front page

Bong Go calls for improved measures to mitigate El Niño impact to agriculture

April 24, 2019

COTABATO City – Former Special Assistant to the President and 2019 senatorial candidate Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Monday called for additional government support to farmers to mitigate the impact of dry spell brought by recurring El Niño phenomenon that devastates crops.     “Malaki na ang pinsalang dala ng El Niño. Dapat mas palawakin ang cloudseeding operations at free irrigation, kasama na ang solar-powered irrigation systems,” Go said in his message during the campaign rally of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) regional party at the Notre Dame University Gym here.     Reports earlier said an estimated P605-million worth of agricultural crops in two provinces of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), namely Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, where 10,818 hectares of rice and 11,039 hectares of corn are affected.     A total of 18,423 farmers have been affected in the two provinces, with Lanao del Sur having 11,087 farmers affected and 7,336 in Maguindanao.     Go, who has identified agriculture as one of his top priorities under his legislative agenda also proposed for improved access of farmers to cheaper fertilizer, seeds, machinery, and low-interest credit.      “Kailangan ding magbigay tayo ng mas maraming trainings para sa mga alternative livelihood ng ibang myembro ng pamilya ng ating mga maliliit na magsasaka at mangingisda.     Earlier in the day, Go held a motorcade around the city where he received an enthusiastic response from the residents.     “Sobrang init po ng pagtanggap ninyo sa akin, sing-init ng panahon. Nakakawala po ng pagod. Maraming salamat po sa mga kapatid natin dito sa Cotabato City at sa buong probinsya ng Maguindanao,” Go said.      The former SAP and the HNP senatorial slate secured the support of Cotabato City as HNP headed by Davao Mayor Sara Duterte forged an alliance with Team One Kutawato local party headed by Cotabato City Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi.      Go rallied the people of Cotabato City to support the HNP candidates as he also expressed confidence they would remember him when they troop to the polling places to vote.     “Alam ko naman hindi ninyo ako malilimutan, unang-una kapitbahay lang  tayo, taga-Davao ako, di ba mga Bisaya tayo? Mahal na mahal po ni Pangulong Duterte ang mga kapatid nating Muslim sa Davao City, ipinagpatuloy po ni Mayor Sara,” Go noted.      "Ang Pangulo naman, he recognizes Hajj as sacred religious obligation of every Muslim. Kaya bawat taon bilang tulong, nagpapadala siya ng pilgrims performing Hajj sa Mecca, Saudi Arabia," he added.     Go also assured his fellow Mindanaoans, that he would continue supporting the programs and policies of President Rodrigo Duterte, whom he has served for over 21 years.     “Kung masaya kayo (sa pamamahala ni Pangulong Duterte) ipagpatuloy natin yung pagbabagong nasimulan ni Pangulong Duterte. Yung kampanya laban sa kriminalidad, kampanya laban sa corruption, at kampanya laban sa iligal na droga—suportado ko po iyan,” Go said.     Likewise, Go said that if elected to the Senate, he would support the implementation of the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” programs that are meant to stimulate economic activities and provide as well more job and employment opportunities for the people.     Among others, Go cited the on-going P5.4-billion Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project in North Cotabato and Maguindanao that would provide irrigation water to 9,784 hectares of agricultural lands in the area.     Also in the pipeline is the P39.2-billion Ambal-Simuay River and Rio Grande de Mindanao River flood control projects, meant to benefit the flood-prone areas in Maguindanao. The government has conveyed on June 6, 2018 to the Chinese government the request to secure loan financing for the project.     As part of government support for agriculture in the area, there are also plans for the construction of two units of solar dryer with warehouse in two sitios in Paglat, Maguindanao. The proponents of the project were already required to submit the necessary funding requirements.     Go added that another top priority in his legislative agenda is to improve the delivery of health services in the country, particularly through the establishment of Malasakit Center.      A project of the Duterte administration based on Go’s idea, the Malasakit Center makes it easier and faster for indigent patients to avail of medical and financial assistance from the government by bringing together in one room concerned agencies such as the DOH, DSWD, PCSO and Philhealth.     “Gusto ko pong isabatas ito pagdating ng panahon para tuloy-tuloy ang programa kahit hindi na pangulo si Pangulong Duterte. Meron na po kayong Malasakit Center dito Maguindanao sa Cotabato Regional and Medical Center. Ito po yung pang-16th na Malasakit Center natin out of the 34 na meron tayo ngayon,” Go said.     Other priority items in Go’s legislative agenda include programs for education, housing, long-term sports development, localized peace talks, fire protection and prevention, barangay welfare, creation of a Department of OFW, and improved benefits for senior citizens.     “Mga kapatid ko dito sa Cotabato, sa Maguindanao, sa Sultan Kudarat, minsan lang tayo daraan sa mundong ito. Kaya anuman ang mabuti na pwede nating gawin sa kapwa, gawin na natin dahil hindi na tayo daraan muli sa mundong ito,” Go said.     He vowed to serve Filipinos like he served President Duterte for over 21 years.      “Alam nyo po ang serbiyo sa tayo ay serbisyo sa Diyos, at serbisyo kay Allah. Wala kaming ibang hangarin ni Pangulong Duterte kundi kabutihan ng bawat Pilipino dahil mahal namin kayo,” Go said.

