City grants incentives to 3 big projects

The Davao City Investment Incentive Board led by Vice Mayor Sara Duterte granted yesterday the application of three projects for local government incentives.

The projects are all property development, namely:

Abreeza, the Ayala Mall in Davao, a joint venture between Ayala Land and the Floirendo Group, and with a project cost of P2.4 billion;

Santiago Villas of Kisan Lu Realty, Inc. with a project cost of P253 million; and

Deca Homes Resort and Residences of 8890 Housing Development Corporation with a project of P586 million.

They were granted exemption from payment of local taxes, building permits fees and other charges for three years and property taxes for two years.

Projects processed by the local Investment Incentive Board for this year have already reached P4.1 billion, way above its goal.

Resignations in the sports council

As President of the Davao City Sports Council, Inc., I sent this message out early this morning in reaction to this news.

This is to confirm media reports that Rommel Tan of AAK has sent an email letter of resignation yesterday (September 10, 2009) and earlier sent a text message of resigning from the Davao City Sports Council, Inc.

No such message was received regarding the reported resignation of Salvador Paholio, Jr. of cycling.

I am surprised by their resignation.

They are active members of the Sports Council and have been undertaking various activities in their respective sports here and in participating in tournaments on the national and international levels.

I am calling for an emergency meeting of the Sports Council as soon as possible to calendar these matters.

We are not aware of any problems with their membership in this sports coordinating body, although their national sports associations are having leadership problems. The same can be said of other sports bodies at the national level. However, I am happy to note that leadership problems hounding a number of NSAs have not affected the local sports body.

The Davao City Sports Council is primarily a coordinating council. It is not a policy-making body or a funding agency and it fully allows its member national sports associations to undertake their own programs, projects and activities.

Part of the Sports Council’s role is to be the NSAs link with the City Government in coordinating annual sports activities such as during the Araw ng Dabaw, Kadayawan and Paskuhan sports competitions. It also links with the Philippine Sports Commission, the Philippine Olympic Committee and civil society groups such as the Sports for Peace Foundation of former PSC chair William “Butch” Ramirez.

The Davao City Sports Council also undertakes the annual So Kim Cheng Awards, now going on its 16th year in partnership with the So Kim Cheng Foundation, and the new Vic Sai Sports Journalism Awards, now going on its 2nd year.

The Sports Council just recently held its election of officers and there were no indication at all of any of these resignations. Mr. Paholio was in fact re-elected as an officer.

We respect the individual decisions of NSA officials on their membership in the Davao City Sports Council. We wish that they would continue to be of service to the sports community of the city.”

Presidentiables and JPEPA

I was totally surprised that my post on October 9, 2008 on the Senate vote on the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) would attract interest these past few days.

I noticed that this particular post “Only 4 voted ‘no’ on JPEPA” was getting many hits.

Well, in that story, I wrote Senator Noynoy Aquino “a new hero,” Senator Mar Roxas a “wimp,” and in the comments section, I added Senator Manny Villar being “more presidentiable” and Senator Chiz Escudero having “more major league balls.”

You too might want to revisit the story in the light of recent political developments.

Incidentally, it might interest you to know that surveys among so-called presidentiables between December 2007 and December 2008 revealed an interesing fact.

It showed that only two such “presidentiables” lost ground, while a number made more headway.

Who are these two, you might ask?

Believe it or not, the two Ilonggo senators – Miriam Defensor Santiago and Mar Roxas, the main proponents of JPEPA.

Mar has not recovered from this slide. I believe he was punished for his JPEPA stand.

Go check your stats.

Software Freedom Day in Davao

Davao is once again celebrating Software Freedom Day on September 19.

The SFD is an annual event celebrated worldwide to honor contributors to Free/ Open Source Software.

The event is spearheaded by Holden Hao of DabaweGNU, Inc., a non-profit organization of ICT professionals and enthusiasts promoting the use of Free/ Open Source Software or FOSS.

Hao said the event aims to promote awareness on the advantages of using FOSS compared to proprietary software, which are expensive.

This year’s Software Freedom Day will be celebrated at the University of the Immaculate Conception (UIC) Gym at Bankerohan from 1 – 5 pm. Last year, we held the event at the University of Southeastern Philippines (USP).

The event will feature various presentations on the technical and social issues on using FOSS.

Noynoy accepts challenge

Senator Noynoy Aquino has finally accepted the challenge and responsibility to continue the legacy of his parents and lead the country by running as president next year.

He made the announcement just a while ago at the historic Club Filipino in San Juan, Metro Manila.

Here in Davao, the planned activities to mark the 40th day of mourning on the passing away of former President Cory Aquino would now become the opening salvo for Noynoy for President Movement.

A motorcade is now underway in the city’s main streets towards the Matina Town Center (MTS) where an inter-faith prayer service and assembly of various Noynoy support groups would be held.

I was invited to represent the Liberal Party. I will also represent Mayor Rody Duterte is the activity.

At noon, a mass would be held at the San Pedro Cathedral with Raffy Lopa representing the Aquino clan.

In 20 minutes it would be 9 am of September 9, 2009 or 09-09-09-09. Will this bring luck to Noynoy and win in 2010?

Well, your guess is as good as mine.

An interesting mix

I started to compile a list of key personalities in Davao who expressed support for Senator Noynoy to run as president in 2010.

This is a clear proof that Senator Noynoy’s appeal cuts across the wide spectrum of Pinoy politics. This gives flesh to the result of our survey that Noynoy can draw away support from almost all presidentiables.

A former congressman from Davao del Sur whose father is the pre-martial law Mister Nacionalista in the Davao Region;

A former vice governor of Davao del Norte whose father is a key Lakas-Kampi official;

An incumbent vice mayor of one of the cities in the Davao Region identified with Kampi;

A retired Police Superintendent;

A former COMELEC official in Sultan Kudarat;

A member of the Maguindanao royalty;

A former official of the Mindanao Business Council seen in one Manny Villar function;

A youth leader previously identified with Jeep ni Erap;

A businessman previously identified with the movement to draft Chief Justice Puno for president.

An interesting mix indeed.

A “quickie?”

I met two groups during the weekend who expressed concern about the much-publicized “spiritual retreat” of Senator Noynoy Aquino to help him decide on a presidential run in 2010.

One was surprised about his brief stay at the Carmelite Monastery in Zamboanga. They described it as a “quickie!”

Well, I myself was expecting Noynoy to go on several days of seclusion, prayer and discernment.

Possibly because he was hounded by the media wherever he goes, Noynoy’s expected peace and quiet to commune with God was constantly disrupted.

One group told me they did not expect Noynoy to be Jesus to go on “40 days and 40 nights of prayer and fasting.” But at least, they suggested, he should not give ammunition to his enemies (read Malacanang) that his retreat was a mere “political gimmick.”

It’s perfectly the right of anyone to seek divine guidance, they contend, but they at the same time warned not to belittle the process of a spiritual retreat.

I agree.

And Noynoy will have to be careful from now on about what he say and do. He is no longer just the son of Ninoy and Cory or a senator of the land, he is now perceived as a “presidentiable” and therefore, a fair game in the country’s murky political arena.