Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Air Asia now flies Davao-Clark Daily


Davao City is looking forward to a more robust tourism industry with the start of Air Asia’s daily Davao-Clark flights. Beginning March 28, Air Asia will from Davao to Clark and vice versa, two times a day.

As a fitting launch for its Davao-Clark and Kalibo-Clark flights, Air Asia has allotted up to 20,000 for its promotional fare, good for travel from March 28, 2012 to January 31, 2013.

“This is very good for Davao’s tourism,” Department of Tourism XI Art Boncato said. Boncato earlier hinted about the plans of Air Asia to open up its Davao-Clark flight after it got its airline carrier operating certificate.

Air Asia CEO Marian Hontiveros said she is confident about the potential of Davao City as a tourism destination.

The opening up of direct flights between Davao and Clark is expected to speed up sisterhood talks between the two cities, and in effect increase passenger traffic between them.

With the entry of Air Asia, there are now three airlines offering Davao-Clark flights. Air Philippines have recently started its Davao-Clark route while Cebu Pacific also has a Davao-Clark route albeit on a limited basis.

In the meantime, Davao City is preparing for three international air summits later this year including the Asia Air Access Forum, will be participated in by regulatory bodies and airline officials who will present their plans for the region, the Airline CEO Summit where the Chief Executive Officers of the various airlines will discuss plans to connect the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East Asean Growth Area), and the Air Network Forum which is a venue for business to business interaction among the industry players.

“We are expecting around 200 participants mostly tourism players and the civil aviation authorities,” Boncato said. Other countries involved in the BIMP-EAGA will also be invited including China, Japan and Australia.
Expected to participate in the Airline Summit are Garuda Airlines of Indonesia, Malaysia Airline, MAS Wings, Royal Brunei Airline and the airlines operating in the Philippines including PAL, Cebu Pacific, Zest Airline, Air Philippines and Sea Air.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ms. Universe runner-up Shamcey Supsup at PAL Interclub launch




Ms. Universe runner-up Shamcey Supsup just made the Philippine Airlines' (PAL) announcement of the start of the PAL Interclub at Marco Polo Hotel, more interesting. PAL Interclub, which is the longest and the oldest running team golf tournament in the country, expects 1,500 participants in
the two divisions, the Senior Division which will start on February 16, and the Regular Men's Division which will start on February 22.

PAL vice president for marketing support Felix Cruz said the golf tournament is expected to pour in up to P60 million to the city's coffers in terms of the plane fare, accommodation, meals, souvenirs, caddy, shopping and other related expenses of the golfers and their supporters.

"This is a big boost to Davao City's economy, aside from the fact that it will promote the city as an ideal place for sports tourism," he said.
Supsup admitted she was never the sporty type as she only played piko, taguan, tumbang preso and other games popular in the rural areas while she was growing up in General Santos City. However, she said, it was the same discipline practiced by the athletes which helped her surmount life's challenges, including the Ms. Universe search.


Radical changes in BMBE law to benefit SMEs-Casiño


The House Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development is eyeing radical changes to Republic Act 9178 or the Barangay Micro Business Enterprises (BMBE) Act of 2002 once the amendatory bill is approved.

“We are looking at very radical revisions in the BMBE Law that will strengthen the small and micro entrepreneurs in the country once the amendments are approved,” Committee chairperson, Representative Teddy Casiño said yesterday during a public hearing on the amendatory bill held at the Grand Menseng Hotel in Davao City.

This is the third leg of a series of public hearings held in Congress and in Cebu last year. The fourth and last public hearing will be held in Central Luzon, after which the amendatory bill is expected to be passed on third reading at the plenary.
Casiño said it is high time to amend the BMBE Law as it has been a failure and has failed to live up to its goals of providing incentives to the small and medium entrepreneurs. He said that in Davao City alone, only 44 entrepreneurs have registered under the program out of the thousands of small business owners in the city. Of this, he added, only seven have been granted income tax exemptions in 2011.

