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LGU, Private Sector laud PPA for PHs Biggest Port Passenger Terminal Bldg

July 15, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO – Local government units and private sector organizations in Northern Mindanao have lauded the opening today of the biggest seaport Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) in the Philippines at the Cagayan de Oro Port in Bgy. Macabalan. Lodged in a two-storey building with a total floor area of 5,597 square meters, the new CDO Port PTB boasts of a 1,176-passenger seating capacity on its ground floor, and a 1,221-passenger seating capacity on its second floor. According to Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manager Jay Santiago, the new facility is eyed to boost opportunities for economic growth and tourism, not only in the city or in the province of Misamis Oriental, but for the whole of Northern Mindanao. “The construction of this brand new building will greatly strengthen the region as the global gateway to Mindanao. Once we inaugurate this on July 15, we are opening Cagayan De Oro to the nation and to the rest of the world as we pursue progress for our seaports,” Santiago said. Through the expansion project, the new PTB can now accommodate up to 3,000 sea passengers daily, triple its previous passenger capacity of 1,000. Besides the new PTB, PPA will also inaugurate its new port development in Opol, Misamis Oriental and the 6-lane electronic gate complex at Cagayan de Oro Port. “The new PPA Passenger Terminal Building in CDO is a milestone, not just for CDO but also for Northern Mindanao and the Upper Half of Mindanao,” said Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar S.  Moreno.   “With an increased (doubled) capacity of 3,000 passengers, the Terminal will serve as the Major Gateway, and CDO's very strategic location, right in the center of the Upper Half of Mindanao, provides a perfect fit for it. CDO's role as a Convergence City, a Transport, Trading and Logistics Hub, will certainly continue to grow.”    “While we welcome this strategic support of the National Government, we are also aware that we need to level up our deliverables corresponding to this marked enhancement. We are committed to do that. Not just for CDO, but also for Northern Mindanao,” he added.    “The new PPA terminal helps in communicating to business and tourism how Cagayan de Oro values its position as the gateway to the region as well as providing competitive services and facilities,” said Eileen E. San Juan, Cagayan de Oro Local Economic & Investment Promotion Officer. . San Juan expressed optimism that with a more sophisticated terminal and port, Cagayan de Oro would attract more cruise ships in addition to the ones which have been visiting the city over the past three years. According to the Department of Tourism Region 10 office, Cagayan de Oro has been a part of Expedition Cruises for the past years (e.g  Silver Explorer Company), bringing a high-end group comprising of approximately 100 persons connecting Camiguin- Surigao - and parts of the Visayas Islands. Thus, the new port can really be an excellent facility should there be another route mapping or explorations in the area. The Philippines’ largest port PTB also boasts of facilities and amenities that cater to the safety and comfort of sea passengers. These include security checkpoints with X-ray scanners for luggage, body scanners, security cameras, passenger boarding stations, assistance desks, designated green areas, play area for children, and a child care station. “I congratulate the Philippine Ports Authority and its leadership for building this modern Passenger Terminal facility which will surely enhance the comfort, security and connectivity of visitors coming from various seaports in the country while entering the booming Metropolitan Cagayan de Oro corridor and its environs,” said Engr. Elpidio M. Paras, President, Promote Normin, a private sector-led NGO advocating Northern Mindanao as a tourism and business destination.  “This excellent project will greatly improve the attractiveness and competitiveness of the Northern Mindanao region as a prime investment destination for business, industry and tourism,” he added. “We expect more people from Cebu and the Visayas to take the option of an overnight boat trip, visit and enjoy our landmark tourism hotspots during the day, and appreciate the amenities this modern transit facility provides as they go back on their return trip home.” DoTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade commended the PPA for its efforts in completing the massive port project for the people of Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao. “I am thankful to GM Jay Santiago, and to the men and women of PPA, for realizing the dream of building the biggest Passenger Terminal Building in the country. This is a huge step towards giving the people of Cagayan de Oro a comfortable life through enhanced connectivity, a legacy promised by President Rodrigo Duterte,” Secretary Tugade said. “The construction of a new passenger terminal building in Cagayan de Oro Port will further boost domestic tourism, enabling more inbound and outbound passengers to conveniently travel to major destinations in the Visayas and Luzon. Truly a remarkable feat as far as public sector investment is concerned,” said Ma. Teresa R. Alegrio, Region X Governor, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI). As reported by Maritime Review, the Port of Cagayan de Oro, an international seaport in Mindanao, is the most modern outside Metro Manila. The seabed off the port is steep and reaches 1,000 meters deep at the entrance of the Macajalar Bay, which has a wide mouth. Anchorage is ideal for transnational vessels with a depth of 18 meters, and is approximately 400 meters from the shoreline. The depth of safe anchorage is 60 fathoms. It has 14 berthing areas with varying drafts from 8-13 meters, totaling 954 meters, 1 RORO ramp, two 50-ton weighbridges, 126 reefer outlets, 2 hectares of open storage areas, and a 5,500 sqm container freight station. The port serves 14 domestic and 4 foreign shipping lines. The Port of Cagayan de Oro is the busiest government port in Northern Mindanao in terms of cargo throughput. Dubbed as the Global Gateway to Mindanao, its strategic location makes it the entry and exit point of goods and passengers for the city of Cagayan de Oro and the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Camiguin, Agusan, Bukidnon, and Davao. In 2017, total cargo throughput reached 9.5M MT, of which break bulk was 2.45M MT, dry bulk was 1.755M MT, liquid bulk was 1.648M MT, and containerized cargo was 3.647M MT. (Maritime Review PH, 2018).

