Tuesday, July 28, 2009

RP’s drug problem down by 75%, says Drugs Board Chair

The country’s drug abuse problem has decreased by almost 75% from the 6 million level in 2004 to only 1.7 million level in 2009.

“We have been very successful in our fight against drug abuse in the last five years,” Dangerous Drugs Board chairperson Sec. Vicente Sotto III said today during the nationwide seminar-workshop on Republic Act 9165 being held in Davao City from July 28 to 30.

RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 aims to provide more teeth to the government’s fight against illegal drug traffic and addiction by providing stiffer penalties for illegal drug use and pushing.

Proof of this success, Sotto said, is the latest research conducted by the Philippine Normal University and the Department along with the Department of Interior and Local Government. The result of the 2009 study, which was compared to the 2004 study, showed a positive effect in the government’s program versus drug abuse.

“The research show that the number of drug abusers has decreased form 6 million in 2004 to only 1.7 million in 2009,” Sotto said. The statistics is quite accurate, he added compared to what the other countries have been reporting to the United Nations.

Sotto said China recently submitted a report to the UN stating that they only have 1 million drug users. However, he added, this is an unbelievable figure considering that China has billions of people.

He said he brought the matter to the attention of the UN Committee on Drugs and Crime. It turned out that China only reported the number of dependents that are in their rehabilitation centers, he added.

If that would be the basis, he said, then the Philippines should amend its report because there are only 5,860 drug dependents in the country using that basis. “That’s comparing apples to apples and not apples to oranges,” he said.

DDB undersecretary Clarence Paul V. Oaminal said research shows that 92.68% of Filipinos haven’t tried drugs. “About 80% of the 7.23% Filipinos who have tried drugs admitted to have stopped,” he said.

Sotto said the drug abuse problem is so complex because “this is the only crime where the criminal is a victim and the victim is also a criminal.” However, he added, no country in the world is without such problem.

Despite the success, he said, both the prosecution and the enforcement groups should continue to work together to ensure that the drug abuse problem is minimized or even eradicated.

“But the illegal drug problem can never be won by enforcement but by families,” he said. This is why the government is making sure there are enough awareness and educational programs to help solve the problem.

Monday, July 27, 2009

MBC Chair gives PGMA an 8.5 rating

Mindanao’s business sector has given President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo a high passing rate if only for her contribution to the development of Mindanao’s infrastructure.

“If we are to rate her for her performance for the past nine years I would give her an 8 or an 8.5,” Mindanao Business Council chairperson Vicente Lao said yesterday even before the President could deliver her State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Lao said the President has been performing quite well in the areas of infrastructure, economy and human capital development.

“We never had a president who has very pronounced policies on human capital development and who has focused so much in solving the infrastructure problems of Mindanao,” he said.

Arroyo, he said, has given specific instructions that all infrastructure projects in Mindanao be completed before her term ends. Economy-wise, he added, Arroyo has also performed well considering that her administration has been unlucky with the global economic crisis.

Lao cited Arroyo’s scholarship programs for human resources development to prepare the Filipinos skills-wise. He said the President’s program ensured that even if the government can’t provide jobs for all its people, then they are properly trained for work abroad.

However, Lao cited the lack of livelihood opportunities for Mindanao. Without livelihood, he added, there will be no development and no peace at all. “People do not even know where to look for jobs,” he said.

This is the reason why it is hard for these people to appreciate what the government is doing for them, he added.

Arroyo stressed the completion of various infrastructure projects specifically in Mindanao during her term. She said the Davao International Airport has been completed during her administration

Hiyas ng Kadayawan search requires cultural skills for candidates

The 2009 Search for Hiyas ng Kadayawan is expected to be more challenging for the candidates as they will need to exhibit more knowledge and skills about the culture they are representing.

“The Search for Hiyas ng Kadayawan 2009 will be more challenging because the candidates will be required to demonstrate a skill akin to the culture they are representing like playing the kulintang, agong and other musical instruments live on stage,” councillor Myrna Dalodo-Ortiz, chair of the Kadayawan Lumadnong Kasaulogan or Indigenous Peoples Festival.

