Last call

Last call for our online poll at the right sidebar.

Vote now before the City Council decide tomorrow.

7:50 a.m.

Sunday sports

I woke up early this morning just in time for the closing minutes of the Euro 2008 finals. Spain succeeded in preserving its first half lead against Germany to finally win its first major title in 44 years.

Fernando no doubt is now the most popular name in Spain and many newly born boys would be named after the hero – Fernando Torres who scored the lone goal.

Viva España!

Talking of heroes, local sensation Manny Pacquiao scored another knockout – flooring WBC lightweight champion David Diaz and bagging his fourth boxing belt. He’s the only Asian boxer to achieve this feat thereby making him a true boxing great.

In golf, it was another sorry second place finish for rising Filipino ace Juvic Pagunsan at the Singha Thailand PGA Championship. Juvic led in the second round and was tied for the lead going into yesterday’s final round. The miss was a repeat of his struggles in last year’s Volvo Masters and the previous year’s UBS Hong Kong when he had to settle for No. 2.

7:33 a.m.

Cash in trash

Davao City Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Simeon Marfori (2nd right) tests the weight of scrap tin cans at Saturday’s Recycling Fair at the parking lot of SM City Davao.

Aside from household reusable wastes, over 30 firms in the city sold their scrap to 10 recyclers as part of the city’s and the chamber’s solid waste management program to turn trash into cash.

Joining him during the opening were myself (right), Councilor Edgar Ibuyan (center), Mila Teves, president of the Soroptimist International Davao (partly hidden), and my wife Evelyn (left) who is a Board of Trustee member of the Chamber of Commerce and environment committee head of Soroptimist International Davao.

Photo courtesy of Bing G.

6:24 a.m.

Sleeping on the job

The best seats on board airplanes are not those on first class with today’s bed in the skies.

Its actually the front seat for the pilots.

Here’s a case of two of them overshooting their destination for napping on high altitude.

11:53 a.m.

Collection Day

See you at SM City Davao today for the 8th Recyclable Collection Day spearheaded by the Davao City Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Go turn your wastes into cash.

Acting Mayor Councilor Mabel Acosta will be the guest at the opening rites.

Chamber President Simeon Marfori expects today’s activity will attract three times the participants and sales over last month.

6:12 a.m.

Dot davao?

Anyone interested to register the dot davao in the new web domain name era starting in 2009?

Described as the biggest change in the internet since its inception, the new web addresses would allow such names as dot anything like dot davao or dot kadayawan or dot lavina from today’s dot coms dot orgs or dot ph.

Well, it would not come cheap actually.

We need at least 250,000 British Pounds or P22.2 million!

7:24 a.m.

Child labor

I was one of the guests at the i-Speak media Forum at City Hall yesterday and I issued the following statement:

The picture featured at the homepage of the G8 summit website in Hokkaido, Japan on July 7-9, 2008 is truly disturbing. It shows the globe being carried by four children. The children were smiling all right and appear that they have no burden.

But, millions like them are not. They carry on their shoulders the brunt of child labor that involves over 2 million in the Philippines and 200 million worldwide.

Unfortunately, this global problem is not in the agenda of the world economic superpowers. The children used in the website were mere decorations to lull us into believing that the world’s rich nations look after their care.

It is sad to note that efforts by the Dutch Government to include child labor in the international agenda of the world’s most powerful nations have fallen on deaf ears.

So, in this summit, nothing will be discussed on the issue on child labor. This comes at a time when we are marking the World Day Against Child Labor here in Davao City on June 28, 2008.

Here are the grim statistics on the issue:

Global child labor – over 200 million boys and girls aged 5-14

70 percent or 132 million are in agriculture

Other worst forms of child labor – construction, mining, domestic service, commercial sex and illicit activities

Child trafficking – 1.2 million a year

Children in armed conflicts as child soldiers – 300,000

In the Philippines:

11 percent of children ages 5-14 are involved in economic activities (2.2 million in 2001)

65.4 % are in agriculture and commercial plantations

29.4 % in services; and

5.3 % in industrial services

Worst forms of child labor (in addition to agriculture, construction, mining, domestic service and commercial sex) also include pyrotechnic production and muroami fishing

Also increasing trend of children in armed conflict

Children should be in school and enjoy their childhood. They should not be exploited and forced into dangerous and hazardous work.

We condemn the use of child labor and child soldiers here and throughout the world.

We call on the Arroyo government and world leaders to address child labor not just as a social or economic issue. This is an issue of fundamental human and children’s rights!

6:22 a.m.

