Monday, October 28, 2013

Peaceful Elections in Davao


This was the description made by Davao City Police Office (DCPO) Chief Sr. Supt. Vicente Danao, Jr. said after the polls closed at 3 P.M. yesterday. The same description was echoed by Chief. Supt. Wency T. Pascual, Philippine National Police (PNP) XI Regional Director even as he made his rounds early this morning of the different polling places in the city as well as in Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur.

“The election was fundamentally peaceful,” Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said after casting his vote at the Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School at 2 P.M. yesterday.

He said he is happy with the peace and order during the conduct of the election in the city and hopes it will continue even during and after the counting of the ballots.

While he could not say how many candidates he has supported during the barangay elections, he said he has a supporter in every barangay. “Mga 90% halos lahat sila personal choice ko,” he added.

“Si Angging (referring to former councilor Angela Librado Trinidad who was one of those seeking a barangay captain seat during yesterday’s election) personal choice ko yan,:” he said. I am a resident of this barangay so I have a right to my personal choice but I am not bringing the party into this, he added.

Pascual was concerned about the peace and order in some Areas of Concern (AoC) in the city specifically Barangay 23-C. However, Danao said even this barangay had a peaceful and normal election.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dela Rosa a hard act to follow

Even fellow police officers are in agreement that the shoes that will be left behind by Davao City Police Office (DCPO) Chief Sr. Supt. Ronald dela Rosa are too big to fill.

Dela Rosa officially handed the baton over to Sr. Supt. Vicente Danao Jr., chief of the Regional Logistics and Research Development Division in Davao Region yesterday. The former DCPO chief was directed as early as last week to report to the Camp Crame where he takes on the position of Chief of Staff of the Intelligence Group. However, he had to come back to the city for the official turn over ceremony Friday as this is the only time when Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte is available this week.

“Mahirap mapantayan ang nasimulan ni dela Rosa (it is hard to live up to what dela Rosa has started) but I believe and I have faith in Sr. Supt. Danao that he will be up for the job,” PNP XI Regional Director Police Chief Supt. Wency T. Pascual said.

Dela Rosa was appointed DCPO Chief in February 2011 and was asked by Duterte to again extend his stay. However, dela Rosa said he is not getting younger and wants to accomplish more things before he comes back to Davao PNP hopefully as its Regional Director.

“My biggest accomplishment would be the reduction of drug activities in the city,” dela Rosaid. However, he is also frustrated that he was not able to accomplish a drug-free Davao before leaving the city. “Maybe I am too ambitous,” he added.

Dela Rosa challenged Danao to continue implementing “Oplan Tokhang” or Operation Tuktok where he personally visits the home of suspected drug dealers and convince them to stop their illegal activities. Otherwise, he said, “mugara na pud ni sila ug mubalik ang droga diri.”

His advice to Danao: “love your people, subordinates, your community and your work and everything will fall into place.”

Thursday, October 24, 2013

877 police officers officially sent off for election duties in Davao Region

A total of 877 police officers from the Philippine National Police Regional Office were officially sent off last October 24 for their election duties in the different provinces of the region.  

“I am convinced you are mentally and physically fit to do your job and keep this barangay election safe, credible and peaceful,”PNP XI Regional Director Police Chief Supt. Wency T. Pascual said.

Out of the total, 102 will be deployed to Davao Oriental, 145 to Compostela Valley, 124 to Davao del Norte, 239 to Davao City, 75 to Davao del Sur and 166 to Regional headquarters.

“You are faced with a big challenge as you are expected to perform your task with utmost competence and dedication,” he said.

Pascual reminded the deployed police officers to “be apolitical, walang kinikilingan na kandidato” so that they can ensure an honest, peaceful and credible election on October 28, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Davao Knights to send bulad to Bohol

The Knights of Columbus in Davao City is set to send an initial aid in the form of 1,500 packs of Bangsi bulad to those affected by the earthquake in Bohol.

“This is our respond to the call of Archbishop Romulo Valles to help the people of Bohol,” Knights of Columbus Davao Regional Deputy Jerry Mission said.

Mission said all the Knights in Davao contributed to immediately purchase an estimated 350 kilos of bulad worth P30 to P50 thousand since there is an immediate need to send aid to Bohol.

He said they were advised by Archbishop Valles that five military trucks will travel by land from Davao to Bohol to deliver the various donations and aid to the quake victims. “We will entrust our aid to the Archbishop so bahala na sila kung paano ang distribution doon,” he added.

This is only an initial aid, he said, since all councils of the Knights of Columbus in Mindanao have been requested to turn over their cash donation by October 28, 2013.