“There are many complaints about the implementation of the BMBE Law and one of this is the P1,000 payment for the certificate which is required to be registered under the law,” Casiño said. And even if the entrepreneurs get registered under the program, he added, they do not get tax exemptions from the national government because of the strict policies of the Bureau of Internal Revenue when it comes to tax exemptions.

He said the small businesses do not even enjoy benefits in the local level because they do are still required to pay local taxes and fees. They do not even have benefits in terms of credit, he added, because the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported that no special facilities were created for them under the program.
“Small businesses in Davao have to wait for a long time for the approval of their applications for tax exemptions since these are being processed in the national level,” he said.

The amendatory bill is pushing for the automatic exemption of the small businesses under the BMBE Law both in the local and national taxes and fees for a period of between two to six years. Once this is implemented, he said, small businesses no longer have to pay certain fees to the local government like Mayor’s permit, business permit, garbage and other fees.

“We want them to be automatically exempted from the local charges and taxes but this is where the problem comes in since most local government units are apprehensive about the possible reduction in their income,” he said.

Casiño however said that a consensus among the LGUs they have talked to during the public hearings show that the exemptions may be allowed for small business with capitalization of less than P200 thousand and for a specified period only. After the maximum six-year period of exemption, then they have to pay, headed.

PhilHealth soon to make e-transactions mandatory for hospitals



The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is set to make electronic transactions mandatory for hospitals that have the capability of connecting through the Internet.

This was revealed by PhilHealth President and CEO Dr. Eduardo P. Banzon during his visit to Davao City last Saturday.

“Davao City is well-connected so there is no excuse for hospitals to not be connect
ed once we make electronic transactions mandatory for them,” Banzon said. He said the same case is true for Tagum City which seems to be also well-connected electronically.


Banzon said PhilHealth’s direction is towards the interconnection of PhilHealth with hospitals all over the country through electronic transactions, to make the transactions more efficient. He said PhilHealth is set to implement its automation program as part of its goal to provide improved services to its members.

One component of PhilHealth’s automation program is the e-claim project which will allow accredited hospitals to have access to the database of PhilHealth for purposes of
verifying the members’ eligibility. The ultimate goal, Banzon said, is to make the whole process efficient for its members.

Banzon cited the new case rate
payment method, which was implemented September last year, as a better way that allows PhilHea
lth members to determine the exact amount of their coverage for eleven most common medical cases like Pneumonia and Hypertension, and 12 surgical cases.

“Case rate is more beneficial both to PhilHealth members as it is more transparent, and to health care providers as it is simpler to administer,” he said. The illnesses and surgical cases covered under the case rate payment scheme are based on the cases which PhilHealth paid in the past years.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Juris breaths fresh air in davao concert scene


If you are looking forward to lots of bumpy and danceable numbers, then don't watch the pre-Valentine concert of Juris. But if you just want some heartwarming songs that will help you reminisce your past loves, your heartaches, your teenage kiligs and your first love, or you just want a relaxing night, then you can still catch Juris Live at the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao tonight, for the second night of her 2-day Pre-Valentine Show.

Thank the Demolay Alumni Feliciano Inigo Chapter for bringing one of the ASAP sessionistas to her roots. Juris was born and educated in Davao--grade school and high school at the Ateneo de Davao and as she said during her show last night "It's always good to be back in Davao..."

Unknown to many, Juris is not only a soulful singer but she also writes songs. She wrote Di Lang Ikaw--with music by Aiza Seguerra. Just found out last night too that she's the voice behind the theme song of the unforgettable teleserye "Minsan Lang Kitang Iibigin".

She sang one of my old-time favorites---Tuwing Umuulan At Kapiling Ka which was written by Mr. C and originally recorded by Basil Valdez. The song is Basil's all the way but her rendition of the song was very moving.

This is sort of a homecoming show for another Dabawenyo, Ken Cruz, who surprised me with his light singing of "I Don't Wanna Bore You With It" by Stevie Wonder.

Tickets are sold for P800 (VIP) and P500 (Patron). Viewing with dinner tickets are priced at VIP P1,100 and Patron P800.

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