She said the Kadayawan is no longer just a beauty search but it has become a more significant display of the culture of the ten tribes representing Davao City. Among the ten focus tribes during the Kadayawan celebration are the Ata, Diangan, Obo Manobo, Matigsalog and Tagabawa for the Lumads and then the Muslim, Maranaw, Kalagan, Sama, Tausug and Maguindanao for the Muslims.

“The Hiyas ng Kadayawan contestants are required to be 50% Lumad or Muslim, depending on what tribe they are representing,” she said. The winner should have a great understanding of her culture and tradition to include the tribe’s history and language.

Dalodo-Ortiz said the Hiyas ng Kadayawan will be chosen based on a winning personality and character. “We are not showing an ordinary Dabawenya here but a unique Dabawenya who is representing her tribe,” she added.

She said the selection process for the tribal representatives to the Hiyas ng Kadayawan is a long process. The deputy mayors for each tribe will endorse the representative of each tribe to the committee. However, she added, this is only done after the community has chosen a candidate fit to represent their tribe.

Those who want to experience how the different tribes in Davao live are adviced to visit the Cultural Village located at the Crocodile Park in Diversion Road.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Red Ribbon opens newest store at NCCC Mall Davao

The Red Ribbon franchise of Wilson Bangayan opened up its newest branch at NCCC Mall davao yesterday.

It was Bangayan who simultaneously put up Red Ribbon stalls/booth at Victoria Plaza, Gaisano Mall and NCCC Davao a few years ago. This is however the first full Red Ribbon food store under the Jollibee Group which recently acquired the food company.

"You are assured that our products are always fresh from the Red Ribbon commissary here in Davao," Red Ribbon VisMin Operations Head Michelle Leslie Llanos said.

Red Ribbon also has a full food store at SM City Davao. The NCCC Davao Mall food store will be opened to the public starting today so go try their newest cake concoctions as well as meals.

Vice Mator Sara Duterte, who was present during yesterday's event, said this is a siginificant contribution to Davao City's economy which is private-sector led. She encouraged consumers to start tasting Red Ribbon's products.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nullification of DCWD’s water permit can result to water rate increase

The nullification by the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) of the Davao City Water District (DCWD) water permit is seen as disadvantageous for Dabawenyos as it can result to water rate increases in the future.

NWRB has declared null and void the water permit it issued in 2007 to DCWD which surprised the water company’s officials when they received the decision last July 15, since it was not the issue of the protest they lodged with NWRB.

“We were surprised because we were protesting the use by Hedcor Corporation of the Tamugan River where DCWD has an existing permit,” DCWD manager Rodora Gamboa said. Instead, she added, we received NWRB’s decision not only dismissing our protest but also nullifying our water permit.

The 12-page decision of the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) dismissing its protest against the water permit application of Hedcor Corporation on the Tamugan River has placed in danger one of the sources of clean water for the Dabawenyos, Gamboa said.

“While we are extremely disappointed with the NWRB’s decision to deny our protest against Hedcor we are surprised why they nullified our water permit when it is not included in the issues being heard,” she said.
With the nullification order, DCWD will have to continue sourcing water from the ground water sources which means they will have to continuously pay a power rate of at least P200 million annually (which is expected to increase to P300M with the rise in power rates) to the Davao Light and Power Corporation which is Hedcor’s sister company.

Gamboa said that in effect, this is disadvantageous to Davao water consumers since it can result to an increase in water rates with the accompanying increase in power rates. Had they been allowed by NWRB to continuously use Tamugan River’s surface water, DCWD’s power consumption would have remarkably decreased and the water firm would not have reason to reduce their rates for years.

DCWD filed its protest because it claimed to have preferential right over the Tamugan River by virtue of Water Permit No. 15729 issued by NWRB on May 27, 1997. The protest was also filed because Hedcor’s operations will adversely affect the proposed surface water development of the water firm in Tamugan River.

