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Therma Visayas power plant now online

April 22, 2019

AboitizPower subsidiary Therma Visayas Inc. has started delivering energy from the first of two 170-MW (150 MW net) baseload units in Toledo City, Cebu.   The second 170-MW unit (150 MW net) is expected to come online by May 2019. “We are happy to have brought Therma Visayas online just in time to support the government’s call for more reliable energy supply as we head towards the midterm elections,” Danel C. Aboitiz, President and COO of AboitizPower’s Coal Business Unit, said. “By having a reliable baseload plant on the island of Cebu, the residents and investors on the island will enjoy a number of economic and strategic benefits that include increased energy security, more competitive prices, and local employment.” The plant will deliver power to Visayan Electric Co., Inc. (Veco) and electric cooperatives, as well as to open access customers in Luzon and the Visayas. Customers with energy supply contracts enjoy stable prices in the long term and are essentially protected from the volatility of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM). The Toledo baseload power plant uses the latest circulating fluidized bed technology (CFB) and best available control technology (BACT) to minimize emissions to world-class levels. It is the second plant in the Philippines to build a “coal dome” to safely store its coal fuel and prevent fugitive dust outside the facility. The plant started construction in 2015 and at its peak employed around 5,800 people, most of whom came from the host locality. The facility is a joint venture between Aboitiz Power Corp. and Vivant Corp. Apart from TVI, the first unit of GNPower Dinginin baseload power plant with 668 MW gross capacity is also expected to go online later this year, while the second unit, which also has a gross capacity of 668 MW, is currently targeted for commercial operations in 2020. Once operational, these facilities will boost AboitizPower’s capacity and help address the country’s rapidly increasing demand for reliable and cost-efficient power. *** About AboitizPower AboitizPower is the holding company for the Aboitiz Group’s investments in power generation, distribution, and retail electricity services. It advances business and communities by providing reliable and ample power supply at a reasonable and competitive price, and with the least adverse effects on the environment and host communities. The company is one of the largest power producers in the Philippines with a balanced portfolio of assets located across the country. It is a major producer of Cleanergy, its brand for clean and renewable energy with several hydroelectric, geothermal and solar power generation facilities. It also has thermal power plants in its generation portfolio to support the baseload and peak energy demands of the country. The company also owns distribution utilities that operate in high-growth areas in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, including the second and third largest private utilities in the country.

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Consumer watchdog issues alert on imported substandard cement

April 22, 2019

A national consumer group has raised a red flag against the proliferation of substandard cement products in the country. Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) has warned the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Philippine Standards to monitor the entry of substandard cement products reportedly already being sold in the regions. LKI President Victorio Mario Dimagiba is proposing a joint sampling and testing of imported cement from Vietnam together with local cement manufacturers and importers. Dimagiba said they are coordinating with LKI members in the regions to monitor the sale and movement of imported cement products. In Cagayan de Oro, LKI has linked up with local consumer group Konsumanteng Kagay-anon on monitoring the allegedly substandard cement imports. Inquiries conducted by KKI with  the DTI Region X office and the  Cagayan de Oro City Price Control and Coordinating Council have so far unearthed no reports of substandard cement products being distributed in the region. However, industry players confirm the presence of cheap imported cement brands which are reportedly being distributed by big-time traders for some time now. “This is a matter of the quality of cement and safety. Substandard cement and low quality can lead to many disastrous accidents for our consumers,” Dimagiba stressed. LKI earlier asked the DTI Standards Office investigate news reports on the alleged importation of substandard cement from Vietnam being manufactured by small and medium-sized cement factories using obsolescent technologies to supply big time traders at prices which are even lower than Filipino cement manufacturers. A local cement manufacturer asked by KKI admitted they were aware of and monitoring the situation but could not share information on their findings since these were confidential. Recently, DTI issued a certificate of recognition to LKI as a consumer organization LKI is a regular member of Consumers International. (KKI)

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Bong Go pushes for advancement of cooperatives and MSMEs in the country

