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  • AboitizPower geothermal unit earns ISO certification for Asset Management

    AboitizPower geothermal unit earns ISO certification for Asset Management

    AboitizPower subsidiary AP Renewables, Inc. (APRI) earned its Asset Management System certification with zero non-conformance, covering the widely recognized and adopted ISO 55001:2014 standard. The certification audit, which was recently conducted by DQS Certification Philippines Inc., covered both APRI’s Tiwi and MakBan geothermal power plants in Albay and on the border of Laguna and Batangas provinces, respectively. APRI President and Chief Operating Officer Alexander B. Coo said that the certification is a reflection of the company’s continuous efforts to optimize the life cycle of its electricity generating assets. “The Asset Management System ensures that we are able to balance costs, opportunities, and risks related to our assets to achieve our organizational objectives,” Coo added. During the awarding of the certificates last June 10, DQS Philippines Managing Director Romeo Zamora revealed a secret behind APRI's success and gave kudos to APRI employees for this feat. He said, “If not for the teamwork and support of all the employees of APRI, the certification could have not materialized.” APRI is also certified for the Integrated Management System that includes the 2015 version of ISO 9001 (Quality) and ISO 14001 (Environment), and the 2007 version of OSHAS 18001 (Health and Safety). The company is one of the leading producers of clean and renewable energy in the Philippines, generating baseload power from its geothermal facilities.  

    June 13, 2019

  • Ikatlong Tanghalan sa KampoJuan: IN-BETWEEN Chris Gomez and his Art

    Ikatlong Tanghalan sa KampoJuan: IN-BETWEEN Chris Gomez and his Art

    One of the things I’ll always remember from the recent Tanghalan sa KampoJuan is a friend’s solo exhibit at the newly opened Galleria de Socorro. Named after Dame Socorro Coring Acosta, former city mayor of Manolo Fortich and First District Representative of Bukidnon, it was billed as a Sustainable Design exhibit of our good friend Chris Gomez, a multidisciplinary creative and advocate showcasing his artworks and artistry through his paintings, and creative designs in furniture, fashion and accessories. Chris is a multi-awarded artist and designer whose accolades include the 2014 Look of Style Awards by the British Council; Grand Prize (Water based Category) in the 2012 Metrobank Art and Design Excellence Awards and finalist in the 2011 National Philippine Art Awards. He also became a finalist at the China ASEAN Youth Artwork Creativity Contest in 2008 at Nanning, China before finally bagging the Award of Excellence in 2016. The artists explained to us the IN-BETWEEN of this particular exhibit: “In my travels from one place to another as designer for communities and enterprises, my constant companion has always been my artist self.” “Yes, the bare essential self, equipped with my childhood medium, the pencil, a quick eye and a bag of memories.” “Nothing is too small or mundane; I process everything with the combined mind of a man-child to create studies, drawings, and works final or in progress.”  “These works serve as pit stops or in-betweens in a hectic designer life of meetings, client assessments, and deadlines.” As one of the most sought after designers not only in the region but from all over the country as well, Chris considers his work as the connection between his art and his family. “My art also serves as fulcrum between a day job and my family. It connects the two in a very organic way, a sort of translation device.” “For me, design is always answering the question “is this product good for my family?” “The drawings for In-Between are additions to my childhood-themed series which started with Filipino handmade toys and now continuing with images of children.” “Having three children today has connected me more to the child I was before, fearlessly and innocently drawing in between studies, chores and games.” You can still catch Chris Gomez’s IN-BETWEEN Solo Art Show at Galleria de Socorro, Kampo Juan Resort until 25 June 2019. Please contact Laclac Bongcawelat 09551539105 or email  Mindanao Daily and BusinessWeek Mindanao are proud Media Partners of Tanghalan sa KampoJuan.

