Qatar Airways starts direct Doha-Davao-Doha flights

June 21, 2019

QATAR Airways has touched down for the first time in Davao on Wednesday, making Mindanao’s largest city its third gateway in the country and serving direct weekly return services (Doha-Davao-Doha) for the growing number of passengers in this region. The first Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Davao, Philippines, touched down at Davao International Airport, where it was welcomed with a celebratory water cannon salute. Qatar Airways flight QR936 departed Hamad International Airport (HIA) on Tuesday, 18 June at 02.45 and landed in Davao at 17:20 local time. The Ambassador of the Philippines to the State of Qatar, H.E. Alan Timbayan, was joined by Qatar Airways Senior Vice President Asia Pacific, Marwan Koleilat on board Qatar Airways’ inaugural flight to Davao. Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, H.E. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Qatar Airways is very proud to extend its reach into the Philippines by launching our third gateway into this beautiful country. The inclusion of Davao into our global network further demonstrates our commitment to the Far East region, a highly important market for Qatar Airways. With 50 weekly passenger flights to and from the Philippines, we take great pride in our role of enabling trade and connecting international businesses.” At present, Qatar Airways flies to Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark International Airport. The national carrier of the state of Qatar was also looking at resuming its Doha-Cebu-Doha direct service, which was suspended in 2012 after 7 years of serving the country’s second largest city. Commenting on the new route launch, Davao International Airport Manager, Engr. Rex A. Obcena, said: “Davao International Airport is the main airport serving Davao City and Davao Region in the Philippines. It is the busiest airport on the island of Mindanao and one of the busiest in the Philippines. We look forward to welcoming all passengers on Qatar Airways’ weekly return flights.” With numerous beaches and resorts, Davao City, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, is a coastal commercial center near Mount Apo, the country’s highest peak. Davao City is the largest city outside of Manila and the fourth largest in the Philippines in terms of population, with over 1.4 million residents. The airline will operate its Davao service once a week with a Boeing 787-8 aircraft, featuring 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class. Passengers will be able to enjoy the airline’s superior entertainment system, Oryx One, offering a wide variety of entertainment options. Qatar Airways flight QR936 departs Doha 02:45hrs and arrives Davao 20.50hrs. The Davao-Doha QR936 return flight departs Davao 22:20hrs and arrives Doha 03:15hrs. The Philippines is an important air freight market for Qatar Airways, with the carrier’s cargo arm offering a weekly capacity of 350 tons each way on the Doha-Manila-Doha route and 70 tons on the Doha-Clark-Doha route. With the introduction of flights from Doha to Davao on the Doha-Clark-Davao-Doha route effective 18 June, exporters in Davao will be offered direct connection to destinations in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas via Doha. A multiple-award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Business Class’ by the 2018 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organization Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Business Class Seat’, ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, and ‘World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge’. Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of more than 250 aircraft via its hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA) to more than 160 destinations worldwide. In addition to its service to Davao, Qatar Airways has launched an array of exciting new destinations recently, including Mombasa, Kenya; Izmir, Turkey and Malta to name just a few. The airline will add a number of new destinations to its extensive route network in the second half of 2019, including Lisbon, Portugal; Mogadishu, Somalia and Langkawi, Malaysia. Qatar Airways, the national carrier of the State of Qatar, is also celebrating more than 20 years of Going Places Together with travellers across its more than 160 business and leisure destinations on board a modern fleet of more than 250 aircraft. The world’s fastest-growing airline will add a number of exciting new destinations to its growing network this year, including Lisbon, Portugal; Malta; Rabat, Morocco; Langkawi, Malaysia; Davao, Philippines; Izmir, Turkey; and Mogadishu, Somalia. A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Business Class’ by the 2018 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organization Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, ‘World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge’ and ‘Best Business Class Seat’, in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. Qatar Airways has been awarded the coveted “Skytrax Airline of the Year” title, which is recognized as the pinnacle of excellence in the airline industry, four times.