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Himugso Heritage Feature: Guerrilla Submarines in Northern Mindanao during World War II (Part 1)

June 12, 2019

During World War II, US Navy submarines helped supply the Filipino and American guerrillas with arms, ammunition and supplies, also ferrying personnel in and out of the islands. Known as the Spyron Operation, it supported the Filipino and American Guerrillas resistance to the Japanese occupation after the Philippines fell to the Japanese Imperial Forces in early 1942. The Spyron operation was key to the success of the resistance. Without the arms and supplies ferried by US submarines, the guerrillas would have been unable to sustain their intelligence gathering and sabotage operations against the Japanese forces. Even before Corregidor surrendered, submarines were already playing a key role in the Battle for the Philippines supplying arms and ammunition to the beleaguered island, and ferrying people in and out the war zone. The Quezon Mission Notable among these missions was the USS Swordfish (SS-193) under Lt. Cmdr. C.C. Smith which picked up President Manuel L. Quezon, his wife, two daughters, and son; Vice President Tomas Osmeña; Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos; and Philippine Army officers General Valdes, Colonel Nieto, and Chaplain Captain Ortiz from Corregidor on February 19, 1942.  Swordfish then departed via a safety lane through the minefield in the harbor and headed for San Jose on Panay Island, where she arrived on February 22nd, and transferred President Quezon and his party to a motor tender. Quezon and his family proceeded to Iloilo and were ferried to Oroquieta, Misamis Occidental by PT-41 and from there motored to Del Monte Airfield in Bukidnon where they were subsequently flown to Australia by B-17.(Source: John Clear's collection of more than 63,000 pages of U. S. submarine World War II patrol reports, compiled from original U. S. Government microfilms.  Spyron in Normin The first Spyron operation in Northern Mindanao and seventh Spyron mission overall,  involved the Bowfin (SS-287) under Cmdr. J. H. Willingham on Sept. 3, 1943 when it embarked nine persons and  delivered seven tons of radio equipment and supplies at Iligan Bay, 1 ¼ mile east of Binuni Point (off present day Bacolod, Lanao del Norte). Four weeks later on Sept. 29, 1943, at the same location, Bowfin evacuated nine guerrillas, selected by their superior officers, to be transported to Australia. Among them were Luis Morgan, executive officer of Col. Wendell Fertig, who headed the organized Filipino-American Resistance in Mindanao ; Edward M. Kuder, a well-known superintendent of schools in Mindanao and Samuel C. Grashio, a U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot prior to his capture on Bataan. Grashio had survived the infamous 'Death March' to be confined in three different Japanese prison camps before finally escaping from the Davao Penal Colony with a group of 10 POWs and two Philippine convicts and then joining the guerrillas. The Narwhal Cometh But perhaps the most famous submarine to figure in Spyron operations in Northern Mindanao was the  USS Narwhal (SS-167), the lead ship of her class of submarine and one of the "V-boats", the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the narwhal. She was named V-5 (SC-1) when her keel was laid down on 10 May 1927 by the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine. At 371 feet long and with a displacement of 4,000 tons submerged, Narwhal was one of the biggest US Navy submarines during WW2, but was not really suited for attack, thus was assigned to transport supplies and personnel to guerrillas in the Philippines especially, eventually became the leading submarine in supporting the Philippine guerrillas with nine secret transport missions to her credit, five of which were conducted in the Caraga and Northern Mindanao regions. First Mission to Nasipit On her seventh war patrol and ninth Spyron mission, Narwhal skippered by Lt. Cmdr.Frank D. Latta, entered Butuan Bay submerged at 0508 hrs on November 15, 1943. At 1605 hours, she sighted a launch flying the proper security signal. She surfaced and Colonel Wendell W. Fertig, commander of the United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) and head of the organized resistance in Mindanao, came aboard. Narwhal then proceeded to Nasipit Harbor. On her way in she ran aground on hard sand in the channel's west bank, but managed to free herself quickly. At 1746 hours, Narwhal moored starboard side at the Nasipit dock as a Filipino band played “Anchors Away.” At 2330 hours, she completed offloading 46 tons of supplies. Early the next day, she embarked 32 evacuees, including POW escapees Shofner, Hawkins and Dobervich, women, two children, and one baby, and got underway. Spyron Operations Chief Lt. Cmdr. Chick Parsons left Narwhal with the harbor pilot. Remarks in Narwhal's patrol report: "The very real need for any kind of stores in guerrilla occupied areas led us to transfer considerably more stores than were actually consigned as cargo. Additional arms and ammunition as well as foodstuffs were transferred to Col. [Wendell] Fertig. An eyewitness account of this story is told in the book “My Faraway Home” by Mary Mackay Maynard, who was one of the two children evacuated. It is also related in John Keat’s book “They Fought Alone” which relates the guerrilla war in Mindanao under Fertig who was on hand to meet the submarine. Seventeen days later, on Dec. 2, 1943,  Narwhal entered Butuan Bay and surfaced at 1706 hours, some 1,000 yards off Cabadbaran. Shortly thereafter, a 150-ton barge came alongside. Fertig and Parsons came aboard.  Narwhal embarked seven evacuees - two soldiers, three civilian men, one woman, and one eight-year-old girl. She unloaded 92 tons of supplies, 300 gallons of lube oil, a small amount of hand tools, received three messages regarding the next phase of her mission, and used the portable radio station on the barge to send three messages. At 2205 hours, she got underway with Parsons aboard.  (Guerrilla photos courtesy of MacArthur Memorial) (to be continued)

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Ikatlong Tanghalan sa KampoJuan: IN-BETWEEN Chris Gomez and his Art

