christmas expenses this year not merely because of the financial crisis but because Duterte would rather spend for food to be distributed to the less fortunate instead of the city spending for extravagant Christmas decorations for the city's parks.

Reports show that Duterte asked city tourism officer Giovanni Aportadera to put on hold the preparations for the yearly Paskuhan Festival. It can be recalled that City Hall and the other major parks in the city are already filled with Christmas lights and other decorations even before the start of the season.

Duterte said Dabawenyos should buy the lowly parols beings sold in the sidewalks instead of prioritizing the lighted and very expensive decorations. By doing this, he said, you do not only save on money but you also help the man in the streets earn a living.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nograles Got P3M From Fertilizer Fund-Duterte

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte yesterday said even 1st District Congressman received P3 million from the fertilizer fund of Jocelyn Bolante, former Department of Agriculture undersecretary who is under the hot seat today for the alleged fertilizer scam. Nograles was however quick to defend himself saying they dod not receive money but only fertilizers, which were properly distributed to the recipients.

Duterte, during the Sunday morning program "Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa", said newspaper reports indicate that Nograles got P3 million from the P728 million fertilizer scam. An investigation is being conducted on the alleged scam due to allegations that the funds were used to fund the Presidential campaign of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during last election.

He admitted that the city were offered the fertilizers during that time but he refused saying "wala man kaayo nagatanum diri ug bugas asa ko man gamiton ng fertilizer (no one is really planting rice here so where will I use the fertilizer).

Basi sa mga dalan naadto ang fertilizer ni Nograles kay tambok man ang mga dalan sa first district (maybe Nograles' fertilizers went to the first district roads that's why they are fat) he said. He added Nograles keeps on building road but failed to construct canals thereby causing floods in the city.

Duterte said a quick look at the house of Bolante will reveal how rich he is. He said Bolante resides in the posh Alabang subdivision which only the very rich can afford.

Duterte Warns Balikatan Vs Christmas Foreclosures

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte yesterday warned the Balikatan Housing Financial Inc. from foreclosing housing units during the Christmas season if they do not want to face chaos not only from those who will be affected but even from those who will sympathize with them.

"Ayaw na i-foreclose karong December kay gubot na (do not foreclose the houses especially this December because there will be chaos)," Duterte said. He added Balikatan may have a point legally but it is not enough basis to kick the people out of their homes. "Asa man na ninyo sila papuy'on (where will they live if you kick them out from their houses), he added.

If Balikatan insists on foreclosing the houses, he said, the city government will be forced to go to court, sue them and get a restraining order. I have a lot of "fraternity" lawyer brods who can help in evaluating the contracts of these people, he said.

He said when Balikatan assumed the credits of these people from the National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. it has also assumed the responsibilities of the housing developers. Most of those whose houses are to be foreclosed did not pay because of some deficiencies on the part of the developers most of whom used substandard materials for the housing units.

This, he said, is not just a legal problem but a social problem which will not be solved by foreclosures. It is best for both parties to renegotiate so they can come up with a win-win solution, he added.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Davao City's Sunstar Super Balita Gets Nationwide Exposure In The Buzz

Davao City's very own Sunstar Super Balita was given a few minutes nationwide exposure in ABS CBN's showbiz Sunday Show "The Buzz".

The Buzz flashed a copy of Sunstar Super Balita, Sunstar's Visayan version, which reported on the pregnancy of moviestar Nancy Castiglione. Castiglione's boyfriend and the father of her "twins" comes from a rich family in Davao City. The Buzz acknowledged Sunstar Super Balita for its news regarding Castiglione's pregnancy when everyone from Manila was still unaware of it.

Sun.Star Davao is a daily newspaper which is published in tabloid form but with broadsheet content and focus. While it now belongs to the Sunstar Publishing Group based in Cebu, its predecessor Ang Peryodiko Dabaw was identified as a homegrown Davao community newspaper.

Davao Police To Get X'mas Bonus From Mayor

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte confirmed this morning that Davao City policemen will get a bonus from the city government. However, the money will not be directly given to the police officers but to their wives or family members.

"Kabalo na man mo unsa ang rason ngano dili nako ihatag sa inyo deretso ang kwarta; kabalo na mo ana (you already know the reason why I will not give the money to you directly)," Duterte said.

If the police officer is married then it is the legal wife who will get the bonus. However, for those who are single, their bonus will go to their parents or other family members. Duterte said the bonus should be spent for food this Christmas and not for anything else.