Philip Morris lauds passage of cigarette excise tax bill

June 7, 2019

THE management of Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC) on Tuesday lauded the Senate's decision to pass the bill increasing further the excise tax on tobacco products. PMFTC Inc. Corporate Communications head Dave Gomez, in a statement, said passage of the bill is a step towards ensuring funds for the government’s Universal Health Care (UHC) program. He, however, warned the government of the possibility of higher illicit cigarette trade as a result of tax hikes. He explained that once the measure has been signed into law it will be the 8th tax increase since 2012. “The higher rate raises some concerns over unintended consequences. We call on the government to exercise vigilance to curb the illicit cigarette trade which may worsen as a result of this excise tax increase, and undermine government efforts to raise funds for the UHC,” he said. On Monday, Senators voted 20-0-0 in favor of Senate Bill 2233, which not only increased excise tax on “heated tobacco products” but also “vapor tobacco products”. Once signed into law, this measure will increase excise tax of a pack of cigarette from PHP35 per pack to PHP45 per pack by January 1, 2020 and to PHP60 per pack by 2022. Refill of vapor products will be increased by a minimum of PHP10 for those that are less than 10 milliliters. Relatively, Gomez said they expect the government “to provide the appropriate safety nets for farmers, workers and retailers whose livelihood would be impacted by this new round of tax increase”. “The Senate version is a positive step forward as it will enable smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives to cigarettes while generating additional revenues from previously untaxed e-vapor products,” he added. (PNA)

Fire safety events lace Filinvest’s Brigada Eskwela ‘19 participation

June 5, 2019

FDC Misamis Power Corporation’s (FDC Misamis) participation in this year’s Brigada Eskwela both in the municipalities of Villanueva and Tagoloan in Misamis Oriental (MisOr) was laced with the conduct of fire safety events. FDC Misamis, a subsidiary of FDC Utilities, Inc. (FDCUI), the power and utilities arm of the Gotianun-led Filinvest group, joined Brigada Eskwela at Vicente N. Chavez Memorial Central School (VNCMCS) in Villanueva and Sta. Ana Elementary School (SAES) in Tagoloan on May 20 and 21, respectively. Apart from donating construction, painting and electrical materials for the minor repairs of six classrooms at VNCMCS and two unfinished classrooms at SAES, the power firm also sent more than 50 employee-volunteers to help teachers and parents, among other stakeholders, to do the cleanup drive as well as the rewiring and repainting jobs.  But the highlight of the firm’s participation in this year’s National Schools Maintenance Week (NSMW) was the conduct of Basic Electrical Safety in School (BESS) symposium with the Information Education Communication (IEC) on the proper use of fire extinguisher. Such is in consonance with the Department of Education (DepEd) Order No. 72, series of 2012. Both fire safety events were spearheaded by the firm’s electrical and safety units. Then, the company donated eight units of fire extinguisher to each adopted school. This, as the power firm aims to make each of its adopted school fire-free. FDC Misamis’ participation, stressed VNCMCS’ principal Aileen Dabon, is truly a visible commitment to help their school to become a conducive hub for learning. VNCMCS has more than 3,000 students. “The generosity of FDC Misamis, therefore, is always equated with the magnanimity of the needs of our school.” “Ang amoang kinasing-kasingon nga pagpasalamat sa FDC sa daghang bulig nila kanamo,” retorted SAES Head Virginia Mariano. SAES is seen to cater more than a thousand pupils and students when classes start on June 3 “We are always here to help and support schools within our host communities for as long as it is within our limitations,” responded FDC Misamis Community Relations Officer (CRO) Analiza Miso. “Since then my salute to FDC Misamis for being consistent in helping and supporting our barrio schools in Villanueva,” concluded town councilor and chair of the education committee Leoncio Abejo. Aside from VNCMCS and SAES, FDC Misamis also provided repainting and basic construction materials, cleaning and gardening tools, and school supplies, respectively, to other 14 schools located in Villanueva and Tagoloan. FDC Misamis owns and operates the 3x135-MW circulating fluidized bed coal thermal plant at Phividec Industrial Estate in Brgys. Tambobong and Balacanas, Villanueva, MisOr.      

