business

Bukidnon promotes town’s ethnic thanksgiving fest

June 5, 2019

MALAYBALAY City – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) of Bukidnon has recognized the celebration of SunggodTeKamanga, an annual festival in the municipality of Quezon, which located south of the province. During its regular session Tuesday, the provincial lawmakers unanimously approved a resolution that seeks to support, preserve, recognize and promote SunggodTeKamanga--a thanksgiving festival of the tribes living in Quezon town. “The two-day SunggodTeKamanga is being held every 3rd Monday and Tuesday of February annually,” said Provincial Board Member Benito Baguio, the resolution's principal author. “SunggodTeKamanga is a traditional ethnic celebration showcasing their simple and primitive way of life focusing mainly on pre- and post-farming activities and survival skills of the dominant ethnic groups such as Manobo-Pulangihon who live near Pulangi river, and Manobo-Matigsalug that inhabit the highland areas,” Baguio explained. Baguio said the festival is celebrated through tribal rituals, songs, dances and the popular ethnic sports of the tribes commonly seen during their merry-making and tribal gatherings. He said that since its existence in 2009, SunggodTeKamanga has been continuously attracting and drawing tourists. Baguio said the festival's recognition was necessary so that it can be incorporated into the list of provincial and regional festivals in Northern Mindanao. Quezon is a 1st class municipality composed of 31 barangays. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 104,116 people. (PNA)

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PRRD calls for accountability on effects of climate change

June 5, 2019

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Friday called for accountability on the global effects of climate change. "The Philippines joined the global consensus to fight climate change. We hope that this consensus would hold and real action be undertaken, especially by those most responsible for this monumental problem. Governments must comply with obligations beyond our constituency," he said during his keynote address at the Nikkei Conference in Tokyo, Japan. "There is not even a sanction. And mankind has always been there as practiced by many over the periods of generations of just talk. And at the end of a century or two, there is trouble, there is war. I don’t know what would be the end result of this climate change, but I can say to you now it will wreak destruction," he added. Duterte said the Philippines is suffering worse than other countries on the issue of climate change. "We are faced with the same global challenges, but some suffer more than others. Nothing demonstrates this better than climate change. Vulnerabilities are not equally shared by all nations. Developing countries that have contributed the least to global warming, like my country the Philippines, suffer the most from its horrendous consequences," he said. The President called for an end to this cycle as he addressed government and business leaders from other countries. "Governments with limited resources and capabilities have to contend with this spiral of suffering on top of the urgent development priorities. This vicious cycle is real. And indeed it must end. There has to be a way. When the lives of millions hang in the balance, there has got to be a way," he said. The President said the Philippines, being an archipelago, is greatly affected by typhoons. "With water levels rising, most countries will measure the losses in terms of coastlines. Developing archipelagic nations like the Philippines, however, measure our losses in terms of islands and the lives of our citizens. Year in and year out we suffer doubly when typhoons strike," he said. Duterte said it is the poor who suffers the most from the effects of climate change. "The poorest of our poor bear the brunt of damage, becoming even poorer in the aftermath," he said. (PNA)

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DTI: Iligan Integrated Steel Project remains Investor’s Call

June 3, 2019

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.”

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Iligan calls to fight for health, rights for PLHIV

June 3, 2019

Commemorating the 36thAnnual International Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Candlelight Memorial, the local government of Iligan City raised social consciousness about Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) and AIDS to break down barriers of stigma and discrimination and give hope to new generations.      The City Health Office (CHO) through the Iligan – Lanao HIV AIDS Network (ILHAN) spearheaded a candle lighting at the Amphitheatre Buhanginan Hills, Iligan City hall, on 20 May 2019.      This was led by City Mayor Celso G. Regencia, along with the city officials, city hall employees, and ILHAN members.      ILHAN chairperson Lorena R. Oyao, RN, MN, of the City Health Office said AIDS Candlelight Memorial reminds us of people affected by the HIV epidemic: people living with HIV (PLHIV) in all their diversity.      This includes women, men, young people, gay and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, drug users, the poor, homeless and unstably housed, migrant and formerly or currently incarcerated people.      There is a need to continue to be at the forefront leading our movement for the right to life and the right to health.      This includes, Oyao said, fighting for universal, comprehensive and sustainable treatment, care and prevention services, and intensifying our work around human rights, stigma reduction, social and economic justice to ensure that no one is left behind.       The theme this year, “Intensifying the fight for Health and Rights” is a global event implemented by an active network of people involved in the HIV response, including PLHIV and key populations.      At the onset of the commemoration rites, Dr. Glenn L. Manarpaac, HIV & AIDS Medical Coordinator of CHO Iligan and member of ILHAN, reported a total of 1,232 clients screened since 2017 up to present.      A total of 53 were reactive while 80 percent of them were already linked to care.       Further, he said they have conducted awareness lecture, together with the support of various government agencies to a total of 25,385 individuals to different schools.       In his message, Mayor Celso G. Regencia urged the people of Iligan to ‘get tested’ to know their status so that early medication will be taken. (lvgabule, PIA- GIC Iigan)

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Ayala Land's Laguindingan Technopark breaks ground