Teachers under the city government's payroll will also get a P5,000 bonus plus P1,000.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Floirendo's, Microtel To Put Up P90M Hotel In Gensan

The Floirendos of Davao City, who owns the Microtel Inns & Suite franchise in the area, are expected to invest in General Santos City's hotel industry through the construction of the P90-million Microtel Inns & Suites.

The 50-room hotel, which will reportedly start during the first three months of 2009, will be located just in front of St. Elizabeth Hospital along National Highway. Residents of General Santos City have noticed the clearing of some of the establishments in the area which consists of a drugstore, bakeshop and a convenience store.

This was confirmed by the Microtel Development Corp. business development manager Grace T. Magnaye who said her company are indeed discussing such a possibility with the Floirendos of Davao.

Next to Davao City, General Santos City (which is only 3 hours from Davao) has been attracting several conventions and other national gatherings over the past years. Microtel is just one of the many investors that have signified their confidence in Gensan's economy. The construction of the Robinsons Mall has already started while SM City is in the process of negotiating with landowners in their target site.

Will Obama's Victory Improve The Way Of Life Of 3rd World Economies Like The Philippines?

The victory of incoming United States president Barack Obama has inspired a lot of people. The US election has gone beyond mere American politics. A lot of countries have been given a confidence boost by Obama's victory despite the prevailing financial crisis. And now that he is about to replace Bush, the question remains: will his victory change the way we live even if we are miles away from the American Dream?

Storm Signal No. 1 For Davao Lifted As "Tonyo" Heads To Palawan

It is a sunny day in Davao City!

Storm signal number 1 has been lifted not only in Davao City but in all of Mindanao as tropical depression "Tonyo" heads westward to Palawan. As of 10 A.M. today, the enter of the typhoon is 210 kms East of Puerto Princesa City.

Pagasa however cautions those who are near mountain slopes and low lying areas to keep watch and be alert for possible landslides and flashfloods.

While Palawan can expect gusty winds and rains today, the rest of Davao and Mindanao can expect cloudy skies and scattered rainshowers.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Storm Signal No. 1 For Davao City

Whoever said that typhoons do not visit Davao City has been proven wrong by this morning's Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration or Pagasa advisory placing the city under Storm Signal No. 1.

At least eight Mindanao areas have been placed under Storm Signal No. 1 as ALPA (active low-pressure area) Tonyo developed into a tropical depression. As of 10 pm yesterday, "Tonyo" was about 470 kilometers east of the city and is expected to be 150 km northeast of Davao by tonight.

Among the areas placed under Storm Signal No. 1 are Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Dinagat and Siargao Islands.

However, Pagasa said the storm is easing out as of 6PM tonight. Those living near areas susceptible to water and land movements are however asked to be vigilant and to be careful until Pagasa has lifted or lowered the storm signal.

Mt. Apo, Mt. Hamiguitan Nominated As World Heritage Sites

Mindanao might yet have two of its natural attractions listed in the World Heritage Site if it meets the criteria set by the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the World Conservation Union.

The said mountains are located in the provinces of Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, the city of Davao and North Cotabato.

Aside from being Mindanao's highest peek, it is also a sanctuary of endangered and threatened biological species including the Philippine Eagle or Pithecophaga jefferyl which is known as the World's second largest eagle; the Almaciga or Agathis philippinensis and the Lauan or Shorea palita. Mt. Apo is also home to three indigenous communities namely the Bagobos, Manobos and the Klatas.

Mt. Hamiguitan, on the other hand, is situated in a biogeographic region in Mindanao with high units of flora and fauna including the remaining blocks of Philippine dipterocarp forests where the Philippine Eagle nests and where over 878 species of plans mostly angiosperms exist.

Only sites that have been included in the country's Tentative List can be nominated to the World Heritage List and only those that meet at least one of the 10 selection criteria can be included in the list.

Among the sites included in the World Heritage List are the Baroque Churches of the Philippines, the Tubbataha Reef Marine ark, the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, Historic Town of Vigan and Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park.

"This will be an opportunity for Mindanao to be identified as a Heritage Site," said Councilor Leo Avila. He said they have been given until December this year to provide the necessary information to UNESCO to support the nomination of Mt. Apo and Mt. Hamiguitan.

Avila, who solicited the support of Mindanaoans who can contribute any significant information that can help the bid to include the sites in the World Heritage List, said it is imperative to curb the uncontrolled trekking of tourists in Mt. Apo because it endangers the site.(thanks to Tacurong Mountaineers for the Mt. Apo photo)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obama's Victory To Increase Investor Confidence

The Davao City Chamber of Commerce, Inc. is optimistic that the victory of United States President Barack Obama will increase investor confidence not only in the US but in other countries as well.