April 22, 2019

FORMER Special Assistant to the President and 2019 senatorial candidate Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Sunday committed to support the advancement of the cooperatives in the country as well as the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). “Susuportahan ko po ang pagsulong ng Philippine Cooperative Development Plan (PCDP) at MSME Development Plan,” said Go in his message during the 13th General Assembly and 14th Founding Anniversary of Southern Global Services Multi-Purpose Cooperative at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.      Among others, the PCDP seeks to implement measures, such as documentation of cooperative best practices; modelling of cooperative good governance and ethical practices; cooperative education program, and promotion of the cooperative movement in general.       On the other hand, the MSME Development Program is a P50-B assistance and development program until 2022 to alleviate the plight of MSME. Among its components include the micro-financing program called “Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3), construction of more shared service facilities (SSF) across the country, and international trade promotion to open global markets for MSMEs.      “Paigtingin (ko po) ang mga programa tulad ng Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso para magbigay ng loan sa mababang interest at isusulong ko po ang mga dagdag negosyo centers para mas maraming makapaghanap-buhay sa mga miyembro ng kooperatiba,” Go said.       Started in 2014, the Negosyo Centers help stimulate entrepreneurship development in the countrysides.      Likewise, Go assured the officials and members of the cooperative that they can always rely on him to bring to the attention of President Rodrigo Duterte any concerns or request for assistance.       “Anyway nandidiyan naman po si Pangulong Duterte, may three years pa po siya. Kung papano po kami makakatulong po sa inyo--- asahan nyo po na ako po ang patuloy ninyong magiging tulay kay Pangulong Duterte,” Go said.       With the consent of the cooperative officials and members, Go also took the opportunity to explain to them his plans for the Senate.       “Ipagpapatuloy ko po ang mga pagbabagong inumpisahan ni Pangulong Duterte,” said Go, referring in particular to the campaign against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.      “Itong kampanya sa corruption, tuloy-tuloy po ito. Kahit yung mga tumulong sa kanya sa kampanya at nagpapapawis, sabi ni Pangulong Duterte, pag pumasok sa corruption maghiwa-hiwalay tayo dahil interest ng bayan ang una bago interest ng sarili at kaibigan—ganyan po si Pangulong Duterte,” he added.      Go likewise said that among his top priorities include efforts to improve the delivery of health services in the country, not only through improved facilities for public health institutions but also with 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 from the government by bringing together in one room all concerned agencies such as the DOH, DSWD, PCSO and Philhealth.       “Gusto ko pong maisabatas ito pagdating ng panahon para tuloy-tuloy ang programa kahit hindi na Pangulo si Pangulong Duterte. Basta po Pilipino qualified dito at may express lane pa para sa disabled at senior citizens,” said Go. He also wants to establish Malasakit Centers in more provinces and key urban centers of the country.      Other priority concerns under Go’s legislative agenda include agriculture, housing for the poor, 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.       “Alam nyo, serbisyo lang kami (ni Pangulong Duterte). Ang serbisyo sa tao, serbisyo sa Diyos,” Go said.       “Wala kaming ibang hangarin ni Pangulong Duterte kundi kabutihan ng bawat Pilipino dahil mahal namin kayo,” he added.

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207 dead in Sri Lanka's coordinated blasts

April 22, 2019

The number of people dead in what could be an act of terror that hit several five star hotels and churches in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday have reached to 207. Based on Ruptly reports, there were already seven people who were reportedly arrested in connection with the bombings in Sri Lanka's suburbs, during follow up raids conducted by police operatives in Colombo of Dematagoda. A video footage above shows a suspected bomber reportedly arrested at a Dematagoda house. According to reports obtained by MDN Digital, two police operatives have lost their lives during said operations. No one has yet claimed responsibility of the well-planned and well-coordinated bombings according to police authorities in Sri Lanka. In total, there were eight blasts recorded by authorities on Easter Sunday; six in Colombo district and two others in separate locations in the country. Three hotels and three churches were bombed, a housing project and another one a guest house. Social media has been tremporarily blocked by the Sri Lankan government while security forces are still conducting operations in relation to the Easter bombings.   The Police are still 'facing a blank wall' as to who did the so-called barbaric act that only people with radical minds are capable of doing. Sri Lanka's five star hotels that were included in the blasts were Kingsbury Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel and Cinnamon Grand Hotel. While the churches bombed were St Anthony, a church in Batticaloa, and Colombo. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe on his twit said "I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today. I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation."   

