Category Archives: In The City

DOH-9 embarks on advocacy against firecracker use

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Dec. 6 (PNA) — The Department of Health (DOH) has embarked on a massive information campaign focusing on the dangers brought by the use of firecrackers here in Region 9.

The drive, implemented under DOH’s “Aksiyon Papuptok Injury Reduction (APIR) program, is aimed to lessen if not eradicate cases of firecracker-related injuries during the Yuletide Seasons, especially during the New Year’s Eve revelry.

The information campaign is anchored on the theme: “Sa pag-iingay mas Masaya, sa paputok may disgracia.”

Dr. Lucky Rachela Lego, DOH-9 local health systems and health promotion and communication unit chief, on Tuesday said they are encouraging the public to use noise-making gadgets such as “torotot” (a colloquial term for a small wind instrument) instead of firecrackers to welcome the new year.

Lego said they are happy to note the campaign against the use of firecrackers is gaining headway in Region 9 citing last year’s firecracker-related injuries were lower by four cases compared to the previous year.

Lego said they recorded 12 firecracker-related injuries in the entire region from December 21, 2015 to January 5, 2016, which was lower than the 16 cases recorded for the same period–December 21, 2014 to January 5, 2015.

She said those injured by firecracker explosion were aged 10 to 54 and majority of them were males.

There were also four people who were injured by stray bullets.

She said that 67 percent of the firecracker-related injuries were caused by “piccolo”.

The others were injured by sky rocket fireworks locally known as “kwitis” and the ear-splitting five-star firecrackers.

She also advised parents to closely monitor their children to prevent them from becoming victims of firecracker explosion. (PNA)

No to fireworks, pyrotechnics – Beng

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The ban on fireworks and pyrotechnic devices remains, Mayor Beng Climaco declared yesterday morning, December 5.
“There will not be any pyrotechnic explosions in the City, nor will we allow the sale of fireworks…we remain as is,” Climaco told members of the media during the regular Monday press conference.

This, she explained, is in keeping with Sangguniang Panglungsod ordinance banning the use, sale, possession, distribution, storage, and manufacture of firecrackers and pyrotechnics devices in the City.

Exempted from the ban is the use of the City as a transshipment point for firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices to be delivered to nearby areas.

The ban, enforced primarily to prevent further psychological trauma to victims of the siege, has been successful in keeping a zero to minimal firecracker-related injuries and casualties during special celebrations and the New Year revelries since its enforcement in 2013, Climaco said.

The chief executive also expressed her opposition to the use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics, even on a regulated and controlled setting.

“I do not support that, and I will not approve it in my term,” she said, stressing the psycho-emotional impact of firecrackers and explosions on residents.

Zamboanga City will be one of the cities in the country who will be enforcing a firecracker and pyrotechnic devices ban for the holidays and New Year celebrations.

A nationwide ban on firecrackers has been put forward by President Rodrigo Duterte but this has been deferred for next year. — Source: Beng Climaco FB page

Fake gov’t doctor faces trial

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MANILA, Dec. 5 (PNA) — For falsely representing himself as a licensed physician, George Comendador, former municipal health officer of Margosatubig, Zamboanga del Sur, is facing trial for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act”.

In a seven-page resolution, the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) ordered the filing of graft charges against Comendador after confirming that the respondent is not a licensed physician listed on the database of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

The Ombudsman said that the municipality of Margosatubig suffered undue injury as it paid Comendador salaries and other benefits worth over PHP4,388,378.60 starting from January 1996 until his retirement in May 2013. (PNA)

DOH activates Task Force Zika in Region 9

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Dec. 5 (PNA) — The Department of Health (DOH) has activated the regional “Task Force Zika” to oversee prevention programs against the disease here in Region 9.

Dr. Lenny Joy Johnson, DOH-9 local health support division officer-in-charge, on Monday said the task force consists of medical personnel from the DOH regional office and other stakeholders.

Johnson said the task force will conduct advocacy and surveillance against the Zika virus, and treatment if and when there is a positive case of the disease in the region.

She said the advocacy is focused on the 4S strategy which includes the following: search and destroy; self protection; seek early consultation; and, say yes to fogging only during outbreak.

“We are strengthening the surveillance and intensifying the advocacy on 4S in the region for the prevention of Zika,” she added.

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a flavivirus. This occurs in tropical countries with large mosquito population.

The virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus, mainly Aedes Aegypti in urban areas and Aedes albopictus in rural areas.

Signs and symptoms of the virus includes fever, conjunctivitis, skin rash, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, pain behind the eyes, and vomiting.

The illness is usually mild and self-limiting with symptoms lasting for two to seven days.