"We are optimistic but also realistic---we do not expect that a solution to the US recession will happen in the next 6 to 9 months but investor confidence will definitely increase," DCCCI president
Simeon Marfori said . The increase in investor confidence may not be to the previous level, he added, but it will increase with his victory.

Marfori sees a resurgence of the country's Business Process Outsourcing or BPO sector even with the slowing down of the US economy. With the American companies gearing towards cost-cutting measures, he said, they will then outsource their non-core activities to other countries like the Philippines.

It is good business sense to outsource non-core jobs since it will cost less than employing over-qualified personnel in the US who ask for higher salaries. Filipinos can look forward to more outsourced jobs in the following sectors: graphic design, content development, transcription and call centers.

However, those in the BPO sector are still worried about Obama's stance against outsourcing since he has declared his intention to end tax breaks for companies outsourcing their services outside the US. Some Americans consider the outsourcing trend as the reason why many of them are jobless.

50-100T OFWs To Lose Jobs Due To World Financial Crisis-DOLE

(In Photo) DOLE XI RD Atty. Jalilo dela Torre

The Department of Labor and Employment XI yesterday confirmed that an estimated 50 to 100 thousand Overseas Filipino Workers are set to lose their jobs due to the world financial crisis.

"But this number is very negligible compared to the number of OFWs we have worldwide," DOLE XI regional director Atty. Jalilo dela Torre said during yesterday's UGNAYAN sa Royal Mandaya press conference.

On the other hand a total of 590 thousand are in danger of being displaced because of the financial crisis. Among them are OFWs who work in the United States under temporary working visas (129T), seafarers working in cruise ships (130T), factory workers in South Korea, Taiwan and Macau (268T) and household service workers in Singapore, Macau and HongKong (48T).

Dela Torre however said that in general there is no displacement of OFWs due to the financial crisis. He said the employment of two million OFWs in the Middle East and 500,000 OFWs in Europe is secure and stable.

He said there are lots of potential labor markets for OFWs like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Guam.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Braga Urge Criminalization Of Making Herbal Medicine False Claims

Davao City Councilor Pilar Braga is urging Congress to craft a law that will criminalize the act of making false claims about medicine and herbal supplements.

Braga said it is high time that the Bureau of Food and Drug as well as the Department of Trade and Industry should look into businessmen who take advantage of the wide acceptability of herbal medicines especially in the province.

The lack of scientific study and guidelines on their efficacy or effects to humans should be enough reason to worry. However, the claim of BFAD that these are food supplements and are therefore not under their jurisdiction makes the situation worse, she said.

Braga said the advertisements for these herbal supplements claim that they have many cures and have good effects on health. Take for example the case of an old man who cannot walk because of arthritis and yet suddenly after taking the herbal supplement he is shown to be able not only walk but even jog, she added.

"Many of these herbal drugs are sold over the counter much like the ordinary medicine," she said. She added that even the DOH encouraged the use of herbal medicines.

These herbal medicines should have been studied and tested by BFAD first before being sold in the market to protect consumers not only from falls claims but also from the possible harmful effects of these products, Braga said.

She said celebrities, doctors and other endorsers of herbal drugs should be held responsible when somebody dies after taking the herbal drugs they endorse. Congress, she said, should craft a law that will criminalize the act of making false claims about medicines or herbal supplements.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Council Grills Maa Bgy Captain Laud On DMC Project

The City Council in today's session grilled Maa barangay captain Loreto Laud, Jr. over the issuance of the certificate of no opposition he issued for the DMC real estate development project in Shrine Hills.

Councilor Teresa Mata Marañon asked Laud about the issuance of the no-opposition certificate considering the disapproval of the Maa residents about the development. Laud however said there was no petition at the time he issued the certificate.

Knowing that the residents of Maa are up in arms against the further development of the area sans an independent geo-hazard study, Laud said he would stand by his decision to issue the certificate provided DMC will stand by its word that it would set up all the mitigating measures to ensure the safety of the people.

However, Laud said he is recommending the conduct of an independent geo-hazard study for the project to make sure it will not endanger the lives of the Maa and nearby residents.

Maa Residents Show Full Force In Today's Council Session

Live blogging at the City Council

Maa residents are starting to fill up the session hall of the City Council showing full support for their purok leaders' quest to bar the further development of Shrine Hills by real estate developers.
Councilor Sudagar delivered a privilege speech on the environmental and well as historical and cultural value of the Datu Luho Creek which is being used as the sole drainage area of all subdivisions in the Maa are.
More on this later..