April 26, 2019

Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano and officials from Ayala Land led the groundbreaking Wednesday (April 25, 2019) of the P172-billion Laguindingan Technopark in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental.     Present alongside the governor during the momentous occasion were Philippine Economic Zones Authority (PEZA) director-general Charito Plaza, Laguindingan Mayor Diosdado Obsioma, AyalaLand Logistics Holdings Corp. president Rowena Tomeldan, AyalaLand Logistics Holdings Corp. director Nathanael Co, Ayala Land, Inc. COO for Vismin Jun Bisnar, Ayala Land, Inc. AVP for Vismin Rico Manuel and AyalaLand Logistics Holdings Corp. head Patrick John Avila. Laguindingan Technopark is a 1-million square-meter property spanning the two barangays of Moog and Tubajon being marked for mixed-use development with focus on IT-related industries under the supervision of PEZA.  In her speech, Plaza said the thrust of PEZA is to ensure that Laguindingan Technopark will not just cater to industries but will also set aside space for commercial and residential use as well. For his part, Emano said the Misamis Oriental will always be in gratitude to AyalaLand, Inc. for putting the province in the national spotlight.   At full development, Laguindingan Technopark is expected to generate approximately 5,000 jobs to primarily benefit the local residents. Catering to light to medium industries, it is envisioned to be the new logistics hub in the Philippines due to its strategic location as the gateway between Mindanao and Luzon-Visayas.   This development aims to take advantage of the projected positive momentum of the Philippine economy and the local business property market, according to Tomeldan. Plaza welcomed Tomeldan’s statement, saying it is now the thrust of PEZA to decongest Metro Manila and make industries boom in the countryside such as here in Misamis Orinetal. “Laguindingan Technopark will be a catalyst in the economic development not just of the municipality but will trickle down to neighboring towns, drawing in local businesses leading to more job opportunities,” Emano added in. “Aside from direct employment, people around the area will also benefit as they put up business that will cater to the needs of the locator-companies.”

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Davao Region posts economic slowdown

April 26, 2019

DAVAO City -- Davao Region’s economy posted an 8.6-percent growth in 2018, a deceleration from the double-digit growth of 10.7 percent in 2017, Philippine Statistics Authority director Ruben D. Abaro, Jr. said on Thursday.     During a news conference on the Gross Regional Domestic Product at the Pinnacle Hotel & Suites, Abaro said despite the slowdown, the region’s economic performance had remained robust, emerging as the second strongest regional economy among the country’s 17 regions and the strongest in Mindanao.     Bicol Region’s output of 8.9  percent is the highest while Caraga’s was the lowest at 3.2 percent.     The region also surpassed the gross domestic product of the country of 6.2% in 2018, Abaro said.     National Economic Development Authority 11 director Maria Lourdes Lim said that although the region’s economic performance missed the target growth of 9.2 percent for 2018, it remains “highly commendable” because “sustaining a high growth rate despite a number of challenges encountered by the region in 2018, such as high inflation is admirable.”     “We are still delighted to report that the Region maintained its rank as the second fastest growing regional economy among the country’s 17 regions, despite commodity supply shortages and severe inflationary pressures, amid soaring global oil prices,” she said.     She said the Davao Region maintained its position as the largest regional economy with a total output of P400.8 billion. Of the three major sectors, she said services contributed 49.3 percent, industry 40.1 percent and agriculture 10.6 percent.     Lim added Davao Region was the biggest contributor among Mindanao’s five regions, channeling 4.4% to the total economic output of the Philippines.     The four other regions in the island are Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Caraga and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.     “These results show the Region’s strong standing among its peers, validate its role as the prime economic, financial and commercial hub in Mindanao, and amplify its vast potentials as the primary growth center in the southern Philippines,” she said.     Abaro said the services sector grew from 6.9 percent in 2017 to 8.1 percent in 2018.     Under this sector, the trade and repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles, personal and household goods sub-sector grew by 7.4 percent, slowing down from 8.7 percent in 2017; real estate, renting and business activities from 6.7 percent to 6.4 percent; transport, storage, and communication rose to 8.1 percent in 2018 from 7.2 percent in 2017; financial intermediation increased to 10.4 percent in 2018 from 6.2 percent in 2017; public administration and defense/ compulsory social security nearly doubled from 6.5 percent in 2017 to 12.9 percent in 2018, and other services rose to 8.3 percent from 3.8 percent in 2017.     Lim said among the reasons for the expansion of the services sector was “buoyed by the strong export performance of the region” and “government expenditures on public services, including social protection and security and defense were higher in 2018 due to the current administration’s priority on peace, public order and security programs, social welfare and protection programs.”     The overall regional performance of agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing sector last year registered a positive growth of 2.9 percent from 1.7 percent in 2017, owing to the 3.5-percent growth in the agriculture and fishery sub-sector.     However, the output of the sub-sector would have been bigger if it had not been pulled down by the decline in the output of the fishery sector to -7 percent in 2018 from -3.5 percent in 2017.     The industry sector also decelerated to 10.9 percent last year from 19 percent in 2017. Among its four sub-sectors, only the growth registered in electricity, gas, and water supply of 18.1 percent had surpassed the 2017 growth of 3.8 percent. Construction’s growth decelerated from 37.9 percent in 2017 to 18.1 percent in 2018; mining and quarrying from 18.2 percent to 8.3 percent; and manufacturing from 11.4 percent to 6.4 percent.

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