davao

Quake aftermath: forced evacuation of Bagobo families in Magsaysay town

October 24, 2019

The municipal government of Magsaysay in Davao del Sur has implemented a forced evacuation of at least 70 Bagobo families residing in Sitio Labidangan in Barangay Upper Bala on Sunday as their village is no longer safe for habitation. Antonio Allada, information officer of Magsaysay town, said in a telephone interview on Sunday that the local government will undertake the forced evacuation after experts from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the  Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) assessed on Saturday that the site was no longer safe for habitation. He said the experts recommended that the village of the Lumads (Indigenous Peoples) be declared a “no-build zone” as it is now considered a high-risk area. He said the forced evacuation will be enforced by officials from the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Municipal Engineer’s Office, Magsaysay Police Office, and barangay officials. Allada said the local government decided on the forced evacuation after the families, who subsist on agriculture for livelihood, refused to leave their homes which are close to their farms.. “Grabe ka dangerous, based sa assessment kagahapon sa MGB and PHIVOLCS didto sa area, recommend sa LGU forced evacuation 70 plus families (It’s very dangerous based on the assessment of the MGB and PHIVOLCS in the area. They recommended a forced evacuation of 70 plus families),” he said. He said experts saw  portions of a hill in Sitio Labidangan that collapsed and discovered some cracks there. “Dili nato hulaton nga naa pay ma landslide before igawas (Let’s not wait for a landslide before we take them out),” he said. He added the evacuees will take shelter at the nearby barangay gymnasium for the meantime as the municipal government prepares the construction of temporary shelters. A pre-emptive evacuation was implemented in Barangay Malawanit shortly after a landslide due to the Magnitude 6.3 earthquake on October 16 buried the house of a family. The father, Joyjoy Lakay and two children survived but the mother and her nine-year old son were killed. Allada said a total of 58 families were evacuated and are now staying in a tent city in a safe zone in Barangay Malawanit. The landslide affected 30 to 50 hectares, Allada said. A report released by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said there are a total of 236 families or 910 individuals who are staying in the evacuation center at the Municipal Plaza of Magsaysay in Davao del Sur. The report said the earthquake destroyed 370 houses and 2,506 others partially damaged in the region. Of the 370 destroyed houses, 289 were in Magsaysay and 81 in Bansalan. 

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Davao City wins hosting rights for MICECon 2020

October 24, 2019

Davao City Tourism Office head Generose Tecson announced that the city has won the hosting rights for the Philippine Meetings, Incentive Travel, Convention, and Exhibitions/Events Conference (MICECon) 2020, dubbed as the biggest and most anticipated gathering of MICE professionals in the country. Tecson said in a text message that the hosting, announced by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines at the culmination of the MICECONnect 2019 at The Peak, Grand Hyatt Manila on Wednesday, would boost the tourism push of the local government to position the city as the MICE capital of the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). According to its website, the TPB, an attached agency of the Department of Tourism, markets and promotes “the Philippines domestically and internationally as a world-class tourism and meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) destination, in strategic partnership with private and public stakeholders to deliver a unique high-value experience for visitors, significantly contributing to increased arrivals, receipts and investments to the country.” The TPB is also the organizer of the MICECon, which serves as a platform for MICE stakeholders to “learn from global experts new trends, approaches, methods and insights as well as draw inspiration and energy from their message to reach and fulfill new heights for the Philippine MICE and Tourism Industry.” “We are very much elated with TPB’s declaration of Davao City as the host for MICECon 2020. As we are positioning ourselves as the MICE Capital of the Philippines and BIMP-EAGA, this gives us a chance to renew ties with old economic and tourism stakeholders as well as make new connections,” Tecson said. She added that the MICECon 2020, expected to happen on September 28 to 30, 2020 at the SMX Convention Center Davao, will draw around 500 participants, giving the city a chance to showcase its “diverse, all-inclusive, and multicultural city with peace-loving and disciplined people.” Tecson said the Clark Development Corporation, which manages the Clark Freeport Zone, also placed bid for the same hosting rights. In an interview with reporters early this month, Tecson said the local government was quite confident it would bring home the hosting rights because “we’ve gone to other conventions in other parts of the country and we can say that we are very much at par if not better.” She said the local government has an existing MICE program created in 2013. “It’s just a matter of reinventing the incentives of our MICE program in order to get ready for next year but with the MICECon or not, we are going to push with the ‘Let's Meet’ program of the Mice Board, and we are going to make sure to strengthen the incentives that we will give for those organizers who will hold their conventions here in Davao,” she added. Tecson believed the city has sufficient convention facilities and hotels to be ready for the MICECon.