Complications brought by Zika are Guillain-Barre’ syndrome, which is the sudden weakening of muscles and neonatal malformation, a Microcephaly condition where a baby’s head is smaller than those of other babies of the same age and sex.

In the Philippines, positive cases of Zika were discovered in Luzon and Visayas areas. (PNA)

Zamboanga City needs more tour guides

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By Azer N. Parrocha

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Dec. 3 (PNA) –This city needs more tour guides to assist tourists, provide correct information about the city and help remove the stigma that it’s a place to be avoided or feared for safety concerns.

This is the sentiment of Zamboanga City tour guide Errold Bayona, who has been working with the Department of Tourism (DOT) for almost six years to achieve this goal.

He said that at present, there were a total of 12 DOT-accredited tour guides in the city, and was hoping the local government and concerned agencies would address this lack.

Bayona lamented that during a recent tour guide training program, out of over 70 expected participants, only 12 managed to show up and only four managed to secure accreditation from the DOT.

“The thing is people don’t look at tour guiding as a career especially in a place that carries a reputation like that of Zamboanga,” Bayona said in an interview.

He also said that there had been a huge gap in the ages of tour guides — some being 60-years-old and others being 30-years-old — because very few residents showed interest in it.

”Some train with us for a few years and eventually go abroad,” he added, noting that tour guides were not well compensated.

’Surviving Zamboanga’

Bayona meanwhile sought tourists to help boost the image of Zamboanga City by avoiding bragging to their friends and family about having “survived” their visit.

”Tourists don’t come here because they think it’s not safe while those that do come here brag about coming, leaving and surviving — which shouldn’t be the case. We don’t brag about surviving in other tourist destinations,” he said.

He said that tourism stakeholders and ambassadors could start changing the city’s bad reputation by proper information dissemination and constant advertising.

Data from DOT Mindanao showed that the island acquired around 8.5 million tourist arrivals in 2015 with the bulk of these arrivals coming from the Davao Region (Region 11) with around 2.8 million arrivals.

Meanwhile, the Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9) generated around 800,000 arrivals, Northern Mindanao (Region 10) with around 2.7 million arrivals, Soccsksargen (Region 12) with about 1 million arrivals and Caraga (Region 13) acquiring around 1.2 million arrivals.

DOT Secretary Wanda Teo vowed to fan Mindanao tourism under her term, especially since she herself and President Rodrigo Duterte hail from the same region.

Teo is looking at developing Zamboanga’s pink sand beach, Las Islas de Santa Cruz, and the hidden paradise, 11 Islands, as new tourist destinations, particularly for backpackers.

Teo herself visited the pink sand beach on Friday to see the pink sand beach for herself and assure tourists that tourism in the Zamboanga Peninsula is safe regardless of the old stigma attached to its name.

“I personally came here because I want people to know that because ‘the Secretary of Tourism was here’, the more they should come here. I would like to show the world that Zamboanga is safe,” Teo said. (PNA)

DPWH extends Zambo sports complex rehab works deadline

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Dec. 2 (PNA) – The Department of Public Works and Highways(DPWH) Region 9 announced that the deadline for the completion of rehabilitation of the sports complex has been extended for three months from January to March 2017.

A private contractor is undertaking the rehabilitation works of the sports complex under the supervision of the DPWH.

Google map aerial view of Zamboanga Sports Complex.

The project cost is PhP187 million and to be finished within 297 calendar days.

The sports complex was destroyed since it has served as the biggest evacuation center for the more than 100,000 people displaced during the September 2013 siege.

Engr. Shadimar Jalaidi, DPWH-9 project manager, said there are several factors that caused the delay of the rehabilitation works at the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex.

Jalaidi said the factors included weather disturbance, variation of orders and rocessing as well as the delivery of needed materials like rubber and artificial grass, which come from Germany.

The imported rubber will be used in playing fields and track oval while the artificial grass for the soccer football field.

Jalaidi said the imported rubber and the artificial grass are set to arrive on January since it take two months for the processing and delivery of the materials.

He said the rehabilitation works at the sports complex is now more than 30 percent completed.

The private contractor has employed more than 100 workers to undertake the rehabilitation works of the sports complex. (PNA)

Zamboanga City lands 3rd in 2016 Philippine Youth Games-Batang Pinoy

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Dec. 3 (PNA) — The Zamboanga City delegation landed third place in the just concluded week-long 2016 Philippine Youth Games-Batang Pinoy held from November 27 to December 2 in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

Cebu City grabbed the championship with 42 gold, 30 silver and 31 bronze medals while Baguio City won second place with 38 gold, 30 silver and 30 bronze medals.