“We hope this will encourage other individuals and groups to join the move to help the earthquake victims,” he said.

Knights of Columbus Samal District Deputy Boy Sarmiento said they were informed that “sobra na ang canned goods, noodles and rice donations to Bohol so we decided to give bulad instead.”

When informed about the reputation of the Visayas provinces as some of the best sources of bulad, Sarmiento said “for sure hurot na ang bulad didto karon so this is ideal for them since pwede sya isubak, isugba ug dili basta madaot.”

Saturday, October 19, 2013

4 "The Voice" Philippines Finalists rock shoppers during SM City Davao's 3-day SALE

Four very talented finalists from "The Voice of the Philippines" namely Thor, Eva, Radha and Kim rocked the SM City Annex during the first day of the Mall's 3-day sale scheduled from October 18 to 20, 2013.

Both Kim Mainit and Eva are from Bohol and they expressed their interest in performing for the benefit of the earthquake victims in Bohol and Cebu. Eva may be one of the oldest in the group but she is definitely one of the most charming and talented as shown by the reaction of the crowd when she started belting out her Whitney Houston songs.

"It feels so cool being with the team and then watching talents as young as Kim (who is 17 years old) and established ones like Radha and Thor and I am there just looking on," says Eva who admitted that her family comes first but since the demand for her talent is hot thanks to The Voice of the Philippines, then wants to strike while the iron is hot. She said it was her husband who convinced her to join the Blind Auditions.

Kim showed members of the media and the bloggers group during the press conference why she was chosen by Coach Leah. She admitted that as Radha has advised her, she is now going deeper into her music, knowing the origins of the songs that influenced her idols.

The audience went wild when Thor, who hails from Panabo City, wowed the crowd with "Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin" and Stevie Wonder's "Lately".  A former student of the Ateneo de Davao University, Thor said he has been staying in Manila for years and it is good to be back home.

Thor and Eva may not have made it to the Top 4 but with their obvious talent and charisma, they will definitely be on stage, television and the radios for a long time.

Dabawenyos who want to do their early Christmas shopping can still catch SM City Davao's 3-Day Sale today and tomorrow. If you stay a little longer, then you also get the chance to see Eric Santos at 6:30 PM tonight during his mini concert at the Annex.

RXI’s short docu wins 2nd prize in BFAR Nat’l competition

Lakbay Dagat, a short documentary created by Jay-Ar M. Aringo and his team from the University of Mindanao, got the second place in the Bureau of Fisheries and Natural Resources (BFAR)XI MuSEA, SEAnema, Likhang Kabataan Para sa Yamang-Pangisdaan MTV and Short Documentary Contest.

Two entries from the region made it to the national finals including Agos by Lanika Frances B. Villamor of the Holy Cross of Davao College. The top spot went to Region 6 for its entry “Lapus-Lapus” while third place went to Region 4-A for its entry “Tikin: Sa Akong Paglingap”.

“This only shows that the region’s youth sector is very talented; they are a very strong force when it comes to informing the people about our fish conservation efforts,’ BFAR XI Regional Director Fatma Idris said yesterday immediately after being informed of the result.

Three winners were chosen from the region, two of which made it to the national finals. The entries of the ten national finalists were uploaded to BFAR’s Facebook page( for Online Voting. The Facebook Likes constituted 20% of the total score while 80% came from the scores given by the panel of judges.

Aringo and his teacher received his P20,000 cash prize during the awarding ceremonies in Manila on Friday, October 18. All the expenses of the winner going to Manila was sponsored by BFAR XI.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Davao joins World Vasectomy Day

At this time when almost everything looks at age decisively, it is only in Vasectomy when age actually does not matter. But unfortunately, only less than one percent of Dabawenyos who use a contraceptive method prefer Non Scalpel Vasectomy (NSV).

“We are pushing for NSV because it is one of the most cost effective Reproductive Health Program available to the local government,” Assistant City Health Officer Dr. Samuel Cruz said Thursday during the iSpeak media forum.

He said age does not matter on vasectomy because what matters is the couple’s decision to plan their family. Thus, even and 18-year old guy can already get NSV if he and his wife thinks they have enough children already.
Cruz said NSV is one of the cheapest contraceptive available and yet only 15 local government units all over the country offer this to their constituents, with only two LGUs here accredited by a world vasectomy organization.

Only Davao and Cebu cities have been accredited by the to participate in the World Vasectomy Day on October 18 which targets at least 1000 vasectomies across 25 countries in 25 hours.

