front page

CDO's new infectious disease center seen as Mindanao's 'RITM'

April 7, 2021

CAGAYAN de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno said Tuesday he hopes the new infectious disease center here would cater not only to Region 10 but would also be Mindanao's own Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).      Moreno was referring to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center-Cagayan de Oro City-Center for Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases (NMMC-CDO-CEREID), which will be turned over to the state-run NMMC on April 8.      While the facility was created to address the Covid-19 pandemic, Moreno said its long-term function would be as an infectious diseases hub for Mindanao, similar to Manila's RITM.      "It's a very ambitious dream, but hopefully, when this will be turned over (to NMMC), it will be a good launching pad for this dream (to happen)," Moreno said.      The NMMC-CDO-CEREID is a P46-million building furnished with medical equipment.      Situated in Barangay San Simon here, the two-level building has a floor area of 1,600 square meters within the 2.5-hectare lot area.      In an earlier interview with Dr. William Bernardo, chief of City Health Insurance Office (CHIO), who oversees the construction, he said the facility complied with the Department of Health (DOH) standards and is equipped with five wards that can house at least 75 patients.      The facility also has a Bio Safety Laboratory Level 2 section, which can test specimens for traces of Covid-19. He also said that even when the pandemic is over, the center can help address other cases of re-emerging diseases such as tuberculosis, among others.      "Since NMMC is considered an Apex hospital, and Cagayan de Oro is the regional center, it would be best that this facility would be put into good use," he said, referring to NMMC's important role in handling Covid-19 cases not only in the city but also to referred patients within Region 10.      Acting City Health Officer Dr. Lorraine Nery said that the facility can "diffuse" the Covid-19 surge, especially individuals who arrive from the National Capital Region.      "We don´t want a second wave or surge of Covid-19 cases if possible (similar to the National Capital Region), but we already have measures in place. Right now, we have fewer isolation units due to the decline in cases (but they remain on standby). And of course, more private hospitals increased their bed capacity to accommodate positive cases," Nery said.      NMMC liaison officer, Dr. Bernard Rocha, said they have protocols in place to deal with the surge, including dropping certain services to accommodate more Covid-19 patients.      "The CEREID facility in San Simon is perfect for us in terms of adding 72 beds which we can add more depending on what we receive. God forbid if a surge does occur, the public can be assured that the local health sector anticipated and is ready to handle it. We are monitoring the situation in NCR, and we never stopped preparing," he said. (PNA)

READ MORE
Peace seen to drive economic potentials

April 5, 2021

COTABATO City – A leading civil executive in Southern Philippines has expressed the need for long-term stability in the region so that this may pave the way for investments in fields like trade and maritime development. This, according to lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, spokesperson for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), in a recent video statement on Muslim Mindanao’s vast potentials for economic development.      Initial oil exploration works are ongoing “in the Sulu Sea and the Moro Gulf, as well as in the Liguasan Marsh,” said Sinarimbo, who concurrently serves as the BARMM’s Minister of the Interior and Local Government.      All three areas have been considered by multiple scientific sources as “resource-rich” in terms of maritime as well as mineral assets.      “These resources can actually be exploited and developed and become beneficial to the constituents of the region as well as the world,” he said.      He, however, added that “what we need is, of course, a stable peace and security in the region so that we can exploit all of these potentials.”      He said BARMM “sits strategically in the South China Sea and the Pacific through which a substantial volume of cargo passes through.”      These cargoes may come from nearby Australia and proceeding to China, he said, or China-made products finding their way to Europe.      Whatever the origin or destination and given the right infrastructure and policy support, he added, more of these goods should pass through the internationally-recognized Sibutu Strait off Tawi-Tawi.      Civil and military sources in 2019 estimated that the Sibutu Strait, which lies between the Sulu Archipelago and Indonesia’s Borneo, was host to some $51 billion worth of sea cargo every year.      “This can be exploited through the development of a logistics hub not just for this region but for the country. So this offers a lot of potentials,” Sinarimbo said.      A Bangsamoro Organic Law was signed into law in 2018 by President Duterte.      This effectively laid the ground for the rebuilding of institutional structures for civil governance.      Yet, the transition from war to peace has not been easy, given the demands of bureaucracy.      A source, who requested anonymity, said, “building the capability to effectively govern takes time. It is a tight balancing act given the challenges of pursuing equitable development in the region.”      To date, both Muslim and Christian leaders in the Congress, academe, Church, and grassroots organizations are united in calling for an extension of the transition period from the old to the new autonomous government.      Over a million signatures in support of the call have so far been gathered online.

