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How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
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Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm


Zamboanga Mayor Climaco vows more reforms, pro-poor programs

(Zamboanga Post)

THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT continues to introduce various reforms and pro-poor programs aimed at further improving the lives of the people here and bring more progress and development to Zamboanga.

For the past 6 years of the administration of Mayor Beng Climaco, the City Government had spent about P2.272 billion for the education sector, and P661 million for health, P1.427 billion for security, P585 million for social services and P3.55 billion for barangay development programs.

Climaco said Security, Health and Education (SHE) Program of her administration will remain her top priority to ensure public order and safety as she vowed to make Zamboanga one of the most progressive and peaceful cities in the South.

She said with the steady growth of businesses and influx of investors here the past 6 years, the local government is bent on improving its tax collection efficiency with projected target income of P4.1 billion, which is also Zamboanga’s annual budget next year.

Climaco appealed for the cooperation and support of barangay officials in the implementation of plans and programs espoused by President Rodrigo Duterte and her administration under the Executive Legislative Agenda with special emphasis on the anti-drug campaign, including the local traffic situation, potable water supply, electricity, garbage collection and disposal, and informal settlers.

She said the City Government will also provide financial subsidy to each of the 98 barangays in the amount of P250,000 for strengthening the Barangays Anti-Drug Abuse Council, and finance the operations of the Violence Against Women and Children Council Desk, and for fuel, repair and maintenance of city garbage truck or dump truck, and another P5,000 will be allocated for barangay festival or tourism-related programs.

But Climaco stressed that it is very important for all the barangays to comply with all the rules and regulations in the preparation of their individual budget. She also reiterated this during the recent Barangay Budget Administration Forum where the mayor briefed officials on the expenditure directions of her administration for Fiscal Year 2020.

In the forum initiated by the City Budget Office, Climaco gave greater focus on ensuring the implementation of projects and programs to be funded by the local government. The barangays are expected to request funding for projects that can be implemented within the year.

“Before you want projects to be done in the barangays, please make sure the necessary documents are submitted to the concerned offices,” Climaco told barangay officials during the forum held at Patio Palmeras in Barangay Santa Maria.

She stressed on continued adaption of reforms on public financial management systems, specifically the timely submission of the Annual Investment Program (AIP) to the City Planning Office. “Only barangays with AIP will be given priority in funding due to limited budget,” Climaco said. The City Budget Office said at least 42 barangays have no AIP.

45 Zambo orphans receive gifts from Westmincom

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr. (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Forty-five orphans benefited from the distribution of gifts Tuesday by the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) at an orphanage in this southern port city.

Brig. Gen. Generoso Ponio, Westmincom deputy commander for operations, said Wednesday the beneficiaries consisted of orphans housed at the Reception and Study Center for Children (RSCC) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Barangay Talon-Talon.

Ponio, who led the distribution of gifts, said the beneficiary-orphans received food stuff, toys, and toiletries.

“This is one way of giving back and helping the less privileged without expecting something in return,” Ponio said adding: “We are glad to help children in whatever means we can.”

Myla Agustin, RSCC acting head, expressed gratitude to the Westmincom officials and personnel who joined the gift-giving.

“This kind of activity is very much appreciated, especially in your effort in finding the time to help our disadvantaged children,” Agustin said.

Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Westmincom chief, said: “We want to reach out to the less privileged and make a difference in our lives as public servants and soldiers. We also want to enliven the hopes of less fortunate children so they will strive for a better future.”

Among the Westmincom officials who joined Ponio in the activity were Col. Leonardo Peña, Westmincom’s chief of Unified Command Staff; Col. Gerry Besana, assistant chief of Unified Command Staff for Civil-Military Operations; and other members of the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

Villar urges Zambo Peninsula MSMEs to venture into halal

By Leslie Gatpolintan (PNA)

MANILA -- Senator Cynthia Villar has encouraged entrepreneurs across Zamboanga Peninsula to cash in on the huge global market demand for halal products, and make their region a gateway to Mindanao as the halal capital of the country.

Villar said they have to get “serious” about making halal products, as she asked the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to assist them in promoting halal exports.

“The global market for halal food and lifestyle products is expected to reach USD10.5 trillion by 2024. Kaya ang laki-laki po ng (the) market (is really huge) for halal products. The extent of market opportunities is quite varied and diversified,” she said during the opening of Zamboanga Peninsula Exposition (ZAMPEX) 2019 held here on Thursday (August 1).

Villar said business opportunities are offered by various industries ranging from food, beverages, cosmetics, personal care, pharmaceutical, healthcare, tourism, among many others.

The senator pointed out that the halal market size is expected to expand tremendously, along with the growth in the Muslim population, which is projected to rise to 2.2 billion in 2030 or nearly 26 percent of the world’s population.

“And of course the disposable income of Muslim is also on an upward trend. Consumption of halal products among non-Muslim consumers is also on the rise which is expected to fuel global demand,” she said, noting the global demand is also coming from the Asia-Pacific region.

Meanwhile, the five-day ZAMPEX 2019, which is being held at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City, targets to double last year’s sales of PHP25 million of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from Zamboanga Peninsula.

Zamboanga City starts drafting plan to address housing backlog

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr. (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The City Housing and Land Management (CHLM) of the local government has begun its work of drafting the shelter plan for this southern port city.

Rodrigo Pagotaisidro, CHLM OIC-chief, said Monday they are currently carrying out data gathering activities and consultative meetings to secure stakeholder input for the crafting of a shelter plan, which seeks to address the city’s housing backlog.

The completion of the local shelter plan has been highlighted by Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar as one of the priorities of the Executive Legislative Agenda for 2020-2022.

Salazar has earlier called on the City Council to enact an ordinance appropriating funds for land banking and resettlement, including resolutions for the approval of the local shelter plan to address the backlog.

Pagotaisidro said the housing backlog currently stands at some 19,000 households.

Pagotaisidro said land banking is a flagship program for the city’s housing program to acquire lands, which will be developed into housing projects or housing sites.

He said that resettlement and relocation will also be a focus of the local housing program.

Zambo health office taps village execs in fight vs. dengue

By R. G. Antonet Go (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The head of the City Health Office said on Friday that the local government has tapped the assistance of the barangay officials in the campaign amid the increase in dengue cases in this city.

Dr. Dulce Amore Miravite, City Health Office chief, told the Philippine News Agency that they have discussed, in a meeting with barangay officials, the conduct of “search and destroy” even once a week to minimize, if not eradicate, cases of dengue.

“As you see, if there is an anti-dengue activity in the barangays, the cases of dengue decrease. But if it is not sustained, we observed that the cases increase again,” Miravite said.

Miravite said they have so far recorded 4,186 cases of dengue with 24 deaths since January this year.

She said the barangays with high cases of dengue are Talon-Talon, Calarian, Tugbungan, Tumaga, Pasonanca, Tetuan, Sta. Maria, San Roque, Ayala, Guiwan, and Putik.

She said the number of cases recorded this year is higher than the 1,995 dengue cases and eight deaths recorded in 2018.

The health official appealed to the residents to cooperate with them by maintaining clean surroundings to deny dengue carrier mosquito a breeding place.

“It’s important that everybody should take responsibility. Get involved, do your part,” she added.

Meanwhile, Miravite said she has requested the city government to purchase dengue test kits, fogging and misting machines, to include medicines, medical supplies, and larvicides.

Dengue fever is a viral disease usually affecting infant and young children. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which lay eggs on clear and stagnant water, are the spreader of the disease.

The signs and symptoms of dengue fever include sudden high fever, joints and muscle pain, skin rashes, nose bleeding, vomiting of coffee-colored matter, and dark-colored stool.

Zamboanga-based squad SCC Aviation experiences Manila’s brand of hoops

By Jonas Egan Reyes

About 1,334 kilometers from home, the Southern City Colleges (SCC) School of Aviation tasted what basketball in the metropolis is all about.

The SCC basketball squad traveled to Manila to battle a team assembled by Sneakerhunt PH (SHPH), in a series of goodwill games last July 26 to 28 at the Playdium Arena, Ronac Art Center and at the Gatorade Hoops Center.

SHPH, the local basketball community that organizes nightly pickup games in various Metro Manila venues, recently hosted the Zamboangueños in two of their impressive home floors. Team SCC was in town to train for their upcoming leagues back home with the help of the roster formed by SHPH head Joseph Aldea.

SCC team owner Orlando “Butch” Caliolio Jr. gave a glimpse on the brand of basketball played in their province.

“The leagues in Zamboanga City are quite competitive given the fact almost all types of divisions are also available in Zamboanga. The number of games are varied by the number of teams and the format used for the tournaments,” shared Caliolio, whose family founded the institution in 1946.
“As an institution have always set our sights on what lies on the horizon way beyond our shores, our thrust to learn new things and innovate and to put into practice what we acquire is paramount. Coming to Manila gives us that privilege, while at the same time allows us to offer our services as a business entity in the industry of Aviation and Education. Basketball is a language that allows us to communicate with the diverse offerings of Manila,” he added.

The partnership between SCC and SHPH was forged through common friends of Caliolio and Aldea, and for their love for the sport. Aldea pitted the community’s selection, named as the “SHPH Bad Boys”, against Team SCC in action-packed tune-up games.

“I hooked up with SHPH and Mr. Joseph Aldea thru an invitation of a friend and common friends. SHPH and SCC Aviation have very similar values and it is a partnership that is continually developing and growing.”

SCC was recently involved in the June 29 staging of a PBA On-the-Road game between the Meralco Bolts and the Magnolia Hotshots. Dubbed “Kebrahan na Zamboanga”, hometown pride Mark Barroca dazzled inside the Mayor Vitaliano D. Agan Coliseum to lead the Hotshots to a 99-88 victory over the Bolts.