Badjaos Warned: Be Good Or Face Physical Punishment

Badjaos who roam around the city asking for money or food are free to do so provided they do it in a respectful manner. Otherwise, they would face the wrath of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte asked the deputy mayors to advise the Badjaos to change their ways or else he has no choice but to inflict physical harm on them. "Makatilaw gyud mo ug tamparos nako (you will get a taste of how I slap)," he said.

This was the mayor's reaction after receiving many complaints about the bad behavior of Badjaos who in many occasions have spitted on their victims especially students who tend to ignore them when they ask for money.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mindanaoans Prefers MEDA Than NEDA

Mindanaoans are pushing for the creation of the Mindanao Economic Development Authority in view of Malacañang's decision to place the Mindanao Economic and Development Council (Medco) under the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) by virtue of Executive Order 757.

"Why place Medco under NEDA when Mindanao can have MEDA to oversee its development, " asked several Mindanaoans. Medco, a multi-sectoral body which includes members from both government and the private sector, is tasked with the overall planning strategy for Mindanao's programs.

Mindanaoan representatives Datu Pax S. Mangudadatu and Simeon Datumanong have already introduced House Bill 5255 which provides for the creation of MEDA in the House of Representatives. MEDA, which will act as an implementing agency for Mindanao programs, is expected to facilitate and promote the socio-economic development of Mindanao.

MEDA, according to Kusong Mindanaw convenor Rey Magno Teves, would ensure that the island's programs and projects will be given continued focus.

Mindanao Investment Conference Slated In Davao Nov. 25

Davao City will host the Mindanao Investment Conference (Min iCon)at the Marco Polo Hotel on November 25 and 26.

Min Icon, with the theme "Drive the Wheels for Peace. Invest in MindaNOW!", is expected to highlight various investment opportunities in Mindanao that will promote peace in the region.

The conference will present investment opportunities in Mindanao that are ideal for small and medium entrepreneurs including the production and processing of seaweeds, coffee, honeybee, banana, rubber, moringa tree and Cream Dory Fish or Pangasius.

"With this conference, we are optimistic that we can encourage more businessmen to pour in their investments in Mindanao so that we can offer more jobs to Mindanaoans," Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Southern Mindanao regional director Marizon S. Loreto said.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jailed Senator Tops No. Of Senate Bills Filed For September '08

The government may be doing the Filipinos a disservice in keeping renegade-soldier Senator Antonio Trillanes in jail. However, Trillanes has proven that his supporters did not waste their votes on him as evident with his performance in the Senate.

Trillanes may be inside the jail and is not allowed to attend Senate sessions but he is keeping himself busy inside his cell. Senator Trillanes topped the list of Senators who have filed bills in the Senate last September 2008 with 16 bills for the said month. He was followed by Senator Manny Villar with 13 bills, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago with 10 bills, Senator Loren Legarda with 6 bills and Senators Francis Escudero and Mar Roxas wit 4 bills each.

Majority of Trillanes' bills can have enormous impact in the society once they become laws. Among these bills are:

SBN-2637: Agritourism Promotion Act of 2008
An Act to Promote Agritourism in the Philippines which can greatly promote Mindanao's agriculture and promote the island's role as a food basket.

SBN-2621: National Livelihood Development Act of 2008
An Act Creating the National Livelihood Development Council Thereby Institutionalizing the Livelihood Movement of the Philippines which can alleviate poverty not only in the countryside but in the whole country as well.

SBN-2620: Anti-Private Army Law of 2008
An Act Defining 'Private Armies and Other Armed Groups', Implementing the Constitutional Provision for Their Dismantling, Prescribing Penalties Therefor which can (hopefully) prevent Mindanao political lords (and even politicians from otter areas) from establishing their own military forces.

One can argue that Trillanes' prolific bill creation and filing may be because he does not have anything to do inside his room except formulate laws. However, looking at the quality of the bills he has proposed one can say that this military man who challenged President Gloria Arroyo's leadership several years ago may have something important to say. It is unfortunate that he could not be allowed to function like regular Senator. On second thoughts--why not imprison the rest of the senators---maybe then they would be able to craft more meaningful laws.

Davao City Mayor Urge Enactment of Drunk Driving Law

DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated) may be a common crime in the United States and if you are updated with Hollywood news then you are aware that actor Mel Gibson is facing criminal charges for the offense. It is thus surprising to note that such laws does not exist in the Philippines considering the increasing number of traffic accidents involving drunk drivers.

In view of this, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has urged lawmakers both in the city council and in the House of Congress and Senate to hasten the enactment of a law that will penalize drunk driving.

Councilor Mabel Sunga Acosta said a resolution-ordinance that seeks to penalize drunk driving has already passed first reading in the Davao City Council. Acosta said she is pursuing the approval of this measure with the hope that it will discourage drivers from operating their vehicles while intoxicated.

