6th BIMP EAGA Games

10:05 a.m. – We just went through the formal opening of the 6th BIMP EAGA Friendship Games here in Brunei Darussalam with Team Philippines in high spirits.

I was named head of Team Mindanao and just like in yesterday’s flag raising ceremonies, I was at the head the delegation and received the token from our hosts. Joseph Encabo is head of the whole Philippine contingent after PSC Chair Butch Ramirez begged off due to the budget hearings in Manila. Former councilor Greg Austria is head of Team Palawan.

Swimming competitions started this morning, while most of the other sports namely athletics, aquatics, badminton, pencak silat and sepak takraw would commence this afternoon. Futsal, an indoor version of football, started yesterday.

The hosts from Brunei are leaving no stone unturned in this historic first time for them to organize the Friendship Games. We also took note of the participation of a guest team from Northern Territory of Australia for the first time since 1996. Their entry was well applauded during the opening this morning.

Other contingents are from host Brunei, East Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, Papua, West Papua, Central Sulawesi and South Sulawesi from Indonesia and Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan from Malaysia.

The Friendship Games, first hosted by General Santos, aims to promote cooperation among the member countries of the sub-region of the ASEAN through sports and cultural exchange.

Side events at the Games include Youth Exchange, Exhibits, Sports Seminars and special competitions among officials.

MIndanao will host again the Games in 2010. Previous hosts were Kuching, Sarawak in 1997; Puerto Princesa, Palawan in 2003; Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in 2004; and Makasar, South Sulawesi in 2006.

All the members of Team Philippines are staying at the Games Village, a cluster of three four-storey athletes dormitories at the sprawling Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex.

The Philippine Embassy through Minister and Consul Celeste Vinzon-Balatbat has been very helpful to the Philippine contingent.

I will post results of the Games once they arrived here at the Media Center where I was accredited representing Mindanao Times.

10:50 a.m. – First results from swimming

Men 50 Meter Butterfly

Gold – Wahyu Wibisone- South Sulawesi

Silver – Pederewski Awang Pan – Sabah

Bronze – Jefrey Pelosa – Palawan

Women 100 Meter Breaststroke

Gold – Esther Yii Shu Ning – Sarawak

Silver – Niken Yuniarti – South Sulawesi

Bronze – Tiara Beboney Tudio – Mindanao

Men 100 Meter Breaststroke

Gold – Pederewski Awang Pan – Sabah

Silver – Emmanuele Puasabas – Mindanao

Bronze – Hasril Mamma – South Sulawesi

Men 1500 Meter Freestyle

Gold – Lee Jun Yi – Sabah

Silver – Lawin Dacera – Mindanao

Jason Jiang Kulay – Sarawak

Women 50 Meter Butterfly

Gold – Wan See Mun Terri – Sabah

Silver – Carol Pang – Sabah

Bronze – Sarah Butler – Northern Territory

Women 400 Meter Individual Medley

Gold – Lai Wei Li – Sabah

Silver – Jessica Laurens – South Sulawesi

Regiena Astrid Marie Quesada – Mindanao

11:30 – Finally Team Mindanao won its first gold in Men 400 Meter Individual Medley through Lawin Dacera of General Santos. Cheers to Team Mindanao!

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Halal food processing

Mindanao can kiss its hope for a Brunei-funded halal food processing venture here goodbye. This after our ASEAN neighbor has decided to develop a new deep water port with export processing facilities for halal food.

Brunei has just awarded the development of Pulau Muara Besar, an island off the coast of the eastern tip of the oil-rich sultanate, to companies from Singapore and the Philippines.

The plans of the Department of Agriculture to attract funds from Brunei for the development of halal food processing plants in Mindanao have therefore been overtaken by Brunei’s own development initiative.

The DA has offered Mindanao as the site for a regional halal food processing facility which could supply halal food to Muslims in southeast Asia as well as to the Middle East.

I also wrote a letter two years ago to Brunei offering Davao City as possible site for the halal food processing center.

This would no longer be possible with the development of Pulau Muara Besar, a 995-hectare island in Brunei Bay, into a new container port with export processing zone for halal food and other manufacturing facilities. Brunei is undertaking this project to help diversify its industrial growth and lessen its dependence on oil and gas.

The project would be developed by the Surbana Consortium from Singapore and its port operations to be managed by the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. of the Philippines. Both won in the international tender or bidding.

The Manila-based ICTSI operates 16 international ports in 11 countries.

Halal food ecozone

I sent this letter to the Sultan of Brunei last year:

February 22, 2007
His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah,
the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.
Warmest Greetings of Peace!
Re attached News Item on Brunei’s plan for a Halal Food Processing Plant:
Allow us to offer Davao City as the site for this investment.
Davao City is the largest city in southern Philippines and acts as the de facto center of the BIMP-EAGA. The Asia Institute of Management (AIM) has named it as the most competitive metropolitan city in the country.
It has excellent supply for halal meat products. The city has a Halal Food Council. The city is free from hoof-and-mouth disease and free from bird flu virus.
It has excellent labor force in the food processing industry manifested by the presence of big food processors with ISO standards.
It has air and sea links with its neighbors in the BIMP-EAGA region.
Moreover, the city government offers fiscal and non-fiscal incentives on top of the tax holidays provided by the national government through the Board of Investments. Part of our non-fiscal incentives is to help potential investors look for suitable sites, local suppliers, local managerial and labor force, process various government regulatory permits, among others.
Should you wish to come to see what our city can offer, feel free to contact us. We shall be most happy to assist you.
Thank you very much.
Councilor Peter Tiu Lavina
Chair, City Council Committee on Trade, Commerce & Industry
Room 3, SP Bldg., Davao City

I cced Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap.

I am glad that his office is pursuing the plan for the halal food processing center here in Davao.

5:56 a.m.