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Oro biz leaders wary over quake’s economic backlash

November 19, 2019

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The influential Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation (Oro Chamber) yesterday urged its members to be cautious about the costly economic backlash brought about by the series of earthquakes that rocked Mindanao in the past few months. In a letter dated November 15, Oro Chamber President Irene Floro has urged the chamber’s 400-strong members to inspect their respective business establishments to ensure its structural integrity. “This in order to promote public safety and security and for the furtherance of economic stability not only in Cagayan de Oro but the whole region,” read part of Floro’s letter. Floro focused her address specifically to chamber members who are operators of malls, hotels, restaurants, schools and other commercial establishments. She urged these chamber members to immediately coordinate with the Office of the Building Official (OBO) so the inspections could be executed the soonest possible time. “That is a proactive role of the Oro Chamber to its members to have their buildings assist in structural audits. We wrote Secretary Mark Villar to provide the Oro Chamber with Structural Engineers to help audit big buildings of private institutions or establishments. We even open our doors for non member companies to help them avail of the free audit from our partners,” Floro said in a separate text message. Earlier on Monday night, city administrator Teddy Sabuga-a called on the public to report structure cracks to Cagayan de Oro’s emergency “Hotline 911” so that OBO could dispatch its personnel and check on those reports. Mindanao has experienced four earthquakes in a span of two months, the latest which happened on Monday night with magnitude 5.9, the epicenter was traced in Kadingilan town in the province of Bukidnon. The quakes already caused the Court of Appeals Mindanao Station to suspend its operations at the YMCA Building due to what it dubbed as “significant” structural damages.

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Oro Council hits ‘colorum’ taxis

November 19, 2019

CAGAYAN de Oro City councilors have expressed alarm bells on the unabated proliferation of “colorum” or illegal taxis operating in the city. During last Monday’s session, Councilor Reuben Daba said it is unfair to legitimate taxi operators if colorum taxis are allowed to operate which he said could pose heavy risk to passengers as these vehicles are not licensed and without insurance. This prompted the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board-10 (LTFRB-10) to seek the help of the Roads and Traffic Administration (RTA) in apprehending PUVs without franchise. Aminoden Guro, LTFRB-10 regional director, said he has asked the Roads and Traffic Administration (RTA) to provide them with at least 10 enforcers to assist them in their anti-“colorum” operations. Guro said they could not do it on their own as they lack the manpower to carry out a full-blown anti-colorum operation. Based on LTFRB-10 records, the city has 2,770 taxi units with franchise, and around 300 taxis without franchise. He said LTRB-10 only have 15 regular employees and 10 job-order workers dealing with thousands of operators from all over Northern Mindanao. The number of franchisees has increased, but the employees have not, Guro said, adding that their current office workload won’t allow them to conduct regular anti-colorum operations. An augmentation composed of RTA enforcers, Land Transportation Office personnel, and police officers would be enough for them to conduct apprehensions regularly, he said. Guro said he will also organize and inter-agency group, made of up other government agencies, that will help LTFRB in the conduct of their anti-colorum operation. “We are going to create a joint task force to show that we are serious in our campaign against illegal taxi operators and drivers,” Guro said. Guro noted that one of the factors why there is an increase in illegal taxis operating in the city is due to duplication of body numbers being used by legitimate operators. For instance, he said, an owner of five registered taxi units will use the body numbers of those in his other taxis to avoid paying for the necessary fees, franchise, and insurance. He said under the modernization program of the government, operators are required to form cooperatives or corporations before they are issued the franchise. “My advice to them is to register with a cooperative or a corporation or form one to make their operation legal,” he added.

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Truck driver wanted for rape nabbed after 15 years

November 18, 2019

ILIGAN City--A 41 year-old wanted person was arrested past 7 in the morning on Sunday (November 17) while onboard the truck he is driving in Barangay Tangueguiron in Tubod, Lanao del Norte.   Major Jerome Villegas, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Lanao del Norte Provincial Field Unit, said Allan Lobeban, a truck driver, is facing rape charges filed against him in 2005 by a victim who was then 16 years old.   He was going to Cagayan de Oro when he was arrested.   Lobeban, who is a resident of Barangay Tubod, Iligan City, was arrested by virtue of arrest warrant issued by Judge Dennis Vicoy of Regional Trial Court Branch 7 in Tubod, Lanao del Norte.   Villegas said the suspect was his girlfriend but could no longer remember the name because it happened long ago.   “The girl was already married to another man,” Villegas said.   The suspect is now in the custody of the CIDG and will be turned to court on Monday.