Last year, Senate president Manny Villar has refiled Senate Bill 83 otherwise known as the Alcohol and Drug Testing Act. The bill seeks to criminalize driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The bill seeks to penalize violators by suspending their drivers' license for a year and by paying a P1,000 fine for the first offense. Second and subsequent offenses will mean a five-year driver's license revocation and a fine of P5,000. The Bill is still pending in the Senate committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Duterte said it is imperative that a DUI or DWI law is enacted because under the present law, drivers who cause an accident while intoxicated only face a criminal negligence case no matter how many people they victimize in one accident.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Movie Guide: Madagascar 2 Now In Davao Theaters

Kids will surely have a a happy weekend this week what with the the sequel to their favorite Madagascar movie finally showing in Davao Cinemas today. Madagascar Escape 2 Africa is a GP movie that features the voices of comedians Chris Rock, Ben Stiller and Jada Pinkett-Smith.

Madagascar 1 tells the story of New York pampered zoo animals who followed their friend Marty to save him only to end up in the jungles of Madagascar. The place was so primitive that Alex the Lion discovered his innate character including his being a carnivorous animal who can even be tempted to eat his friends when he gets too hungry.

Madagascar 2 narrates the continuing adventures of these zoo creatures led by the wily penguins who tries to save themselves by repairing an old plane. Unfortunately they landed on Africa. And here is where the adventure starts...

NCCC Cinema 4

SM Cinema 2

1-Hour Power Interruption Hits Davao City

If you live within the periphery of the Davao Light franchise then you most probably experienced power interruption in your area yesterday afternoon. Nothing wrong with you power line though because the one-hour power interruption hit all of DLPC's franchise area including the whole of Davao City, Panabo City and the municipality of Sto. Tomas, Dujali and Carmen.

DLPC assistant vice president for corporate communication Ross Luga said the power interruption was due to a fault in the National Transmission Corporation's 138 kv Pulangi-Kibawe line. Luga said power supply from Transco was suddenly cut off at around 1:41 pm but power at 1:52 pm power was immediately activated for special lines serving key service providers in the government, hospitals and the downtown area,

Power was restored between 2:05 pm and 2:45 pm after DLPC received electricity supply from Transco.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Big 3 Oil Firms Reduce Gasoline Price By P1; LPG by P11 Per Tank

Filipinos will enjoy another round of rollback in the price of gasoline and kerosene. The Big 3 oil companies namely Pilipinas Shell, Chevron and Petron will reduce gasoline and kerosene prices by P1 per liter but no announcement was made on the rollback of diesel prices.

The other oil companies have also announced a rollback in the price of gasoline and kerosene effective this week.

On the other hand, Liquefied Petroleum Gas prices have also been rolled back by P1 per kilo or P11 per tank. This reduction is in addition to the P44 per tank rollback announced last week.

Uswag-Bubai's 2-Day X'mas Decor Demo Starts At SM City Davao Today

The two-day Christmas decoration demo to be conducted by Uswag-Bubai will start at SM City Davao Today. The demo, which is being held in coordination with the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry and SM City will be conducted in two sessions daily at SM City's Car Park C.

For those who want to join the free demo, here's the schedule:

November 7
10:00-12:00 AM Paper Mache
2:00-4:00 PM Gift Box making

November 8
10:00-12:00 AM Flower making
2:00-4:00 PM Crocheted Xmas Decors

P0.50 Fare Rollback in Davao Effective Today

Effective today, the minimum jeepney fare in Davao City will roll back to P7.50 after the P0.50 fare rollback announcement by the Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board. Students, differently-abled and the elderly will pay a minimum fare of P6.

The rollback came after the National Consumer and Commuters Protection Inc. filed a petition with LTFRB for a fare rollback following the reduction of oil prices in the world market and the rollback in diesel and gasoline prices the latest of which was the P5 rollback by the Big Three.

LTFRB XI administrative office Edgar Violan said drivers should implement the fare rollback effective Friday, November 7. He said case number 2008-1654 reduces the provisional fare for the first four kilometers from P8 to P7.50. But since this is only a provisional rollback, he added, the reduction will not apply on the succeeding kilometers.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

US Still Mindanao's Top Export Market

The United States is still the top export market of Mindanao.

Data from the Mindanao Economic Development Council shows that 25% of Mindanao's exported products go to the United States making it the island's top export market providing $378.65 million worth of export earnings to the island.

The top two export market of Mindanao is Japan which accounted for 20% of the island's export earnings. Mindanao registered a total of $309.19 million in export earnings from Japan for the first semester of the year.