READ MORE
Bong Go reaffirms solidarity with Muslim brothers in Marawi

April 23, 2019

MARAWI CITY – Former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Friday reaffirmed his solidarity with his Muslim brothers here as he vowed to help the city rise from the ashes of conflict.     Even as this developed, actor Robin Padilla—a Muslim convert—appealed to his brothers in Marawi to support Go’s senatorial bid, as well as the chosen candidates of President Rodrigo Duterte.     “Masaya po ako na nakabalik muli kami dito sa Marawi. Alam nyo po sampung beses kaming bumalik ni Pangulong Duterte. Tulong-tulong po tayo na pabangunin ang Marawi. Bangon Marawi po, mabuhay po ang taga-Marawi,” Go said a at the rally of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan at the Mindanao State University gym here.     He recalled that he has established a close relationship with Muslims while serving as assistant to then Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.      “Alam nyo, malapit po sa akin ang mga kapatid kong Muslim. Kada taon nagpapadala po si Pangulong Duterte ng mga nagha-hajj po sa Mecca nung Mayor pa po siya ng Davao City,” Go said.       “At ang ginagawa ko po, pinipili namin yung mga mosque na malayo at saka yung hindi talaga nakakapunta, yung wala pong pera..inuuna po namin yung mahihirap na hindi makaka-afford na pumunta po sa Mecca,” he added.     Go stressed that Duterte treated Christians and Muslims equally in Davao City, noting the city has passed an Anti-Discrimination ordinance, adding: “Ganun namin kamahal ang aming mga kapatid na Muslim sa Davao.”     Assured by the people of Marawi that they are satisfied with the President Duterte’s performance in handling the affairs of the country for the past three years, Go vowed to support the President’s programs and policies.      “Kung masaya kayo ipagpatuloy natin yung pagbabagong inumpisahan ni Pangulong Duterte. Ano po ito? Kampanya laban sa kriminalidad, kampanya laban sa corruption, kampanya laban sa iligal na droga.”     Go also appealed to the people of Marawi to help President Duterte win the fight against the menace of illegal drugs.     “Alam nyo naman po na ang puno’t-dulo ng giyera dito sa Marawi ay droga. Tulungan nyo po ang ating mahal na Pangulo,” the former SAP stressed.     Reports said the Maute terrorist group that attacked Marawi in May 2017 and sparked a five-month armed conflict that caused death and widespread destruction was largely funded by illegal drugs.      The Duterte administration has prepared a massive rehabilitation effort for Marawi. As of February this year, the government has raised nearly P42 billion for the rehabilitation of the city. The program involves rebuilding roads and key infrastructure, as well as provision of livelihood and shelters for residents.     Victims are expected to be able to return home in September 2019 as the clearing of debris was expected to finish by August 30, 2019.      In addition to the campaign against criminality, corruption and illegal drugs, Go said he would also push for improvement in the delivery of health services, including the upgrade of facilities of public health institutions and the passage of a law to enable the establishment of Malasakit Centers in more areas of the country.     The Malasakit Center makes it easier and faster for poor patients to avail of medical and financial assistance from the government by bringing together in one room all concerned agencies such as the DOH, DSWD, PCSO and Philhealth.      Go likewise said he has prepared programs to support agriculture, provide housing for the poor, education, long-term sports development, localized peace talks, fire protection and prevention, creation of a Department of OFW, the passage of a Magna Carta for barangay officials, and improved benefits for senior citizens.      “Kami ni Pangulong Duterte, serbisyo lang kami sa inyong lahat. Serbisyo sa tao ay serbisyo sa Diyos. Wala kaming ibang hangarin ni Pangulong Duterte kundi kabutihan ng bawat Pilipino, kabutihan ng bawat Moro dahil mahal namin kayo,” Go said.      Meanwhile, Robin Padilla bared that Go was instrumental in allowing him to provide assistance to them despite the strict military security in place after the siege of the city ended.     “Labas masok ako sa Marawi kahit curfew, naghahanap kami ng evacuation center para paglagyan ng tubig. Alam nyo ba kung sino ang nagbigay sa akin ng go signal para makapasok at labas sa Marawi para makatulong kami? Mga mahal kong kapatid, si Bong Go po yun, yung SAP natin,” Padilla said.      He noted that he was assisted in his effort by the police, the military and the member of the Bangon Marawi task force because of Go.      “Huwag niyo po akong tignan bilang isang pulitiko kundi bilang kapatid. .. At ang pinakikiusap ko sa eleksyon bomoto kayo ng straight, lahat ng kaalyado ni Presidente Duterte, iboto ninyo. Unang-una na siyempre, yung aking best friend si Bong Go,” Padilla said.     He stressed that while many of his Muslim brothers in Marawi were urging him to run for the Senate, he decided against to dedicate his life to his faith.     Padilla also assured the people of Marawi that President Duterte is sincere in his effort to help them.     “Kahit kailan hindi kayo malilimutan ni Presidente Duterte. Ngayon kumakatok ako sa puso ninyo, huwag ninyong kalimutan ang Presidente natin at ang kanyang mga (kandidatong) senador,” he stressed.