Their recent visit to Manila served as an eye-opener for the Zamboanga-based quintet, as they shared the hardwood floor against the SHPH players who are coming off diverse backgrounds.

“Basketball is a global sport. The style of play in Mindanao, specifically in Zamboanga City, compared to that of Manila is differentiated not by the style of playing but rather by the diversity of players that Manila offers. I personally would sum up playing in Manila as ‘refreshing’. In Manila, you get to meet and compete with ballers from all walks of life, competition is fierce and the love of the game is evident each time you step onto a playing court,” shared Caliolio.

Zambo eyes night market

(Zamboanga Post)

MAYOR BENG CLIMACO has expressed full support to a proposal allowing market vendors to sell at night, especially those who are affected by the anti-road obstruction campaign launched by the local government in response to President Duterte’s order.

She said Councilman Cesar Jimenez Sr. has authored the proposed ordinance that seeks to establish a night market at the old market area. “It is really my desire to have a night market for those who will be affected by the clearing operations so that they can make out a living by night. We do not want to displace our vendors,” Climaco said at a television program.

Climaco said the local government and the police are strictly enforcing city ordinances and to instil order and discipline to all. “We want to give a space like night market. And in the absence of an ordinance yet, we are asking for the vendors and the public’s cooperation to instil order in the market,” she said.

Davao City, Duterte’s hometown, also has a night market and is popular among the locals and tourists alike because of its variety of food stalls and fruits and vegetables being sold at cheap prices. It also has masseurs and stalls for various home products.

Climaco said the local government of Zamboanga has been very supportive with Duterte’s orders from the campaign against illegal drugs to anti-smuggling drive and now the operation on anti-road obstruction in an effort to clear the roads from illegal structures, among others.

Her campaign against road obstruction came out long before Duterte’s order, but nonetheless, she expressed full support to the President’s plans and programs and reiterated her strong backing to national policies and programs. She has ordered authorities and the local traffic enforcers to strictly enforce discipline on the roads and to clear the streets of any obstruction that hinders the flow of traffic.

City Administrator Apple Go also met with police and barangay officials and discussed how to effectively implement the campaign. Go also sought the assistance of Colonel Joseph Martir, the city police chief, in clearing public areas, especially in downtown Zamboanga, of illegally parked vehicles and other obstructions such as illegally-constructed stalls on roadsides and path walks.

She said police station commanders will lead the daily operations in their area and to come up with measures to prevent and control the proliferation of illegal vendors on sidewalks, private use of public spaces and other public regulations or ordinances to maintain peace and order here.

Climaco urged motorists and residents to help in the campaign and make Zamboanga even more beautiful and peaceful place to live in.

Zambo village health workers hone skills

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr. (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Some 70 barangay health workers (BHWs) are undergoing a two-day interactive training intended to hone their professional and personal skills.

Dr. Dulce Amor Miravite, City Health Office chief, said the training, which started Thursday until Friday, also aims to maximize the implementation of Republic Act 7883, the law that grants benefits and incentives to accredited BHWs.

Miravite said the BHWs are expected to fully understand and implement the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 7883 as well as have the access to resources and opportunities that will hone their professional and personal skills being frontline workers.

She said R.A. 7883 or the Barangay Health Workers’ Benefits and Incentives Act of 1995, grants benefits and incentives to accredited BHWs for voluntary health services rendered to the community.

Party-list seeks strict implementation of solid waste law

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr. (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The TGP party-list said it is seeking the strict implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000 across the country.

TGP Party-list Rep. Jose Teves Jr., in an interview with the Philippine News Agency Monday, underscored the importance of strengthening the collection methods for recyclable materials down to the barangay level.

“It is in support to the program of President Rodrigo Duterte on environment protection,” Teves said, adding he has filed a bill that seeks a total ban on the importation of recyclable materials into the country.

He said the ban will protect the Philippines from becoming a dumping ground of recyclable materials from developed countries, noting that tons of recyclable materials had been shipped into the country from Canada, Australia, South Korea, and Hong Kong in the past.

The recyclable materials included pieces of assorted scrap plastic, cellophane, wrappers, chunks of hard plastic, textiles, fibers, wood chips, glass cullet, stones, soil, paper, and other shredded waste materials.

Teves said the proposed measure would also strengthen the promotion of waste segregation at source in line with Republic Act 9003 otherwise known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

‘Christmas in August’ outreach benefits 300 Zambo residents

By R. G. Antonet Go (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- About 300 residents, mostly children, benefited from the gift-giving and outreach program initiated by a “balikbayan” Zamboangueña nurse in Barangay Tugbungan, this city.

Saturday's activity, dubbed as “Christmas in August”, was initiated by Salvacion Oyales-Shing, a Zamboangueña nurse based in Maryland, U.S.A. and a graduate of the Tugbungan Elementary School.

The children-beneficiaries who are enrolled in kindergarten to Grade 6 received school supplies, slippers, goodies and were entertained by a magic show.

The other beneficiaries availed of free haircut, medical and dental services.

“Never give up. If you fail once, stand up, that’s how life is. You might be down now and up the next time. Life is wonderful, it is up to you how do you want your life to be,” Shing told the students.

Shing said she hopes to see “these children to be successful” in life one day.

Shing was joined in the activity by her batchmates of Tugbungan Elementary School Class-77, Zamboanga City High School fourth-year classmates of batch-81, and Western Mindanao State University College of Nursing class-85.

The other participants included policemen, personnel from the city government, the Department of Health, and the military.

Zambo City wins 21st reg'l Gawad Kalasag search

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr. (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) has been adjudged as the best highly-urbanized city in the DRRM category during the 21st Gawad Kalasag search (regional level).

Dr. Elmeir Apolinario, CDRRMO chief, said Friday the city bested other cities after accumulating an average score of 94.85 percent. The awarding ceremony was held at a hotel in Pagadian City on Monday.

Apolinario said the Gawad Kalasag (Kalamidad at Sakuna Labanan, Sariling Galing and Kaligtasan) is the country’s premier annual awards for outstanding contribution to the fields of disaster reduction and management and humanitarian assistance.

Launched in 1998, Gawad Kalasag was organized by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, formerly known as the National Disaster Coordinating Council.

Apolinario said the regional level victory qualifies the CDRRMO to compete at the national level against other highly urbanized cities in the country.

This city bagged the third place in the 2017 regional level of the Gawad Kalasag Search for excellence in disaster risk reduction and management and humanitarian assistance.

200 Zambo folks sign up on 1st day of voter registration

By R. G. Antonet Go (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- About 200 residents flocked to the office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as the Comelec resumed Thursday the registration of voters.

Lawyer Stephen Roy Cañete, first district election officer, was elated to note that the number of registrants has reached 200 on the first day of the voters’ registration.

“Usually, few people come to us on the first day to register,” Cañete added.

Cañete said they also accommodate the transfer of registration records, correction of names, change of status, reactivation, and validation of voters aside from new registration.

He said the registration is open to regular and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) voters, who must bring with them documentary requirements such as birth certificates and valid identification cards.

He said the registration of voters at the city election office is open Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The satellite registration of voters will be held Friday and Saturday in the barangays.

The resumption of voters’ registration is in preparation for the 2020 Barangay and SK Elections.

BFP to open 9 new fire substations in Zambo City

By R. G. Antonet Go (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The Zamboanga City Fire District (ZCFD) of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) is set to establish nine substations for faster response and better service to the public.

Supt. Jhufel Brañanola, ZCFD marshal, made this announcement after the city government has turned over Monday 12 brand new fire trucks to the ZCFD.

Brañanola said Wednesday the fire substations that will open before year-end will be located in Barangays Mampang, Talon-Talon, Culianan, San Jose Gusu, Tumaga, Lunzuran, Curuan, Buenavista, and Putik.

Brañanola said he already conferred with the officials of the nine barangays to allocate them a lot where the fire substation, with complete facilities, will be constructed

“There will be first responders in strategic barangays in this city with more substations,” he said, adding they have sufficient personnel to be assigned in these substations.

Currently, the ZCFD has one central fire station and 15 substations, which are located in Barangays Vitali, Quiniput, Sangali, Manicahan, Mercedes, Boalan, Guiwan, Tetuan, Sta. Catalina, Sta. Maria, Calarian, Recodo, Ayala, Talisayan, and Labuan.

Ten of the 12 new fire trucks were purchased through the 2019 budget of the city government and two were acquired through the 2018 budget.

GSIS to open 3 more kiosks in Zambo City

By R. G. Antonet Go (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is set to open three more GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System (G-W@PS) kiosks to better serve the public in this city.

Rolando Macasaet, GGIS chairman and OIC president, announced that the three additional G-W@PS kiosks will be located at a shopping mall in Barangay Tetuan and in Barangay Vitali in the east coast and Barangay Ayala in the west coast.

Macasaet, who is a Zamboangueño, said Saturday the establishment of the additional three G-W@PC kiosks will expand the service of the agency to its clientele since there will be already a total of six kiosks.

The three existing G-W@PS kiosks are located in Barangay Sangali, Integrated Bus Terminal in Barangay Divisoria and at City Hall.

Macasaet said GSIS members and pensioners can apply for loan, check their records or even update their accounts, as well as activate the UMID compliant eCards through the G-W@PS kiosks.

The G-W@PS Kiosk was developed by the GSIS and made use of a combination of world-class technologies, such as radio frequency identification, biometrics, and virtual private network to come up with a secure system that can perform remote processing in a paperless manner.

