environment

First oolong plant in PH opens in Gingoog City

March 29, 2019

MISAMIS Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano on Wednesday (March 27) led the groundbreaking of a processing center for oolong tea in barangay Kalagonoy, Gingoog City. Oolong (camella sinensis) is a traditional semi-oxidized Chinese tea produced through a process including withering the plant under the strong sun and oxidation before curling and twisting which is mostly grown in Taiwan.     Last year, the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAGRO) deployed three of its employees on a training tour in Taiwan, observing the production of oolong from planting and nurturing the seedlings to harvesting the tea leaves to processing.     Kalagonoy barangay chairman Marcial Dotarot said the production of oolong in his barangay was started by a Taiwanese investor in 1997 but it eventually dwindled until the city government of Gingoog and the provincial government of Misamis Oriental saw the potential of the project.     Today, oolong production in Kalagonoy is at six hectares with a potential of 15 hectares in expansion.     “We are not just creating a processing center. We are creating an economy. Kung aduna na kitay processing center diri, many farmers, agriculturists and agriculture students will study the processing. They will commute in our habal-habal. Ang habal-habal driver usab mag-remit sa iyang kinitaan sa iyang asawa. Ang inahan sa pamilya makahatag na dayon og dugang balon sa iyang mga anak. Ang anak usab nga nag-eskwela makaduga’g palit og pagkaon sa tindahan duol sa iyang gieskwelahan. Ang manindahay usab inigtugbong niya’g pangompra sa iyang ipuli og tinda, mag-commute na usab og habal-habal,” Emano pointed out.     The P3.5-million edifice is expected to complete construction in six months.     Once finished, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will hand its corresponding share of P1-million worth of processing equipment.    Representatives from the Food and Innovation Center of the University of Science and Technology of the Philippines (USTP) will train the farmers in Kalagonoy on how to enhance current processing procedures while DTI representatives will assist them in packaging and labeling.    Emano said the tumbler/dryer processing equipment to be handed out by DTI is capable of processing oolong leaves at 45 kilograms per hour.     He added that DTI has likewise committed to include oolong in its promotion of products from Northern Mindanao for export.     Momentarily, the governor reported that processed oolong is always sold out at the weekly farmers market at the provincial capitol compound in Cagayan de Oro City, fetching at P5,000 per kilo.    The oolong production in Kalagonoy is the only one in the Philippines so far.    Provincial agriculturist Jose Apollo Pacamalan said oolong can only grow at least 1,200 above sea level in a temperate climate that is unique to Kalagonoy and the areas surrounding Mt. Balatucan.

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Sustainable urban devt plan for Metro CDO underway

