Mt. Hamiguitan is Mindanao’s first in the list of World Heritage as declared by UNESCO …. the local govenrment vows to take their responsibility of sustaining environmental protection in the are …. here’s my story ….


DavOr crafts stronger policies to protect World Heritage Mt. Hamiguitan 
By Prix Digna D. Banzon

DAVAO CITY, June 27 (PNA) — The province of Davao Oriental will be crafting more policies to ensure that the World Heritage Mt. Hamiguitan area is well protected.

Davao Oriental governor Corazon Malanyaon said there is a need to determine the carrying capacity of the place to assure that the flora and fauna and other organisms and their habitats are preserved.

“I will rally with the members of the provincial board to come up with policies to ensure that the mountain range is protected,” she said.

Malanyaon in her speech during the 38th Session of the World Heritage Committee last week in Doha, Qatar, said they will take seriously in protecting the site.

“We take seriously our responsibility to protect the site’s high endemic species of flora and fauna, some of which are critically endangered like the Philippine Eagle and the carnivorous pitcher plants. Mount Hamiguitan is home to an expansive centuries-old tropical pygmy forest,” she said.

While the inscription is a celebration of the global partnership in their shared vision and desire to conserve these natural gifts for future generation she said there is a need to strictly monitor and preserve it.

“It is a step forward towards the continuation of monitoring and preserving the fragile ecosystems in the mountain amidst changing climate and typhoon patters,” Malanyaon said.

The governor vowed to protect the mountain range saying “I affirm our resolve as local stakeholders to protect and conserve the site’s inscribed outstanding universal value and integrity”.

Malanyaon in an earlier report said that they were successful in convincing indigenous communities living near the mountain range not to include in their claim for ancestral domain, the area which has become famous for the century-old bonsai farm.

Mt. Hamiguitan was declared as protected area in 2004 through Republic Act 9303

It has five vegetation types: the agroecosystem, dipterocarp, montane and typical mossy and the mossy-pygmy forest and that it is found to possess high and varied ecosystem with many endangered, endemic and rare species of flora and fauna of 1,380 species including the endangered Pithecophage jefferyi or the Philippine Eagle.

The range covers the towns of San Isidro, Governor Generoso and Mati City of about 31,879 hectares and the mountain range is 1,620 meters above sea level.

The mountain range is the first area in Mindanao that made into the World Heritage list. (PNA)


Nutritious drink … Ang Buko, Bow !

Pinoy love this … freshly picked from the tree these are sold anywhere be it on the street, the supermarket, the wet market … it is sold as cold drink still in the husk … it is chilled or frozen that vendors sell near offices, schools, parks and other places where people converge. They say it is medicinal …  yes it is rich in electrolytes … and when one drinks this after too much sweating because of hard work like jogging running it brings back energy as one research that I read said. The business side of this is that a multi-national company operating right here in our region will bring this thirst quenching drink to the international market … an expansion of its operation here will not only bring the by-product of our Miracle Tree, the coconut, internationally but also more jobs for our fellow Pinoys … bring it on … !  Here’s my story … 


Davao Sur coconut firm to produce coco water for int’l market 

By Prix Digna D. Banzon

DAVAO CITY, April 10 (PNA) — With the high demand for coco water in the international market, Franklin Baker is expanding the operation of its plant in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur to producing a new product out of coconut.

Sta. Cruz Mayor Joel Ray Lopez disclosed on Thursday at the Davao Business Forum organized by DermPath, SM City Davao and San Miguel PureFoods that Franklin Baker is expanding its operation in their town for production of coco water.

Mayor Lopez said the company is finalizing negotiations with the Ayala’s for the acquisition of the property that was earlier leased to CJ Toyota Tsusho Philippines, Inc.

He said Franklin Baker is negotiating for the property that was earlier occupied by the CJ Toyota Tsusho Philippines, Inc. which company produces coconut sugar D-xylose out of coconut shell.

The Korean company however closed down due to technology problem that caused them tremendous losses.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Davao del Sur provincial head Eulogio Orevillo said the negotiation is ongoing and the parties are already finalizing details.

“We see positive results with the negotiation undertaken by two parties,” he said.

Provincial Agri-Industrial Center (PAIC) administrator of Sta. Cruz town Camila Infuesto said Franklin Banwas first agri-industrial processing plant that located in their municipality.

The Sta. Cruz processing plant produces desiccated coconut which produce is exported to international market like the US.


She said new businesses or expansion of existing business is what our locality needs because this would also mean more jobs for the locals.

She said as indicated in their Investment Code, companies that locate in their municipality must employ residents of the area.

The entry of more businesses in Sta. Cruz gave their municipality a tremendous increase of the local revenue, she said.

She said from the P75.1 million income in 2001 it grew by 426 percent in 2013 as it generated an income of P196.765 million.

As shown in the graph, the town’s income from 2001 to 2007 recorded a very minimal increase but went up in 2008 with the entry of more businesses.

