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China eyed as biggest market of local durian

August 12, 2019

DAVAO City – China will soon become the top export destination of durian from Davao Region, Davao Durian Industry Association Council (DIADC) president Larry Miculob said.      Miculob said in an interview at the opening of the Kadayawan’s Durian Festival at the SM Lanang Premier on Friday evening that three Chinese buyers, one of them an owner of a convenience store with 1,800 outlets, have reached out to the local growers to supply them with huge volumes of durian fruit.      He said the Chinese buyers are willing to import as much as the local growers can produce but added the region remains incapable of producing huge volumes if the fruit.      According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the region produced 59,027 metric tons of durian in 2018, higher by 14% compared to 51,818 MT produced in 2017.      Davao is exporting small volume of durian to Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, Miculob said.      He added the council hopes to ship out at least half of the region’s production to stabilize the prices of the durian in the local market, particularly during its peak season every third quarter of the year, when the supply goes up and prices are down.      He said local farmers would earn more when prices are stable.      Different varieties of durian are sold at the festival, which will run until September 9, such as Arancillo, D101, Puyat, Monthong and Chanee. Prices range from P50 to P80 a kilo but customers can also avail of the durian buffet at P180.      Duokon Tang, deputy Chinese consul general, said durian is a popular fruit among Chinese in the Southern part of China.      “They like durian very much, and personally I feel durian here in Mindanao is very special because it just tastes delicious, it has a less spongy taste like those in other countries in Southeast Asia,” he said.      He said they are already working on the import procedures.  He said the process would take time but assured, “we are working fast on it.”      Miculob said he hopes the Chinese government will include durian as one of the crops that can be directly exported to China from the Philippines, as it only allows direct shipment of mangos, pineapples, bananas and coconuts.      Local growers can expect more fruits and agricultural products to be shipped to China, following the closer strategic trade relations between the two countries pursued by Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Rodrigo R. Duterte.      Last month, Davao-based Eng Seng Food Products shipped 48 tons, which is equivalent to 36,000 pieces of aromatic coconuts to Guangzhou and Xiamen in China, after the Philippines complied with export protocol allowing entry of the coconuts from Mindanao and Leyte province.      Duterte witnessed the contract signing between the local company and its counterpart China Artex Corporation Fujian Company during the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing last April for a  one-year exportation of 64.5 million MT of young coconuts.      Eng Seng Food Products President John Tan said this development could give opportunity to Filipino farmers as there is huge demand in China for the aromatic variety.

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Construction, tourism jobs up for grabs in Tesda’s Cag. de Oro, Iligan events

August 12, 2019

HUNDREDS of domestic jobs in the construction and tourism industry in Northern Mindanao are up for grabs in two simultaneous job fairs to be spearheaded by the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (Tesda) on August 25.      According to Tesda 10 director Tarhata Mapandi, the twin job fairs dubbed as World Café of Opportunities will be held at Limketkai Event Center (Cagayan de Oro City) and Robinsons Place Iligan.      Mapandi said the job fairs are exclusively for alumni of vocational courses only.      She said that August 25 was chosen as the date for this year’s event since it is also celebrated as Tech Voc Day.      The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will participate in the simultaneous events to provide livelihood opportunities while the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will conduct free entrepreneurship trainings.      Representatives from the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and Land Bank of the Philippines will also be on hand to provide financial schemes.      The World Café of Opportunities was conceptualized in 2018 as Tesda’s strategy to link vocational graduates to employment opportunities both in wage and self-employment in a one-stop shop.      On the other hand, Tech Voc Day was timed every August 25 in celebration of Tesda’s annual anniversary. This year, the agency will celebrate its 25th.