PrioMetal invites innovators to BahaiCo, Bahay Mo Open House

May 28, 2019

“Our main purpose for organizing this open house is to showcase our alternative construction materials that would definitely save at least 10% of the total construction cost, reduce the completion time, and make it at least 10% faster to complete.” said Priometal President and CEO Engr. Jeffrey S. Co. “If you have an existing design, we can adapt it to our system.”   The innovative building system comes just in time for the administration’s Build, Build, Build infrastructure development program and the big-ticket investments coming into Northern Mindanao.   Last year, Northern Mindanao alone accounted for the lion’s share of the P907.2 billion investments registered with the Board of Investments (BOI) in 2018 with P228.8 billion or 25.2% of the total, well above the P7.2 billion a year ago, for an astounding 3,063% increase.   The region looks to build up from that figure in 2019 when big ticket projects such as Ayala Land’s Habini Bay project in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental takes off and the relocation of the Head factory from China and the Integrated Steel Mill complex at the Phividec Industrial Estate-Misamis Oriental and the revival of the National Steel Corporation in Iligan City gets going.   “We are further expanding our BahaiCo Bahay Mo building system (iCO Building Frames and Functions ™) that integrates various innovative building technologies into one versatile system guaranteed to deliver stronger, faster to construct, and more economical buildings.” Co said.   “Our solution for this is to apply the iCO Building Frames and Functions (iCO means Innovative Concept and F&F is our total system for implementation,” he added.   Drawing mostly from his two decades of exposure to the construction industry, the system has put together for the first time ever innovative products which when deployed together as an integrated unit, answers most, if not all, of the end users needs for durable, faster, and affordable buildings.   “Cast-in-place, Pre-Cast and I beams are just some of the existing technologies combined with our  iCO In-filled Metal Columns & Beams that are brought together in our building system so that it becomes stronger and durable, faster to construct, safer, yet more affordable than existing designs and concepts now offered in the Philippine construction industry,” Co explained.   The system used is akin to the concept of open system architecture in computers which allows the creation of add-on products that increase a system's flexibility, functionality, inter-operability, potential use, useful life and enables the end-users to customize and extend their chosen system's capabilities to suit individual requirements.   “Unlike the usual industry practice, our iCO Building Frames and Functions™ can be custom-designed by PMC to best suit the main purpose of your building, and complete construction and delivery under the usual industry standards using a combination of our various systems that is most ideal for you, and a cost that is ultra competitive to conventional building methods and materials now favored by most contractors,” Co stressed.     “Our iCO Building Frames & Functions are implemented through innovative manufactured projects of PrioMetal Corporation. “It is composed of iCO Column and Beam Frames and Functions using our iCO Meta Purlins (Benefits are zero waste, cut to size, zero formworks); iCO Roofing Frames & Functions using our iCO Meta Purlins (benefits: zero waste, cut to size); iCO Flooring Frames & Functions using our iCO Meta Purlins (benefits: zero waste, cut to size; iCO Walling Frames & Functions using our 6mm studs and tracks (benefits: zero plastering works, faster to complete walling works); iCO Ceiling Frames & Functions using Triple Furrings (benefits: easy to install and faster to complete ceiling works); iCO FICEM flush doors & iCO PVC Doors, and  to complete the whole building, our iCO Building Frames and Functions are complemented  by fiber cement boards, APO vinyl tiles,Jaybuilders MetaFlus Doors and all other quality products and services from reputable companies which together form an integral part of our present and future projects.”   Co said their industrial partners will all be present in the covered court inside the Kauswagan Barangay Hall Compound where they will be available to better explains and answer all your queries regarding their products during the May 29-30 Open House.    “As you can see from our products, we are a company that thinks ‘out-of-the-box’, and what you see now is by no means the only products we can offer you in the next few months,” Co said. “We are conducting continuous research and development so our products are continuously evolving for the better.”   Using as a benchmark the 8-unit Bachelor’s Pad where the system’s launching was held last January, Co said the BahaiCO Bahay Mo system resulted in 22% savings in total cost compared to a conventional concrete building (P19.5K vs. P25k per sq.m.)   The savings were realized due to cheaper material and labor costs on top of taking a faster time to complete.   “BahaiCO Bahay Mo uses minimal form and shoring works, and no wooden scaffoldings. Our iCO Meta Purlin are pre-cut, pre-fabricated and pre-labeled in our plant resulting in zero waste.”   Its 22 columns only took 3 days to erect, and the complete assembly of the 8-unit frames and purlins only four weeks to complete.   Thus, the whole building would be finished in only 5 months, compared to at least 8 months for conventional ones. That‘s 3 months saved, and by itself already a two month advantage in rental earnings.   “I believe we have already achieved our goal to provide ‘a better home every Juan deserves’,” Co noted. “Now it’s time to share the benefits of our technology to the industry in Mindanao.”   The model unit is also open to visitors to view and is located in Dove Street, Kauswagan, and a short five minute walk across the Open House Exhibit at Kauswagan Barangay Hall.