“Less than 15 LGUs have a vasectomy program for their constituents,” Cruz said. Among the accredited doctors in Davao are Doctors Samuel Cruz, Miguel Ababon, Titus Antonio, Laredo Rabang and Ashley Lopez.

Cruz said it is definitely not the cost that has kept the country’s various LGUs to implement a vasectomy program since it is very cheap at a cost of less than P100 per vasectomy. The only things needed, aside from a well-trained doctor, are bandaid, one amp anaesthesia and betadine.

Perception is an important part of a family planning program and most LGUs may not consider Vasectomy a priority compared to other methods like pills and Bilateral Tubal Ligation (BTL).

This is ironic, he said, considering that up to 60% of men in the United States who are at least 35 years old are vasectomized and they pay between P20,000 to P100,000 for the procedure. This is so cheap in the Philippines and yet not all LGUs are taking advantage of the program, he added.

Davao City has implemented the No Scalpel Vasectomy (NSV) Program since 2008. A total of 300 Dabawenyos have availed of the NSV since then but more are expected this year.  But even before its formal implementation, a group of doctors who went to Caraga in Davao Region to train on NSV had a hard time getting volunteers for the program.

“This needs behavioral change and acceptance; family planning is not solely for women but men should also participate and the best way is through NSV,” he said.

The city shoulders the P2,500 payment per person for the whole procedure and another P2,500 is provided to the volunteer to compensate for the loss of income during the vasectomy day. “But this is not the main selling point of our Program,” Mr. Cruz said.

Moises F. Villacorta, Information Officer of the Commission on Population (PopCom) XI said Dava0 had a 50% rating in the latest 2008 National Demographic Health Survey and the highest method used at 60% contraceptive prevalence rate was oral contraceptives. He said NSV got a prevalence rate of less than 10%.

Among the reasons cited by Mr. Villacorta for the 22% increase in unmet Family Planning needs in the city are misinformation, lack of information, culture, preference for a big family among Filipinos and the macho culture.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bosch opens Davao hub

Bosch officially marked its foray in Mindanao as it opened the Bosch regional business hub along Roxas Avenue in Davao City Monday. This is the first hub for Bosch in Mindanao. It opened its Cebu business hub last May to serve the Visayas market.

"Davao has strengthened its position as the financial and services hub of Southern Philippines and this presents new market opportunities for Bosch's diverse portfolio of solutions," Bosch Philippines Managing Director Joseph Hong said.

A local presence in Davao, he said, will enable us to effectively serve our customers across the Mindanao region including the provinces of Cagayan de Oro, Surigao and Butuan.

Hong said the new business hub will serve as a showroom for various Bosch products including their power tools, security and safety systems. It will also serve as a technical training facility for their distributors and other stakeholders.

Bosch is also set to open today its second Bosch Diesel Service in Bajada. Bosch has two Bosch Car Service workshops and two Bosch Diesel Service centers in Davao City and Davao del Norte.

Coffee for peace, and business too

What started out as an effort to promote peace in Mindanao eventually turned into a lucrative business both for the peace builders but also for the thousands of indigenous people in the island as they strive to meet the increasing demand for Arabica coffee in the world market.

“We went to the insurgency areas with the intention of teaching them about peace but we found it difficult to teach them about peace without first addressing the basic needs of the people,” Coffee for Peace, Inc. Marketing Manager Dawn Albert Pates told BusinessWorld.

Since 2008, Coffee for Peace has been providing training to the tribal communities at Mt. Matutum in Polomolok, South Cotabato, Mt. Apo in Kidapawanm North Cotabato and Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon.

Almost all of the coffee trees in the said areas have been wiped out by the Coffee Leaf Rust in the 1800s but to their surprise, the peacebuilders saw coffee trees still growing in the mountains of Mt. Matutum in 2008. They got some samples and sent it for cupping to one of Canada’s biggest coffee companies.

“They were not even aware we had Arabica Coffee in the Philippines but they liked the sample so much as it was of high quality,” Ms. Pates said. She added there is actually no coffee variety native to the Philippines although “we can create our own flavor depending on the soil where it is grown.’

There are four major varieties of coffee including Arabica, Robusta, Liberica and Excelsa. The Kapeng Barako from Batangas falls under Liberica variety. Mindanaoans however refer to any coffee produced in the mountains as “native” regardless of the variety.

Majority or 80% of the coffee being produced in Davao and in the country is Robusta since this is the variety being bought by companies like Robina and Nestle for their 3in1 coffee products. While Robusta is good for blending, she said, we are encouraging farmers to plant more Arabica since it is premium quality coffee that has less caffeine, less acidic and has a high 70% demand in the global market.