June 11, 2019

One of the things I’ll always remember from the recent Tanghalan sa KampoJuan is a friend’s solo exhibit at the newly opened Galleria de Socorro. Named after Dame Socorro Coring Acosta, former city mayor of Manolo Fortich and First District Representative of Bukidnon, it was billed as a Sustainable Design exhibit of our good friend Chris Gomez, a multidisciplinary creative and advocate showcasing his artworks and artistry through his paintings, and creative designs in furniture, fashion and accessories. Chris is a multi-awarded artist and designer whose accolades include the 2014 Look of Style Awards by the British Council; Grand Prize (Water based Category) in the 2012 Metrobank Art and Design Excellence Awards and finalist in the 2011 National Philippine Art Awards. He also became a finalist at the China ASEAN Youth Artwork Creativity Contest in 2008 at Nanning, China before finally bagging the Award of Excellence in 2016. The artists explained to us the IN-BETWEEN of this particular exhibit: “In my travels from one place to another as designer for communities and enterprises, my constant companion has always been my artist self.” “Yes, the bare essential self, equipped with my childhood medium, the pencil, a quick eye and a bag of memories.” “Nothing is too small or mundane; I process everything with the combined mind of a man-child to create studies, drawings, and works final or in progress.”  “These works serve as pit stops or in-betweens in a hectic designer life of meetings, client assessments, and deadlines.” As one of the most sought after designers not only in the region but from all over the country as well, Chris considers his work as the connection between his art and his family. “My art also serves as fulcrum between a day job and my family. It connects the two in a very organic way, a sort of translation device.” “For me, design is always answering the question “is this product good for my family?” “The drawings for In-Between are additions to my childhood-themed series which started with Filipino handmade toys and now continuing with images of children.” “Having three children today has connected me more to the child I was before, fearlessly and innocently drawing in between studies, chores and games.” You can still catch Chris Gomez’s IN-BETWEEN Solo Art Show at Galleria de Socorro, Kampo Juan Resort until 25 June 2019. Please contact Laclac Bongcawelat 09551539105 or email tanghalan.kampjuan@gmail.com.  Mindanao Daily and BusinessWeek Mindanao are proud Media Partners of Tanghalan sa KampoJuan.

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Turnover Ceremony for “The Project for the Construction of Classrooms for Tictapul Elementary School”

May 3, 2019

 On April 24, 2019, Minister for Economic Affairs Makoto Iyori, Consul General Yoshiaki Miwa and Second Secretary Atsushi Kobayashi of the Embassy of Japan attended the turnover ceremony in Zamboanga City for the “The Project for the Construction of Classrooms for Tictapul Elementary School”.     The project was approved in 2016, and is part of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP). Mr. Maximillan Ventura, President of Philam Foundation, Inc., Mr. Felix Romy A. Triambulo, Superintendent of the Department of Education Zamboanga City Division, school teachers and selected students, also graced the event.     Tictapul is one of the distant rural barangays of Zamboanga City. Similar to most rural areas in Zamboanga, Tictapul is an underprivileged community and endures shortage of appropriate social infrastructure such as school buildings.     Given the increasing number of students enrolling at Tictapul Elementary School, the school lacks the funding to improve its dilapidated classrooms and facilities. During classes, some of the students were forced to sit on the floor due to inadequate chairs and tables.     In line with Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD)*1, and through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP), the Embassy of Japan provided assistance to Philam Foundation, Inc. with a grant amounting to Forty-Eight Thousand Five Hundred Fifty-Six US dollars (USD 48,556) or approximately 2.4 million pesos. The grant covered the construction of a one-storey four-classroom school building with the necessary school furniture for Tictapul Elementary School.     This project is expected to provide a conducive learning and teaching environment which will benefit more than 700 students and 18 teaching personnel of the school.     The Government of Japan, as the top ODA donor for the Philippines, launched the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects in the Philippines in 1989 for the purpose of reducing poverty and helping various communities engaged in grassroots activities. At present, 543 grassroots projects have been implemented by the GGP. Japan believes that these projects will not only strengthen the friendship between the peoples of Japan and the Philippines but also contribute in sustaining strategic partnership between the two countries.     Note*1: Since 2006, Japan has been intensively implementing Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects and other ODA projects for conflict affected areas in Mindanao, collectively called J-BIRD (Japan-Bangsamoro Initiative for Reconstruction and Development). Their total amount is over 200 million US Dollars. Furthermore, when former President Aquino made a state visit to Japan in June 2015, Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Shinzo Abe, expressed at their summit meeting his support for efforts by the Government of the Philippines to secure enduring peace in Mindanao, and stated that the Government of Japan will promote the J-BIRD II, in view of the establishment of a new autonomous political entity.