Gamboa said NWRB’s decision did not only disfavor DCWD “but in effect the thousands of stakeholders in Davao.”

“We believe that as a resource that is considered as the city’s only source of clean water in the future, the Tamugan River deserves the full protection of the law from unnecessary exploitation by industrial interests,” Gamboa said.

NWRB’s decision indicated that DCWD’s water permit was nullified because the latter failed to make use of the Tamugan River

Gamboa however said this is not true since DCWD has been preparing the area for the implementation of their water project through the conduct of reforestation in the area. DCWD has also conducted bidding for a feasibility study on the Use and Development of Surface Water in Tamugan River last November 7, 2007 with an approved budget of P9.9 million.

While NWRB’s decision indicated that DCWD can still re-apply for a permit, Gamboa however said they will not do this but will file a motion for reconsideration as well as explore other legal means.

Gamboa questioned the continuous assessments being made by NWRB for DCWD’s water charge when they are already planning to nullify the water firm’s water permit. “We even paid our water charge already and they also even assessed us for 2009 yun pala ina-nullify lang nila ang permit naming,” she added.

SM workers get non-wage benefits

Wage earners in Southern Mindanao are set to get non-wage benefits under the Department of Labor and Employment XI’s Presyo Diskwento: Basket of Goods Project for Wage Earners.

The project was launched in Region XI yesterday, July 20, with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board X and the 20 participating employers who have agreed to extend the non-profit initiative to their employees through a corporate selling scheme.

“The Basket of Goods Project will allow workers to avail of basic and prime commodities at discounted prices,” DOLE XI regional director and RTWPB XI Bard Chair Jalilo O. Dela Torre said. The discount will be on top of the existing and prevailing discounts being offered by the retail stores, he added.

And since the prices of the products are way below the standard retail prices or SRP of the retail stores, he said, the project will not only augment the family income but will also allow enterprising workers to start their own sari-sari stores.

Under the MOA, the RTWPB XI will coordinate with the suppliers of the basic commodities as well as with the companies or employers supporting the Non-Wage Benefit Program.

Dela Torre said the participating employers have pledged to allow their workers direct access to the commodities at their specific workplaces. It is the employer which will facilitate the taking of the orders of their employees which will then be given to the supplier every 13th and 28th of the month.

He said it is also the employers who will set up the salary deduction scheme of the employees who will avail of the discounted basket of goods.

However, only employees whose employers have signified intention to join the Program will be able to avail of the discounted basket of goods. As of the MOA signing, only 20 employers have committed to join the Program.

Among the employers who will participate in the Program are: Casa Leticia, Charlie’s Ice Cream House, Inc., Davao Cableworld Network, Inc., Davao Concrete Poles Corporation, Davao Light & Power Co. Inc., Davao Rope Factory, Inc., Davao Toplas, Inc., Deco Machine Shop, Inc., High Yield Sugar Farms, Corp., Holy Cross of Davao College, Inc., Holy Cross Press of the Archdiocese of Davao, Jhaymarts Industries, Legaspi Oil Company, Mahugani Security and Investigation Agency, One Network bank, San Pedro Hospital, SODACO Agricultural Corp., Stanfilco, Tagum Agricultural Dev’t. Co. and Tesoro’s Printing Press.

Dela Torre said the discounted commodities will come from Proctor & Gamble and Nestle Philippines. All the other products non supplied by the two companies will be provided by Gaisano Southmall.

Davao to become Paris of the Philippines

Davao City may be a small part of a struggling third world country but it has all the ingredients of becoming Paris of the Philippines.

“We artists are faced with the challenge of making Davao City Paris of the Philippines,” painter Victor Secuya said during yesterday’s Kapihan sa Davao held at the Rysus Café, SM City.

Secuya said he has just come back from Tokyo, Japan “where everything is so urbanized and all roads are smooth as silk.” He said it is the same thing in Canada where every building has a sculpture and everything is clean.