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MisOr barangay chairman shot dead

April 22, 2019

A barangay chairman in Balingasag town in Misamis Oriental was gunned dead Sunday evening (April 21) in what could possibly be the first election-related death in the province since the local campaign period started. Police Capt. Princess Joy Enriquez, spokesperson of the Misamis Oriental Provincial Police Office, identified the victim as one Claver Miral, the barangay chairman of Napaliran in the said municipality. According to the police report, Miral was on the way home from a birthday party in nearby Jasaan municipality when he was waylaid by two motorcycle-riding suspects along Puntagorda, barangay Hermano in Balingasag. The victim sustained five gunshot wounds in body – two in the chest and three in the lower torso – and was rushed to a hospital in Cagayan de Oro City where he died. Police found six spent shells at the crime scene. The incident happened at around 10:00 p.m. As of presstime, authorities do not have motive yet on the assassination and Miral’s political allies were still skeptical that it was politically motivated. Although deemed as non-partisan, Miral is closely allied with former Mayor Alexis Quina, who is establishing his comeback and challenging the incumbency of Mayor Marrietta Abogado. Quina’s aide Victorio Santua, a close friend of Miral, said that the slain barangay chairman has been solidly campaigning for the PaDayon Pilipino slate in the municipality led by Quina along with their district slate led by congressional newcomer Christian Unabia and the whole provincial slate led by reelectionist Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano. Santua said that Miral was even instrumental in influencing his co-barangay officials in other parts of Balingasag to support the Quina camp. Santua also said that Miral had no known enemies in his hometown, whether political or personal. In a separate remark, Misamis Oriental Sangguniang Panlalawigan member Leonard Winstanley said barangay officials must coordinate with police at all times for their own protection. As president of the Liga ng mga Barangay in the whole province, Winstanley is saddened by the passing of his co-barangay chairman, describing Miral as a hardworking official to his own constituents not just in Napiliran but an exemplary public servant in the whole of Balingasag. On the other hand, Winstanley’s colleague at the provincial board SP member President Elipe is calling on authorities to speed up the investigation on Miral’s death.

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Comelec warns Jasaan mayor of courting election offense

April 21, 2019

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) provincial elections supervisor in Misamis Oriental has warned Jasaan Mayor Julius Pagaspas that he could be charged for violation of the Fair Elections Act if he would not allow a specific political party to hold campaign rallies in the municipality. In a three-page resolution dated April 12 this year, provincial elections supervisor Aleli Dayo-Ramirez stated that her office has received a complaint from PaDayon Pilipino represented by Floramae Jo Abbu alleging that the office of the municipal mayor in Jasaan had refused to act on the party’s request to conduct a rally in the said municipality on April 10. Upon receiving the complaint, Dayo-Ramirez immediately dispatched municipal elections officer Lailani Nazi to conduct an investigation on the matter. During the course of the probe, Nazi’s office discovered that the office of the mayor of Jasaan granted 29 days for another political party, Team Unity, to conduct a campaign rally in the said municipality while PaDayon Pilipino was asking only for one date. In her report to Dayo-Ramirez, Nazi concluded that the actions of the mayor of Jasaan constituted a violation of Section 32 of Republic  Act 9006, otherwise known as the Fair Elections Act, which stated that “the approving official shall give all candidates and parties equal and fair opportunity as to date, time and place, to hold public political meetings or rallies.” Upon receiving the report, Dayo-Ramirez immediately granted PaDayon Pilipino a total of eight days to conduct handshaking and campaign rallies in the said municipality in eight barangays. Dayo-Ramirez further stated that if the mayor of Jasaan would prevent PaDayon Pilipino from holding the sorties in those dates, he would be liable under the Fair Elections Act.

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