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Metro TODA pledges support for Bong Go as former SAP vows to fight for their cause

May 3, 2019

PASIG CITY - Former Special Assistant to the President and 2019 senatorial candidate Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Saturday received a pledge of support from the National Capital Region-Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (TODA) Coalition.     Signed by TODA leaders in Metro Manila led NCR TODA Coalition President Ace Sevilla, the pledge of support was given to Go during the Pasig City First TODA Summit held at Urbano Velasco Avenue, in Brgy. Pinagbuhatan here.     “..Kami po ay mataimtim na nangangakong susuporta sa pagtakbo ni Kuya Bong Go bilang isa sa mga Senador ng Republika ng Pilipinas ng may buong katapatan at paniniwala. Asahan ninyong kami ay magiging kaakibat nito tungo sa pag-unlad at pagbabagong nais ipagpatuloy ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte,” the manifesto read.     Earlier in the day, Go went around Pasig City in a motorcade. He thanked the people of the city for the enthusiastic reception he received from them.     “Sobrang init ng pagtanggap ng ating mga kababayan sa atin kahit saan kami pumunta. Kanina pinasok natin yung eskinita ng Payatas, ng Quezon City, ngayon naman sa Pasig. Sobrang init ng pagtanggap ng tao, nakakawala talaga ng pagod,” Go said.     He said he goes around the country not merely to pursue his campaign but also to meet with the residents to cheer them up and listen to their concerns.     Speaking at the summit, Go reaffirmed his commitment to champion the cause of the TODA and promote their welfare. He recalled that a chance meeting with Sevilla marked the beginning of his earnest efforts to help the TODA.     “Nagkakilala kami sa isang tabi lang po, sa isang carinderia diyan sa Pasay. Nagkwentuhan kami, sabi niya marami akong gustong iparating, mga hinaing daw ng TODA…so sabi ko ipaparating ko kay Pangulo. Kaya po tayo nagkaroon ng TODA Summit,” Go pointed out.     In January this year, the government held a national TODA Summit in Pasay City to listen to the concern of the tricycle operators and drivers in the country.     “Inimbitahan rin po yung mga presidente ng TODA doon po sa Malacanang at naiparating ni Presidente Ace kay Pangulong Duterte yung mga hinaing po ng TODA at yung mga problema ninyo,” Go added.     “Sa katauhan ni Kuya Bong Go, may magtutulay na ng hinaing ng mga TODA sa Presidente,” said Sevilla for his part, as he also recalled how Go  spearheaded the January National TODA Summit.     Sevilla noted that during their meeting with President Duterte, arranged by Go, he requested fuel subsidy for tricycle drivers similar to that enjoyed by jeepney drivers. He said this would soon be realized through the help of the private sector.     For his part, Go assured the TODA that they can always count on his help if they have any concerns or problems that they want to bring to the attention of President Rodrigo Duterte.     “Asahan nyo po, ako bilang Kuya Bong Go ninyo, ako yung tulay ninyo sa Malacanang. Kung may problema po kayo …basta kahit anong reklamo po…isumbong nyo rin po sa akin,” Go said.     