She said they continue to invite investors even as she said that they make sure that they maintain their reputation as a business friendly town. (PNA) CTB/Digna D. Banzon/ldp



The island paradise in the South …

Summer is for fun, for relaxation, for the beach, for tourists to visit destinations. While in Davao, one should never miss this island. Others really plan a trip to this island paradise in the South just like a group of young professionals composed of software engineers working in a multi-national company operating at the Global City in McKinley Hills, Taguig City composed of Jose, Pondey, Erika, Venessa, Camille and Bob who visited the place lately. They said they enjoyed not only the sea but the inland resorts as well, the spring, the waterfalls, the food and all about the island. The experience is what makes every visitor look forward that is why the number of tourists here continues to grow as seen by officials of the island’s city government where increase in arrivals is pegged at 30 percent this year.  Below is my story on what Samal City expects this year …


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Samal City expects 30% increase in number of visitors this year

ISLAND GARDEN CITY OF SAMAL, Davao del Norte, Feb. 18 (PNA) — The Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCoS) expects at least a 30-percent increase in the number of visitors this year compared to last year.

The city’s head of Investments and Tourism office, Jennifer D. Cariaga, told Davao business reporters in an interview that they expect more tourists, both domestic and foreign, to visit the island either for recreation or on business trip.


Cariaga reported that in 2013, the number of visitors was 425,916. Of this number, 267,632 were on day tour while 158,284 stayed overnight. Total visitors in 2012 only totaled 280,000.

Cariaga said this figure was only from those resorts that submitted report to their office.

The number could be more, she said, considering that out of the 79 registered resorts in the island, only 31 provided them with data.

“The figure could be over a million considering that less than half of the resort owners provided them with data,” she said.

Cariaga said they hope to generate more detailed data as they continuously dialogue with the resort owners to find ways on improving the system.

Meanwhile, she said they coordinate closely with other local government units on tourism-related activities especially that Samal City is being positioned as an important tourism destination.

Cariaga said the different resorts are fully booked during summer.

She also observed that tourist arrivals are high during Holy Week with the program they call “Oplan Semana Santa”.

There are religious activities spearheaded by the Catholic Church in the island during this period, she said.

Most visitors stay for two nights and three days, exploring the island through island hopping, diving, or snorkeling, she said.

Cariaga likewise noted that the city government, through other offices like the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army in coordination with resort owners, are intensifying their efforts to maintain peace and order. (PNA)
LAP/ASA/Prix Digna D. Banzon/ldp


This year more and more exciting events are happening in Davao City including this ….

‘Davao Fun Sale’: a ‘must-visit’ event


DAVAO CITY, Jan. 28 (PNA) — Private and government leaders of Davao City join forces as they mount the biggest and longest “Big Davao Fun Sale” that will open in time for the “Araw ng Dabaw” festivities this year.

“Araw ng Dabaw”, which is an attraction to travelers, tourists both foreign and domestic, businessmen including families never miss the opportunity to celebrate with the people of Davao and this time it will be more exciting as major malls in the city is offering biggest fun sale ever in the country.

Department of Tourism (DOT) regional director Art Boncato said the planning and preparation of the fun sale even started last year although he said we wanted our visitors to enjoy the best dining and shopping experience.

He said they wanted Davao City to develop a strong shopping and dining segment among travelers to Davao and to improve the image of the city as a thriving destination for business and investment.

The first-ever four-week long shopping frenzy in the country with the retail industry offers fantastic deals like unique activities, freebies, discounts, awards and prizes, he added.

He said there will also be a food festival spearheaded by the Restaurants Association of Davao, Inc.

Boncato said “the holding of this event is a big support to tourism as we also wanted to increase our tourists arrivals by 15 percent”.

SM assistant vice president for marketing in Mindanao and Ads and Promo Vice Chair for the Big Davao Fun Sale Russel Alaba in a separate interview said the Big Sale will also have several fun events that will take place in the different participating malls.

He also said there will be parties even as he cited that they will have electronic dancing and other first and unique events during the duration of the Fun Sale.

The sale will not only be on dry goods but the first three days on March 14 to 16 will be of General Sale (Mall Wide).

He said the succeeding days where it will be on sale the whole time on March 14 to April 16 on Dining, Crafts, Fruits and Flowers.

Themes will come in starting March 16 to 23 for Health and Beauty; March 23 to 30 will focus on Electronics and Gadgets; March 31 to April 6, Home and Travel; and April 7 to 16, Active Lifestyle/Fashion.

Participating the month long Big Davao Fun Sale are Abreeza Mall, NCCC Mall of Davao, SM Lanang Premier, SM City Davao, Gaisano Mall of Davao, GMall of Toril and Robinsons. (PNA)


but not for the…

but not for the two young Banzons
DOLE Davao says graduates short of skills that industry requires remains a problem

DAVAO CITY, April 26 (PNA) — The Department of Labor andEmployment (DOLE) here said there is still a problem of graduates not being able to meet the requirements of the industry in the Davao Region.