The G-W@PS Kiosk resembles an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) that has a touch screen monitor, but, it is not an ATM since it does not dispense money.

PopCom eyes teen centers in Region 9 schools

By R. G. Antonet Go (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Commission on Population (PopCom) is eyeing the establishment of teen centers in all public and private schools in Region 9 to address the needs of teenage students.

Cecil Abuy, PopCom regional information officer, said Friday the planned teen centers would serve as counseling area for teenagers and provide interventions to teen moms.

Abuy said the centers can also serve as convergence place of teenage students to share thoughts, conduct academic activities, and play board games instead of doing unproductive things. The centers would be manned by trained guidance counselors and peer educators.

“These adolescents, if they have problems, they won’t tell or express or open up to adults but they open to peers like themselves,” she said.

In this city, Abuy said a memorandum of agreement for the establishment of a teen center is set to be entered into between the PopCom regional office and the Don Pablo Lorenzo Memorial High School.

It would be the fifth center since there are already teen centers at the Western Mindanao State University, and in Barangays Lumayang, Lumbangan, and Tetuan.

Swim, snorkel, trek in Zamboanga City’s 11 isles

By Yara Lukman (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines — An island-hopping destination northeast of this city awaits adventurous nature lovers.

With its white sand beaches, a natural infinity pool and unique rock formations, Once (pronounced: on-se) Islas, or 11 isles, has been a rising ecocultural attraction on the Zamboanga Peninsula since it was opened to local and foreign tourists on July 1, 2018.

The islands in the Moro Gulf belong to two city villages, Panubigan and Dita, and only four are officially declared tourism zones by the city government—Sirommon, Bisaya-Bisaya, Buh-Buh and Baung-Baung.

The others are Sallangan, Simaddang, Lambang-Lambang, Baguias, Lampinigan, Kabugan and Panganak.

Most of the islanders belong to the Sama Banguingui tribe who practice the Islamic religion and depend mainly on fishing and seaweed farming for their livelihood.

Wharf jump-off

The island-hopping trip starts at the wharf near Panubigan Barangay Hall, the only city-recognized jump-off point. After 25 to 30 minutes of riding a banca, which can carry at most nine passengers, visitors will reach Sirommon Island first through one of the regular routes.

There, they can have a concrete grasp of what it’s like to live on one of the smallest islands in the country.

Sirommon’s “front beach” has very fine white sand, clear aquamarine waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling, and a relaxing view of the neighboring islands. Starfish can be seen during low tide, but tourists are not allowed to take these or any coral out of the water.

For an additional fee of P50 each, tourists can trek through lush terrain to get to the other side of the island, or “back beach” as locals call it. They can stay in tree cottages, and divers can enjoy the diverse species of fish and corals thriving in deep waters nearby.

While traveling to the next island of Bisaya-Bisaya, tourists will pass by the only mosque in Once Islas on the shore of Buh-Buh Island. The little green mosque has yet to be opened to tourists as preparations for a cultural immersion experience are still ongoing.

Bisaya-Bisaya also has a white sand beach. To get to its islet, one can walk on the sandy and rocky natural walkway—amazing rock formations that dazzle in dark brown, black and gold in sharp contrast to the dominant greenish blue sea.

Infinity pool

Also on the islet is a natural infinity pool—a rock formation filled with seawater by crashing waves. The water is warm from the heat of the sun but just enough for a relaxing dip. Visitors must be careful, though, with the rocky and slippery surfaces.

With a rented kayak, the tireless traveler can navigate the waters surrounding Bisaya-Bisaya.

The island-hopping ends where it started—at Panubigan Wharf.

As a security protocol in Zamboanga, Coast Guard personnel and armed policemen are deployed around the islands. Tourism activities began almost five years after Zamboanga City was liberated from Moro rebels involved in the 2013 siege.

Upcoming activities

The city government and the local community in Once Islas are still working on the improvement of the general tourism management, infrastructures (especially watchtowers and the road from the national highway to Panubigan Barangay Hall) and regular compensation for tour guides and island wardens.

Councilor BG Guingona, the main proponent of the ordinance on the operations for Once Islas, says more activities are being planned for the island-hopping trip, such as surfing, zip line adventures and a cultural immersion village.

“We want Once Islas to be sustainable through effective solid waste management. We want visitors to be responsible ecocultural tourists, not just to enjoy as sightseers,” Guingona says.

Tung Samson, one of the wardens on Sirommon, said visitors always appreciated the beauty of the island. “Many of them, especially those who are financially capable, also said that they would help in developing our islands.”

Some hotels and restaurants also offer native food, like “curacha” (red crab), “satti” and knickerbocker, to visitors to the city and to Once Islas.


To get to Once Islas, take a northbound bus or private vehicle from the city center for an hourlong trip to Panubigan. Advance bookings must be made with the city tourism office because a maximum of 200 guests are allowed per day on the islands, and the trips are strictly regulated. Travel expenses include an entrance fee of P100 and environmental fee of P100 per person, P2,000 for the roundtrip banca ride (maximum of nine passengers) and P300 for the tour guide. The tour is from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, except Friday, a special religious day for Muslims.

Visitors are given a detailed orientation of the do’s and don’ts during the entire island-hopping trip.

Guests can bring their own food but are discouraged from including pork and alcohol out of respect for the local community’s culture. They must also dress appropriately.

City gov’t acquires 12 fire trucks

By Bong Garcia (SunStar Philippines)

THE city government has purchased 12 brand new Isuzu fire trucks and are up for distribution to the Zamboanga City Fire District to improve emergency response.

The purchase and distribution of the fire trucks is in line with Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar’s commitment to security and public safety.

Dr. Elmeir Apolinario, City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) chief, said the 4x2 six-wheeler fire trucks have a capacity of 3,000 liters each and are all Euro 4 compliant diesel fed-machines.

Apolinario said the newly-acquire fire trucks will boost the firefighting capability as well as augment the present equipment of the ZCFD.

He added it is the mayor’s desire to undertake programs and projects that will make Zamboanga City more resilient and more progressive.

Zamboanga City gov’t to implement towing service

By Bong Garcia (SunStar Philippines)

THE City Administrator’s Office announced the arrival of two tow trucks that will pave the way for the implementation of towing services for illegally parked vehicles as provided for under Ordinance 248, otherwise known as the Revised Traffic Code of Zamboanga City.

City Administrator Angelique Go said under Section 7, Article 12 of Ordinance 248 the owners, operators and drivers of towed vehicles shall pay towing charges and storage fees for the first five kilometers or in excess or fraction thereof an additional P100 per kilometer for the three types of vehicles.

Go said light vehicles with engine displacement of zero to 1600 cubic centimeter (cc) shall pay P800 towing charge and a storage fee of P50 daily.

For medium vehicles with engine displacement of 1601 to 2800 cc shall pay P1,000 towing and storage fee of P75 per day.

Heavy vehicles with engine displacement of 2601 cc and above shall pay 1,200 towing and P100 per day storage fee.

Go said that to be towed are vehicles that are “stalled,” “illegally parked,” “attended illegally parked” and “unattended illegally parked.”

Under the guidelines on towing and impounding operation, “stalled vehicles” are those unable to proceed under its own motive power and is on a public road, street or thoroughfares and dilapidated or junked vehicles in Zamboanga City.

Zambo Peninsula Expo goes to Manila

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr. (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the Zamboanga Peninsula Exposition (ZAMPEX) is set to conquer the biggest market in the country as ZAMPEX goes to Manila.

Dr. Sitti Amina Jain, DTI regional director, said Wednesday the exposition, dubbed as “ZAMPEX sa Megamall” will be held from August 1 to 5 this year at the SM Megamall in Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.

Jain said the plan to bring ZAMPEX outside of Zamboanga Peninsula is a result of last year’s success hitting over PHP25 million in sales, the biggest in five years since its inception in 2014.

“With the record-breaking sales last year, we are now ready to go out of Zamboanga Peninsula and introduce ZAMPEX to bigger markets,” Jain said.

“Last year’s success is a result of our continuous assistance to our micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in developing their products. This just proves that they are ready for bigger markets,” Jain added.

She said this year’s ZAMPEX is special as DTI is partnering with other national line agencies and the different local government units (LGUs) of Zamboanga Peninsula that will bring the innovative products, investment, and tourism potentials of the region to Manila.

“We have partnered with the Department of Tourism-9, Department of Agriculture-9 and the different provincial and city governments in the whole region to promote Zamboanga Peninsula’s unique products and present the different investment opportunities and tourism potential to the mainstream market,” she explained.

She said a total of 115 MSME exhibitors from all over the region will be participating in this year’s edition of ZAMPEX.

Jain said the activity will feature the most innovative products of local MSMEs to date, as a result of the continuing product development conducted by DTI to make local products at par with commercial counterparts.

She said ZAMPEX will also serve as an avenue for LGUs to present investment opportunities in their area, through the help of the Board of Investment (BOI).

She said her office, in partnership with BOI, will conduct an Investment Session, where investors will be invited for business matching.

The LGUs, in partnership with DOT, will have an opportunity to promote various tourism destinations and tourism-related initiatives in their area where tourists can indulge in.

“All of these are seen to create jobs and income opportunities for the people in the peninsula,” Jain said.

Jain said ZAMPEX sa Megamall will also feature the region’s One Town-One Product (OTOP), Halal-certified products, and its colorful culture through Heritage and the Weavers’ Booth.

This year’s ZAMPEX is anchored on the theme “Innovate, Invest, Indulge”, indeed a fitting storyline for ZAMPEX sa Megamall.