Two Energy Giants Break Ground in Misamis Oriental

July 22, 2014

“The Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company (CEPALCO) has contracted MERALCO Industrial Engineering Services Corporation (MIESCOR) to undertake the Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning (EPCC) of its 138 kV/69 kV Substation in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental with two (2) 150 MVA power transformers,” said Ms. Marilyn A. Chavez, senior manager, CEPALCO Customer & Community Relations Department.    “The Scope of Work for this component of the EPCC contract includes the detailed design, manufacturing, supply, delivery, erection, installation, system integration and testing and commissioning of the 138/69kV Substation, plus associated telecommunication and protection facilities,” she added.   MIESCOR is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Philippines’ largest electric utility, the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) while CEPALCO is the country’s fourth, and second largest in Mindanao.   Since its incorporation in December 1973, MIESCOR has chalked up an exemplary record of engineering performance backed up by a pool of highly competent technical manpower. The company has amassed a wealth of experience in power generation, transmission and distribution, petrochemical/chemical and industrial plants, water resources, transportation and telecommunication system and building services.      The project is expected to take 427 Calendar days. By June 30, 2014 the substation is expected to be capable of transmitting back-feed power supply and completed by July 31, 2015.   Ms. Chavez said the project was spurred by  CEPALCO’s load growth in the 69 kV and below systems which have substantially increased over the past three years due to recent developments in large industrial and commercial loads.   “Critical to these developments is the assurance that these locators will be provided with adequate and reliable power supply,” she noted.   Currently, majority of the CEPALCO’s residential, commercial and industrial customers in the entire franchise area are being indirectly served by the 69 kV backbone sub -transmission system before they are stepped-down to the medium-voltage (34.5 kV and 13.8 kV) and low-voltage (230 volts) distribution systems.   “The ground breaking for the construction of CEPALCO’s first ever 138 kV substation is another milestone and confirmation of our commitment to meet the growing needs of our valued customers, especially with the remarkable business boom within CEPALCO’s service area,” said Consuelo G. Tion, CEPALCO President and Chief Operating Officer during the ground breaking rites held 22 July 2014 at the project site in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.   “It is with joy and pride that I welcome all of you to this momentous event because I have been a witness to how much CEPALCO has grown over the years, and our accomplishments in terms of continuously improving the quality of our services to customers show how strong and committed we are as a service company,” she added.   “We are proud to be CEPALCO’s partner in its first 138kV substation,” said Engr. Angelito D. Bermudo, MIESCOR President and CEO, “However, we are convinced Mindanao has a vast potential beyond this initial engagement and we look forward to undertake more projects in this region soon.”   Aside from the new substation, MIESCOR is also building the Tagoloan-Balingasag 138kV sub-transmission line for Minergy Coal Corporation, another wholly-owned affiliate of CEPALCO.   The sub-transmission line will interconnect the 110MW coal fired power plant of Minergy Coal in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental to the distribution system of CEPALCO. Rated at 138 kV and configured as a double-circuit in steel pole structures, the 37-km line will be constructed using 785 MCM ACSR conductors with 3/8 inch diameter Optical Fiber Ground Wire (OFGW) as its neutral. Its route will be along the National highway.     Besides the two ancillary projects for Minergy’s coal fired power plant, MIESCOR is also concurrently constructing a new substation for the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in Opol, Misamis Oriental on a four-hectare site along the national highway in Barangay Awang, Opol some 15.5 kilometers west of its Carmen substation.   NGCP said in an earlier statement the planned Opol substation would reinforce the 60-kilometer Lugait-Carmen 69-kilovolt (kV) line constructed in 1966 which has already been experiencing a 90 percent peak load of its rated capacity. The grid operator estimates peak load could reach 103 percent this year hence the urgent need to replace it with the Opol 138-kv line.   “Rapid progress in Misamis Oriental necessitates the construction of a new, strategically-located substation to accommodate customers’ loads and eliminate possible line overloading and voltage problem,” the NGCP said. “With the projected economic progress and load growth, both the line and substation would no longer meet the increasing demand requirements in the next few years.”   The three projects together represent a PhP 2.2-billion investment in the Misamis Oriental towns of Tagoloan, Villanueva, Jasaan and Balingasag in the province’s east coast and Opol in the West.   Mr. Bermudo said the three projects proximity to each other in terms of area and timeline will enable MIESCOR to leverage its strategic advantages for the benefit of its clients, especially its newly acquired state-of-the-art software.   -INDNJC-