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From Wasteland to Wonderland: Transforming a degraded, barren land into a sustainable organic farm resort

August 12, 2019

(First of a Series)   SUKAILANG, Surigao City—In these days of increased concern over health, food security, resource scarcity and deteriorating environment, including climate change and its impacts on life and community, there is nothing more refreshing than sitting in a rustic cottage while breathing in the fresh scent of mountain air and eyes feasting on the greenery nearby and on the blue horizon beyond as the warm sunlight cuts through the leaves swaying in the cool breeze.      Such picturesque scene is hard to find that it almost becomes mythical — an ideal place that cannot be reached but yet being yearned after — for cityzens whose senses have been sensitized by the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle.      But is living or working in such a place just an ideal?       Such challenge was faced head on by a chemical engineer from Siargao.       Armed with nothing but his resourcefulness and 1,000 square meters of barren and degraded land, Engr. Woodrow Escobal Jr. slowly built a legacy in Barangay Sukailang that organic farmers, environmentalists, ecologists and other food security experts will be very proud of.      JB Nature Farm and Resort. The organic farm resort that bears his and his wife’s and their children’s name was built NOT as a resort or a demonstration farm but as a “family garden.”      “We started just for our own food sufficiency; for the family only. But we cannot prevent visitors from coming and spreading the word about us,” Engr. Jun Escobal told this writer.      Perched on top of Sukailang, which has the the highest elevation in the entire Surigao City at 75 meters (246.063 feet) above sea level, JB Nature Farm and Resort stands on land once left to the elements after loggers and miners stripped the area of trees and mineral deposits.       Using the principles and techniques of permaculture, regenerative agriculture, and natural farming and applying it to their area’s rolling terrain, the Escobal couple—Jun and his wife, Dr. Bessie Escobal—slowly built back what was lost in Sukailang — forest and wild animals.      “Many visitors come to us and congratulate us for maintaining the environment of this place. But this was not like this when wefirst acquired a small plot of land here,” the soft-spoken chemical engineer said. (To be continued)

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Laguindingan Airport Expansion on take-off roll

