Rivera lauds GSCDH for new facility

Mayor Ronnel Rivera on Monday, December 6, lauded the General Santos City Doctors Hospital for opening up a new P70-million medical facility that will house modern equipment and medical clinics.

“I salute and offer my compliments to Dr. Gerardo Valencia – GSCDH president – and the rest of the medical and non-medical staff of the hospital for always looking to improve hospital and health care services in the city,” Rivera said in his message.

Mayor Ronnel Rivera (in black T-shirt) cites GSCDH for adding a new medical arcade.FOTO BY RUSSELL DELVO/CPIO
Mayor Ronnel Rivera (in black T-shirt) cites GSCDH for adding a new medical arcade.FOTO BY RUSSELL DELVO/CPIO

The city mayor said he hopes more rooms will be freed for additional hospital beds at the 4-story GSCDH.

“Our city hospitals combined – private and public – sorely lack bed capacities even as we cope up with our growing population and number of people needing hospital and health care,” Rivera added.

He likewise cited other private hospitals who he said are also continuing to expand their facilities.

“Our city-run hospital will eventually get the makeover it badly needed,” he also announced.

“We all know that our public health care has always been severely handicapped by budgetary constraints and that what the government cannot afford to extend have been filled up by private hospitals,” the mayor said in lauding the role of private hospitals in the city.

Rivera’s family is also into hospital business and is the controlling stockholders of the Mindanao Medical Center, formerly Baptist Hospital.

GSCDH administrator Mark Maduramente however said no additional bed capacity will be added to the main building.

The new medical arcade will house 52 clinics, Maduramente explained.

Instead, they will construct a new building that will house another 75 bed capacity.  The ground breaking was also held yesterday and construction will begin next year.

It will bring to 277 the bed capacity of GSCDH when it will be finished.

Paskuhan sa Gensan now off and running

By IAN JOHN M. LAGARE

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – This year’s Christmas celebration will be certainly jovial, thanks to the series of activities the local government unit of General Santos City has prepared for its constituents.

On top of the list is the annual Paskuhan sa Gensan, one of the four celebrated festivities in the city aside from the Kalilangan (February), Tuna Festival (September), and Yaman Gensan (July).

Lighted facade of General Santos City Hall building.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Lighted facade of General Santos City Hall building.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

This year’s Paskuhan sa Gensan, themed as “Pasko ng Pamilyang Heneral, Pasko ng Pasasalamat”, is a festivity that features the traditional celebration of Christmas here in the city, as well in the entire country.

Some of the events to highlight Paskuhan sa Gensan are the Lantern Parade, Movies at the Park, and the much-anticipated Pyrotechnic Competition.

The Pyrotechnic Competition is open to any participant; contenders from different areas in the country were invited to join. During the Paskuhan sa Gensan press conference on December 1 at Sun City Suites, Philip Pabelic, assistant chair of the Gensan Tourism Council (GTC), disclosed that Bulacan has already signified its interest to participate in the contest.

General Santos City Mayor *middle) enjoying the ride at the Oval Plaza Carnival which opened last week.PHOTO BY RUSSELL DELVO/CPIO
General Santos City Mayor *middle) enjoying the ride at the Oval Plaza Carnival which opened last week.PHOTO BY RUSSELL DELVO/CPIO

The prizes are P80,000 (1st), P60,000 (2nd), and P30,000 (3rd). Consolation prizes will also be given.

The 2nd Manny Pacquiao Cup International Open Billiard Competition is now underway at SM City Gensan.

On Friday the Department of Education opened the f Light-a-Tree at DepEd Christmas Alley, Krismas Karnabal and the Movies at the Park.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera has already approved the P2.5 million budget for the entire Paskuhan sa Gensan which will officially start on December 12 and will end on December 24.

The festivity is organized by the Gensan Tourism Council headed by Jane Gollon-Rivera and in partnership with the Department of Education.

“We may not make it grand but I can assure the people of the city that the Paskuhan sa Gensan will be as meaningful as possible. I hope that through this, we can be much closer to our families and have a thankful heart for all the blessings we received this year,” Mayor Rivera said.

On the other hand, the Joint Task Force Gensan and the local Philippine National Police have already their security plans laid out during the duration of the festivity.

Heightened security, installation of checkpoints, and deployment of more security personnel in the activity areas are to be expected.

The “No backpack policy” in event areas will be implemented.

DTI releases P26M for SMEs

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Region 12 has distributed around P26 million worth of machinery and equipment this year to help improve the operations and competitiveness of various enterprises in the region.

Blaan weavers will hopefully improve their still crude abaca spindling method with the help of DTI.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Blaan weavers will hopefully improve their still crude abaca spindling method with the help of DTI.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Ibrahim Guiamadel, DTI Region 12 director, said Monday the initiative is part of the continuing implementation in the region of the agency’s flagship Shared Service Facility (SSF) Project.

He said they released the machineries and equipment in the form of project grants to 54 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) based in parts of the region.

Also known as Soccsksargen, Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

“The grants were aimed to improve their products and enhance their market competitiveness,” Guimadel said in a statement.

The official said the DTI central office had allotted a total of P54.2 million for 83 SSF project grants in the region this year.

SSF was launched by the DTI to assist the expansion and address the development needs of MSMEs in the country.