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P120-million genome center to open at UP-Mindanao

October 23, 2019

 A P120-million state-of-the-art Philippine Genome Center Mindanao Satellite Facility (PGC-MSF) will open at the University of the Philippines-Mindanao (UPMin) in Tugbok District here this year that will be utilized primarily for researches that will benefit agriculture and biodiversity preservation and conservation. Anthony C. Sales, director of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Davao, said during Wednesdays at Habi at Kape forum that the center would be housed at the three-story Research and Development Extension (RDE) building that is currently under construction, expected to be completed before the end of the year. He said some of the equipment for the center have already arrived, which are temporarily housed at the College of Science and Mathematics building of UPMin, and have been put on test run since February this year to capacitate the staff and other researchers in Mindanao. The center will be co-managed by UPMin, Sales said. He said the budget for the center, an extension facility of the PGC of UP Diliman in Quezon City and the first outside the National Capital Region, covered the cost for the construction of the building and procurement of the latest technology. “Right now, with the sole laboratory in UP Diliman, there is a long queue there because DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) testing takes a lot of time… So, what the researchers do is to send their samples to Singapore and even Europe because they don’t have other choice,” Sales said. He noted that DNA is very perishable, and thus should be stored properly at very low temperatures to keep the sample intact. Sales said the lack of such facility in the country prompted government to put one in Mindanao and another in the Visayas. He said the government procured the latest technology because “we cannot use the outdated machines.” “What we want are reliable results if you’re talking of DNA, more importantly the lineage. You need to be very sure, you need to be very conclusive with your methodologies because this is a matter of life and death,” Sales stressed. He said the government wants to utilize the center to do a mapping of the dreaded fusarium wilt in banana, including other diseases such as Sigatoka and Bunchy top, and hopefully find solutions to address these problems that have been bogging agricultural industry exporters. “We can do DNA testing on fusarium so we’ll find out where they are more prevalent,” Sales said. In Mindanao, he said, they can do a mapping of the virulent species of fusarium that causes the Panama diseases by extracting the DNA from soil or from the plants. Sales added a memorandum of understanding would be signed by UPMin, DOST, state colleges and universities engaged in genetic research, agri-industry corporations such as Tagum Agricultural Development Corp. (TADECO) and Unifrutti, civil society organizations, and media for the creation of the Mindanao Genomics Consortium (MGC) during the opening day of the three-day Regional Science and Technology Week at the SMX Convention Center Davao on October 28. Under the consortium, Sales said they hope to build an ecosystem of laboratories composed of “government and private, to work together to develop and implement programs and projects on genetics, and molecular research and development so that we can pull all these resources together, so we can generate technologies.”

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A SOJOURNER’S VIEW: The Bau Haus