March 29, 2019

THE National Economic Development Authority Region 10 is in the process of formulating a Master Plan for the Sustainable Infrastructure Development of Metropolitan Cagayan de Oro.    Sustainable urban infrastructure expands on the concept of urban infrastructure by adding the sustainability element with the expectation of improved and more sustained urban development.     In the construction and physical and organizational structures that enable cities to function, there is the aim of meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the capabilities of the future generations (Tiwari, 2016).     According to the College of Engineering and Applied Science of the University of Colorado Denver, urban infrastructure refers to the engineered systems (water, energy, transport, sanitation, information) that make up a city.    However, challenges resulting from increasing population growth generated a need for sustainable infrastructure that is high performing, cost-effective, resource-efficient and environmentally-friendly. (UCD, 2015)     NEDA-10 Regional Director Mylah Faye Aurora B. Cariño said NEDA-10 received the notice to proceed with the P 64.857 Million project last 23 January 2019, followed by the kick off meeting 7 February 2019.     A Regional Consultation was held 11 March 2019 at a local hotel with LGU Chief Executives, government planners, civic society groups and media, following its presentation to the Regional Land Use Committee 4 March 2019.   “We have managed to come up with the vision for Metro Cagayan de Oro which shall form the basis for the Metro CDO Master Plan, among other things,” Ms. Cariño said.     The 12 month study aims to formulate a master plan for the sustainable urban infrastructure development of Metropolitan CDO; guide decision-makers in the preparation and approval of plans, policies, and programs/projects/activities (PAPs) in the urban growth center; and improve the competitiveness, security, and resiliency from disaster; and general urban conditions of the metropolitan area. Background     The Metro Cagayan de Oro Master Plan had its beginnings in 1990 when the Metro CDO Special Development Project was first proposed by regional planners through the Integrated Area Development paradigm then in vogue. This was followed in 1996 by the proposal to develop a Comprehensive Metro CDO Master Plan.    In 2009, the Expanded CDO-Iligan Corridor (CIC) Area was identified as Metro CDO, the hub for trading and services, which was formally recognized in 2017 with its inclusion in the Philippine Development Plan of 2017-2022 as the realization of Metro CDO by 2025.     Finally, the Metro CDO Master Plan for Sustainable Infrastructure Development was formally approved in 2018, and funds provided under the General Appropriations Act of 2018 through the Project Development and other Related Studies (PRDS) Fund. Metro Cagayan de Oro     Metropolitan Cagayan de Oro was formally included in the Philippine Development Plan of 2017-2022 which envisions Region 10’s role in National Development with the emergence of Metro CDO as the Philippines’ 4th Metropolitan Center by 2025 as a major gateway & trans-shipment hub, and Key educational center with potential growth in the banana industry, rubber, bamboo, cacao, coco coir, coffee, agribusiness, and tourism.     With a total population of 1, 219, 005 as of 2015 and total land area of 2,221, 13 square kilometers, Metro CDO initially planned to include the two cities of Cagayan de Oro and El Salvador in Misamis Oriental, eleven municipalities in Misamis Oriental (Initao, Gitagum, Libertad, Laguindingan, Alubijid, Opol, Tagoloan, Villanueva, Jasaan, Claveria, and Balingasag) and six municipalities in Bukidnon (Manolo Fortich, Baungon, Sumilao, Malitbog, Libona, and Talakag).     “Originally 11 municipalities and 2 cities were involved but the configuration of Metro CDO has evolved,” said Ms. Cariño. “More municipalities are being considered.”     Population trends indicate Metro CDO will have a total population of 1,382,574 on 2.73 growth rate by 2020, to grow further to a populace of 1,559,475 on 1.28 growth rate by 2025. Key Deliverables     Key deliverables for the project include ensuring the Metro CDO Vision is consistent with national and regional objectives of the Philippine and Regional Development Plans for 2019-2022; stakeholders profiles and determination of physical, climatological and socio-economic attributes; infrastructure requirements to support the Metro CDO development, and the overall framework, action plan, business case/pre-feasibility study of top priority PPAs and communication plan.     With the help of the Consultants for Comprehensive Environmental Planning, Inc. (CONCEP), the project will conduct situational analyses of economic development, land use, transport and connectivity, environment and disaster risk reduction, housing, services and facilities, recreation and tourism, energy and power. National Alignment    The Metro CDO Master Plan for Sustainable Urban Infrastructure is aligned with the Philippine Development Plan of 2017-2022 dubbed “ AmBisyon Natin 2040, and the National Spatial Strategy which sets the direction of future growth recognizing population, geography and the role of cities as engines of economic growth, with infrastructure providing efficient connective networks of sustainable urban and rural communities, consistent with the country’s long-term vision and the Regional Development Plan 2017-2022 and Strategic Development Areas.     Identified Key Development Zones in Region 10’s SDAs include Lanao del Norte Development Cluster, Iligan Industrial Core, LADP Impact Zone, CDO Metropolitan Area, and the Misamis Ecozone.    These KDZs are conceived to capitalize on commonality of resources, optimize potentials and identify concerns for more focused interventions; serve as areas of efficiency, innovation and creativity; anchored on the National Spatial Strategy: concentration/regional agglomeration; connectivity; and vulnerability reduction Development Challenges     Among the development challenges in Metro CDO that the Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Master Plan aims to address are the following needs:     An efficient transport system as evidenced by traffic congestion resulting in opportunity costs lost and increased costs of vehicles in gridlock; the absence of efficient mass public transport (e.g. bus rapid transit, rail) and weak enforcement of traffic rules.     Improved Solid Waste Management to address indiscriminate waste disposal by households, institutions and industries into waterways and water bodies; non-segregation of wastes despite local ordinances.     Resilient infrastructure to manage and control flooding events in downtown CDO which paralyzes economic activities.     Environmental Integrity to curb rampant and unchecked conversion of prime agricultural lands (with Misamis Oriental  as a Top 10 province with biggest number of conversions) and the major challenges to land management and economic growth. Priority Areas for Development    Among the identified priority areas of development in Metro CDO as a Land Use and Master Plan for the Metro CDO that includes the following key vision elements: Making communities more resilient/sustainable; Balancing Socio-economic opportunities;  Connectivity;  Septage & Sewerage Facilities;  Efficient Mass Transport System (BRT/Rail);  Establishment of Disaster Risk Management & Mitigation, and traffic monitoring office;  Walkable neighborhoods, parks and open spaces geared toward sustainable environment; and a Metro-wide Solid Waste Management System. Ways Forward     Following the ongoing data collection needed to flesh out the master plan, the Consultants are scheduled to deliver a Midterm Report by July, 2019; with the delivery of the Draft Final Report set for December 2019.     This would include the draft Master Plan and Pre-Feasibility Study which will be presented to the Infrastructure Committee and the Regional Development Council general assembly on the same month, with the delivery of the Final Report (Master Plan and Pre-FS) expected  by January 2020.