High turnout seen in Zambo school-based immunization program

By R. G. Antonet Go (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The City Health Office (CHO) foresees a high turnout in this year’s School-Based Immunization (SBI) program scheduled to be held starting this month until September 30 this year.

Corazon Pagotaisidro, CHO immunization program coordinator, noted Saturday that the parents are now more aware of the importance of immunization in protecting their children from diseases.

“They are aware now because of the measles outbreak. They are concerned and they are now allowing their children to be immunized,” Pagotaisidro said.

The city government has not yet lifted the declaration of measles outbreak it issued on Feb. 9, 2018.

Dr. Dulce Miravite, CHO head, earlier said that the measles outbreak declaration can only be lifted if and when there will be no single case reported in four successive weeks.

Last year, the local health office has only managed to attained 58 percent accomplishment in its SBI program due to the Dengvaxia scare.

Pagotaisidro said they aim to immunize 95 percent of the schoolchildren enrolled in public schools, consisting of 83,321 children from kindergarten to Grade 7.

Grade 1 pupils will also be vaccinated with tetanus diphtheria while Grade 4 female students aged nine to 14 will be given Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

The SBI program aims to protect the children against tetanus and diphtheria, measles, rubella, and cervical cancer.

City eyes traffic code amendment

By Bong Garcia (SunStar Philippines)

THE City Government plans to amend several provisions of the traffic code as well as introduce new measures to address violations and impose road discipline in city streets.

City Administrator Marie Angelique Go said the Local Traffic Ordinance is undergoing a careful study, backed up by sufficient data that went through scientific processes in line with the move to amend some of its provisions.

Go said the code has to be dynamic in light of the changing times.

Go said the proposed amendments include among others the establishment of loading and unloading zones as well as terminals for both east and west coast bound vehicles.

She said that public utility routes will be properly identified according to the demand of the riding public.

She said the transport associations are to come up with storage areas as the Central Business District will merely be for roving utility vehicles.

She added that hand in hand with the proposed amendment of the traffic code are the utilization of towing vehicles which the city has purchased, modernization of tricycles, implementation of the Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP) as required by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), establishment of public parking building and strict implementation of the building code specifically the requirement for commercial establishments to provide their own parking areas depending on the size.

The city administrator is confident that most if not all of the plans will be achieved within this year until 2022.

Zambo’s LGBT community pushes for anti-discrimination ordinance

By Myra Cel Espinosa (EDT/MLE/PIA9-Zamboanga City)

ZAMBOANGA CITY (PIA) – The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community in the city is pushing for the passage of the anti-discrimination city ordinance that will empower their community to have equal rights and prohibit discrimination during a gathering held recently in Garden Orchid Hotel.

Alvin Fernandez, president of the LGBT Federation of Zamboanga City said it is high time the community should stand up. “We do not like want discrimination to remain a part of our culture,” he said.

The Zamboanga City Government under Mayor Beng Climaco meanwhile supports the aspirations of the LGBT community. It is for this reason that the City Government’s Gender and Development (GAD) unit held the gathering dubbed “Celebrating Pride, Equality, Colors and Diversity” this morning in celebration of Pride Month.

Zamboanga City Vice Mayor Rommel Agan highlighted that the city will support the LGBT community and recognized that members of this sector have talents which can contribute to the city’s development. Although there is still no law that will specifically protect the rights of the LGBT, the city ordinance will be a start in developing more concrete acceptance to the community, Agan said.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Norman Baloro of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP), one of the special guests during the forum commended the city for conducting the activity. Baloro is also a member of the LGBT community and admitted that they continue to be victims of discrimination.

All over the country, different sectors already recognize the LGBT community, giving them more opportunities to grow and be productive in their own fields. Commissioner Baloro encourages the community that the fight for anti-discrimination will be needing support from them and they need advocates to share more awareness.

He also guaranteed that the national government will give its full respect and acceptance and will give the LGBT more opportunities to access education, health, social programs.

National gov’t allots P200-M for transfer of Zambo int’l airport

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr. (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The national government has allocated PHP200 million for the transfer of the Zamboanga International Airport (ZIA) to Barangay Mercedes here.

Rep. Jose Manuel Dalipe of this city’s second district said Thursday that the PHP200-million allocation is part of the PHP2.5-billion fund to be used in acquiring properties where the airport will be relocated.

Dalipe said he already discussed with Manuel Tamayo, undersecretary for Aviation and Airports of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the utilization of the initial funding of PHP200 million for land acquisition.

“The national government has already identified the exact location where to transfer the airport. They will dialogue with the lot owners that will be purchased,” the lawmaker said.

Barangay Mercedes had long been identified as the ideal site where to transfer the airport presently located in Barangay Canelar, also in this city.

The current location of the airport is eyed to be converted into a commercial center.

Skydiving soon to be offered in Zambo

By Dominic I. Sanchez (EDT/DIS/PIA9-Zamboanga City)

ZAMBOANGA CITY (PIA) --The Southern City Colleges (SCC) School of Aviation will soon add skydiving to their services by October this year.

Other services include intensive pilot training, aerial tours, chartered flights and medical evacuation in selected destinations in the peninsula.

Edwin Caliolio, SCC president , said this school “is the first of its kind in the region”.

“With this school and its services, we are looking to promote tourism in the city and in the adjacent areas,” he said.

Moreover, Caliolio said they are looking forward to partner with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for courses on aircraft maintenance within 2 to 3 years.

The SCC School of Aviation fleet consists of 3 Cessna 172s (4-seaters), 1 Beechcraft Baron (6-seater) and 1 Cessna Citation (9-seater). A Bell Helicopter will be an addition to the fleet in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the first batch of students of the SCC School of Aviation has just began their pilot training recently with an orientation and are hopeful to earn their wings after 18 months of intensive and professional training.

The premiere aviation school in this part of the country opened its doors and unveiled its facilities, complete with a state of the art flight simulator.

Captain Frank Marvin Uy, chief ground instructor, said within 18 months, the students will undergo rigorous ground and air trainings including solo flights. After the training, they will be eligible for their commercial pilot license, and eventually apply for commercial flight pilots with high compensation and benefits.

City gov’t set village cleanliness competition

By Bong Garcia (SunStar Philippines)

THE Office of the City Environment and Natural Resources (OCENR) has finalized the village cleanliness competition set to take off sometime this month.

Public service officer Rodrigo Pagotaisidro said the competition is dubbed the Cleanest and Greenest Barangay.

Pagotaisidro said the competition is expected to be launched following the turnover of garbage truck to the villages in line with the city government’s efforts on cleanliness and sanitation.

He said the villages leaders and heads of the barangay solid waste management committees met to finalize the criteria for the competition in accordance with the city’s solid waste ordinance.

The villages will be rated according to five criteria – environmental organization, information, education, and communication (IEC), engineering, enforcement, and equity and entrepreneurship, Pagotaisidro added.

He said that environmental organization will refer to the presence of a solid waste management committee, enforces, and solid waste management cooperative.

He added the IEC aspect will involve activities which promote information for public awareness of the solid waste management implementation.

Zamboanga City drafts 10-year shelter plan

By R. G. Antonet Go (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The city government is drafting a 10-year shelter plan that seeks to address the problem on informal settlers in this southern port city.

Rodrigo Pagotaisidro, City Housing and Land Management chief, said Wednesday the local shelter plan will address the housing backlog in this city.

“Our present housing backlog is 19,000 within the seven-kilometer radius of this city,” Pagotaisidro said, referring to the number of families that own houses but are located in either government or private lots.

He said the shelter plan include provisions on land banking program, community mortgage program, land tenurial assistance program, and joint venture agreement.

Through the land banking program, he said the city government plans to purchase the land and will be transformed into socialized housing or resettlement projects. He said there are already offers by landowners in the barangays of Ayala, Boalan, and Talisayan for socialized housing.

He said the city government will tap the assistance of non-government organizations such as the Habitat for Humanity, Gawad Kalinga and International Organizations to provide shelters for families living below the poverty threshold.

“The city government will purchase the land and the NGOs will provide the shelter for them since they cannot afford to build their own house,” he added.

Globe launches 2019 Media Excellence Awards in Zambo

R. G. Antonet Go (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Globe Telecommunications announced Wednesday the holding of its 2019 Globe Media Excellence Awards (GMEA) to give recognition to journalists in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.

Krisca Tadena, Globe media relations manager, said Wednesday that GMEA, now on its 7th year, will highlight various pressing issues of today: infrastructure, transportation, and “what the media can do in influencing these discussions to create positive societal impact.”

Tadena said there will be two winners in print, two in broadcast and five in digital categories. Three special awards are also at stake.

She said the 2019 GMEA is open for journalists based in Cebu, Bacolod, and Iloilo for the Visayas area, as well as those based in the cities of Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, and Zamboanga for Mindanao region.

All entries must focus on any or a combination of the four Sustainability Focus Areas: care for the environment, innate care for our people, positive societal impact, and digital nation.

Participants must be working in newspaper firms, broadcasts, online news outlets, and an active blogger or social media account, Tadena said.

The prizes are as follows: News Report of the Year in print category, PHP35,000; Investigative Story of The Year, PHP35,000; Broadcast News Report of The Year, PHP35,000; Investigative Story For Television, PHP35,000; Investigative Story in digital category, PHP35,000; Photo Of The Year, PHP25,000; Breaking News of The Year, PHP25,000; and, Social Media Advocacy, PHP35,000.

Globe Telecommunications first launched GMEA in Cebu and Davao in 2012 as part of its advocacy in supporting press freedom by honoring media practitioners who demonstrated excellence and professionalism in their field of work.