He said that if elected to the Senate he would undertake a review of existing laws, including those governing their livelihood and operations, to ensure the regulations would be beneficial to them.     “Mga TODA, mahal po namin kayo ni Pangulong Duterte. Basta kahit ano pong pwede naming gawin sa inyo iparating nyo lang po sa mga presidente ninyo,” he added.     Go also recalled that during his visit to fire victims he would also take time to talk to the TODA in the area just to hear their concerns.     “Tuwing may nasusunugan nakikipag-boodle fight ako sa TODA na malapit, kahit hating-gabi. Doon lang po yung pagkakataon na pwede ko kayong makausap at makahalubilo at (malaman kung) ano po yung mga gusto ninyong iparating po sa ating gobyerno,” Go said.     Go told them that he remains committed to supporting the campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte against criminality, corruption, and illegal drugs as he also warned them to stay away from drugs.     “Marami pong mga TODA na naging biktima ng droga. Marami pong lumapit sa akin, sabi nila: Sir salamat po kay Pangulong Duterte, nagbagong-buhay na ako, nag-surrender na ako. ..Iwasan ninyo po yung droga,” Go reminded them.     In addition, Go said he supports the Duterte administration’s development and infrastructure programs, noting there are many on-going and planned projects that would benefit not only Pasig but other adjacent cities in Metro Manila.     Among others, he cited P27.3-billion project for the construction of consisting of 10 bridges crossing the Pasig-Marikina River and Manggahan Floodway. The government has requested international loan financing for the project since June 6, 2018.     There were also plans for other bridges such as the Mercury-Evangelista Bridge, the J.P. Rizal-Lopez Jaena Bridge, as well as the BGC-Ortigas Link, all meant to reduce traffic and improve travel time between Pasig and nearby cities in Metro Manila, among others.     Likewise, Go told the TODA in Pasig that they could also benefit from his advocacy to improve the delivery of health services in the country, particularly through the establishment of Malasakit Center.     A program of the Duterte administration based on Go’s idea, the Malasakit Center makes it easier and faster for poor patients to avail of medical and financial assistance by bringing together in one room all concerned agencies such as DOH, DSWD, PCSO, and Philhealth.     “Kung may magkakasakit na TODA o kanilang pamilya pwede po silang matulungan sa Malasakit Center,” Go said. Out of the 34 Malasakit Center currently in operation, three are in the NCR.     Go is pushing for a law to enable the establishment of Malasakit Center in more provinces and key urban centers in the country and allow continuity of the program even after the term of the Duterte administration.     He vowed to serve the Filipino people the best way he could, saying “Bisyo ko na po ang magserbisyo.”     “Magseserbisyo kami (ni Pangulong Duterte) sa inyong lahat. Serbisyo sa tao ay serbisyo sa Diyos. Wala kaming ibang hangarin kundi kabutihan ng Pilipino dahil mahal namin kayo,” Go said.     Other priority concerns Go had identified to be part of his legislative agenda include agriculture, housing, education, 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.