DOLE Davao officer-in-charge of the technical support services Allan Baban pointed out the existing problem of mismatch of graduates’ skills to the requirement of the industry as they may be hired but not on the field that they graduated.

He said the concern on skills mismatch will be discussed thoroughly in a National Career Congress in May that will be held in Manila for government, private sector, academe and industry to look at.

But the two young students from Davao are the exception because they were offered jobs even before their graduation last March and April.

The cousins, as DOLE called it, fall under RTH or “Ready To Hire” graduates.


Jose Banzon III, 21, finished computer engineering last March and hired for his first job as software engineer in a company in Global City at McKinley Hills in Taguig with headquarters based in Connecticut, USA while Renel Jose, 23, graduated in April for a course on mining engineering and hired in an Australian-Filipino mining firm in Masbate.

The two were sent by their parents in Manila on separate schools to study on the field of their choice, stayed in separate dormitories and were on their own.

“Hard work, dedication, commitment and discipline” were shared by the cousins when asked what made them succeed in completing their education.

Jose III said it is important that one must study well and understand with comprehension what is being taught in school as he gave credit to his rigid training in the university and exposure to companies and his internship in foreign school at Chung Chou University of Science and Technology in Taiwan where he studied and earned the Single Chip Ability Certification.

He was also given the chance to work as teaching assistant while there for Summer of 2011. A Blue Knight in Davao from kindergarten to college, he graduated at the Ateneo de Manila University of the course he wished even when he was a kid.

Renel, a Philippine Science High School graduate here, also had his internship in the firm that hired him. He said his on-the-job training was an opportunity for him to show the company his ability and capacity as well as learned from them techniques and skills.

“It was maybe because of my performance that they called me back and asked me to report immediately,” he said. He completed his course at the University of the Philippines in Dilliman.

Baban said not many are given such opportunity and the cousins were grateful for all the support as both proudly said they now belong to the newly hired Filipinos and become part of the country’s employed labor force.

Both are happy and confident having jobs that fits well on the qualifications that they possess.

Meanwhile, he said jobs in call center are still in demand as this does not require specific field.

There is still a slim percentage for RTH vis-a-vis the number of graduates, he said.

On the other hand, he said on Labor Day come May 1st over 12,000 vacancies both local and abroad will be offered to job seekers in Davao Region.

Two jobs fair events will be held on that day where over 7,000 available jobs will be accessed at SM City Davao Entertainment Area and another over 4,000 vacancies at the Atrium of Gaisano Mall.

Baban said the vacancies come from 88 local and overseas employers who will be joining the jobs fair offering positions for local employment as call center agents, office workers, factory workers and skilled workers such as engineers while overseas employers need domestic helpers, construction workers, skilled engineers and nurses.

He said their projection for HOTS (Hired On The Spot) is between 15 to 20 percent.

Also participating during the jobs fair are government agencies namely Social Security System, PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG Fund, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and National Statistics Office (NSO). PDDB


Mindanao banana…

Mindanao banana farmers seek gov’t help on banana export to China
By Prix ImageDigna D. Banzon

DAVAO CITY, May 11 (PNA) — The banana farm growers in Mindanao are asking the government to help and look at policies of banana export to China.

According to Jimmy Estemada, technical consultant of the Federation of Davao Cooperatives (FeDCo), the biggest banana growers group in Mindanao, this came about when their banana exports were put on hold in China ports starting March this year when China laid down some stringent phytosanitary policies on the shipment of bananas to their market.

As of May 10, this year, he said there were approximately 1,500 containers at major ports in China that have been held due to the newly implemented procedure by China Inspection and Quarantine (CIQ) requiring inspection of every container that comes from the Philippines.

Philippine Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) president Stephen Antig said they are also talking with the Secretaries of Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on the matter.

He stressed that they expect President Aquino to come up with quick response due to the fact that they are losing by the millions in one week.

He said they are crafting a position paper that they will submit to President Benigno Aquino III.

Based on data presented by Antig to the Davao media, he said they recorded about P174 million losses per week.

Antig said they consider China as a niche market where they started trading years back.

Figures in 2011 showed that of the 158 million boxes that were shipped to foreign markets, 24 million were delivered to the China market.

He said they are targetting 10 percent increase of their delivery this year or some 27 million boxes.

Antig said China started buying Class B bananas and lately shifted to Class A quality.

He said they do not want to think that the recent development at the Scarborough Shoal has something to do with the issue.

“But we feel we are being bullied by them”.

Meanwhile, Estemada said at the China ports there are not enough plug-in facilities where they could store the vans.

“The inspection is not random but all the boxes will be checked,” he said.

He said as of press time no result has been given them and if it will not pass their (China) qualifications, it will also be a problem as they would incur cost when the product will be shipped back to its point of origin or when it will be destroyed and the cost is big.

He said China requires that packing plants must also meet some standards with deadline for compliance next month. There are about 300 packing plants around Mindanao that need to be rehabilitated and their estimated cost for upgrading the plant is about P500,000 per plant.

He said if they want to enter the China market, they have no choice but to comply with China’s standards. (PNA)