Zamboanga City hopes Huawei can help solve crimes

By Jewel Reyes (ABS-CBN News)

ZAMBOANGA CITY - Local government officials in Zamboanga City are in high hopes crimes will be resolved faster now that it has improved its Security Surveillance Command Center with new surveillance cameras provided by Huawei Philippines.

Foreign technical experts arrived in the city to train local personnel.

Jack Zhao, Huawei Philippines senior service manager, said at least 100 surveillance cameras in high-definition are powered with an artificial intelligence system that sends an alarm to the city's command center when a crime or a vehicular accident is captured on video.

"It is intelligent, can do face recognition, and has a capability for motion detection," he explained.

Cris Mandi, a security surveillance command officer, said the command center has contributed in solving crimes in the city in the few months since it was inaugurated.

A robbery in a local department store and a vehicular accident were quickly resolved with the help of the police.

Power supply in the city, however, may become a problem, which is why the cameras Huawei Philippines provided to the city have a five-year life cycle. Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) were also provided to stabilize the power supply for the cameras as power fluctuations remain common in the city.

Allan Aizon, the city's department head for information technology, said the footage captured by the surveillance cameras will be used in the implementation of city ordinances.

The city officials welcomed Chinese experts' efforts to extend technical expertise to the command center's personnel following Huawei's dispute with the United States government on issues of spying.

The company said it remains a step ahead in providing products that will enable cities like Zamboanga City to enjoy technology and for security purposes.

The agreement with Huawei Philippines is part of the local contractor's scope of work amounting to at least P100 million, after it won the bid.

US-backed NGO recruits Zamboanga City youth for skills training program

By Roel Pareño (

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — A NGO with support from the US is recruiting out-of-school youths in the region for a skills training.

YouthWorks PH, a workforce development partnership between the United States Agency for International Development and the Philippine Business for Education, aims to enlist around 500 youth in Zamboanga City for training in food processing and in operating heavy equipment.

YouthWorks PH has partnered with technical vocational institutes and local companies in the city for the recruitment drive at KCC Mall de Zamboanga.

Around 45 training positions were opened by YouthWorks PH partners Permex Producer & Exporter Corp., Southeast Asian Canning Corp. and NY Marine Resources.

The trainees will undergo in-school training at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Regional Training Center and Advancetech International Manpower Training Center before learning on the job in YouthWorks PH partner training institutions.

"In the Zamboanga Peninsula, around three in 10 youth are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET)," said YouthWorks PH chief of party Karol Mark Yee.

Yee said YouthWorks PH is taking part in the broader effort to solve address youth unemployment the region by providing life skills and work-based training to the less fortunate youth in the city.

YouthWorks PH has so far held recruitment drives in Cagayan de Oro, Quezon City, Makati City and in Cebu. Recruitment will continue in Iloilo City and General Santos City in the coming months.

Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority shows that 27% of urban youth in the Philippines fall into the NEET category.

Figures for the Zamboanga Peninsula are much higher than the national rate, with 34% of urban youth NEET and 33.8% of rural youth NEET.

The agriculture and fisheries sector accounts for 45% of the employment in the region.

Zambo City dumpsite conversion to eco-park underway

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr. (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The local government is paving the way for the conversion of the former 4.6- hectare dumpsite into an ecological park (eco-park), an official said Thursday.

Gerry Pollisco, Office of the City Environment and Natural Resources (OCENR) division chief, said the conversion of the former dumpsite in Barangay Lumbangan will house the waste recycling facilities that will reduce plastic waste and prolong the life span of the sanitary landfill (SLF).

Pollisco said post-closure activities are now being undertaken by the City Engineer’s Office (CEO) at the dumpsite, which ceased operation in 2015.

Pollisco said the area will be converted into an eco-park that will also feature a solar farm using light material structures.

He said the park is also considered for landfill mining activities where disposed wastes will be fed to waste-to-energy (WTE) facility.

He said the landfill mining activities will not be limited to the city government but open to private entities that intend to invest in WTE projects.

The planned eco-park will be implemented as soon as post-closure activities, now between 85 to 90 percent, are complete, he added.

As post-closure activities are undergoing, Pollisco said the city-operated Material Recovery Facility (MRF) remains in operation, as residual wastes are transferred or brought to the SLF in Barangay Salaan.

Based on OCENR’s waste characterization survey, plastics compose 39 percent of the total wastes disposed at the SLF while 61 percent are biodegradable wastes, Pollisco said.

Zambo City dad to launch project ‘shoebox’

By R. G. Antonet Go

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- A City Council member here said Thursday he is launching a project that will benefit indigent elementary school students in this southern port city.

Councilor Joselito Macrohon said project "shoebox" will be launched on July 8 until August this year.

Macrohon said his office has so far collected 30 shoeboxes to be filled with school supplies and toys by donors and will be given to indigent elementary school students.

Project shoebox is envisioned to benefit some 2,000 indigent students enrolled in various elementary schools in this city.

“I urged the public, especially those who have the means to help, to support the project for the benefit of poor students,” he said.

“Through the project, we can help and encourage poor students to go to school,” he added.

Macrohon said he thought of the project after seeing during the campaign period the plight of poor students in the barangays.

He said the lack of school supplies discourages some of the elementary students to go to school.

Government sets LGBTQI activity in Zamboanga

By Bong Garcia (SunStar Philippines)

THE local government’s Gender and Development (GAD) is set to spearhead a one-day activity for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) community.

Dubbed “Celebrating Pride, Equality, Colors, and Diversity,” the activity will be held on July 3 and will be spearheaded by the GAD and the LGBT Federation of Zamboanga City.

Commissioner Norman Baloro, Supervising Commissioner for Mindanao of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, will serve as special guest.

City Hall said Thursday that the activity is intended to promote and advance the rights and equal protection of members of the LGBTQI community.

50 farmers undergo cassava processing training

By Bong Garcia (SunStar Philippines)

SOME 50 farmers from the villages of Lubigan and Dita, east of Zamboanga City, have learned value-added processing for other cassava products to diversify their livelihood.

City Agriculturist Carmencita Sanchez said they have undergone a four-day training last week organized by the United States Agency for International Development’s Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (Usaid-Surge) project and her office.

Sanchez said the training focused on alternative processing technologies in developing new cassava-based products such as food-grade cassava chips and cassava-based delicacy salvaro which are marketable in schools, offices and groceries.

Sanchez said the cassava growers also learned basic techniques in cassava processing such as grating, molding, drying, frying, and packaging.

She said that most of the participants were women who are also family members of cassava farmers in communities, and were organized into Rural Improvement Clubs.

She said that through the training, the women farmers were provided with new livelihood opportunities.

After the training, the Usaid-Surge and City Agriculturist Office will assist the growers in accessing equipment and packaging from other government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Science and Technology.

Since 2017, Lubigan and Dita growers have been supplying cassava chips as raw materials for poultry feeds to agribusiness firm San Miguel Foods, Inc., as a result of the USAID-SURGE’s technical assistance in forging a supply linkage.

However, prices of feed-grade cassava chips have been erratic due to competition from other feed substitutes as well as unstable demand from users.

This prompted the local cassava growers to start exploring alternative markets for feed-grade cassava chips or other higher value cassava-based products.

BADAC of Zambo City’s 98 barangays functional, effective

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr. (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- All of this city’s 98 barangays have passed the 2018 Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) functionality and effectiveness audit.

This was announced Friday by Isidro Cillo Jr., operations division chief of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) city office, citing that nine of the 98 earned high passing scores of 88 to 98 points.

Cillo named the top barangays and their corresponding points as Labuan, 98; Curuan, 95; Rio Hondo, 95; Malagutay, 91.50; Calabasa, 90.50; Mercedes, 90; Putik, 89; Pasonanca, 88; and Recodo, 91 points.

Cillo said the rest of the barangays received “moderate” scores ranging from 51 to 83 points.

He said barangays Lapakan and Guiwan scored 51.50 points and 51 points, respectively, the lowest among the 98 villages.

Barangay Recodo may be notorious as the most drug-affected village but “it’s BADAC is functional whose members are really working,” Cillo said.

He said the evaluation, which lasted almost two months, was in compliance with DILG-Dangerous Drugs Board Joint Memorandum Circular 2018-1 on the Implementing Guidelines on the Functionality and Effectiveness of the local Anti-Drug Abuse Councils.

Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings builds cancer center in Zambo

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr. and R. G. Antonet Go (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings, Inc (MPHHI) broke ground Monday a cancer center in this southern port city.

The multi-million facility is the first cancer center to be established by a private hospital here in the Zamboanga Peninsula or Region 9.

“We have been working on this project for some time. Some projects are easy to do. And some are not so easy. This cancer center falls under the second category. But as they say, nothing worth having ever comes easy,” said Ramon Diaz, chief executive officer of MPHHI affiliate West Metro Medical Center (West Metro), during the ground breaking ceremony.

Diaz underscored the importance of access to quality cancer treatment, and that “a cancer center in Zamboanga City and Western Mindanao is definitely worth having”.

“We want to be a hospital that brings to the community services that used to be unavailable, because truly, as our tagline says, West Metro cares,” he added.

Jose Noel Dela Paz, MPHHI Corporate Development director, said the Philippines should have 100 cancer centers citing there should be such kind of facility for every one million population.

“Since Philippines is now at almost 100 million, there should be 100 cancer centers but there are only 47 and they are mostly in the city and urban centers,” dela Paz said.

“Metro Pacific is concentrating on building cancer centers all over the country. We have four so far and this one in Zamboanga City will be our fifth,” he added.

West Metro officials noted that cancer is one of the top three killer diseases in the country, together with the ischemic heart disease and pneumonia.

Out of the almost 600,000 registered deaths in 2016, some 60,470 or 10 percent were due to cancer.