October 22, 2019

A new restaurant cum bar has just opened in Davao City and is located along Dona Vicenta Village, off JP Laurel St. From the corner of Chow King, which is directly in front of Victoria Plaza, one walks just a few meters down the road and immediately sees the sign—THE BAU HAUS. The building’s facade can immediately grab the attention of any architectural student as it has a fascinating style quite unique among the buildings along this street. Just reading the name of the resto, one can easily miss what it refers to. But one has to read it aloud—THEBAU (and the sound of the combined words of course refers to the name of this city) HAUS. Got it? But Bauhaus also has a German meaning. Wikipedia has this explanation of the name: “The Staatliches Bauhaus commonly known as the Bauhaus, was a German art school operational from 1919 to 1933 that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. The Bauhaus was founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar. The German term Bauhaus—literally "building house"—was understood as meaning ‘School of Building’, but in spite of its name and the fact that its founder was an architect, the Bauhaus did not initially have an architecture department. Nonetheless, it was founded upon the idea of creating a Gesamtkunstwerk (‘total' work of art’) in which all the arts, including architecture, would eventually be brought together. The Bauhaus style later became one of the most influential currents in modern design, Modernist architecture and art, design, and architectural education. The Bauhaus movement had a profound influence upon subsequent developments in art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography.” THE BAU HAUS in Davao City certainly lives up to the German Bauhaus for it combines all aspects of the creative arts—architecture, decorative arts, interior design, exotic cuisine, music and will eventually house both a sculptural and visual arts galleries as well as a robotics section. Its total package was conceptualized and executed by one of the few Renaissance man of this city—Jon Traya. Wearing different creative hats—architect, constructor, furniture designer, interior designer, chef, visual artist, farmer and more—Traya dreamt building The Bau Haus a few years ago. He knew he was going to pursue the school of “geometric explorations of consciousness” and the building that houses The Bau Haus is characterized by all kinds of geometric explorations that bring the diners of this resto to a consciousness of their roots and identity. What provoked Traya’s dream was getting a copy of Macario Tiu’s Davao Cuisine—Recipe of the 10 Tribes of Davao City published by PWC Davao. Tiu had gone around the city researching indigenous food preparations from the Islamized groups (Maranaw, Maguindanao, Tausug and others) and those who held on to their indigenous belief system (Blaan, Mandaya, Manobo and others). The book provides information on ingredients used and the process of cooking so Traya went out of his way to find out if the instructions would yield positive results. He tried and tried until he got the taste right. Today these are the specialties of The Bau Haus as a restaurant, perhaps one of its kind not just in Davao City but throughout Mindanao. For the moment their bestsellers are the following: Piaparan A Manok (from Lake Lanao), Kaliya (Sulu), Landang (the Pulangi River Basin), Pianggang (Sulu) and Titula Itum (Sulu). Those of the Lumad are still not in the menu as ingredients are difficult to access or it takes special attention, e.g., in the case of food cooked in bamboo. There are, however, other dishes to choose from, like vegetable salad or adobo ala king Paella, from classic garlic chicken to sweet and sour pan fried fillet smoked bangus. The prices too are reasonable: a group of us who dined recently ordering at least three of those in the menu paid less than P150 each (and we had a few drinks, too). Having opened only a few months ago, the crowds coming for lunch and dinner have just began to swell. One can easily spot Muslims dining here, some of them claiming that the food they ordered tasted like the ones cooked by their grandmothers and mothers at home in Marawi or Sulu or wherever they came from. For the moment, the resto is not yet accredited as solely serving halal food as pork can be made available if ordered in advance. Sitting comfortably in the uniquely designed furniture, one notices how ingenious is the use of steel for the building’s posts. These not only hold the roof, but serve as lamp posts as soft lights are attached to them. And as this is a green resto, climbing vines are planted to weave their way through the steel posts. As the ceiling gives way to sunshine and light during the day, the plants inside should flourish in the months to come. The handcrafted lights on the ceiling are also one of a kind. A table designed by Traya, which one can see in the offices of the second floor, takes its inspiration from mangroves that seem to support the table top. Traya used to own CALLE 5—a bar cum café along J.P. Laurel St. further up the road. It closed early this year and people wondered where it transferred. It turns out CALLE 5 is at the back of The Bau Haus, separated only by a glass door. It retains its former identity and thus local bands still perform there every night. Eventually this hall of Calle 5—during the day—could serve other purposes, including holding seminars or a culinary workshop for those interested in learning about The Bau Haus’s special cuisine and other dishes. There is more to this building’s complex. There is a second floor above Calle 5 and part of it is a patio that Traya envisions could be for outdoor gigs or even an in-situ sculptural exhibition hall. An airconditioned adjacent room will be the future visual arts gallery.. To both sides of this hall are the business offices of Systems and Shelves—Traya’s business firm. Already the entire complex is envisioned to be a center for “Taste Learning Differently” involving the design of collaborative spaces which aims at “creating a space where imagination is the only limitation.” This Center hopes “to eliminate the gap between thinking and creating through the promotion of experiential learning, designed to accommodate diverse range of activities covering a wide array of inquiry such as Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.” In time, it will build up its Robotics section, making it an educational resource to create a fun and interactive way of learning. In the end Traya’s dream is “to draw inventive and creative individuals by fusing together their natural creativity with technology by providing them a space that serves as outlet of creativity, a highly interactive place where they will be able to practice their critical thinking skills, explore their imagination and come up with solutions to real-world problems.” One is quite excited how The Bau Haus will end up one day! [Redemptorist Brother Karl Gaspar is a professor at St. Alphonsus Theological and Mission Institute (SATMI) in Davao City and a professor of Anthropology at the Ateneo de Davao University. Gaspar is author of several books, including “Desperately Seeking God’s Saving Action: Yolanda Survivors’ Hope Beyond Heartbreaking Lamentations,” two books on Davao history, and “Ordinary Lives, Lived Extraordinarily – Mindanawon Profiles” launched in February 2019. He writes two columns for MindaNews, one in English (A Sojourner’s Views) and the other in Binisaya (Panaw-Lantaw).]