READ MORE
Jaraula clarifies issues on The Golden Mile Project

April 22, 2019

Former Mayor Constantino G. Jaraula has issued a clarification about his Golden Mile Project after allegedly being “ridiculed and vilified” by radio commentators on the “unfinished” renovation of the Amphitheatre.     In a statement sent to this newspaper, Jaraula explained the historical background of the project which eventually led to the controversial demolition of the former Amphitheatre known as the “Amphi” to Kagay-anons.     “The block referred to as the Amphitheater, from Burgos to Capistrano Streets, used to be the Public Market. The western half was the “wet” portion and the upper half was for dry goods. The other block from Capistrano to Rizal Streets was likewise for dry goods. In 1958 the Cogon Market was made operational under the leadership of Mayor Justiniano “Tinying” Borja and Vice Mayor Jesus “Jake”Seriña.”     “Under the same leadership the entire “Divisoria Park” from Burgos to Corrales was fully developed and was recipient of a national award in 1963 for “beautification” among local governments. City Engineer Herminio Lucero was the designer and trusted official of Mayor Borja.  It is unfortunate he died not long thereafter.”     Jaraula noted how even before he assumed office as Mayor in July 2007 the Amphitheater was non-operational and was enclosed with barbwire.     “It was “over-used” and needed rehabilitation. This was aggravated by the need for additional space in the City Hall complex so that taxpayers would not jump from one office to another area, wasting so much time in between,” he noted. The Golden Mile     Thus, he conceived the Golden Mile Project in response to the crying need to expand the City Hall Complex at the time to accommodate the growing demands of the expanding city.     “When I took over in 2007 City Councilors did not have individual offices which we used to have. There was a demand for a One-Stop-Shop to consolidate City offices and save taxpayers time and expense. I humbly accepted the challenge and conceived of the Golden Mile Project.     Among the salient features of the project were enhancement of the river bank to prevent flooding; expansion of City Hall; construction of a multi-storey City Center to house a Public Library, Tourism and Museum,  with commercial floors to partly finance the Project; and redevelopment of the Amphitheatre to be integrated with the City Center.     In 2009, his administration was able to construct with local funds the Legislative and Administrative Buildings surrounding the Barangay/Tourism Hall by buying the old residential area of the late Assemblyman Isidro “Ñor Idroy” Vamenta and a portion of the late Edmundo Chaves property for a “discounted rate” of P13, 000 per square meter. This was considered a good bargain by former City Councilor Lourdes “Inday” Laviña since the prevailing price was at P25k/Sq.M.     The Golden Mile Master Plan called for the acquisition of all the areas bounded by the river bank and Burgos Street up to Hotel Ramon owned by the Chaves, Reyes, Roa, Montalvan, Gacula, and Pelaez families. Moving Forward     “We started with the 782 Sq.M, lot of the late Angel Chaves right beside Hotel Ramon and at the back of the Amphitheater, with the very specific purpose of putting up the City Center, also at a bargain, thanks to Charisse (Chaves) and Rafael “Pepot”Fortich.”     “We paid off the “occupants” of the property for their houses (whether paying or non-paying of rentals) and they demolished the same and vacated the area. In fact, this generous couple donated One Million (P1,000,000.00) Pesos as their contribution to the construction of the City Center with the condition that proper acknowledgment thereof be placed in the Center Marker. The amount was deposited with the City Treasurer’s Office.”     The plan also called for the construction of a foot/pedestrian bridge at the back of the City Center towards Brgy. Carmen, in the area owned by the late Domingo Vamenta.     “This was and still is a necessity since the Ysalina Bridge is always congested and dangerous to pedestrians. A view from the Science building of Xavier University and the Golden Friendship Park would have been extended up to Brgy. Carmen. Of course, it was fully understood at the time that all these could not be accomplished in just “one term”.  And I only had one term.” All Legal and Approved     Jaraula noted all the foregoing were covered by corresponding Resolutions and Ordinances, none of which has been repealed. They are available at the City Council for the honest and responsible commentators and scholars.     - Resolution No. 9305 – 2008 “ResolutionAdopting the Golden Mile Project consisting of (600) Six Hundred Meters of Walkway from the junction of Toribio Chaves Street to the proposed Boulevard along the river bank , going upstream to the 5th Bridge, and 1 kilometer of Boulevard from Toribio Chaves Street going downstream to J.R. Borja Street (or thereabout).     Correspondingly authorizing the dredging and reclamation of the Cagayan River as may be convenient and necessary for the early completion of the Project; and for this purpose authorizing the Honorable City Mayor to negotiate with any person, entity, or Corporation to undertake the Project or any part thereof, provided that any and all agreements in relation thereto shall be subject to the final approval of the Sangguniang  Panlungsod.” (Unanimously Carried on September 8, 2008)     - Resolution No. 9306 – 2008 “Resolution Authorizing the Redevelopment of the Golden Friendship Park (formerly Divisoria), including the extension of the same up to the proposed Boulevard along the River Bank and all the way to Barangay Carmen through a Walk Bridge, and the consequent acquisition of the area behind the Amphitheater, and for this purpose authorizing the Honorable City Mayor to conduct negotiations with any person, entity, or Corporation, as may be necessary to fulfill the foregoing functions, provided that any and all agreements in relation thereto shall be subject to the approval of the Sangguniang Panlungsod.” (Unanimously carried on September 8, 2008)     - Ordinance No. 11262 - 2008  “An Ordinance Authorizing Honorable City Mayor Constantino G. Jaraula to immediately implement or undertake the Redevelopment of the Community Amphitheatre Area at Divisoria, this City, as part of the Golden Mile Project, and further authorizing: the City Mayor to negotiate with Mr. Angel Chaves for the acquisition of his property affected by the said Project and to file expropriation proceedings in Court in case of failure thereof.” (Unanimously Approved December 15, 2008)     - Resolution No. 9560 – 2009 “Resolution Authorizing the Construction of a Multi-Storey City Center at the back of the Amphitheater (Chaves Lot to be acquired by the City) and the Immediate Bidding process therefor after compliance of basic requirements and in connection with the Redevelopment of the Amphitheater, further Authorizing the Construction of an Elevated Floor for the Amphitheater with the present Ground Floor serving as the area for Pay Parking and the Stage over Burgos Street, and other purposes.” (Carried by Majority on February 24, 2009)     - Ordinance No. 11379 – 2009 “An Ordinance Appropriating the sum of P10,975,881.00 from the Item “Non – Office Land Acquisition/Expropriation” in the 2009 Annual Budget to be made available for the full payment of the claim for just compensation including Registration and Documentation expenses of the Lot owned by Mr. Angel Chaves, located at Barangay No. 6, this City, which was affected by the construction of a Multi-Storey City Center at the back of the Amphitheater; and for this purpose, authorizing the Honorable City Mayor to sign the Deed of Absolute Sale thereof. (Approved by Majority on May 5, 2009) The Incomplete Amphi     Asked why the Golden Mile Project remained incomplete, Jaraula explained that the reconstruction of the Amphi was almost finished with stage already done but it had to await the construction of the City Center to which it has been integrated.     “In fact, the first to use it was ABS-CBN. This was specifically why the Angel Chaves lot was purchased to construct the City Center thereon and integrate the Amphi thereto,” he noted.     “In  the meantime, I used the ground floor of the Old Water Tank across Gaston Park to  “put up” the Museum which is being used until now as such without being expanded,” Jaraula added. Thus, he explained that the main reason why the Golden Mile Project, including the Amphi, was not completed was because the succeeding administrations did not elect to pursue it.     “There was an offer by a Korean consortium to put up a 30-storey building but my 3-year term ended faster. It was always assumed that the projects covered  by the resolutions and ordinances quoted could not be finished in just one term and subsequent administrations were expected to finish them through since they were neither amended nor repealed,” he said.