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Coffee farmer from DavSur town to join Coffee Expo in US

March 29, 2019

DAVAO City — A coffee farmer from Bansalan, Davao del Sur will be showcasing her green coffee in a Specialty Coffee Exposition in Boston, Massachusetts in the United States next month.   Marivic Dubria, who bagged first place in the Arabica Category of the Philippine Coffee Quality Competition (PCQC), told reporters during Wednesday’s Habi at Kape in Abreeza that she will bid her winning green beans at the Boston coffee expo.     This is the second time for Dubria to join the international exposition. The first time was in Seattle, also in the US, after winning second place in PCQC 2018.     She said joining an international event like the Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston will give farmers more knowledge in coffee growing, processing and marketing.   “I was challenged to grow coffee the right way because I believe we could command a good price in the market,” Dubria said.     She said they began selling green beans at P100 per kg. but their specialty coffee is now priced at P600 per kg.     Dubria’s coffee farm is about 2.5 hectares with a total yield of 1,000 kg. per hectare per year. She said it is not easy but following good agricultural practices and the “pick red only” fruit made their green beans special.     Dubria is one of 200 farmer-members of the Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (BACOFA), who grow coffee at the foot of Mt. Apo.     She said the area is suitable for specialty coffee because it is in a high elevation.     TJ Ryan, Chief of Party of the PhilCAFE (Philippine Coffee Advancement and Farm Enterprise) Project, said the Philippine Cupping Competition is already on its third year.    He said the objective is to encourage farmers to improve coffee quality from the farm all the way to processing.     “The trend of improvement is a positive and great sign for Philippine coffee,” he said. (PNA)

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P40-M hospital wing partially opens in CDO

March 29, 2019

THE P40-million North Wing building of JR Borja Memorial City Hospital (JRBGH) partially opened on Tuesday in time for the visit of Department of Health (DoH) Secretary Francisco Duque III.     Duque was here for the three-day National Health Sector Meeting from March 26 to 28, which was participated in by DOH officials from all over the country.    The additional wing of JRBH, a city-run hospital, was constructed under the DOH’s Health Facility Enhancement Program (HFEP). It will host the out-patient department, doctors’ clinics, and administration offices   “One beautiful thing that happened to Cagayan de Oro is the stewardship of Mayor Moreno who has engineered the transformation not only of JR Borja Hospital but the city as well,” Duque said during his speech at the inauguration.     The city-funded infrastructure projects that include the critical care unit, the patient’s lounge, and the cadaver holding unit were also inaugurated. (PNA)

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New owner of Davao’s first mall takes over, touts dev’t plan

March 29, 2019

DAVAO City -- Homegrown New City Commercial Center (NCCC) vowed to turn this city’s first shopping mall into a prime and iconic destination, saying it will hire the services of Filipinos who designed Singapore’s Marina Sands Bay, Hokada and Galaxy Macao.     NCCC, which formally took over Victoria Plaza on Wednesday after it sealed the acquisition on March 12, presented a five-phase development of the 9.6-hectare property, where Victoria Plaza currently stands.     Victoria Plaza was owned by Sunrise Investments and Development Corporation of the Limso Family.    Sharlene Faye Lim, LTS president and chief executive officer, said the area will be a mixed-use development with eight high-rise condominiums, serviced apartments, retail strips, lush green space, and a five-star hotel.     LTS (Lim Tian Su) operates the NCCC chain of stores in the city. It has expanded to other areas in Mindanao and Palawan.     Lim said the development could run from seven to 10 years and it will be partly funded by a loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). The last phase of the development will involve the reconstruction of the original mall, she added.     Lim said all the more than 300 mall tenants will continue to operate but at an area that will be provided by NCCC within the sprawling property. The tenants have also signed new contracts with the LTS/NCCC.     Walter Melicor, chief financial officer of Elements Habitare, said the site would be a showcase of Davao’s icons -- Waling-waling orchid and the pitcher plant.    “We will create iconic buildings,” said Melicor, whose firm is responsible for the design of Singapore’s Marina Sands Bay.   He said Victoria Plaza has a sentimental value to be enhanced,  referring to the mall's 26-year-old structure, which was inaugurated on March 16, 1993. (PNA)

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