Rice solution is no rocket science

The rice issue once again came to the fore in the weekly City Council Media Hour yesterday. Present as guests were Councilors Edgar Ibuyan (Committee on Labor & Employment), Tomas Monteverde IV (Committee on Social Services & Development) and myself.

For the second time during the past week, I tried to re-focus the discussions on the rice crisis from the “band-aid” solutions being undertaken today to the more important long-term solutions to food self-sufficiency.

Last Saturday, I was the guest at dxAB of ABS-CBN and I hammered on the need to put food security at the top of the national agenda, including those of the media. Unfortunately, the same petty questions were being raised by our colleagues in the media. Why are the queue lines at NFA outlets remain? What happened to the NBI investigations against rice hoarders? Can special outlets be designated for this or that sector? etc.

Well, spending all our time to discuss these issues will not help solve the rice crisis in the long term.

What we should be discussing now, or more appropriately, be doing right now, is the one and only solution to the rice crisis – to plant more rice.

I told the listeners at dxAB and repeated it yesterday that the solution to the rice crisis is not rocket science. I cited at least five key points, which are all common sense – expand rice and corn lands and protect them from conversion; build infrastructures such as irrigation and post harvest facilities; train our farmers on new technologies, including organic farming; provide them with easy credit; and impose tariff on imported competition.

If the whole nation concentrate on these things, with the help of the media in defining the national agenda, I am sure we can reach the Masagana 99 period when the country became a surplus producer of rice instead of being today’s No. 1 rice importer in the world.

Trouble is the national government has other priorities – like, for instance, going on a junket to the US! Yup (i.e. yes and no pun to Arthur Yap), the country’s rice czar has tagged along with the Malacanang gang in this trip instead of addressing the rice crisis.

5:50 a.m.

Loan it is

At the City Council public hearing yesterday on the unreleased IRA, the city government has opted to take out a loan from the government-owned Land Bank of the Philippines.

This is the most advantageous option available.

The Provincial Board of Pangasinan is going the same way in collecting its P79 Million IRA differential.

What to do with P142 Million? Another reader has posted a comment. Please check the sidebar. He wants roads to be paved in his village.

6:03 a.m.

Update on Activities

Yesterday, I represented Mayor Rody Duterte at the opening of the new showroom of Canon Marketing (Philippines) at Bajada. The expanded sales and service center is proof of the imaging company’s growth in this part of the country. An executive from the company flew in from Singapore to grace the occasion. In my brief remarks, I said the city government adheres too in Canon’s philosophy – living and working together for the common good! Canon’s Philippine CEO Ramon Arteficio was somewhat surprised to hear these words from me. I told him I read it in their website. Canon’s Regional Head here is Nelson Perez. Visit them infront of the Davao City Water District.

Today, my office will host an orientation seminar on the Botika ng Barangay Project of the Department of Health. Last year, I partnered with DOH in helping 21 barangays set up their village pharmacies. The project does not only make affordable medicines available in communities but also help train BNB operators become entrepreneurs. DOH provides seed capital of P25,000 worth of medicines which the BNB must replenish with their sales. I am hoping another batch of beneficiary-barangays would be granted their BNB.

On Saturday, the National Coalition Against Child Labor in Commercial Agriculture will spearhead once again the marking of the World Day Against Child Labor in the city. I have been a permanent fixture in the activities of this coalition and so I was invited again to speak at its rally at the Almendras Gym. A march will precede the program from Rizal Park to the Gym.

7:26 a.m.

Poll update

Here’s the latest on our online poll:

And thanks to Dr. Arnel, a Davaoeno now in California, and Boy Cubillas for their comments and suggestions. Read them on comments section at the right sidebar.

6:50 a.m.

The City Council will not hold its regular session today. Instead, a number of us would attend a conference with the Philippine Reclamation Authority regarding the controversial baywalk project of Queensland along Times Beach and proposals to reclaim part of the city government’s property under water also in Times Beach.

Other members of the City Council will be at the public hearing on the IRA share (our online poll) and the proposed Supplemental Budget No. 1 approved on First Reading during our June 17 session.

7:23 a.m.

What to do with P142 Million?

Thanks to Nikki of the Mindanao Daily Mirror (Vote online and answer a P142 Million question), Erwin of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Davao councilor urges people to help decide in online vote) and Andrew of Alleba Politics (The national government owes us P142 Million). They helped spread the word about our online poll.

The City Council committee on Finance, Ways & Means, & Appropriation will hold a public hearing on this issue tomorrow at 9 a.m.

You might want to drop by to express your views, not just on how we should get the money but, more importantly, what to do with it.

Here’s one feedback sent to us by Frederick – see comments at Back online 4.