“We have an estimated 1,300 hectares of Arabica coffee from our trained farmers,” she said. Coffee for Peace now has trained a total of 27 tribal communities mostly from the B’laan tribe and 972 farmers.

“But we do not buy coffee from the farmers unless they have undergone peacebuilding training because we do not want development to cause disintegration.” The training includes coffee plantation management, peace and reconciliation and financial management. The trainees are not allowed to graduate unless they can produce quality coffee, preferably following the wet process as it is cleaner and more flavorful.

She said the country has not been exporting Arabica Coffee for the past 27 years but they had a breakthrough last 2011 when they exported Arabica from Mt. Matutum to Canada. “But Level Ground (importer) from Canada wanted 50 tons a month and we could only deliver 600 kilos,” she said.

Ms. Pates admitted that they could not even supply the local demand, much more the huge demand from the international market. They also have inquiries from Japan and Europe but they could not commit as of now until they see the first harvests beginning this year.

Coffee for Peace started training the communities in 2008 and they started planting only in 2009. With a gestation period of three years, she added, we hope to see their harvest by 2013 and 2014. She said there are existing coffee areas already so what they do is just rejuvenate the areas so that they produce better quality and yield. Following the correct process, each tree can produce 3 to 5 kilos; otherwise, it would only produce less than a kilo of coffee.

“The good thing about Arabica is that it can be intercropped with strawberry and carrots so the farmers have other sources of income while waiting for the coffee trees to bear fruit,” she said. And since the Arabica variety requires only 25% of sunlight, they also encourage the farmers to plant more trees and contribute to reforestation.

She said the crops planted alongside the coffee trees will influence the taste of coffee. They have buyers who ask them if their coffee was planted next to strawberries since they had a fruity taste, she added.

Ms. Pates said research and development is very crucial for the development of the coffee industry. As of now, the government has no model farm for coffee intercropped with other fruit trees. However, Dr. Rafael T. Mercado of the Department of Agriculture said coffee now has the government’s full attention due to recent developments. It is now considered one of the sunrise industries because of the emergence of coffee shops and the increasing demand in the local and world market.

She said since most of our coffee farms are in the mountainous areas we can easily match Ethiopia which is the top producer of coffee and the top producer of coffee for Starbucks. However, she said, we have to start right and teach our farmers to plant coffee the right way.

What makes Coffee for Peace unique is that it uses the business of coffee to promote peace in the communities. More importantly, it buys coffee at fair trade prices which means the farmers are actually paid the price of coffee that is prevailing in the market.

“As of 2012 the market price of Arabica was only P80-P90 per kilo but we were already buying from our farmers at P150 per kilo which is the fair trade price,” she said. We also train them how to sort their produce since it gets a higher market price. If they know how to price their products “hindi sila maloloko nga mga traders and middlemen.”

Coffee for Peace teach the coffee farmers to become businessmen and they do not give dole outs. Instead, they help tap government and other support when it comes to the provision of seedlings for the farmers.

She said that since the trainings, the communities are more motivated but they do not impose on them. Their houses have improved a lot, from light to heavy materials and they now have more initiative in seeking ways to develop the community, she said.

“Through our trainings the coffee farmers learn how to negotiate, mediate and solve problems,” Ms. Pates said. Our peace is profound—we do not seek to convert them but we do not hide the fact we carry the cross, she added.

The company’s aim is to make coffee an iconic product of peace so that when people drink coffee they are conscious where it came from and how the coffee was grown. Coffee for Peace has been operating a showroom for five years now and aside from its popularity as a source of organic coffee, the shop has also become a gathering place for missionaries and development workers. After all, Coffee for Peace is a product of the peacebuilding efforts of two Filipino missionaries from Canada who has since relocated to the Philippines.

The next time you drink your next cup of coffee, ask yourself if this coffee was bought following the fair trade concept. But if it came from Coffee for Peace, then you are assured that your coffee was grown not only for business but to establish peace in Mindanao as well.

Monday, October 7, 2013

SM to bring Science Discovery Center to Jinjiang, China by 2014

SM Prime Holdings, Inc. is set to bring the Science Discovery Center to Jinjiang, China by 2014. This will be the third SM Science Discovery Center in the country and the first outside the Philippines.

Science Discovery Center head Arturo C. Carballo said this is part of SM Prime’s plans to have 10 malls in China by 2014. There are six SM Malls occupying a total space of 797,545 square meters in China with specific locations in Xiamen City in Fujian, Jinjiang City in Fujian, Chengdu City in Sichuan, Jiahe Road in Xiamen City, Suzhou City in Jiangsu and the latest in Chongqing City which opened in December 2012.