The West Metro Cancer Center is estimated to become operational by the first quarter of 2020.

“We hope to be able to reach out to more cancer patients with this cancer center and we want to strengthen a multidisciplinary approach to treatment in accordance with prevailing standards,” said Dr. April Love Malasig, West Metro Cancer Center medical director.

Specially trained health professionals will man the cancer center, including physicians, nurses, radiation technologists and medical technologists.

West Metro envisions the facility to be a comprehensive cancer center with services catering to treatment of the patient from the time of diagnosis onwards.

“We need to empower physicians on cancer screening because early detection is still the best chance for successful treatment,” Malasig said.

Zambo City to build 12 evacuation centers

By R. G. Antonet Go (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The city government is eyeing to build 12 evacuation centers to shelter displaced families in times of calamities, an official said Saturday.

Dr. Elmeir Apolinario, City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) chief, said each evacuation center is intended for a particular area since the city’s 98 barangays will be divided into 12 districts.

Apolinario said the evacuation center will be similar to a multi-purpose covered court with complete equipment and facilities such as ambulance, firetruck, dump truck, electricity, water, latrine, kitchen.

He said the city government has already appropriated some PHP20 million to initially construct four evacuation centers at PHP5 million each.

He said the construction of the evacuation centers is backed by a resolution recently approved by the disaster council.

He added the disaster council thought of constructing evacuation centers since schools are no longer allowed to be used as temporary shelters in times of calamities.

He said it is also a part of the program of Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar.

Meanwhile, he disclosed that the city government is also set to acquire 366 family tents to be used as temporary shelters of calamity victims.

Zamboanga City Government buys 2 sea ambulance

By BONG GARCIA (SunStar Philippines)

THE Zamboanga City Government has purchased two units of speedboat to serve as sea ambulance for the island villages and tourist spots in the city.

Dr. Elmeir Jade Apolinario, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) chief, said the sea ambulance will be deployed in Sta. Cruz Island and 11 Islands that are frequented by local and foreign tourists aside from the island villages.

Apolinario said each of the sea ambulance can carry a maximum of 10 persons and powered by two engines with 150 horsepower capacity each.

He said the two sea ambulance were purchased from a Manila-based firm engaged in yacht-making. Each unit costs P5 million.

One of the two units recently arrived, while the other unit is expected to be delivered in July, he added.

Apolinario said the sea ambulance will be manned by the CDRRMO with corresponding emergency medical response personnel.

The sea ambulance will be launched in July in time for the observance of the National Disaster Resiliency Month, he added.

Project Hope launched in Zamboanga City

By Bong Garcia (SunStar Philippines)

THE city and concerned agencies of government on Thursday, June 20, unveiled Project Hope to provide alternative livelihood to canning factories in Zamboanga City.

Project Hope which stands for Helping Others Prosper Economically seeks to address the gap and help canning factory workers survive the fishing ban from December to March by engaging in agricultural farming.

Its implementation is in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment, Zamboanga Economic Zone and Freeport Authority, canning factories and other agencies.

Lawyer Eric Elias, city caretaker and officer-in-charge, graced the unveiling of the project and committed the City’s support through the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, City Agriculturist Office and City Social Welfare and Development Office.

Elias said Project Hope intends to benefit some 5,000 canning factory workers.

He said through Hope, affected workers now have an alternate source of income until the resumption of operations at the sardine and canning factories.

City gov’t to commemorate ‘Chavacano’ Foundation Day

By Bong Garcia (SunStar Philippines)

THE local government will observe on Sunday, June 23, the 8th founding anniversary of the Chavacano language.

The Dia de Fundacion de Chavacano (Chavacano Foundation Day) is an annual celebration spearheaded to honor, preserve, and promote the use of the Chavacano language pursuant to City Ordinance 374.

Lawyer Eric Elias, city caretaker and officer-in-charge, said this year’s celebration will kick off with a commemorative program on Sunday morning, June 23, at the KCC Mall de Zamboanga.

Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar will lead the commemorative program. She will be joined by the other local government officials.

Elias said the commemorative program will be followed by the 3rd Inter-School Chavacano Quiz Bee competition which will be participated in by elementary, junior, and senior high school students.

Chavacano, a Spanish derivative language which traces its beginnings back to June 23, 1635 when the cornerstone of the Fuerza de San Jose, now more popularly known as Fort Pilar, was laid down. (Bong Garcia/SunStar Philippines)

Zamboanga Peninsula taxes paid at BoC port


ZAMBOANGA CITY: With the signing of an adminstrative order by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd and Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, the provinces of Zamboanga Peninsula now pay duties and taxes at the Bureau of Customs (BoC) port here.

Before this, Zamboanga City BoC district collector Segundo Barte said the Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9) provinces — Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Sur, and their component cities of Dipolog, Pagadian and Dapitan — were paying duties and taxes to Misamis Occidental in Ozamiz City, which geographically belongs to Northern Mindanao (Region 10).

This unusual set-up prompted Barte to appeal to higher authorities to take the appropriate action to correct the uncommon arrangement.

He said the provinces and cities in Region 9 should instead remit their duties and taxes to Zamboanga City port, where they are geographically located.

Barte said with the generous assistance given to the port of Zamboanga, local employees “pledged to doubly improve their performance.”

“The best is yet to come for our city port, which is expecting a P3 to P5 billion collection this year from oil, cement, gas companies and oil depots from the entire Zanboanga Peninsula,” he added.

According to him, more investors are expected to come to Region 9 “as confidence in bringing in money to the area is heightened.”

The Zamboanga port, Barte said, was tasked “to collect close to P430 million this year.”

CDRRMO holds disaster preparedness seminar

By Bong Garcia (SunStar Philippines)

THE Zamboanga City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) continuously undertakes disaster management training for the different sectors as part of its thrust on disaster preparedness.

Dr. Elmeir Jade Apolinario, CDRRMO chief, said the latest training on Disaster Preparedness Seminar on Earthquakes they conducted was on Tuesday, June 18, with participants coming from the cross section of this city.

Apolinario said the training was conducted in one of the local hotels in partnership with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology and Bureau of Fire Protection.

He said the training is in preparation for the 2nd Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) set on Thursday, June 20.

Apolinario enjoined all sectors to actively participate in the citywide NSED and share in the advocacy on disaster risk reduction.

He requested participants in the NSED to document and upload participation online and tag Zcdrrmo Zamboangacity in photos or videos for record purposes.

Zamboanga City joins birth anniversary fete of Rizal

By Bong Garcia (SunStar Philippines)

THE Zamboanga City Government in collaboration with the local chapter of the Order of the Knights of Rizal will lead the activities Wednesday, June 19, commemorating the 159th birth anniversary of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal.

The commemoration activity will be held at the Rizal Monument in front of the century-old City Hall.

Lawyer Alexander Eric Elias, city caretaker and officer-in-charge, will lead the officials of local and national government agencies, non-government organizations, academe, police and military during the activity.

The event will kick off at 8 a.m. with the flag-raising ceremony to be followed by the floral offering at the foot of the Rizal monument.

Domingo Falcasantos, Knights of Rizal-Western Mindanao Area commander, will give the opening remarks while the Zamboanga City High School-main choir will provide musical interlude.

Elias will give the inspirational message on behalf of Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar.

Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado y Realonda was born on June 19, 1861, “whose influential works including his novels “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo,” sparked the Filipino revolution against the Spaniards.”

Historical records say that “because of his novels and other writings, he was exiled to Dapitan in Mindanao and executed on December 30, 1896 in Bagumbayan, now known as Luneta Park in Manila.

Main ceremony marking Rizal’s birthday Wednesday will be held in Calamba, Laguna, his birthplace, with top national officials keynoting the activity.

DOLE to conduct survey on child labor in Region 9

By R. G. Antonet Go(PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The Department of Labor and Employment in Region 9 (DOLE-9) will conduct a survey on child labor to determine what assistance the government can provide them.

Ofelia Domingo, DOLE regional director, said Friday the nationwide survey will commence in July and ends in December this year.

Domingo said the survey aims to target 7,000 child laborers in the region who could receive government assistance that includes free education.

She described child laborers as those working children below 18 years old employed especially in hazardous environment such as mining.

She said the Child Labor Survey will be undertaken by community facilitators and encoders with the help of workers under the Government Internship Program (GIP).

Alsons Power-Hidilyn Diaz program adds 10 scholars

By R. G. Antonet Go (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Ten promising weightlifters have been added to the roster of scholars of Alsons Power-Hidilyn Diaz Power scholarship program.

Oscar Benedict Contreras III, Alson Power Corporate Communication head, named the new scholars as Princess Jay Ann Diaz; Jodie Peralta; Alexandra Ann Diaz; Hilary Diaz; Jeaneth Hipolito; Angelica Garcia; Ellamae Lozada; Angel Locson; Prince Mango Tarro; and, Kirby Kent Alas-as.

Contreras told the Philippine News Agency Saturday that the new scholars were screened by a three-man panel, the members of which are 2016 Rio Olympic Weightlifting Silver Medalist Hidilyn Diaz, Councilor Elbert Atilano, and Weightlifting Coach Allen Jayfrus Diaz.

Contreras said each of them will receive an annual stipend of PHP40,000 to buy school supplies and for transportation and food allowance.

“All they have to do is to train, compete, and pass all the school requirements,” he said, citing that scholars do not need to maintain certain percentage academic rating.

He said the scholarship program is part of the Alsons Power Group Corporate Social Responsibility and to encourage athletes who are potential weightlifting champions.