When he came back to Davao, he said, what welcomed him were the wires all over the electric posts and everything chaotic unimaginable in a first world city. “Davao has a lot of potentials but not in the level of the first world,” he said.

However, he said, the burden of exploring Davao City’s potential and making it the center of art in the country lies in the shoulders of the local artists.

“It is our responsibility to move Davao’s art scene because if we will not do it then who will,” Secuya said.

Secuya said the city can be the center of arts to include theater, dance, architecture, painting and sculpture in the country if the Dabawenyos only work together “with a laser-beam kind of discipline”.

Secuya, along with artist Kublai Millan, is set to display at least 20 of his original and reproduction paintings at the Davao City International Airport on August 8 with the theme “Spirit of Davao’. This is a prelude to the week-long Kadayawan sa Davao celebration from August 17 to 23 this year.

“While the Kadayawan is something great for the city it is the way we live, wake up early to clean up our surroundings and practice discipline that we become at par with highly urbanized cities,” he said.(

Friday, July 17, 2009

“There will be elections in 2010”-GMA

“There will be elections in 2010”. This was the statement reiterated twice by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on two different occasions during her visit to Davao City today.

Arroyo returned to the Philippines via Davao City yesterday straight from her attendance in the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) Leaders Summit in Egypt.

“In no uncertain terms, there will be elections in 2010 and those who question this is undermining our nation’s commitment to a vibrant democracy,’ Arroyo said during the Regional Media Interview held at the Insular Hotel.

The President uttered exactly the same statement when she addressed the almost 175 municipal mayors and other officials from Regions 11, 12 and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao attending the Interconnectivity Caravan at the same venue. The caravan aims to encourage the participation of the local government units in the government’s program to combat climate change.

Arroyo did not only emphasize that the election will push through as scheduled in 2010 but she also urged the League of Municipalities of the Philippines to help make the automated polls a success.

The success of the automated poll during next year’s election, she said, “will show the world that our democracy is stable.”

Arroyo acknowledged the need for a strong voice from Mindanao who will voice out the aspirations of the Mindanaoans. And while the administration party follows a certain process when choosing its senatorial and other candidates, Arroyo said she will urge them to give due representation to Mindanao.

Organizers confident in raising P15M Kadayawan budget despite econ. crisis

The organizers of this year’s Kadayawan sa Dabao are confident they can raise the P15 million budget a month before the celebration despite the economic crisis and other challenges.

The seven-day Kadayawan may be the grandest festival in the city but the city government allocates only P700,000 for the event. Majority of the expenses will be raised by the private sector.

“We have a lot of work to do but we are confident we can raise that much given the economic condition,” Kadayawan Festival private sector committee chair Jun Te said.

Te said a lot of big companies are interested to invest in the festival including the Lucio Tan Group of Companies.

He said they are set to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with big sponsors who have confirmed their participation in the event. Te added that the telecommunication companies want to invest in the Kadayawan but “they want it in kind so they can also promote their products at a lower cost even during the recession.”

City Mayor Chief of Staff Patricia Ruivivar said this would be the grandest Kadayawan ever considering that this is the last Kadayawan under the term of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. However, she said the city will only contribute a small percentage of the budget and the rest is up to the private sector.

“This year we want to highlight how Davao City has prospered from the time of the very first migrants in the city,” Te said. Thus the theme “Nahiusang Katawhan Nakigdait sa Kalibutan (One People In Communion with the Earth)”.

This is also the primary reason why the grand opening of the 24th Kadayawan sa Dabaw will start at the Agro field near the Bankerohan river. Te said the opening ceremony will be conducted with a “grand water ritual, sounds and rhythms, dance and sealing of people’s covenant to protect mother earth.”

Ruivivar said the theme is actually timely considering the global warming issues being faced by the planet.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Davao is most-prepared city to counter anti-terrorism

Task Force Davao said Dabawenyos should remain calm even as they assured residents that Davao City is the most prepared city when it comes to countering terrorist attacks.