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Basilan governor supports BARMM’s Akap project

November 18, 2019

ISABELA City, Basilan--Basilan Governor Hadjiman Salliman has committed to supporting the Abot Karunungan sa Pamilyang Bangsamoro (AKAP) project of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). AKAP is designed to provide Bangsamoro children and youth with greater access to quality education. A team from BARMM’s Ministry of Basic Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) paid Salliman a courtesy call here recently to introduce the AKAP project. “AKAP will bridge the BARMM Government – particularly the MBHTE – with local government units,” said Salliman. He said the MBHTE has his full support to push the AKAP project forward in his province. “I also share Minister Mohagher Iqbal’s vision for education in the Bangsamoro. There should be no child left behind in terms of providing them accessible and quality education,” he said. Basilan is home to two schools divisions of BARMM that are performing well in recent national achievement tests at the regional level. “I am pleased to see that Basilan is the frontrunner in terms of educational performance in the BARMM. However, I also recognized that there is still a lot to be done to ensure that our children are receiving an accessible and quality education,” he said. AKAP also aims to engage local communities in BARMM by providing them platforms, allowing them to converge as a community and address localized education issues and challenges. “It takes a village to raise a child. We need everyone – including communities – in addressing the perennial education issues and challenges of BARMM,” said Salliman. AKAP is also supported by the Australian Government through the Education Pathways to Peace in Mindanao. (MBHTE Press Release)

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Melters Steel Corporation: Beyond steelmaking

November 18, 2019

THE current administration’s Build! Build! Build! program has fueled the significant growth of the Philippines’ infrastructure sector and along with it, the demand for quality and cost-effective steel. This presents a great opportunity for the steel industry. But for Melters Steel Corporation (MSC), one of the major steel manufacturers in the country, growth is not just about being able to leverage the booming demand and capturing a significant market share, but most importantly, it is about helping the community. On November 15, MSC, together with AboitizPower and Aboitiz Foundation, Inc., embarked on a medical mission for its host community in Pampanga. Around 85 residents of Brgy. San Isidro, San Simon, Pampanga underwent free medical and dental consultations, as well as received medicines with a total worth of P200,000. "We are very thankful to Melters that as their host barangay, we are able to reach out to them to address our needs, and they have always been willing to help," Randie Flores, San Isidro Brgy. Chairman, said. Apart from the medical mission, other corporate social responsibility initiatives of MSC include disaster relief efforts, computer donation, and cement donation for the rehabilitation of the community church. "We try to help as much as we can. Anything with regard to the community, we're always here to help," Lance Lim, MSC Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, said. MSC also recognized the value of its long-standing partnership with AboitizPower to community and nation-building. "It's a win-win situation. We can always do it on our own but it's a lot better with the support of Aboitiz. We're very happy with our partnership and when the time comes, we want to expand our business with Aboitiz and grow together with Aboitiz," Lim added. AboitizPower supplies reliable, cost-efficient, and sustainable electricity to MSC’s smelting plant in Brgy. San Isidro, San Simon, Pampanga. "AboitizPower is very professional and we want to deal with people like that. They know what they're doing. They know what they want, and they know the direction that they're going to. We're thankful that we did not make a mistake in choosing them," Nena Lim, MSC President and Chief Executive Officer, said. The partnership between MSC and AboitizPower is built on their shared values and common goal of advancing business and communities.

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BARMM higher education gets support from CHED, OPAPP

November 18, 2019

THE Commission on Higher and Education (CHED) and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)  have vowed to support the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in strengthening the delivery of its higher education services. In a memorandum of understanding signed here by CHED, OPAPP, and BARMM’s Ministry of Basic Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) on 30 October 2019, the two national line agencies pledged to build the capacity of BARMM in monitoring compliance of its Higher Education Institutions (HEI) with the national standards. CHED and OPAPP will also work with the Department of Social Welfare and Development to include underprivileged BARMM students and children of decommissioned Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants in the Listahan 3.0 or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTSPR). NHTSPR is an information management system that employs geographic targeting, household assessment, and validation to provide national government agencies and development partners with information on who and where the poor are in the Philippines. MBHTE Minister Mohagher Iqbal said the partnership will also look into providing scholarships to Bangsamoro youth. “We will offer scholarship and capacity development programs to decommissioned MILF combatants and their dependents,” said Iqbal. Iqbal added the partnership will also look into the professional development of BARMM HEI faculty and staff members. “CHED and OPAPP will also assist us in crafting the Bangsamoro Education Code and creating our tribal university,” said Iqbal, adding the partnership will enable the ministry to achieve its goals for higher education in the BARMM. Iqbal said the role of higher education is critical as it provides the necessary human resources for BARMM’s socio-economic development. “With a responsive and relevant curriculum, we aim to produce at least one professional in every family in the Bangsamoro,” said Iqbal. He said if the Bangsamoro youth are equipped and educated, they will become agents of peace. “Indeed, through education, the Bangsamoro shall be a place where peace and justice are experienced, cultural diversity is accepted, and sustained economic growth is within reach,” said Iqbal.  ( MBHTE PRESS RELEASE)

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