“They are the future Olympians of the country. We are steadfast in our support in Zamboanga City not only by providing power but also by helping the future of our city, the future Olympic gold medalist. This is a testament to our support for Zamboanga and our country,” Contreras said.

Atilano thanked Alsons Power Company for its support to the scholarship program, which was launched in 2017 and is the brainchild of Atilano in honor of the Rio Olympics silver medalist.

Atilano was once a weightlifting athlete of this city and has served as coach of Diaz.

Meanwhile, Diaz advised the scholars to do their best in school and in weightlifting competition.

“Dream high, study and train well if you want to be an Olympian,” Diaz told the scholars.

Dr. Cecile Atilano, city sports development officer, reminded the weightlifters to also focus on education as their strength is not permanent.

“I will not only commit myself to do good in weightlifting but also in my education in preparation for my future,” Alas-as, one of the 10 new scholars, Atilano.

The addition of the 10 weightlifters has brought to 15 the total scholars since the Alsons Power-Hidilyn Diaz Power Scholarship Program was launched in 2017.

Zambo state college buys 2 robots for tech students

By R. G. Antonet Go (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY --The Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College (ZCSPC) has purchased two robots to boost technological knowledge of engineering and technology students.

Rommel Guillermo, ZCSPC dean of College of Engineering and Technology, said Thursday one of the acquired robots is Humanoid Robot Nao Next Gen worth PHP1.9 million and the other is VEX EDR 10, priced at PHP1 million.

Guillermo said the humanoid robot is being used in international schools and has the capability to talk, dance, and is fully programmable.

Guillermo said the VEX EDR robot is mostly being used in the industries.

He said the two robots will be used by the students taking up courses in Information Technology, Computer Technology, Electronic Technology, and Engineering, as well as Grades 11 and 12 students enrolled in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

“These robots that we have acquired will develop the skills of our students from programming to simulation,” he said.

He said teachers have been trained on handling the robots, including their maintenance.

Zambo schools ready for June 3 class opening

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr. (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- All local public elementary and secondary schools are ready for the opening of classes on Monday amid a shortage of some 900 teachers.

Dr. Romy Felix Triambulo, City Schools Division superintendent, said Thursday this city is in need of some 934 teachers -- 280 teachers for kindergarten to Grade 6; 542 for Junior High Schools; and 112 for Senior High Schools.

Triambulo said 223,922 students are expected to troop to public schools on June 3 based on the recorded early enrolment conducted from January until February this year.

Of the total figure, Triambulo said that 22,610 enrolled in kindergarten; 121,718, elementary (Grade 1 to 6); 67,916, Junior High School; and, 11,678, Senior High School.

He said the number of public school teachers totaled 7,732 only, and that the city would be needing 934 new teachers this year based on planning analysis.

He said a request for additional teachers last year was not granted by the central office of the Department of Education (DepEd).

Triambulo said he hopes his request for additional teachers would be granted this year.

PRO-Zamboanga Peninsula has new director

By Bong Garcia (SunStar Philippines)

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has assigned a graduate of the PNP Academy (PNPA) to head the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Zamboanga Peninsula.

Installed on Wednesday, May 29, as the new PRO-Zamboanga Peninsula director is Police Brigadier General Froilan Flores Quidilla, a graduate of PNPA Tagapagtangol Class of 1987.

Quidilla replaced Police Brigadier General Emmanuel Luis Licup, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Hinirang Class of 1987.

Police Major General Daniel Macatlang, Jr., Directorate for Integrated Police Operation-Western Mindanao director, presided the turnover of command ceremony held at the multi-purpose hall of Camp Colonel Romeo Abendan, Zamboanga City.

Quidilla expressed his gratitude and great appreciation to Licup for laying the ground works in advancing the mission and vision of the PNP in making Zamboanga Peninsula a better place to live, work and do business.

“As I accept the flag and colors of PRO-Zamboanga Peninsula, the symbol of authority – I will be one with all of you in the continuance of the good service my predecessor has laid and we will continue the good legacy for the benefit of the people of Region 9,” Quidilla said.

Licup has thanked the men and women of PRO-Zamboanga Peninsula for the support they have extended during his stint as regional director.

“Our accomplishments would not have been possible if not for everyone doing their part and performing to the best of their abilities and responsibilities. The most notable and most recent of these achievements is that we were successful in carrying out our security operations during the recently concluded national and local elections. I am also proud to say that during my stint, we have no cases of kidnapping in the region and we held our own in the campaign against illegal drugs,” Licup said.

Licup, who has served as PRO-Zamboanga Peninsula director for eight months, was reassigned to the PNP national headquarters as the Acting Deputy Director of Directorate for Personnel and Records Management.

Quidilla, prior to his assignment here, has served as the deputy regional director for administration of PRO-Mimaropa.

The new assignments of two senior officers have been approved by Police General Oscar Albayalde, PNP director, upon the recommendations of the Senior Officers Placement and Promotion Board.

Two more years for Zamboanga City full recovery from 2013 siege — local officials

By Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Dante Amento)

Local officials in Zamboanga City said it will take two years for the full recovery of Zamboanga City after the 2013 siege.

There are still over 1,000 unfinished housing for the victims. Local officials said there was difficulty in getting land which delayed construction.

According to Rodrigo Pagotaisidro, Officer-in-charge, Housing and Land Management Division, full recovery in Zamboanga city would take two more years.

“In the next two years it has to be completed not only the housing construction but also the power, water, the sewer, and the footbridges,” he said.

Among the unfinished projects under the Zamboanga City Road Map include the reconstruction and recovery of the bridge in Barangay Rio Hondo.

“All wooden footbridges needing immediate repair has been recommended for repair or rehabilitation by converting to more permanent and concrete footbridges,” Pagotaisidro adds.

Based on the data of the city government there are 6,341 fully constructed housing, 5,112 were already turned over to the beneficiaries while 1,229 are still under construction.

Zambo City joins National Flag Day celebration

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr. (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY --The City of Zamboanga will join the nation in the observance of the 121st National Flag Day on Tuesday, May 28.

A flag-raising ceremony will be held at 7 a.m. Tuesday at Plaza Rizal, spearheaded by the Knights of Columbus in coordination with the city government, to officially kick off and celebrate the Flag Day.

City Administrator Marie Angelique Go said Monday that the observance will serve as an encouragement for residents to exercise patriotism and love for country.

“The National Flag Day will be celebrated all throughout the country on May 28 through various activities that raise awareness about patriotism,” Go said.

The National Flag Day commemorates the day when the Philippine flag was first raised after the victory in the Battle of Alapan in 1898, wherein Filipino revolutionaries led by General Emilio Aguinaldo defeated Spanish troops to recapture the province of Cavite.

The commemoration of the Flag Day was further extended with Executive Order 173, signed by former President Fidel Ramos, which set the observance from May 28 to June 12.

TESDA, Zambo City partner to implement free education

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is partnering with the local government in the implementation of Republic Act 10931 for the best interest of the youth sector.

RA10931, or the Unified Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, institutionalizes free tuition and exemption from other fees in state universities and colleges, local universities and colleges in the country.

Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar and Dr. Vincent Aljon Cifra, TESDA regional director, met Thursday and discussed measures, such as how the local government and TESDA can work together to implement the program in this city.

Salazar said Saturday Cifra informed her that the national government has allocated PHP445 million for the Zamboanga Peninsula with 10,700 slots to cover.

She said that a total of 3,750 slots have been approved so far, based on the record of the TESDA regional office through the implementation of RA 10931.

The law requires the involvement of state-run technical vocational institutions, State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs).

Zambo City earns high rating on child protection

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr. (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The Local Council for the Protection of Children (LCPC) has attained the highest level of functionality for 2018.

Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has recently informed her, through a letter, that the city's LCPC has attained the ideal level of functionality which is the highest, with an equivalent rating of 103 percent.

Salazar chairs the LCPC.

The rating earned in 2018 is 1 percent higher than the city’s LCPC 102-percent rating in 2017.

Salazar said Friday that the rating was a result of the evaluation and assessment conducted by the Regional Inter-Agency Monitoring Task Force (RIMTF) team last April 2.

She said local government units (LGUs) are encouraged to organize their respective LCPCs as mandated under the law, based on DILG Memorandum 2002-121.

The LCPC is responsible for planning and spearheading programs for children in the locality with the end in view of making it child-friendly.

She said the need to make the LCPC functional is crucial to sustain national efforts in the localization of the National Strategic Framework for Plan Development for Children.

Construction of Zambo command control center to start in June

By R. G. Antonet Go (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The construction of the Command Control Center that would house under one roof the first responders, including security, is set to start next month.

Dr. Elmeir Jade Apolinario, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) chief, said Wednesday that the center will be built at the city government-owned lot in Barangay Cabatangan.

Apolinario said the city government has allocated PHP100 million to construct the center that will house the police, military and intelligence network; monitoring center of the closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras; and Disaster Risk Reduction Management Offices including its equipment.

Apolinario said the Command and Control Center will strengthen coordination among security and disaster response stakeholders.

“With the office in place, there will be an avenue for better coordination between police, military, and other responders for a good Disaster Risk Reduction Management communication and response,” he said.

He said the center will be constructed by a locally-based private construction firm and set to be completed in one year.

DA sets 3-day reg’l agri-fishery fair in Zambo City

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr. (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) is holding a three-day Regional Agri-Aqua Fair to promote the products of farmers, fisher folks and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) here in the region.

The three-day activity will kick off Friday and ends Sunday and will be held at the third-floor conference hall of KCC Mall de Zamboanga.

Yvette Avellaneda, DA regional information officer, said Thursday AgriVenta aims to promote the region’s agri-fishery top commodities to the general public.