READ MORE
Electric coops log 2% sales growth in 2020

April 5, 2021

IN spite of the demand slump ignited by the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s electric cooperatives (ECs) still managed to post 2.0-percent growth in their electricity sales last year, which was quite a feat in such scathing times of a crisis.      In data released by the Information Technology and Communication Services Department (ITCSD) of the National Electrification Administration (NEA), it was emphasized that the volume of electricity sold by the ECs hovered at 23,622 gigawatt-hours last year, compared to a relatively tamer 23,127 GWh in 2019.      Overall revenues of the power utilities, however, went down by 4.0-percent to P211.457 billion in 2020 versus a heftier P221.359 billion in the prior year.      “The 4.0-percent dip in total revenues of the ECs was due to measures implemented by the power utilities, such as extending the grace periods for bill payments,” NEA explained.      The agency further noted that sales outcome in the first quarter was still bullish with 3.0-percent growth; but there was precipitous slide in the second quarter because that was the period when the toughest pandemic-induced lockdowns were enforced in the country.      “Energy sales for the second quarter showed a 4.0-percent decline from 2019 due to the imposition of community quarantines to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country,” the electrification agency pointed out.      Onward to third quarter last year, energy sales gained traction anew with 3.0-percent growth; while a brisk performance with 7.0-percent growth had been turned in by the ECs in the fourth quarter.      On the revenues, NEA indicated that first quarter top line had already been lower by 2.0-percent, primarily due to the impact of the Taal volcano eruption; and the initial disruption precipitated by the pandemic in the initial months.      The most severe hit on the revenues though happened in the second quarter with a double-digit drop of 12-percent; but that was somehow trimmed to 4.0percent in the third quarter.      In the last quarter, top line result for the ECs had been marginally up with 1.0-percent growth to P53.356 billion; as against P52.831 billion within comparative period in 2019.      Despite relatively dismal financial performance last year, the ECs noted that they still opted to extend payment extensions to ease off consumers’ cost burdens brought about by the health crisis. (MMV)

READ MORE
Sudaria launches MDNN Digital platform today

March 10, 2021

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -  Mindanao Daily News Corporation president & CEO Dante M. Sudaria has announced the grand launching of its fourth media platform – the Mindanao Daily News Network (MDNN) Digital today at the Ayala Centrio Mall, this city.      MDNN Digital is the latest version of MDN Teleradyo (Mindanao Daily News Teleradyo) which started on June 2020 at Mindanao Daily News main office, Abellanosa St., Consolacion, this city. MDNN Digital is under a trade name of MDNN Digital Advertising Services, a company under Mindanao Daily News Publishing Corporation.      “From its humble beginning as a monthly publication, BusinessWeek Mindanao our first media platform way back June 8, 2009,  metamorphosed  into  a weekly, bi-weekly newspaper. In 2011 we ventured into daily newspapering which is now popularly known as the Mindanao Daily News and which has its on-line version too. We added a lifestyle newspaper – the Metro Cagayan de Oro Times to cater to arts & culture articles. Then face-book live-streaming became popular in social media, and so with a partner Mr. Rufin, of Radyo Natin 106.3 FM, we started our own MDN TeleRadyo on June 2020. When we ceased partnership with Radio Natin we started strengthening our digital channel as Mindanao Daily News (MDN) TeleRadyo. When another partner also departed for another  occupation, we added the now to be formally launched digital streaming service – the MINDANAO DAILY NEWS NETWORK  (MDNN) Digital, “ Dante Sudaria narrated.      Sudaria added that his journey as a media service provider has given him many challenges along the way. There were managerial problems to be solved; employees and partners’ competency; financial debacles especially when Covid-19 pandemic struck the world. “Instead of bowing down to all these pressures, I struggled on, made innovations to continue our media brands of public service,” he added.      MDN Vice President for Corporate Affairs and editor in chief Allan M. Mediante, on the other hand, has lauded  Veterans Bank (thru 1st Vice Pres. Miguel Villa-Real; Ayala Corporation, FDC Misamis and Cepalco who expressed approval of supporting this latest project. Ditto with other local businesses who have sponsored this event.      Today’s launching ceremony features the presence of  former ABS CBN broadcaster and now City Councilor Girlie Balaba as main Guest Speaker. Ms. Balaba has two degrees – Psychology from Xavier University, and BS Nursing from Brokenshire College, Davao City.      Councilor Balaba who is a registered nurse, however,  had an extensive stint with broadcast media as newscaster of Star FM;  Anchor-Reporter of ABC 5 and finally as Anchor Reporter of ABS CBN.      Another invited speaker is Dr. Manny V. Jaudian, who was recently re-elected President of Cagayan de Oro Press Club. Dr. Jaudian is also a broadcast journalist for more than 30 years.      Program Hosts  will be presenting their programs and their sponsors during the event this afternoon.