“Davao may be at a heightened alert but it is the most prepared city for countering terrorism attacks,” Task Force Davao commanding officer Oscar Lactao said yesterday. The city has been placed under security level 3 which means there is a heightened threat as opposed to level 1 for no threat, level 2 for moderate threat and level 4 for very high threat levels.

Lactao however said the city may be on a heightened alert status but “there is no specific and no imminent threat to the city.” There is thus no reason for Dabawenyos to worry despite the successive bombing incidents in Jolo, Iligan and Cotabato.

He said all the systems are in place to protect the security of the city and its residents. They have just completed “Oplan Laban sa Terorismo”, a document which lists down the roles of the various concerned agencies involved in combating terrorism to include Task Force Davao, Maritime, 911, Regional Mobile Group, TMG, Davao International Airport, Marina and the City Mayor’s Office among others.

The first line of defense when there is a terrorist threat, he said, is intelligence which is needed to stop the perpetrators even before they get into the city. This has been accomplished, Lactao said, with the arrest of three members of a terrorist cell in Cotabato, Maguindanao and Marawi and the killing of one in Pantukan. Only one of the cell members is at large and he is monitored to be in Central Mindanao.

Lactao said the next line of defense involve the setting up of s system such as the Task Force, Philippine National Police and the 911. These systems are already in place so the city is secure, he added.

Next strategy, he said, is target hardening which means securing the area including malls, schools and other public places. He said these places already have their own security in place and they have also coordinated with them.

SOCO confirms human remains in firing range; CHR probe hampered by lack of warrant

The Commission on Human Rights-led Task Force probing the alleged dumping ground of bodies of summary killings in Davao City has found human skeletal remains but its probe has been hampered by the delay in the issuance of a search warrant from the local court.

This was revealed by CHR Chairperson Leila M. De Lima in a statement dated July 7, 2009.

The original search warrant being held by the Task Force has been issued by The Regional Trial Court Branch 34 of Manila. While the warrant authorized them to search a burial site within the Gold Cup Firing Range owned by retired policeman Bienvenido Laud, it did not however include a man-made pit in a creek where they found a human leg bone.

“The team immediately endeavoured to apply for a new search warrant at the RTC-Davao City; the application was however passed from one judge up to the fourth who appeared to reluctantly conduct the summary proceedings,” the statement said. It added that the presiding judge made a very discouraging comment “alam nyo ba ginagawa nyo?”

The CHR said the presiding judge promised to act on the application before 5PM of July 6 but directed the applicant to wait for the following day July 7. The CHR statement was sent to NBN Davao at 1PM of July 8 sans any update as to the status of the warrant application.

The PNP Special Investigation Task Group or SITG applied for the original search warrant based on the “sworn statement of a former self-confessed DDS member/eyewitness” under the belief that the Gold Cup Firing Range has been used as a dumping ground of bodies of victims of summary killings in the city.

CHR said the digging, which was led by SITG’s PSSupt. Fajardo, “resulted in the findings of several fragments identified by the SOCO as human remains”. With such a positive result, CHR said, “The team is very optimistic that more remnants of summary executions are about to be unearthed.”

The other members of the SITG Team implementing the search warrant include CIDG-NCR under PS1 Sy, CLS led by PCI Palmero, Atty. Villena of HRAO, CIDG PRO XI’s PSupt. Masauding assisted by the Regional Mobile Group led by PSupt Quinsay, PACER Mindanao led by PSupt Briones. (photos by: Rene Lumawag)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Victims Of Davao Summary Killings Unearthed At Laud Shooting Range

The Commission on Human Rights has unearthed dead bodies, said to be victims of summary executions right at the Laud Shooting Range in Maa, Davao City. Team member Atty. Eduardo Villena said a team under the CIDG is in charge of digging the area so they could not give any details yet as it is on-going.