August 7, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Help is on the way for the increasingly congested Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental. Even as it opened in 15 June 2013, air passenger traffic at the Cagayan de Oro Lumbia Airport it was designed to replace had already exceeded the 1.6 million design capacity of the Laguindingan  Airport’s passenger terminal building (PTB). “To put it bluntly, the replacement airport was congested upon opening,” said a former DOTC official involved in its planning. When the passenger traffic exceeded 2 million annual passengers last year, the need for a larger terminal that could accommodate the current and expected passenger volume over the medium term became urgent and critical. On a year-on-year basis alone, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines ( CAAP) figures for the past 10 years show passenger traffic at the Cagayan de Oro Lumbia Airport increasing at an annual rate of 8.7% from 902,133 in 2008 to 2,079,683in 2018 (doubling passenger volume every 8.5 years.) Recent growth in air cargo traffic was even more impressive, soaring 44% from 2017 to 25,366 metric tons (MT). The 11% increase in the number of flights from 2017 to 2018 (17,478 aircraft takeoffs and landings) was mainly responsible for the meteoric rise in both passenger and cargo movements. The Department of Transportation (DOTr) originally budgeted P400-million (M) for the terminal building expansion, but this was reduced to P180-M, then again halved to P90-M, before being slashed altogether by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) from the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA). However, the business sector lobbied strongly for the restoration of the reduced budget and the P90-M was eventually restored through a Congressional Initiative by Rep. Juliette Uy (2nd District, Misamis Oriental). ”While we appreciate the 90M Congressional Initiative Fund restored by Rep. Juliette Uy, this amount is barely enough to refurbish the dilapidated areas including the poorly designed comfort rooms and malfunctioning elevators,” said Engr. Elpidio M. Paras, president of Promote Northmin Inc. “Government should now fast track the entry of private sector companies to expand and improve all the facilities of Laguindingan so that it can already accommodate direct flights from regional and international destinations, including lengthening the runway to meet wide body jet aircraft,” he added. Sources at the DOTr said a portion of the P90-M would be used for the Detailed Engineering (DE) of the proposed expanded passenger terminal building. The bidding process for an independent consultant to undertake the DE is now being processed and the contract is expected to be awarded by the latter part of 2019. The balance of the P90-M would used to rehabilitate dilapidated portions of the terminal building such as the comfort rooms. Even if the original P90-M would already be used up, construction of the new PTB would still continue with the proviso the funds used for this purpose would be reimbursed to the national government by the winning bidder for the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project to develop and expand the Laguindingan Airport faculties. In a recent report from a national business daily, Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) Chief Financial Officer Manuel R. Lozano said Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. (AIC) is currently awaiting approval from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for its unsolicited proposal to expand the Laguindingan airport. “(The team)’s hope is that it will be done by August. We’ll see. They are regularly in contact with DOTr and NEDA,” Mr. Lozano said. Last February 26, the CAAP granted AIC original proponent status (OPS) for its unsolicited proposal to upgrade, expand, operate, and maintain the Laguindingan Airport for a 35-year concession period. In a statement, the firm said the P42.7-billion project includes capacity expansion through new passenger terminals, installation of required equipment, and enhancement and development of airside facilities. "The granting of the OPS for the Laguindingan Airport opens up an opportunity for us to play a major role in improving our country's vital gateways. We believe we can be instrumental in connecting our country's local economies, thereby uplifting the lives of Filipinos," Aboitiz InfraCapital chief executive officer Cosette Canilao said. In a related development, DOTr Sec. Arthur Tugade announced last 15 July the proposed extension of the 2.1 kilometer runway to 2.4 or 2.5 kilometers is proceeding as planned. The P250-M budget for this project is already included in the 2020 National Expenditure Plan (NEP), which Congress wants approved before the year end. This was part of the Feasibility Study expansion proposal endorsed by the Regional Development Council for Region 10 (RDC-X) and approved by the NEDA Board in 2014. Once the expanded PTB and extended runway are completed as planned within the next two years, Laguindingan Airport would be able to accommodate true wide body aircraft such as Cebu Pacific’s Airbus A330-343 which can accommodate 436 passengers and carry up to 70MT of cargo on each flight. This would also enable Laguindingan Airport to receive long haul international flights from Europe, Asia and the Americas within reach of the A330’s range of 13,430 kilometers or 7,750 nautical miles once international flights are introduced. Air passenger and cargo traffic to Laguindingan is expected to boom in the next 3-5 years as the Metropolization of Cagayan de Oro as the Philippines 4th  Metropolitan Center is realized by 2025, covering two cities (Cagayan de Oro/El Salvador) 11 municipalities in Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon. Six more municipalities may join Metro Cagayan de Oro in the future. Nearby big ticket developments such as Ayala Land’s Habini Bay in Laguindingan, the University of Science and Techology’s TechoPark in Alubijid and the imminent construction of integrated steel mills at the Phividec Industrial Estate in Villanueva and Iligan City is expected to further fuel the development boom in the region which accounted for 25% of the P907.2 billion investment projects registered in the Board of Investments (BOI) in 2018, which was the highest in BOI’s 51-year history. Meantime, the CAAP is pursuing the full Night Rating of the Laguindingan Airport by complying with the requisite Air Navigation facilities. Although it has been accommodating night flights since 29 March 2015, the airport continues to operate with night flight restrictions. Allowing airports to operate for longer hours enable them to service more flights, passengers and cargo. The DOTr aims to have all the country's airports to be night-rated by the end of the Duterte administration in 2021. Currently 20 of the country’s 42 airports are now capable of handling evening flights, the agency said. Five more airports are programmed for night rating by the end of 2019. DOTr estimates the upgrading of an airport for night operation costs around P54 and P120 million, consisting of installation of runway lights and navigational equipment.

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1st Golden Friendship Cup Much More than just Golf