Indonesia and Taiwan ranks as the 8th and 9th top destination of Mindanao's export products during the same period. The amount of products exported by Mindanao to Indonesia increased seven-fold from $4 million during the first six months of 2007 to $34 million during the said period this year. Mindanao's export to Taiwan on the other hand increased by almost 70% from $18 million during the first semester of 2007 to $31 million during the same period this year.

The other major export market of Mindanao are Netherlands, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Iran and Singapore.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Davao Artica Dome As Crematorium?

City Administrator Wendell Avisado's comments on transforming the White Elephant Davao City Artica Sports Dome into a crematorium may have been made in jest but the idea stuck!

Councilor Nilo Abellera, the proponent of the creation of a crematorium for the city, said he has no objection whatsoever if the crematorium which he has proposed as early as 2004 will be located at the Artica Sports Dome.

"The idea of converting the Artica Sports Dome into a crematorium did not come from me but I heard it is from City Hall," he said. However, he added, if this is true then he does not see anything wrong with it as the city is in dire need of more space for the dead.

Abellera said the city has almost fully paid the loan for the Artica Dome and it is really a waste of money if nothing will be done to make it useful. People are however skeptical about converting the Sports Dome into a crematorium since the safety of the structure as well as its location is still under question.

Davao Councilor Eyes Establishment Of City Scholarship Fund

Davao City Councilor Mabel Sunga Acosta is pushing for the creation of the Davao City Scholarship Fund in lieu of the Davao City College.

She said the proposal to put up a City College for Davao has not really moved. In the meantime, she said, "why don't we put up a Fund that will not only hold Davao City's money but international and other funding as well to provide scholarship for Dabawenyos?"

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is already providing financial assistance to students in the elementary and high school level so I would like to focus this time on the tertiary or College level, she said.

Acosta said she is bent on formally creating the Scholarship Fund with strict guidelines so it can benefit academically gifted Dabawenyos who could not go to College for financial reasons. "This is not charity so those who will benefit from it are not only the poor but bright students," she said.

Are You A Movie Addict?

If you are waiting for my Movie Guide entry every week (well, more or less!) then you are indeed a movie addict. I enjoy watching all types of movies from musicals, love stories, action---even cartoons! Well, I guess that makes me a certified movie addict.

Davao Movies: Bond Still In Demand!


No less than eight cinemas in Davao City have given in to 007's charms! SM City Davao and NCCC have allotted two cinemas each for the new James Bond movie "Quantum of Solace". The movie is also showing in Gaisano Mall Cinema 1 and 4 and JS Citimall Cinemas 1 and 2.

Daniel Wroughton Craig, the new 007, is a British actor who is perhaps more popularly known for starring opposite Angelina Jolie in "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider". He is the sixth actor to play James Bond, and this is his second 007 movie, the first one being "Casino Royale" which holds the honor of being the highest grossing James Bond flick with $593 million gross receipts worldwide.

Like all 007 flicks, you can expect lots of high octane adventure and sophisticated women in the 22nd Bond film

SM Cinema 5
SM Cinema 6

NCCC Cinema 2
NCCC Cinema 3

Barack Obama Is 44th US President

The victory of Barack Obama in the polls today signals a new era in the history of US politics. While Obama could not claim to being the first black president since he has a white mother and a Kenyan father, he could however claim to be the first African American US President. More importantly, he has made a dent in breaking the racial barrier still prevailing in the United States.

Obama has indeed made history considering that at the time he was born, blacks could not even vote in some parts of America. Some tried, but died in the process.

And to quote Obama's speech to the jampacked Chicago Grand Park Tuesday night "If there is anyone out there who doubts that America is a place where anything is possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."

And now that the Democrats have made it to the White House, will this mean a recovery of the US economy and the world economy in the process?

Christmas Lights Now On Display In Davao City

Colorful and magically-lit Christmas decorations like the ones on the photo are on display along Bangkal this city. The makers of these modern Christmas decorations have displayed their wares even before All Soul's Day and they are expected to go full blast now that the Christmas season has started.

If you want to avoid the hassle of putting out all your Christmas trinkets and strategically decorating them one by one then you can opt for these ready-made Christmas lighting. They are a bit expensive though but are easy to install. Just plug them in and you're ready for Christmas!

USWAG-Bubai In SM City Davao's Xmas Decor Demo

These accessories are made of scrap paper and cigarette boxes. They are selling from P35 to P250 for matching necklace, bracelet and earrings.

USWAG-Bubai, a Toril-based women's cooperative that popularized jewelry-accessories using scrap paper, will spearhead SM City Davao's Techno Transfer Demo this November. The Christmas Decor Demo is part of this month's Recycling Market Fair at SM City.