    June 11, 2019

  • Himugso Festival Heritage Feature, Birthing A City: La Casa del Chino Ygua, the oldest house in Cagayan de Oro

    Himugso Festival Heritage Feature, Birthing A City: La Casa del Chino Ygua, the oldest house in Cagayan de Oro

    At the corner of Don Apolinar Velez and Archbishop Santiago Hayes streets stands an unimposing two story brick building which has withstood ravages of time, the Philippine Revolution, the Filipino-American War, and World War II. It’s perhaps unfortunate how today, despite the quantum gains made by modern communications, few of Cagayan de Oro City’s growing populace are aware it’s now the city’s oldest surviving residence and has quite a history behind it. Known to local history buffs as La Casa del Chino Ygua*, it has been recognized as a historically significant structure by the National Historical Institute of the Philippines, as confirmed by the NHI marker installed there in April 7, 2000, the Centennial of the Battle of Cagayan, also known as Siete de Abril. According to local historian Antonio Julian Roa Montalvan II, the house was built by Sia Ygua, a resident of Amoy (present day Xiamen) a city in the province of Fukien (now Fujian). Ygua is recorded as the earliest Chinese to have settled in Cagayan. While Amoy was an exit port, most of the Chinese who migrated outside the region came from the Yueyang and Fujian but Ygua was really a native of Amoy. (Montalvan, 2004) In a manuscript transcribed from Sia family records by Johnson L. Sia, a 4th generation descendant of Ygua, he writes how his great grandfather arrived in Cagayan de Misamis (as Cagayan de Oro was then known) in 1854 and opened his business in 1857. Named “Tong Joo” after his second son, it was a typical trading post that dealt in indigenous products like copra, tobacco, abaca and the like. The business prospered and soon expanded to the nearby towns. In time it became one of the largest business establishments in the area (Sia, 2004) According to a short account of the house written by the late Fr. Francisco Demetrio, S.J. in his publication Cagayan (1971), Ygua became friends with the Recollect priests of the nearby San Agustin church. Due to his industry, and the help given him by the fathers, he gradually amassed a fortune. Like most Chinese who settled in Cagayan, he took active part in civic and public life. He was known for his good heartedness. It is said that when he died, practically everyone in Cagayan wore black in mourning (Demetrio, 1971). Ygua built his residence in 1882 at a time when the running conflicts between Moros in Sulu and Cotabato and the Spanish regime in Mindanao and the Visayas was beginning to affect his business. To better secure himself and his trade, Ygua had his house built of sturdy brick and stone which were shipped from Amoy (along with the builders) by Chinese junks in two boatloads. The original house was a two-storey structure constructed on an irregular shaped 2,000 square meter lot. It was located on the corner of what today is Archbishop Santiago Hayes (formerly Victoria) and Don Apolinar Velez (formerly Calle del Mar) streets, and extended all the way to Pabayo street.    The house had a floor area of 600 square meters and was built of brick and stone. In addition, its posts, beams, floors, door, and window jambs were sourced from two large old Molave trees. Alternating planks of 1” x 8” Molave and Balayon wood were used for the floor, while the roof was also made of bricks and stone. (Sia, 2004). In his account Johnston L. Sia claims La Casa del China Ygua was the first brick house in town, but according to Fr. Demetrio, it was the second ‘balay nga bato’(house of stone) in Cagayan, as houses made of brick and stone (which were status symbols then as they are now) were then known. “There were many houses of stone in old Cagayan, so we are not sure if the Sia house was the first. An old house in Burgos yielded 1800s adobe stones and bricks. In fact, nearby the Sia house, just across actually (the empty lot on the corner across it) used to be a big house of stone belonging to Consolacion Roa y Cases Abejuela,” Dr. Montalvan commented.   “Barring any hard evidence, we should deviate from the qualifier first.” The house is now not only the oldest surviving residence in Cagayan de Oro, but also holds an honored place in the country’s history. The NHI marker installed on its Hayes street side recounts how on January 10, 1899, patriotic Kagay-anons celebrated independence through a Fiesta Nacional as a sign of support for the Philippine revolutionary government headed by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo.  They gathered in front of Ygua’s house, marched around the poblacion playing music, made speeches at the Casa Real (the governor’s residence), fired cannons and raised the Philippine Flag for only the second time in Mindanao. (Montalvan, 2002) On April 7, 1900, Filipino revolucionarios of the Mindanao Battalion led by Gen. Nicolas Capistrano attacked the American garrison of the 40th Infantry Regiment, U.S. Volunteers near present day Gaston Park in the Battle of Cagayan. However, they suffered many casualties (U.S. records show 52 Filipinos killed, Filipino archives say 200) and were eventually beaten back by the American’s superior firepower. (ibid.) The remains of many fatalities were buried in the backyard of Ygua’s house. To appease the souls and spare the inhabitants from being disturbed, Ygua turned their burial place into a temporary cockpit. The blood from the fighting cocks was believed to appease the restless souls. Until 1971, candles were lighted along the house in memory of the dead soldiers during All Souls Day. (Demetrio, 1971)   When Sia Ygua passed away in Manila, his businesses were left to his managers. In time, two of his sons and a daughter came to the Philippines. The daughter, Sia Hong Moi, married a Manileño and stayed in the capital.  The sons, Sia Simeon Velez and Sia Tong Joo, came to Cagayan de Misamis and eventually took over his businesses. In 1936, Sia Simeon Velez and Sia Tong Joodivided the family property, and the brick house came into the possession of Sia Tong Joo. Sia Tong Joo married Lu Oh O and has six children who stayed in Cagayan: three sons (Sia Bon Din, Sia Bon Suan and Sia Bon Hiok) and three daughters (Sia Pian Tin, Sia Chay Oan and Sia Chay Pin).  They lived in the brick house, and even after the children had grown and had families of their own, the house remained as the center of family activities, being the venue for family gatherings and reunions during festivals like the Chinese New Year. The house suffered extensive damage during World War II. After the war, Sia Tong Joo renovated the house. Because of the shortage of materials, the roof had to be patched using nipa and the walls replaced by talisayan wood. Through these measures the house was given a semblance of its former appearance.  The first major renovation of the house was undertaken in 1948. The damaged bricks were replaced by cement while plywood and asbestos were used for the walls. The 1” x 8” planks were however so sturdy they remained intact. @ Sia Tong Joo left for China in 1948, but his wife and children remained in Cagayan. Eventually, the son Sia Bon Din left and engaged in business in Talakag, Bukidnon and his other son Sia Bon Hiok left for Hong Kong. Meanwhile, his three daughters got married and moved out as well. The house thus eventually passed on to Sia Bon Suan.   Sia Bon Suan married Betty Lim Siok Oan, and had 13 children: six sons (William, Henry, John, Augustin, Benjamin and Peter) and seven daughters (Ana, Corazon, Mely, Mary, Helen, Teresita and Shirley).  Sia Bon Suan and his wife passed away in 1981 and 1975, respectively, and in due time his properties were divided among his children. The brick house was passed on to his fifth son, Dr. Benjamin Sia.  The house was renovated for the second time in 1993 by Dr. Sia to how it looks today.  It has been  over a century and half since Sia Ygua came to the Philippines. His descendants have spanned five generations and have been completely assimilated into Philippine society. More than 200 descendants live all across the country, the majority of who remain in Cagayan de Oro.