He suggests to unwire Davao and go Wimax!

5:18 a.m.

Gridlock

Traffic flow at the MacArthur Highway in Davao has eased since the new bridge at Bankerohan spanning the Davao River opened last week.

But there are still a number of choke points where our traffic enforcers need to be creative to solve the gridlock like those in the downtown areas of Bangoy St., CM Recto, JP Laurel and along the resto-bar row at F. Torres.

We’ve seen the dancing cops in Bangkok and spray-painters in Manila to help solve traffic woes.

Here are equally interesting ideas – cops on skates in Jakarta, and move over Kimipole position for cyclists at traffic lights in Australia.

7:12 a.m

Back online 5

Thank God there was no rain last night. Rains the previous week caused flashfloods in the city. Last night as Typhoon “Frank” (Fengshen) crossed the Visayas from western Pacific, strong winds swept through Davao.

This must be part of what they call as tail winds.

Davao is located in a typhoon-free zone. However, the winds last night were the strongest I ever experienced in five decades. No rain, just blast and blast of gusty wind the whole evening. It started to calm down now as the sun started to rise.

Here’s the latest satellite pic on Typhoon “Frank” from the weather bureau showing it packed winds of 140-170 kilometers per hour.

6:51 a.m.

Back online 4

I’m up early this morning to prepare for another busy day.

I will speak at the Davao Christian Leadership Breakfast Forum at 7 a.m. at the Grand Men Seng Hotel. This would be my sixth appearance at this fellowship attended by priests, pastors, laypeople and their guests.

I will discuss current issues confronting our consumers from food shortages, high prices, product standards and consumer rights.

After this forum, I will be off to Felis Beach Resort for the Mindanao Island Consultation for the upcoming Global Forum on Migration and Development which will be held in Manila in October. This regional consultation will be attended by civil society groups, while the global forum would be attended by UN member countries.

I would be wearing two hats in this meeting. First, to represent Mayor Rody Duterte during the opening rites, and Second, to participate as the official representative of Unlad Kabayan Migrant Services Foundation where I currently sit as Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Results of this island-wide consultation will be presented during the Manila global forum.

Yesterday, the City Council held a special session to discuss the monetization of part of the city’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) in 2001 and 2003. Due to the reenacted budgets of the national government during these two years, the city has a differential amounting to P142 million.

I presided the debates of the City Council on how best to get this sum. The national government is offering us two ways:

Option 1 is to get this money by seven installments starting May 2009 to May 2015; or

Option 2 is to get the P142 million now at a discounted rate of just 70 percent.

But during the discussion, we looked at another option – borrow money from Land Bank against this unreleased IRA share. That way, we get the whole amount and pay the interests from our regular IRA.

For lack of time, we decided in postponing the decision until the July 1 Regular Session. But, offhand, many of our colleagues are favoring the third option.

What do you think?

3:43 a.m.

Update – I added an online poll on my right sidebar – A P142 Million Question. Please vote!

5:49 a.m.

Back online 3

The 3rd Mindanao Food Processing and Packaging Technology Expo opened yesterday at the Central Bank.

I represented Mayor Rody Duterte at the ribbon-cutting which was star-studded. The guests include action star Senator Bong Revilla who also tagged along his fellow actor Philip Salvador.

(Rene B. Lumawag/Sunstar Davao June 19)

Also present were Doc Edmund Dantes who represented Rep. Anton Lagdameo, Sim Marfori of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce & Industry, local tuna king Doming Ang of Philexport, former DATA head Baby Montemayor, and a gang of regional directors of national government agencies.

The exhibit features the latest technology on food processing and packaging, food products and services. There are also plenty of free seminars that will run up to Saturday.

Kudos to Joel Pascual of Premier Events Plus Group for holding this trade fair in the city. Last year, on site sales topped P50 million. We are certain that this would be surpassed this year.

Indication? Well, even the lobby of the Central Bank, which was used in the past for the opening rites, was now filled with exhibitor booths.

Here’s how Sunstar reported on my brief remarks.

Incidentally, seated beside Senator Revilla, I revealed to him that my father hails from Cavite. He inquired from what part and I told him from Amadeo. Seven kilometers from Tagaytay, this town is tagged as the coffee capital of the country.

Revilla served as Vice Governor and Governor of the province before taking over the post of his father in the Senate.

He is being considered as a potential vice presidential bet for the administration in 2010. After the opening ceremony, he headed to the first regional Lakas-Kampi merger conference at Apo View Hotel where the Malacanang occupant made certain that the administration would win in the next national elections.

That I doubt very much.

5:25 a.m.