August 1, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Cagayan de Oro is going all-in in what promises to be its biggest locally mounted golf tournament ever with the tagline “It’s not Just Golf”. “This is the third tournament we have organized but this is different because it’s going to be a thanksgiving for all golfers we have served through Chris Coffee Cuisine at the Pueblo de Oro Golf & Country Clubhouse for the past five years,” said Ms. Jennifer Chua (Chairman and Event Organizer) at the July 23 Media Launch of the 1st Golden Friendship Cup (GFC) scheduled on November 13-17, 2019 at the Pueblo de Oro Golf and Country Club golf course in Uptown Cagayan de Oro City. “It’s not just golf means it’s also about creating relationships and doing business with others,” Ms. Chua added. “We expect CEOs, Chairmen, Presidents of companies and senior executives to join us. We are also inviting celebrities to join the tournament.” As a four day event, the GFC features various events for its duration and perks for players including free breakfast for the first two days, socials hosted by the tournament organizers at various venues in the evenings, and a Barrio Fiesta Sugbahan sa Golf Course at the Clubhouse Garden on Day 3. “This tournament is meant to be a showcase,” said Manuel Along, one of the tournament directors who’s also Past District Governor of Rotary International District 3870. “Aside from fostering fellowship and camaraderie in the golf course, this is meant to let other people know we can have a big tournament like this here in CDO because I understand many high profile celebrity players are coming here. If they are willing to come and be here, this is sufficient proof we can host such tournaments here in CDO.” “Actually we have already hosted several big conventions in Cagayan de Oro earlier this year like the ANCOM of the Free Masons and the Eagles National Convention,” added Noel Sadava, another of the tournament directors. “ANCOM alone accommodated over 6,000 delegates who expressed their satisfaction with the hosting of the local Masons and the city government. With that experience, we can say CDO is a very safe place.” “I think that’s also an indication we are ready to host such big events,” said Chrysler Acebu, president of Pueblo de Oro Golf & Country Club. “This tournament can be a statement to reassure the entire country as well as international golfers that CDO and Northern Mindanao for that matter, is really a safe place to visit and play golf, as well as visit our tourist destinations,” he assured. “We are a championship golf course, designed by renowned golf architect Robert Trent Jones III, and we are confident the facilities and amenities, particularly the golf course, is rated among the top 5 golf courses in the country,” Acebu added. City Information Office Maricel Rivera also expressed the Cagayan de Oro City government’s all-out support for the GFC during the same event. “While it is undoubtedly exciting for the golfers, we’d also like to see its impact on the economy for this four-day long event. Besides our hotels and restaurants, we will also invite our guests to enjoy our tourism-related events and destinations such as our signature white water rafting along the Cagayan River, City Tours, the Kagay-an Lawndale Spring Resort, our Museum and Walking Tours, among others” Rivera said. Besides the city government and its various agencies like the Oro Trade and Investment Promotion Center, City Tourism Office, and City Tourism Council, the private sector is also expected to pitch in to make GFC a complete Kagay-anon Experience for the lucky visitors with the participation of the Cagayan de Oro Hotels & Restaurant Association (COHARA), Promote Normin, Inc., the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. (Oro Chamber) and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Region 10 (PCCI-10). “It’s not just golf but a combination of investment and business promotion with tourism,” said Acebu, who is also the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Pueblo de Oro Development Corporation (PDO) which hosts the GFC tournament venue. “PDO is in the real estate industry and as a developer can benefit if we are more pro-active about it by cross-selling golf what’s in CDO and Normin. So we have to capitalize on the presence of these visitors mainly coming for golf, but do more than just golf. We have our hotels and restaurants, our tourism destinations, but also look at its long-term benefits to the region down the road. We need more of these types of events promoting CDO and Region 10, as well as the whole of Mindanao,” he stressed. “In behalf of the city government, we’re very thankful to the organizers for helping bring back trust and confidence to Cagayan de Oro,” Rivera said. GFC is organized by Chris Coffee Cuisine, the City Government of Cagayan de Oro, City Tourism Office, Dept. of Tourism Region 10 office, Pueblo de Oro Golf and Country Club, Pueblo de Oro Development Corporation, Great Depot Inc., JT International and Rotary Club of Kalayaan Cagayan de Oro, in cooperation with Lions International, Japan Tobacco International, Damiani Service Apartments with the Cagayan de Oro Times, BusinessWeek Mindanao and Mindanao Daily as its official media partners. HOW TO REGISTER ***EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION*** August to September – P4, 500 October – P5, 500 November – P6, 000 (Including Insurance and Mulligans) Please address your payment to Chris Coffee Cuisine: Metro Bank Account Number: 048704851360 FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: 0917 633 4433/ 088 858 7436/ 0906 394 7509 LOOK FOR CATHY AND VIC-VIC FOR TOURNAMENT PROGRAM CONTACT: SECRETARIATE 0917 701 2736/ 0945 457 7888 LOOK FOR KAYE/JENNY EMAIL ADDRESS:  secretariate.gfc@gmail.com For weekly updates and surprises:  Follow them on Facebook: Golden Friendship Cup