The first SM Science Discovery Center opened at the SM Mall of Asia in Manila in 2007 while the second Center opened in Davao City’s SM Premier this month.

“This is one of the most modern science centers with a Planetarium powered by the Digistar 5 projector system; the full-dome Planetarium alone costs P700,000,” Mr. Carballo said. This is even more modern than most Science Centers in the United States which only uses the Digistar 3 system, he added.

The Davao Science Discovery Center occupies a 2,000-square meter space but compared to the 158 seating capacity for MOA’s Planetarium, Davao’s Planetarium can only seat up to 80 people. But while the Center in Manila has only 9 galleries, Davao has up to 10 interactive galleries on geology, Biology, the Body, Climate, Energy, Transportation, Technology, Engineering and The Future.

“The Science Discovery Center in Davao is expected to cater not only to Dabawenyos but also to the whole of Mindanao,” he said.  Based on their studies on the Mindanao market, they have decided to lower down the entrance fees from P330 for walk-ins in Manila to only P250 for walk-ins in Davao City.

Mr. Carballo said they have met with officials of the Department of Education as well as Vice Mayor Paolo Z. Duterte and they agreed to provide a special rate for public schools. He said Pasay City exempted the Discovery Center in MOA from the amusement tax so they were able to provide public school students there with a low rate of P180.  We are trying to get a much lower rate for Davao public school students, he added.

Department of Tourism XI Regional Director and Assistant Secretary Arturo P. Boncato, Jr. said the Discovery Center brings with it more opportunities for the city as it will provide educators with a unique, tech-based platform when teaching the youth about concepts in science, technology and other related topics.

“It will help the city sustain its advantage not only in business and tourism, but also in education,” he said. The investment came at a most opportune time, he said, given the recent economic boom brought about by the influx of investments and tourism.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Amreco-supplied areas in Mindanao assured of 300MW supply by 2017

The different provinces in Mindanao relying on the different electric cooperatives for their power supply are assured of a 300-MegaWatt supply by 2017 but are at a quandary as to where to source power from now up to 2015.

“We have already contracted with GN Power and the Amreco-PSAG (Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperative- Power Supply Aggregation Group) for our projected 300-MW demand for 2017,” Amreco President Sergio C. Dagooc told BusinessWorld Tuesday.

Amreco is composed of 33 electric cooperatives, six of which are considered SPUG or Small Power Utilities Group located in different Mindanao islands such as Jolo, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Dinagat and Basilan. The six cooperatives have their own generators while the 27 others rely on the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

All the six electric cooperatives are under the National Power Corporation (NPC) as per Republic Act 9136 which mandates the NPC to operate power plants in isolated islands in the country.

He said Amreco accounts for 60% market share or an estimated 1,941,554 residential consumers in Mindanao. The rest of the market is accounted for by private electric companies like the Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) and the Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company, Inc.(CEPALCO).

Mr. Dagooc said 80% of their member cooperatives are Triple A cooperatives which means these are “financially, technically and institutionally stable.” However, he added, 20% of its members are hard-up electric cooperatives located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Among the top cooperatives are servicing the Davao Region namely Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative (Dasureco), Davao Oriental Electric Cooperative (Doreco) and the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative (Daneco) which used to be a top-performing cooperative before it got embroiled in its present controversy.

Twenty-seven of the member coops are hooked up with the island’s transmission grid while another six operate in the off-grid islands surrounding the main island of Mindanao.

“While most of our member cooperatives are doing good we have to unify our resources to help ailing members such as those in the ARMM,” he said.
Amreco-PSAG Executive Director Clint Django Pacana said these cooperatives are non-stock, non-profit organizations that rely on the P6,000 monthly dues of its members for its continued operation. This is mainly the reason why PSAG was formed and do business in the power industry, he added.

Amreco recently conveyed to Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla its opposition to the Price Determination Methodology (PDM) of the Philippine Electricity Market Cooperation (PEMC) which will be used by the Interim Mindanao Electricity Market (Imem).

Mr. Dagooc said while they are not against Imem’s implementation, they are protesting some of its provisions. The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) approved last September PEMC's Pricing and Cost Recovery Methodology (PCRM) which allows the use of the PDM in the establishment of power rates. He said they are protesting the rule which states that “the Imem Day-Ahead Price (Idap) shall correspond to the highest offer price fully or partially scheduled for the particular Imem trading interval."

Mr. Dagooc said this will leave the power distributors with no choice but to pay for the highest power rates no matter their choice of power generator and its previously offered rate.

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