READ MORE
Senate urged: Penalize gencos involved in unplanned outages

April 22, 2019

An infrastructure-oriented think tank has called on the Senate energy committee led by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian to push for penalties against all power generating companies involved in the recent unplanned and forced outages which caused unexpected rotating brownouts within the Luzon power grid.     “The public demands an explanation how in the world was it possible that major generating plants suddenly become unavailable in such a short window of time. More importantly, the public should not be made to pay for these unplanned shutdowns. It should be these gencos that should pay the costs of higher power rates in the spot market,” said  Terry L. Ridon, Infrawatch PH convenor and former member fo the House energy committee.     Ridon said the following unplanned outages of the following power plants caused the April 13 red alert:      a. San Miguel Consolidated Power Corp. (SCPC) Unit 2, with 150-MW     b. Sual Unit I of Team Energy and San Miguel, with 647-MW     c. Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp. (SLPGC) Unit 2 of DMCI, with 150-MW     d. Pagbilao Unit 3 of Team Energy and Aboitiz Power, with 420-MW     e. South Luzon Thermal Energy Corp. (SLTEC) Unit 1 of AC Energy with 135-MW.. Explain shutdown, bear the costs     “We note that these generating plants are operated by country’s leading conglomerates, and thus, all the more should they be made to explain why their plants went out, and whether they are making a commitment to bear the costs of higher power prices from the spot market.”     Ridon said should the gencos refuse to make a voluntary commitment, government should initiate penalty proceedings, similar to its intervention in the water sector.     “The main concern of the public during these times is more on the higher costs due to the unplanned shutdowns. We can more ably bear rotating brownouts than higher power rates for reasons we have absolutely nothing to do with.”     Infrawatch recently lauded the  Department of Energy 's crackdown on gencos profiting from price spikes in the electricity spot market during the string of yellow alerts over the Luzon grid.     “This move by the energy department is a welcome development to ensure that the public interest is protected during times of limited power supply," said  Ridon.     The energy department recently said that it will release a list of gencos which may have gained financially from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM). Proactive action welcomed     “The crackdown on profiteering gencos is consistent to the resolve of President Rodrigo Duterte to make life comfortable for Filipinos.”     Ridon said unexpected price hikes due to unplanned outages should not be borne by consumers but by erring gencos.     “The public should not be made to pay for the inefficiencies and failures of generating companies. They should pay the higher costs in the spot market themselves.” No repeat of 2013 spot market spikes     Ridon said the energy department should not stop at simply naming profiteering gencos, but also make them accountable through penalty proceedings, similar to what is now being undertaken in the water sector.     “The public will not be contented at simply knowing which gencos had profited. They would also want to know whether government can stop these gencos from passing on their profits to the public.”     Ridon said the bitter experience during the 2013 price spikes in the spot market should serve as a warning that government should not surrender its mandate in protecting the public.     “Profiteering gencos should be penalized, and rebates reflected in our monthly bills.”