The members of Uswag Bubai have been trained in creating useful materials including necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rosaries and even Christmas decorations using recyclable waste materials. Their works of art were featured during the recent Davao Trade Expo held at the Davao Convention Center last month.

The workshop, which is a partnership between SM City Davao and the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. aims to encourage enterprising Dabawenyos to come up with creative Christmas decorations out of waste materials like used papers and plastics.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Davao Councilor Shows Indifference In Outcome Of US Elections

Barack Obama or John McCain? Councilor Victorio Advincula couldn't care less. As he told reporters who interviewed him for his two-cents' worth about today's US Presidential elections, "ayoko ng mga ganyan.."

Advincula is not alone. A survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations or SWS showed that three out of every four Filipinos also could not care less who wins the US Presidential elections. The SWS survey indicated that while most Filipinos are neutral as to who will win the US Presidential race, 76% however think it does not matter who wins the elections.

Obama is a 47-year old African-American senator from Illinois who was able to charm his way to the hearts of most Americans thanks to his winning oratory. McCain on the other hand is a 72-year old war hero who has been a prisoner of war for 5 and a half years and a lawmaker for 26 years.

So who are you betting for? Obama or McCain?

Braga Urge Gov't, Agencies, Private Groups To Closely Monitor Implementation of Fuel, LPG Price Rollback

Davao City Councilor Pilar Braga yesterday urged government offices and private groups to closely monitor if the concerned entities are implementing the roll back in the prices of fuel, Liquefied Petroleum Gas or LPG and fare.

In a resolution she passed during this morning's council session, Braga cited the Department of Trade and industry, Department of Energy, Task Force Liquefied Petroleum Gas, Land Transportation Office and the Franchising Regulatory Board as the government agencies that should spearhead the monitoring of the price rollback, She also urged other consumer groups to monitor the rollback in the prices of LPG, fuel and fare.

Braga said the prices of oil products have rolled back several times during the past weeks. However, she added, oil companies are quick to increase prices but are not that quick when it comes to reducing the prices when there is a price rollback.

The slow pace in the adjustment of taxi and public utility fares is a case in point, she said.

She said the price of LPG has been rolled back the past week but LPG prices in the city practically remain the same.
How much do you earn now? For sure, what you are earning as a living and breathing ordinary employee, even as a manager in one of Davao City's establishments is peanuts compared to what the "famous deads" are earning.

Proof? According to Forbes Magazine there is a $105 million combined net income for 2007 alone among Elvis Presley, Charles Shultz (creator of Snoopy cartoon strip) and Heath Ledger (Joker in the last Batman movie)---all of whom are dead.

Elvis Presley died at the age of 42 but 30 years after his death he (his estate) was still able to amass $52 million in 2007. This is much bigger compared to the 2007 incomes of living stars like Madonna (with $40 million) or even Justin Timberlake (with $44 million). This is way, way bigger than the income of an ordinary Dabawenyos for that matter.

This was the second time that Elvis topped the list of top celebrity income earners both dead and alive. In 2006 Elvis had an income of $49 million. His high net income in 2007 was attributed to the extravaganza held at his home in Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee to celebrate his 30th death anniversary.

On the other hand, "Peanuts" creator Charles Shultz died at the age of 77 in the year 2000 but he was still able to amass $33 million in posthumous earnings thanks to a recent agreement inked between his heirs and the Warner Bros. Studios.

Ledger became even more famous posthumously when the previous Batman movie was shown thanks to a remarkable portrayal of Joker . He died in 2008 at the age of 28 but was able to amass $20 million posthumously.

On top 4 of the list of high income earners is Albert Einstein, who died in 1955 but left a legacy---not merely the theory of relativity---but the "Baby Einstein" concept which was developed into a full line of DVDs and toys for children. Thanks to Baby Einstein, Albert was able to amass $18 million posthumously.

Top 5 on the list is Dr. Seuss or Theodor Geisel, the man behind the movie "Horton Hears A Who" as well as several other childrens' books. Dr. Seuss amassed $12 million posthumously followed by John Lennon of Beatles fame with $9 million.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Petron, Shell Cuts LPG Prices By P4 Per Kilo

Shell and Petron has reduced the price of their Liquefied Petroleum gas products by P4 per kilo which brings the price of LPG in Davao City from P670 to P626 per tank. The price of LPG is expected to further go down as world prices continue to plunge.

LPG prices in the world market has gone down from $804 in October to only $450 per metric tons this month.