    June 7, 2019

  • DTI: Iligan Integrated Steel Project remains Investor’s Call

    DTI: Iligan Integrated Steel Project remains Investor’s Call

    ILIGAN CITY - The City of Iligan may now hold the property rights to the defunct National Steel Corporation plant but the decision to push through with the buyout of what was once the country’s largest steel manufacturing plant remains with its potential investors.      “The investment decision is not with the government. Technically, the investment decision rests with the private sector because if they succeed, they will profit. And if they fail, they will take their losses,” said Ruel B. Paclipan, Lanao del Norte provincial director for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) during the open forum portion of the official launch for the 28th Mindanao Business Conference held May 22, 2019 at Robinsons Place Iligan.      Two years ago, the Iligan City government assumed full ownership of the defunct National Steel Corp. (NSC) plant in November 6, 2017 after the liquidator failed to redeem the company’s real properties of over  P5 billion real property back taxes owed to the LGU following the expiry of the one-year period prescribed by the city treasurer’s office.      Iligan City acquired all NSC assets including lands, buildings, machineries, facilities, equipment, tools, scrap, parts, etcetera by virtue of a Tax Deliquency Auction Sale last October 19, 2016.       The NSC plant shutdown for the last time in l999 but the litigation on its liabilities continued after foreign investors Wing Tiek, Ho Tiek and Global Steel/Mittal assumed ownership in succession while the real properties were placed by the company under a liquidator.      Iligan Vice Mayor Jemar L. Vera Cruz revealed during the same launch the LGU is now in the thick of negotiations with Australian, Korean and Chinese investors who expressed interested in reviving the NSC plant.       “We have to agree first on the price the investor will pay for the back taxes NSC owes the city government and then hopefully we can close the deal with them,” Vera Cruz said.      “Personally, I am  not very keen on the Chinese group because their offer is too small. The Iligan City local government had three primary considerations in selecting an investor: employment for Iligan residents, protection for our environment, and a deal that would be advantageous to our people of Iligan.” Downstream Industries      Meantime, Paclipan said other than the NSC,  interested investors can also avail themselves of other steel and iron industries in Iligan. “Our advantage in Iligan is as the Industrial Capital of Northern Mindanao we already have experience in the steel industries and can deal accordingly with large and medium industries.      Other than the basic steel and iron manufacturing which can be accommodated in the NSC facility, our downstream industries in steel and metals can be easily developed in Iligan. We were already starting to develop this during the late 90s but ran into some problems.”      Paclipan said the technical working group assisting the LGU in the NSC negotiations is also looking into the possibility of inviting not just the basic industries, but also the downstream industries for steel and metalworking. Investment considerations      Potential investors for NSC would also be looking at the bigger regional and international markets instead of purely the domestic market.      “If you are an investing company, you will look at the whole market, not only in the Philippines, but the entire iron and steel industry in the context of Southeast Asia. Thus matters of under or overcapacity would be a major consideration of the investors once they decide to enter the market,” Paclipan noted.      Demand for steel in the Philippines is seen to rise 5-6% in 2019 to a record 11.1 million tons, Roberto M. Cola, president of the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute, said in an interview with Reuters.      Last year steel consumption soared 9% to a record 10.5 million tons, with over 70% coming from China.      The country’s reliance on steel imports is expected to drop significantly once the $4.4 billion integrated steel project by HBIS Group, China’s second-biggest steelmaker, and three other parties including Steel Asia — begins production.      With a planned capacity of 8 million tons per year, the ISP is expected to locate at the Phividec Industrial Estate in Misamis Oriental but as yet has no definite timeline for completion.      “Since the Philippines at present imports most of its downstream iron and steel products, once an industry here would be in place, the first thing they could undertake is import substitution,” Paclipan remarked. Manpower requirements      Meantime, should the parallel ISP project at the former NSC plant site push through, Iligan City is confident it could supply the needed manpower domestically. During its heyday, the NSC plant in Iligan employed over 4,000 workers.      Engr. Orlando M. Maglinao representing Rep. Frederick W. Siao of the Lone Congressional District of Iligan City, assured in the same forum Iligan City would still be able to provide the needed workers in case the project pushes through. Mr. Maglinao is a former employee of NSC.      “Most of the former employees of the National Steel Corporation are still here although many of them have already retired. We have already prepared a contingency plan in case this project pushes through wherein we can still tap their expertise and experience in training the new employees.”

    June 3, 2019


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