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FOTON PH inaugurates grander Cagayan de Oro showroom

July 31, 2019

Just three weeks after inaugurating its Metro Clark showroom, FOTON Philippines continues its dealership expansion with the opening of a grander and newly-renovated Cagayan De Oro facility.      “As our brand grows, we also want our customers to experience how great FOTON is when they purchase their vehicles and during the after sales processes. We want them to feel FOTON’s welcoming ambiance, and have a hassle-free ownership experience as soon as they enter our dealership,” said FOTON Cagayan De Oro Dealer Principal Roger L. Chiu.      Now situated at a larger and more accessible site along Gusa Highway, the FOTON Cagayan de Oro dealership showcases a two-storey state-of-the-art building on a 2,000 square meter lot.      The showroom is capable of exhibiting 30 vehicles with 10 bays in its service area. It also houses parts and accessories counters and a contemporary customer lounge where clients can sit back and relax while waiting for their vehicles to be serviced.      “The inauguration of FOTON Cagayan de Oro marks yet another milestone in our persistent commitment to establish fruitful and everlasting relationships with our patrons. We continuously strive to reach our customers in different areas around the Philippines, and deliver world-class FOTON products and services by providing an extraordinary customer experience with us,” said FOTON Philippines President Rommel Sytin.      First inaugurated in 2008, FOTON Cagayan de Oro is the first FOTON dealership to be established outside Metro Manila.      “We are truly grateful to FOTON Philippines and United Asia Automotive Group Inc., for its long-term support and encouragement over the past 10 years,” Chiu added.      The introduction of a dependable yet affordable make of passenger cars, commercial trucks, and specialized vehicles for the transportation needs of Cagayan de Oro has clearly contributed to the region's multi-faceted and continuous growth.      “For the past decade, I’m proud to say that FOTON Cagayan de Oro has strongly impacted the region’s trade and commerce, banking, infrastructure development, employment, public services, and, widely, the private sector,” Chiu noted.      Dubbed the “City of Golden Opportunities”, Cagayan de Oro proves has proven its vast potential for business opportunities. Its booming economic expansion as evidenced by high-rise hotels, condominiums, malls, IT/BPO companies, hotels and restaurants, and fast-paced real estate developments, continue to cement its reputation as the gateway to Northern Mindanao.      “Since our brand reached the Philippines, we have been driven by the philosophy of ‘Empowering Businesses’ through our products and services. Our team is geared up to ensure worry-free vehicle buying and owning experience for every customer and unwavering support to our dealer partners as well,” Sytin says with pride.      The company announced that FOTON plans to open 30 dealerships across the country by the end of the year. These outlets will be offering passenger vehicles including vans, pick-up trucks, and Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV); light, medium and  heavy-duty trucks; and heavy machinery—all designed for the increasing demands of various businesses in the region.      Chiu noted, “Our team is here to address FOTON’s commitment through best-in-class purchasing and service offerings at our full-fledged facility. As ambassadors of FOTON, we look forward to representing the premium brand by demonstrating their renowned products and service quality to the people in the region, ensuring the highest level of satisfaction of the valuable customers.”      “We are glad to have intensified our reach in Northern Mindanao, which is a very important aspect of our growth strategy, thus aligning with our approach to offer advanced amenities and quality services through strategically located network set-ups in different parts of the Philippines,” Sytin concluded.      FOTON is known as Asia’s largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles including passenger vehicles, light-duty trucks, heavy-duty trucks and heavy machineries. For inquiries, call (02) 459-2121 or 0999-9999998. You may also visit www.foton.com.ph or www.facebook.com/FOTONPhilippines.

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