Coop supports Scouting in CDO and Misor

May 2, 2014

Under the terms of the MOA signed last 28 April 2014 at the FICCO Building in Tiano Bros. St., Cagayan de Oro City, FCOF will provide a financial assistance of P135,200 for the “Adopt Boy/Girl Scouts and Scout Units Program in selected schools in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental.   The partner schools are Alubijid National High School, Bugo National High School, Medina National High School, Casinglot National High School, PN Roa National High School, and the Elementary Schools of St. John, San Simon, Sacred Heart Village and Malasag and National High Schools of Balubal, Tagpangi and Indahag.   “The momentous event today brings me wonderful memories all the way back to my boyhood days. I was a boy scout. I remember the very distinguished three-finger salute of the scouts. I remember the scout neckerchief with a carabao emblem-slide that tied the neckerchief around the neck to hang like a handsome necktie. I remember the khaki short pants, the khaki short-sleeved shirt and the long (almost knee-high) socks we wore with black shiny shoes. As a matter of fact, we boy scouts looked and felt really handsome, clean-cut, cool, with a self-confident poise that exuded the scout motto “Be Prepared”! mused Anselmo B. Mercado, chairman of the FCOF Board of Trustees following the signing.   The financial support will cover 320 boys and 200 girls in the partner schools who will join the scouting movement and join scout units in their respective schools.   “The physical appearance was one thing to remember with real pleasure and pride. But the most significant thing for me about scouting was the education and the moral character formation that were methodically designed to inculcate in the young boys (and girls) the love of country, the brotherhood spirit and many human values, such as the readiness and willingness to serve others in need, honesty, politeness, discipline, hard-work, promptness, volunteerism, frugality, etc. – imbuing them in us not only in theory but in practice as well, and to have the joy and fun of doing them, “ Mercado said.   Scouting’s proven track record in building good citizenship values in its members was the main reason why the cooperative movement, particularly the FICCO Outreach Foundation, Inc. (FCOF), has taken a serious interest in supporting the scouting movement, Mr. Mercado said.   “This is why FICCO Foundation, the Boy Scouts Council of Cagayan de Oro, the Girls Scouts Council of Misamis Oriental and our partner-schools, are embarking in this joint undertaking.   This is just the first step. We hope that this program will be an effective initial step that can leap into an expansion of support and activities, a cascading effect that can bring-in other partners and supporters from civil society and government to actively support and promote the scouting movement of the Philippines.”   Local government officials including Misamis Oriental Vice Governor Joey Pelaez (currently the chairman of the Boy Scouts Council  of Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental) and Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno also joined the event, along with Ms Cris Villamil (of the Cooperative Development Authority Region X), a few members of the media, FICCO Board of Directors of FICCO, FCOF Board of Trustees.   “We pray that God will bless our efforts and these two great movements that promote human, community development and nation-building,” Mr. Mercado said.  


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