Barangay Maa secretary Edgar Jose Balasa said he is not aware of anything going on in the area and all he knows it that it is a firing range owned by retired police Bienvenido Laud who is the younger brother of Maa Barangay Captain Loreto Laud, Jr.

In a letter addressed to the CHR authorities, landowner Bienvenido Laud, Jr. said he has authorized his lawyers Atty. Juan R. Zamora and Atty. Victorio Advincula to "negotiate and have a dialogue with the CHR" in connection with the search warrant issued against him.

"I never allowed nor consented to the implementation of the said search warrant," Laud said. Villena however said there is no need to get the consent of an individual when there is a valid search warrant.

The entrance to the Laud Firing Range is presently being manned by the military on a 24-hour basis and no one is as yet allowed to go inside the area.(thanks to Ms. Ethel Constantino of NBN for the photos)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

P5M virtual library to boost Davao Region’s investment, tourism Opportunities

The pearly white beaches in Mati, the unexplored islands in Kopiat, Davao del Norte and the exotic wonders held by the pristine clean waters of Samal Island will soon be within your fingers’ reach.

Investors and tourists looking for information about the Davao Region no longer have to go to the specific cities and provinces they want to know about to get that information. With the virtual library, they only need to access the Internet right at the privacy of their homes or offices.

The Davao Region Geographic Information Network or DR-GIN, is a P5 million project that aims to aims to strengthen the presence of the Davao Region online. The long name aside it is actually a virtual library that aims to promote local and regional development through information sharing.

“It is expected to facilitate the promotion of the region’s localities for trade, investment and tourism and cater to the needs of the private sector for business planning and research,” DR-GIN chairperson and National Economic Development Authority XI Director Maria Lourdes Lim said.

The virtual library project became official after the signing last June 23, 2009 of the Memorandum of Agreement among the different local executives of the Davao Region as well as the regional directors and office heads of the involved national agencies to include the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Finance, National Statistical Coordination Board and NEDA among others.

Armed with geo-referenced information on the region’s business and investment prospects as well as its bio-geophysical, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, investors can easily pin-point and decide which areas of investment they can pour their money into. The easily-available information and economic profile will provide a one-stop information center which will aid investors in their market research and business planning.

Each of the signatories, Lim said, have agreed to “provide technical expertise and financial assistance as well as contribute to the pool of information technology resources for possible linkages and utilization in the regional GIS.”

Lim said the virtual library project will specifically address issues involving data gaps, duplicating data for specific indicators and other issues that usually lead to confusion and faulty data analysis by both government and the private sector.

While there is available virtual information about the different Davao Region, these are scattered information that sometimes contains conflicting data leading to confusion among future investors and tourists. Lim said they expect to remedy this by unifying the region’s major data sources into the DR-Gin Network.

Under the project, the network of local government units, the regional offices of the national government agencies, the congressional district offices and the private sector will make available up-to-date, accurate and reliable information about the Davao Region.

With exhaustive information easily accessible to investors, the region can expect more investor interest in the region which can translate to more actual investments and tourist visits.

“Aside from facilitating the promotion of the region’s localities for trade, investment and promotion the project will also respond to the professional and business information needs of the region’s private sector for research, business planning and investments,” Lim said.

The project will not forever be at the mercy of available government funds since they have already planned strategies for its sustainability. In the long term, DR-GIN will expand its operations and will provide other IT services for a fee such as web mail, web hosting, online advertisements, video and teleconferencing and related ECT capability trainings. (Edge, July 2009)

FEATURES: Mindanao Trade Expo Bounces Back, Aims For Peace In Mindanao

The war-stricken areas of Mindanao may be a long way from the air conditioned rooms of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas but the Mindanao Trade Expo has bounced back to continue its mission of encouraging peace in the island by making sure Mindanao’s tri-people are holding fibers to create works of arts instead of guns.