READ MORE
‘Boracay of the South' reopens for business

March 8, 2021

KORONADAL City — Mindanao’s “version of Boracay,” the coastal town of Glan in Sarangani province, has started accepting guests from within and outside Region 12 (Soccsksargen), Glan Mayor Vivien Yap said.      Visitors need to book first with the resorts so they will be allowed entry to the town famous for its fine white sand beaches in Gumasa district, among others.      “Guests shall stay within the resort they’re accommodated as we don’t allow beach hopping,” she said.      A bucolic town at least an hour’s ride away from General Santos City, Glan is considered the top tourism destination in Sarangani and is marketed as the “Boracay of the South.”      For tourists from within Soccsksargen, they need to present the DVY Cares quick response code that can be accessed at www.glan.ph and the booking confirmation slip from the resort they will be staying in.      For those from other regions, they need to present medical certificates aside from these two requirements.      Yap reminded visitors to always observe proper health protocols such as hand washing or sanitizing, wearing of face mask and social distancing to avoid spreading the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19).      She said resorts are allowed to accommodate only 50 percent of their capacity in line with the directive of the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases .      Glan hosts the annual Sarangani Bay Festival, or simply SarBay Fest for locals, the biggest beach party in Mindanao launched in 2006.      The SarBay Fest has become the ultimate summer beach party scene in Mindanao, attracting thousands of visitors. Night-long music by popular bands and water sports-related activities are among the main features of the festival.      In 2016, SarBay Fest organizers recorded 150,000 tourists who joined the event.      Last year, the festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.      The event was also suspended in 2017 due to security concerns following the siege staged by Islamic State-aligned militants in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.      Glan has over two dozen beach resorts catering to different budget needs. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)

READ MORE
Army hospital frontliners in CDO vaccinated vs COVID-19

March 8, 2021

A HUNDRED medical front liners at the  Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Barangay Patag here were vaccinated Friday afternoon with CoronaVac, a vaccine against COVID-19 manufactured by China’s Sinovac Biotech.      Elsewhere in the city, inoculation also started on Friday for the 1,400 medical front liners at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC), the main regional referral center for COVID-19 cases.      The Army 4th Infantry Division received 300 doses of CoronaVac,  a small part of the initial batch of 600,000 doses donated the country by China. China’s donation, which arrived in the Philippines on February 28, specifies 100,000 doses are a gift of the Chinese military to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.      Army spokesperson Major Rodulfo Cordero said the medical front liners vaccinated on Friday would get their second or last dose on April 4 also at the station hospital.      Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he has secured 90,000 doses of anti-COVID 19 vaccines for the 130,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines and its 60,000 paramilitary personnel nationwide.      Lorenzana said this would be shipped to all Army divisions, battalions and forward military camps including Kalayaan Island, which has 50 Philippine Marines at its station.      “Vaccination is mandatory for all soldiers and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he told reporters here on Friday.      But Lorenzana said soldiers and personnel who do not want to be vaccinated with the Chinese-made vaccine will have to pay for the vaccine of their choice. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)

READ MORE


Subscribe Now!

Receive email updates from Business Week.