Dr. Cecilia Atilano, city sports development officer, told the Philippines News Agency on Saturday that this city’s delegation bagged 34 gold 20 silver and 25 bronze medals.

Atilano said most of the medals the athletic delegation of this city came from the pencak silat, weightlifting, wrestling, and karatedo sporting events.

She congratulated the local athletic delegation despite they only grabbed the third place in the 2016 Philippine Youth Games-Batang Pinoy.

Zamboanga City has sent a 245-man delegation including 52 coaches and officials.

The athletes, who competed, were 17 years old and below.

They competed in the 26 sports events which includes the following: archery; arnis; athletics; badminton; baseball; basketball 3-on-3; boxing; chess; cycling; dancesport; gymnastics; judo; karatedo; lawn tennis; pencak silat; rugby football; sepak takraw; softball; swimming; table tennis; taekwondo; triathlon; volleyball; weightlifting; wrestling; and, wushu. (PNA)

BIR continues tax enforcement activities in Zamboanga

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Dec. 2 (PNA) — The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) here has announced it would continue its enforcement activities this month of December unlike in the previous years.

BIR OIC-Regional Director Manuel Mapoy said that BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay issued them a memorandum to continue the tax-related enforcement activities this month to increase the annual collection of taxes.

The BIR regional office, officially known as the BIR Revenue Region 15, has been tasked to collect PhP 8-billion this year.

“Everything will continue such as the issuance of letter of authority, surveillance, and monitoring even this Christmas season,” Mapoy said.

Mapoy said they have to work despite the holiday season to enable them to meet their respective target collection goals.

The regional office has jurisdiction over the following Revenue District Offices (RDOs): RDO-91, Dipolog City; RDO-92, Pagadian City; RDO-93-A, Zamboanga City; RDO-93-B, Zamboanga Sibugay; RDO-94, Isabela City, Basilan; RDO-95, Jolo, Sulu; and, RDO-96 Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.

In previous years, the BIR usually suspends its enforcement activities to erase doubts that they are out asking Christmas presents from business establishments.

“We appeal for the indulgence of the tax payers that despite it is Christmas season, we will continue with our tasks. We are doing it to help each Filipinos improve their lives and this can be done by collecting sufficient taxes,” Mapoy said. (PNA)

Zamboanga City to unveil ‘Small World Christmas’ decors

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Dec. 1 (PNA) — The mayor here is set to unveil an adaptation of Disney’s Small World at the City Hall grounds as the local government shifts to full swing for the Christmas season on Friday, December 2.

In an interview, Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar explained that this year’s theme of the Christmas celebration stemmed from the simple request of a little girl for a Small World Christmas.

In bringing to the city replicas of the famous landmarks from different countries and continents, the theme is a representation of the local government’s desire to promote peace, unity, and friendship among all people in Zamboanga City.

Salazar extended her invitation to all Zamboangueños to witness the unveiling and official lighting of the City Hall Christmas installation, an annual Christmas tradition of the city, as it officially marks the beginning of the Pascua na Zamboanga activities.

She said the Grand Switch-On ceremony of City Hall will be held at 5:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Christmas decorations at the scenic Paseo del Mar are replicas of the different landmarks in the world.

These includes Opera House of Australia, Eiffel Tower of Paris, Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy and Big Ben of London.

The Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London.

Engr. Rene Dela Cruz, city general service officer, said the city government spent PhP2 million for this year’s Christmas decorations.

Electric lanterns are also place in the different parts of this city. (PNA)

Zamboanga City eyes additional pension to senior citizens

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ZAMBOANGA CITY, Dec. 1 (PNA) – The City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) has been tasked to study the possibility of granting financial benefit to the elderly in addition to those provided by the national government based on existing laws.

Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar issued the order to CSWDO Chief Socorro Rojas as she wanted a local counterpart for social pension for senior citizens currently included in the list of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Salazar also wanted to grant social pension to senior citizens who are not in the DSWD’s list of beneficiaries.

The DSWD currently provides a P500 social pension monthly to the senior citizens aside from that they receive from the Social Security System or the Government Service Insurance System.

The mayor said senior citizens deserve the benefits and privileges from the local government considering their contributions to this city.

She likewise wanted a local counterpart for the cash incentive the national government is giving to centenarians based on Republic Act 10868.

A Filipino centenarian is entitled to receive PhP100,000 cash incentive from the national government based in R.A. 10868.

Rojas said funding has to be included in the budget for next year “so that the proposed local counterpart can be given to deserving senior citizens.”

Rojas said her office will also conduct survey to properly identify the beneficiaries and study a scheme in granting social pension to the elderly residents of this city. (PNA)