READ MORE
PRRD rallies Mindanaoans to support Bong Go, PDP bets

April 22, 2019

MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon – President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday rallied Mindanaoans to support the Senate bid of former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and the entire senatorial ticket of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) during a rally at the Capitol grounds here.     Earlier yesterday, Go’s candidacy received a boost after Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri and his father, Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri, Jr. endorsed the former SAP by raising his arms before the people of the province.      Addressing the people of the province, President Duterte stressed that Manila-based opposition candidates tend to look down on Go as just his former aide, not knowing the former SAP has the experience, educational background and skills to become a good senator.     “Ito kasing (taga Manila), akala yung aide (Bong Go), ordinaryong empleyado lang,” Duterte said, noting that the family of Go owned one of the biggest printing press in Davao City.      Duterte also noted that Go is a graduate of De La Salle University.  But the President stressed that Go earned his full trust and confidence because of his integrity and honesty that were manifested during Go’s 21 years of public service.      “Twenty one years na syang nasa sa akin. Maraming dumaan sa kamay nito dahil sya ang aking pinagkakatiwalaan,” Duterte added. He earlier noted that not a single centavo went missing in the funds he had entrusted to the former SAP.       Duterte said that being a man of integrity, Go can be trusted by the people to be a senator who can be his partner in his effort to rid the government of corrupt officials.       “Bakit magiging senador si Bong Go? Kung merong graft and corruption, sabihan lang ako, kahit anong oras. Kung meron kayong kakilala, like kay Governor, ipasabi lang (kay Bong Go) na gusto ninyong makipag usap kay Mayor,” the President said.     The President also endorsed other PDP-Laban candidates like Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, Francis Tolentino, Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Zajid Mangudadatu, as well as guest candidates like Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, Pia Cayetano, Imee Marcos, Rafael Alunan and Freddie Aguilar.      In his message to the people of Bukidnon, Go committed his full support to President Duterte’s programs and policies.     “Ipagpapatuloy ko po ang mga pagbabagong nasimulan ni Pangulong Duterte. Yung kampanya sa iligal na droga, kampanya laban sa kriminalidad, kampanya laban sa korapsyon, suportado ko po iyon,” Go said.      Likewise, Go said the people can always rely on him to help bring to the attention of President Duterte any concerns that they may have, including corruption in government.     “Noon, ngayon at saan man ako ipadpad ng tadhana, patuloy ninyo akong magiging tulay kay Pangulong Duterte. Basta kami, serbisyo lang sa tao dahil ang serbisyo sa tao ay serbisyo sa Diyos. Wala po kaming ibang hangarin ni Pangulong Duterte kundi kabutihan ng bawat Pilipino dahil mahal namin kayo,” he said.      Go bared that among priorities for the Senate is to push for improvement in the delivery of health services, including the establishment of a Malasakit Center, which brings together in one room all concerned government agencies such as the DOH, DSWD, PCSO and Philhealth to make it easier and faster for poor patients to avail of medical and financial assistance from the government.      “Pagdating ng panahon, gusto ko pong maisabatas ito,” said Go, noting such a law would enable the establishment of Malasakit Center in more provinces and key urban centers of the country and allow continuation of the program after the term of the Duterte administration.      Go’s priority concerns also include agriculture, education, housing for the poor, long-term sports development, fire protection and prevention, localized peace talks, barangay welfare, creation of a Department of OFW, and improved benefits for senior citizens.  Go is also supporting the proper implementation of the development programs of the Duterte administration.     In urging the people of Bukidnon to support Go, Senator Migz Zubiri noted that the former SAP was instrumental in pushing for the planned airport in the province, the establishment of the P500-million drug rehabilitation and other big-ticket projects of the Duterte administration here.     The Bukidnon Airport Development Program is a P408.8 million project for the construction of an airport in Maraymaray, Don Carlos, Bukidnon capable of large planes used for international flights. The project was opened to bidders in November last year. Once completed, it is expected to boost economic and tourism activities in the region.      In August last year, President Duterte has inaugurated the drug rehabilitation center here, composed of three-patients’ dormitories with training center, medical service building, staff dormitory, visitors building, gymnasium and other important facilities.      The province likewise stands to benefit from the $800-million new hydropower plant that will be developed in Bukidnon to add 250 megawatts (MW) capacity in Mindanao by 2021 and expected to reduce power rates for consumers, boost economic activity in the region and ensure sustainable power supply in the country.      The planned Phase 3 of the Mindanao Railway Project, involving the construction of a 521.52-km railway connecting Davao City to Cagayan de Oro via Malaybalay, Bukidnon will provide a safe, convenient and faster means of transportation and spur economic development in the entire Mindanao.