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Banana growers: removal of biosecurity measures in Davao Norte may worsen spread of fusarium wilt

October 22, 2019

The Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) expressed fears that the planned removal of the biosecurity installations along the farm roads of the banana plantations operated by Floirendo-owned Tagum Agricultural Development Co. (TADECO) will worsen the fusarium wilt infestation in the province. PBGEA executive director Stephen Antig said on Tuesday that he was not aware whether the provincial government of Davao del Norte has already set schedules on the removal of that biosecurity installations, but the 72-hour temporary restraining order issued by the Panabo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) last October 9, 2019, in favor of TADECO had long expired. “I do not know about the schedules. My fears are that it will possibly spread the fusarium infestations,” he said. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “fusarium wilt disease has been a major constraint to banana production for more than a century... It is one of the most destructive diseases of banana worldwide.” The provincial government allegedly wanted to temporarily remove biosecurity features such as entry barriers that guide the public to go through “tire dips” and insecticide sprays for passing vehicles and “footbaths” for pedestrians entering the plantation, as well as the gates to the plantation managed by TADECO in Barangay Tanglaw in the municipality of Dujali; El Canto Road in Barangay Balagunan in Sto. Tomas; and Bugtong Lubi Road in Barangay Bobongon, also in Sto. Tomas in Davao del Norte. In a press release issued Tuesday, PBGEA said the dreaded fusarium wilt has already affected 2,402 hectares of banana plantations in Barangays Kimamon, La Libertad, Salvacion, Talomo, Lungaog, Casig-ang, Balagunan, Tibal-og, and Kinamayan in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte where no biosecurity measures are in place. Instead of risking the banana industry, Antig urged provincial and local governments to help promote the industry since the banana companies provide revenues in the form of taxes to the government. “Their constituents are largely dependent on the banana industry for their livelihood. They should help the banana growers, and not interfere in their operations,” Antig said. The release added that Davao del Norte province had been placed under quarantine due to fusarium wilt on the strength of Special Quarantine Order 01-2012 of the Bureau of Plant Industry and, as such, “banana plantations are obliged to implement quarantine and border control measures such as checkpoints and installation of wheel and foot baths.” It said Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Ano made a clarification on Memorandum Circular 121-2019 that it was intended for “road clearing of public roads and not for purposes other than intended, including demolishing structures in private lots without notice and just compensation.” It added that the Bureau of Corrections’ Davao Penal Colony, the owner of the contested land which is being planted to Cavendish bananas by TADECO under a joint-venture agreement, said it had sent a letter to the provincial government explaining that the farm roads that are subjected to road clearing are privately owned. 

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MSU student sill in coma; gunman still unidentified

October 21, 2019

Amid condemnations of the shooting incident and calls for prayers and justice, Ivan Polinar Almeda, the 20-year old freshman who was shot at the commercial center of the Mindanao State University main campus in Marawi City Thursday night is still in coma as of Sunday afternoon, the President of the Mindanao State University (MSU) System said. No suspect has been arrested or identified. MSU President Habib Macaayong told MindaNews Sunday that  investigation is “continuous” but “wala pa suspect” (no suspect has been identified). Macaayong said Almeda, who hails from Bayugan in Agusan del Sur, remains at the intensive care unit of the Amai Pakpak Medical Center, still in coma. Almeda is a freshman at the College of Sports, Physical Education and Recretation (CSPEAR) at the MSU and a badminton varsity player. CSPEAR Dean Hendely Adlawan told MindaNews Sunday that Almeda was still “fighting to survive.” She said doctors informed them the bullet "entered the left occipital and exited right frontal part.” “Hope there is God’s miracle.  Life support / respirator and medicines continue,” Adlawan said on Saturday, as she asked for prayers. The still unidentified gunman shot Almeda from behind at around 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. Almeda’s mother, Genevieve, an elementary school teacher, arrived early Friday morning in Iligan, accompanied by a neighbor. Macaayong had them brought to the APMC in Marawi immediately. Macaayong also assured Genevieve that the university would attend to the hospital expenses as well as other needs she may incur in Marawi. University officials as well as students and alumni, also sent some donations  to Genevieve, for Ivan, the eldest of two children.

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