Avellaneda said it also aims to develop local farmers, fishers and MSME’s capacity to optimize market links and agribusiness investment opportunities. It also seeks to build strong partnership and convergence with other government agencies and increase market development support services to private sector industry groups, she added.

The three-day activity is spearheaded by the DA in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other private sector industry groups.

Zambo cops join Brigada Eskwela

By Teofilo Garcia, Jr. (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The Police Regional Office 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) has tasked at least 700 uniformed and non-uniformed personnel to join the “Brigada Eskwela” program of the Department of Education (DepEd).

This, as the week-long Brigada Eskwela or the National Schools Maintenance Week, kicked off across the country on Monday. The activity ends Saturday.

The Brigada Eskwela brings together all education stakeholders to participate and contribute their time, effort, and resources to prepare public school facilities for the opening of the new academic year in June.

Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Luis Licup, PRO-9 director, said Tuesday the participation of policemen in Brigada Eskwela activities across the region is part of the organization's contribution to community service in areas where they serve, aside from rendering security duties.

Licup said some of the policemen were tasked to repair and repaint classrooms; fix dilapidated desks, chairs, and tables; cut overgrown grasses; and clean the school premises, among others.

This year’s Brigada Eskwela, he said, is a challenge, mainly because of the mess left during last week’s mid-term elections in public schools that were used as polling precincts.

In this city, personnel of the Zamboanga City Police Office, headed by Col. Thomas Joseph Martir, joined the kick-off parade and program at about 7:30 a.m. Monday.

They then joined the cleanup during the Brigada Eskwela activity held at the Maria Clara Lobregat National High School in Barangay Divisoria.

This year’s Brigada Eskwela is anchored on the theme, “Matatag na Bayan Para sa Maunlad na Paaralan”.

Meanwhile, Licup said they have already designed plans and program for the deployment of policemen in all public schools to ensure a secure and orderly opening of classes in the region on June 3.

2nd batch of SPES starts work

By Bong Garcia (SunStar Philippines)

THE second batch of the Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) officially commenced Monday, May 20, with 1,400 beneficiaries.

Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar led the orientation program at the Mayor Agan Coliseum with words of encouragement for the SPES beneficiaries which is composed of college students.

Socorro Rojas, City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) chief, said the second SPES batch will also have a 20-day work period, performing work and responsibilities in different villages and local government offices.

Meanwhile, Rojas said the first SPES batch will be wrapping up on May 27.

Composed of high school students, Rojas said the first batch has a total of 1,366 beneficiaries who began the SPES program on April 23.

The SPES program is jointly undertaken by the city government and the Department of Labor and Employment.

Rojas said the city government will shoulder the full costs of the salaries of the second SPES batch beneficiaries, which is set at P503.09 per day for a total income of P10,061.80 for 20 days.

Zambo water firm eyes negotiated contract for cloud seeding

By R. G. Antonet Go (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) is planning to enter into a negotiated contract for the cloud seeding operations here, which were aimed at inducing rainfall and cushion the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

Engineer Marli de Fiesta, ZCWD department manager for engineering and construction, said Monday they came up with the plan after two bidding processes failed for lack of participants.

De Fiesta said the contractors may have failed to participate in the biddings here since they are preoccupied with the conduct of cloud seeding operations in Luzon and the Visayas.

A total of PHP2.5 million has been allocated for the cloud seeding operations.

Of the amount, the ZCWD has allocated PHP1 million; Prime Water, PHP1 million; and the city government, PHP500,000.

De Fiesta said the water level at the diversion dam remains below the 74.20-meter normal level, prompting the ZCWD to impose water rationing.

The ZCWD started implementing water rationing since January, this year. The first schedule was 12 hours with available water supply, which was later shortened to six hours, and then to nine hours.

De Fiesta said the water rationing will continue since the dry spell will last up to August, according to the weather bureau.

2nd batch of SPES start work May 20

By Bong Garcia (SunStar Philippines)

THE second batch of students hired under the Summer Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) will start working with the Zamboanga City Government on Monday, May 20.

Socorro Rojas, City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) chief, said the second batch of SPES beneficiaries, composed of 1,400 college students, will work for a period of 20 days with a rate of P503.09 per day for a total income of P10,061.80.

Rojas, also the Public Employment Service Office (Peso) manager, said the orientation for the second batch will be on Monday, May 20 starting at 8 a.m. at the Mayor Vitaliano Agan Coliseum in Tetuan village.

Rojas said the first batch, composed of 1,366 high school students, started working on April 23 and will end on Monday, May 20.

She added that the same rate will be paid to the first batch beneficiaries.

The SPES program is jointly undertaken by the city government and the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) with a 60-40 percent sharing in the payment of salaries.

The city has initially allocated P16 million for the program.

Rojas said that the salaries for the second batch will be shouldered entirely by the city government, as the Dole has decreased its SPES budget this year.

May 13 mid-term poll winners in Zambo City proclaimed

By R. G. Antonet Go (PNA)

ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Reelectionist Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, her running mate, and majority of the council aspirants in the “Team Climaco” have been proclaimed as “winners” in the May 13 mid-term polls.

Five of the “Team Climaco’s” council aspirants won in the first district while four in the second district. The rest of the winners belongs to the “Red Team” or “Team Lobregat”.

Salazar and her party mates were proclaimed late Thursday by the City Board of Canvassers (CBOC) headed by Lawyer Jan Christian Babiera, second district election officer.

Salazar has been re-elected mayor on her third term of office as she garnered 140,362 votes against her closest rival, First District Rep. Celso Lobregat, with 107,621 votes. There were five candidates for mayor.

Salazar’s running mate, Lawyer and Councilor Rommel Agan, won in the vice mayoralty race with 104,976 votes while his closest rival, lawyer and former City councilor Melchor Rey Sadain, acquired 97,545 votes. Three candidates have ran for vice mayor.

The winners for city councilors in the first district and the votes they garnered were as follows: Councilor Josephine Pareja, 75,546; Councilor Elbert Atilano 61,638; Ayala Barangay Councilor Khymer Olaso 54,644; Councilor Joselito Macrohon, 54,050; former Councilor Rogelio Valesco, 52,516; Councilor Cesar Jimenez, 50,673; former priest Crisanto Dela Cruz, 50,558; and, Calarian Barangay Chairperson El King Omaga, 47,240. Olaso, Macrohon, and Valesco belong to the “Team Lobregat.”

The winners in the second district and the votes they acquired were the following: Tetuan Barangay Chairperson John Dalipe, 85,745; Councilor Benjamin Guingona IV, 66,819; Councilor Juan Climaco Elago II, 64,548; Councilor Lilibeth Nuño, 60,819; Councilor Miguel Alavar III, 60,430; Councilor Al-Jihan Edding, 59,798; Councilor Jimmy Villaflores, 58,341; and, former Councilor Vincent Paul Elago, 50,603.

Guingona, Nuño, Alavar, and Vincent Paul Elago ran under the “Team Lobregat.”

Salazar vowed to strengthen her program on security, health, and education.

The winning candidates have expressed their gratitude to the local electorates for their support in the mid-term polls.

City gov’t undertakes P27-M projects

By BONG GARCIA (SunStar Philippines)

THE local government will soon unveil the newly constructed covered sheds and pathways amounting to P27 million in Zamboanga City.

Engineer Christopher Navarro, head of the City Engineer’s Office, said the construction of the covered sheds in the city proper is being undertaken by Everlast Construction in the total amount of P26,948,070.

Navarro said that the covered walk project covers 2,465 linear meters.

Navarro said it includes supply and installation of plants, garden soil, concrete flower pots, and installation of 433 sets of Light-Emitting Diode (LED) fluorescent fixtures.

He said that another ongoing project is the development of center islands on R.T. Lim Boulevard amounting to P16,540,110.15, which is being undertaken by Altos Construction.

He said that improvement of Paseo del Mar is likewise being undertaken by Everlast Construction in the amount of P45,574,889.00.

The improvement project includes a mini skate park, roadway and sidewalk, trench drain, circular seats, site development, children’s playground, softscape, electrical works and construction of power house.

Navarro said the Y.N. Builders and Supply is currently undertaking the development of parks and gardens project worth P5,233,949.64, which includes the construction of a stage at Paseo del Mar.

Water system project for Zamboanga siege victims starts

By BONG GARCIA (SunStar Philippines)

LAYING of pipes for the water system project in areas affected by the 2013 siege in Zamboanga City has commenced first week of May.

Undertaken by a private contractor under the supervision of the Zamboanga City Water District and the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), the project is worth P95 million and will cover the villages of Sta. Barbara, Sta. Catalina, Kasanyangan, Rio Hondo and Mariki.

Dr. Elmeir Apolinario, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) chief, said the contractor started the water pipe laying May 4 and as of May 15, there are already 13 pipes installed in Ayer Village in Sta. Barbara.

Apolinario said the pipe laying forms part of the P291.032 million water and sewer system with pipe support and the P189.991 million sewerage treatment plant that broke ground last March 8.

Apolinario said the water and sewer system project is awarded to Verzontal Builders Inc. and involves water supply and sewer pipe laying, construction of booster station and installation of service connections.

He said it will cover the villages of Mariki, Rio Hondo and Kasanyangan. The project is expected to be completed in April 2020.

He said the sewerage treatment plant project, on the other hand, is awarded to Mactan Rock Industries Company and involves the procurement for the design, build and testing of 1,500 and 2,000 cubic meter per day sewage treatment plants.

He said the construction is expected to be completed in May 2020.

Apolinario said the project fund in the amount of P527 million was downloaded from the national government to LWUA in 2015 but implementation of the project was delayed due to several failed biddings.

Zamboanga City Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.