“Mas mabuti nang materyales and hawak nila kesa baril that’s why we are reaching out to Mindanao’s tri-people especially the Indigenous People by trying to give them livelihood projects,” Mindanao Trade Expo Foundation, Inc. (MTE) founder and president Ann T. Pamintuan said. “

MTE has been known for bringing to fore the various indigenous products made in Mindanao including Pamintuan’s gold clad wires and other materials from Gilded Expression, the exotic fibers produced by Katakus or the innovative hand-woven products of Crystal Seas.

However, there is more to MTE than what meets the eye of the demanding buyers and the connoisseur. Foremost is the Foundation’s vision of making known to the world the best of Mindanao’s products.

“We initially wanted to provide a venue where we can showcase our products and then it evolved into something deeper than that,” Pamintuan said. Today, there is to make a difference in the lives of Mindanaoans not only in terms of helping entrepreneurs market their products but in keeping people busy creating things rather than destroying the island through war.

It is am ambitious dream, Pamintuan said, but it may be possible in the long run. True enough, the so-called strife in Mindanao is not merely a result of political ideologies but rather of empty stomachs. It follows that empowering people with skills and livelihood projects to make dreams for themselves may be a way to mitigate the problem.

But even this idealistic dream is in danger of vanishing no thanks to the global recession that has made the work more challenging for the Foundation. The MTE started in 1996 with nothing but a vision. Barely twelve years later, the annual trade show was able to amass P630 million in total sales including a P51.780 million cash and retail sale during the actual exhibit days.

The increasing competitiveness in the market as well as their individual businesses has prevented the Foundation officials from staging the MTE last year. Pamintuan said she was willing to just let go and concentrate on my own business until we were approached by exporters who said “matapos niyo kaming i-encourage na mag export iiwan nyo kami sa ere (after encouraging us to go into exporting you will leave us hanging in the air)?”

“And now we are bouncing back and ready to once again provide a venue for Mindanao’s micro, small and medium enterprises,” Pamintuan said. And since 2009 is International Year Of The Fiber it will be the theme of the MTE 2009.

Expect an explosion of Philippine fibers the moment you walk inside the BSP lobby for the MTE 2009 on August 13 to 16. Even the pavilions inside the main exhibit area will be decorated in bamboos and natural fibers. The pavilion, which will have 20 booths each, will vie for the Best Pavilion Award.

The expo will showcase gifts, toys and housewares, furniture and furnishing, home textile, fashion accessories, fine jewelry, processed food, fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers and ornamentals and allied services. Pamintuan said they are targeting a minimum of 100 exhibitors from all over Mindanao but they can make room for more.

The expo is expected to get more exhibitors this year since the organizers have lowered the exhibit fee to only P8,000 for members for a 2x2 sqm booth and P9,000 for non-members for a booth of the same size.

“What goes with MTE is not just market promotion but product development and business linkaging as well, “ Department of Trade and Industry XI director Marizon Loreto said.

MTE 2009 Chairperson Domingo Ang said aside from the exhibit the MTE will also showcase an Exporters Forum where the stakeholders can sit down and discuss the strategic plans in combating the worldwide economic downturn. “Without the exporters we cannot market out products to the world so this is an important component of the expo,” he said.

An Exporters Expo which will feature export overruns will also be held back to back with MTE 2009. Exporters will showcase and sell product overruns at very affordable prices.

The rebirth, rather the relaunch of MTE 2009 has managed to stir not only Mindanao’s business sector but the residents as well into believing that despite the world economic crisis there may be a hope for local manufacturers and even for locals who can benefit from the livelihood projects and other opportunities that will come as a result of the expo.

Given its track record of accomplishing what seems to be impossible and that includes bringing in 1,590 exhibitors , 577 buyers from the country and from other countries and generating P630.68 million sales from 1996 to 2007 the MTE is indeed on the right track. But most of all you should look forward to adding more to the already 162 thousand lives touched by MTE during that span of time(EDGE, June '09)

Sending money through rural banks now cheaper with blockchain

Sending money anywhere in the Philippines is now a lot easier thanks to the various money remittance centers like Palawan Express, Cebuana ...