The government and the public are however not content with the P4 reduction per kilo and has demanded a P15 per kilo reduction in the price of LPG. The Liquefied Petroleum Gas marketers' Association however said they will continue to reduce LPG prices until it reaches the ideal P15 per kilo reduction.

One Network Bank Strengthens Its Presence In Mindanao With 5 More Branches

One Network Bank (ONB) is making its presence felt in Mindanao with the opening of five additional branches next year in Surigao City, Dipolog City, Ozamis City, Zamboanga del Norte (Sindangan) and Misamis Oriental (Gingoog). The operationalization of these branches will mean a total of 75 branches for Network Bank.

Network Bank is also set to activate 30 additional Automated Teller Machines or ATMs in selected areas in Mindanao . This is proof of the bank's intention to grow with Mindanao said ONB president Alex V. Buenaventura.

Buenaventura said they have identified 35 growth areas and they will continue to saturate these areas with ONB branches. The areas being eyed by Network Bank are either underbanked or unbanked.

Nograles Park In Mini-Forest Is Illegal-Duterte

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte reiterated the city government's contention that the Nograles Park along Mini-Forest Boulevard which was recently demolished by the City Engineer's Office is illegal.

The P7 million Park, which was completed in 2006, was built by the government using government money and was demolished by the government. Duterte said the demolition of the Park did not affect any private rights as it was owned by the government so the City Engineer's Office did not violate any right when it demolished the structure. He also questioned why government funds were used to finance a park named after a private person.

Duterte said the Nograles Park, which was named after Speaker Prospero Nograles' father, also violated the law because it was built without the authority of the City Council, a body which has the power to approve or disapprove the location where parks should be constructed. He added that public parks are usually named after government officials or persons who have contributed to the development of a certain area so the naming of the park should also be placed under scrutiny.

He said that all these aside, the Park was demolished because it was built on top of a canal which was impeding the flow of water in the area which was already prone to flooding.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

PGMA Visits Davao City's After Dark For The 4th Time

For the record, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has visited Davao City's "After Dark Piano Bar", a videoke-restaurant-bar located in Ecoland, four times already.

This was confirmed by no less than Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte himself who said the President sang a Visayan song (Duterte was not sure but said PGMA sang "Usahay") at the videoke bar the last time she was there. This was previous to her visit to the city last Thursday to attend the 61st birthday of Speaker Prospero Nograles which was held at the Apo View Hotel.

Duterte met with the President but refused to reveal the details of their meeting saying it was hush-hush and was not at all about politics but about community matters.

Davao Mayor Pushes For Creation Of Crematorium For Dabawenyos

Dabawenyos who could not afford a decent place to bury their dead should start thinking about the benefits of cremation. City Councilor Nilo Abellera has already proposed the creation of a crematorium facility for the city,

"Mas magpabor ko anang sunugun ang patay nga lawas; bisag ako sugot ko sunugun akoang patay nga lawas 24 hours after I am dead (I am in favor of cremating the dead body; I am even in favor of being cremated 24 hours after I am dead," Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said yesterday when interview in ABS CBN's "Gikan Sa Masa, Para Sa Masa" television program.

Duterte said cremation may not be widely accepted by Dabawenyos today but it is time that everyone should consider this option for practicality sake. He said Davao City is experiencing a shortage in burial grounds and those who cannot afford the expensive private cemeteries should be given an option.

Duterte said he is advocating for the creation of a public crematorium so the poor people of Davao will have an option. He said if the plan pushes through, the city crematorium can even offer free services for Dabawenyos who could not afford it.

The construction of a crematorium can be expensive and as of 2004, the Davao Memorial park has not recouped even 50% of the $300,000 it has invested for the crematorium facilities. The management of the Park however confirmed that the number of people availing of their crematorium service is increasing every year.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Diesel and Gas Prices Down By P5, P2 Respectively

There was a time when a thousand pesos can only fill the gasoline tank with 15 liters of diesel. With the successive rollbacks in fuel prices the latest of which was the P5 and the P2 rollback in diesel and gas prices respectively, a thousand pesos can now fill the gas tank with around 26 liters of fuel.

Last Thursday's rollback was the biggest so far for big oil companies Petron, Shell and later on Caltex. This is nothing new for small oil companies like Unioil, Seaoil, Phoenix and the likes because the said companies have lowered their fuel prices in bigger chunks ever since world fuel prices have gone down.

Fuel prices in the world market was at its highest last July, 2008 but it went down by over 50% and is now pegged at $60 per barrel. Philippine fuel prices, especially those from the Big 3 (Caltex, Shell, Petron) have only been reduced by a small percentage to the detriment of the motorists who were expecting a bigger reduction.

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