READ MORE
500K tourists seen to visit pilgrimage sites

April 17, 2019

MORE than half a million individuals are expected to visit the various pilgrimage sites in Northern Mindanao, especially in Misamis Oriental, during the Holy Week, a tourism official said Saturday.     The Divine Mercy shrine in Barangay Ulaliman, El Salvador City, Misamis Oriental, is projected to have the most number of visitors, provincial tourism officer Jeffrey Saclot said.     Last year, more than 200,000 devotees visited the shrine’s 50-foot statue of Jesus Christ, the most prominent structure at the Divine Mercy Hills, and the figure is seen to increase this year, Saclot said.     The statue is considered as one of the tallest religious structures in the region.     Aside from the Divine Mercy site, devotees will also visit the Our Lady of Lourdes Church, known for its “healing pool,” in Binuangan town; the Sipaka Heights in Talisayan town; and soon-to-be finished Christ the King Shrine in Gingoog City; and Medina town where “Hinuklog” (reflection), a street play depicting the passion of Jesus Christ, will be held on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.     In the city, two pilgrimage locations are expected to draw in Roman Catholics: the “via cruzes” (station of the cross) in Malasag, Barangay Cugman, and Guadalupe in Barangay Tablon.     The “Panaad” (vow) is one of the reasons why Camiguin’s tourists swell during the summer. Already practiced for decades, devotees walk around the island’s 64-kilometer circumferential road as part of their annual penance.     Meanwhile, the police regional office said in a statement that they are on full alert in time for the Holy Week.     Brig. Gen. Timoteo Pacleb, police regional director, said he has ordered unit commanders all over the region to “strategize deployment” of officers in areas of convergence and commercial centers such as terminals, airports, seaports, highways, malls, resorts, churches, and other sites to ensure the “tranquil observance of the [Lent].”     “We will continue to undertake preemptive measures against terrorist attack while keeping our watch against other form of criminalities prevalent during the [Holy Week],” Pacleb said, adding that they have intensified the presence of mobile forces within the regional police’s jurisdiction.     “We continue to strengthen our intelligence coordination and monitoring with other government agencies to prevent untoward incident during the holiday,” he said.     The police official has also encouraged the participation of “force multipliers” and public safety volunteers from government and nongovernment organizations to help the law enforcers.     For his part, Lt. Col. Surki Sereñas, police regional spokesperson, has urged the public to refrain from posting their vacation plans and routine activities on social media.     “We should be very cautious because criminals are also active [on] social media. They have leveled up to look for likely victims in the internet. Let us deny them the opportunity to commit crime through responsible use of [social networking sites],” Sereñas said. (PNA)

READ MORE


Subscribe Now!

Receive email updates from Business Week.