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BSP eyes April inflation between 2.7-3.5%

May 3, 2019

HIGHER domestic fuel and electricity prices are seen as upside risks to the country's April 2019 inflation, which is projected to stay between 2.7-3.5 percent.     “However, these pressures may be partly offset by the continued decline in rice prices and by the peso appreciation,” the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said in a statement Tuesday.     “Moving forward, the BSP will continue to closely monitor evolving price trends and will undertake necessary measures towards its commitment to price stability,” it added.     The rate of price increases has been on the downtrend after peaking at 6.7 percent in September to October 2018.     Last March, it decelerated to 3.3 percent from month-ago’s 3.8 percent, bringing the average rate in the first quarter this year to 3.8 percent.     Monetary officials forecast this year’s inflation to average at 3 percent, the middle of the 2 to 4 percent target band until 2022.     Meanwhile, ING Bank Manila senior economist Nicholas Mapa forecasts inflation this month at 3 percent.     In a research note, the economist said rice prices, which has a 9 percent weight on Philippines’ consumer price index (CPI), has declined, with the year-on-year change in the price of regular milled rice down by 0.90 percent.     With this development, “we can expect headline inflation to remain subdued,” he said.     Mapa, however, noted that utility rates have increased.     Mapa said inflation has been declining amid the 31.6 percent year-to-date uptick in price of Dubai crude oil and the 24.6 percent rise in domestic diesel prices.     He said both the inflation forecasts and expectations point to within target inflation rate in the next two years.     “Given BSP Governor (Benjamin) Diokno's recent remarks hinting at a rate cut (and RRR reduction) within the year, we expect that we are getting closer to the central bank finally reversing its ultra-aggressive stance of yesteryear,” he added. (PNA)

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