Guiamadel said the initiative aims to help local MSMEs produce more products of better quality and at a lesser production cost.

In Region 12, the priority industry clusters that are covered by SSF program are abaca, bamboo, coconut coir, processed fish, processed food, wearables and homestyles, cacao, coffee and rubber.

The units are provided for free to the beneficiaries but will remain the property of the DTI for six years upon their awarding or release, he said.

He said their ownership would be transferred to the beneficiary after the prescribed period by way of donation or sale.

Among the project’s major accomplishments in the region this year was the establishment of a mechanized milking facility in Malungon town in Sarangani in partnership with a local dairy cooperative.

Guiamadel said they released last October two units of portable cow milking machines to the Malalag Cogon Bangkal Dairy Farmers Cooperative to expand and enhance its operations.

He said the automatic milking machines were the first for the cooperative since it started producing fresh cow’s milk about three years ago.

Two weeks ago, Guiamadel said they also turned over four units of abaca spindle stripping machines to a group of weavers based in Barangay Lamlahak in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.

He said the machines will mainly improve the quality of abaca fibers that are used in making the province’s popular T’nalak fabric.

The shift from manual to mechanized mode hastens the processes involved in the production of T’nalak by 50 percent, he said.(AE)

Gensan is low-risk in climate change impacts

By IAN JOHN M. LAGARE

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Gensan attained a vulnerability score of 5.75 in the recent Business Risk Assessment and the Management of Climate Change Impacts conducted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the BPI Foundation, Inc. this 2014.

Jose Ma. Lorenzo “Lory” Tan, CEO and vice chair of the WWF Philippines, bared the vulnerability score of General Santos City Wednesday at the Greenleaf Hotel recently.

Mayor Ronnel Rivera (middle) and the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. indicated that they will work hand-in-hand to make the city livable and economically active even amidst the issue of climate change. At extreme right is Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, CEO/vice chair of WWF. (Gensan CPIO/ Russell Delvo)
Mayor Ronnel Rivera (middle) and the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. indicated that they will work hand-in-hand to make the city livable and economically active even amidst the issue of climate change. At extreme right is Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, CEO/vice chair of WWF. (Gensan CPIO/ Russell Delvo)

Tan said the score was culled in terms of climate change impacts and compared to the other 15 cities which participated in the study.

General Santos, among the 16 cities included in the research, has the second lowest vulnerability score, following the city of Angeles which scored 5.56.

Baguio, has the highest risk score (7.43) because of its geographical location and susceptibility to landslides, floods, and other extreme weather effects.

Other cities are Laoag (5.80), Dagupan (6.91), Iloilo (6.69), Puerto Princesa (5.89), Batangas (5.65), Zamboanga (6.32), Santiago (6.04), Naga (6.10), Cebu (6.55), Tacloban (6.74), Cagayan (6.68), and Butuan (6.03).

Vulnerability scores were generated from 20-year historical city-level data on climate exposure, socio-economic drivers, and adaptive capacities.

Multi-stakeholder Scenario Building Exercises with the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC), City Planning and Development Office (CPDO), and City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office also contributed to the scores.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera, who was present in the event, was happy with the result but at the same time aware that the report by the WWF and BPI is a warning that the local government unit of General Santos City and other stakeholders should take heed.

Tan advised Mayor Rivera, as well as the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. that they should extrapolate and develop sustainable plans that would make the city “climate change adaptive”.

“Gensan is a strategic and beautiful city. Investors and people swarm in here because of the resources and amenities the city can offer and this could either be a good or bad news for you, depending on how you deal with this fact,” Tan said.

The CEO said that since Gensan is in a good state in terms of its business climate and topography, people from its neighboring provinces would flock in to the city. This could jeopardize the city’s resources if not managed well.

Tan also cited the possible sustainable avenues the city can integrate for the climate change, considering the results of their study.

Among these are the multi-transit system, alternate sources of potable water, improvement of drainage system, pavement of roads and alternate routes, and the development of agricultural sector.

Mayor Rivera thanked the WWF and BPI for their study and assured the rest of the stakeholders that the local government is taking the issue into account.

The first step the mayor has made is to incorporate the outputs of the study to the City Land Use Plan with the help of CDRRMC and CPDO. (Gensan CPIO/ Ian John M. Lagare)

DSWD-12 sends relief aid to Ruby-hit provinces

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Region 12 has dispatched an initial 15,000 family food packs to areas affected by typhoon “Ruby” in Eastern Visayas and the neighboring areas.

Bonifacio Selma, DSDWD Region 12 acting operations division chief, said Monday the relief goods are now in transit and are expected to arrive in the typhoon-hit areas within the next two to three days.

“(The food packs) will be delivered to our units in Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) to augment the ongoing relief operations there,” he said in an interview over local television show Magandang Umaga South Central Mindanao.

Selma said the food packs were part of the assistance prepared by the DSWD-12 in anticipation of the onslaught of typhoon “Ruby,” which made its first landfall on Saturday night in Eastern Samar.
Each standard family food pack contains six kilograms of ice, eight sachets of coffee, eight packs of instant noodles and six canned goods comprising three sardines and three corned beef.

The relief packs are meant address the immediate food needs of a family of five for two to three days.

Selma said their offices and units within the region are currently accepting relief donations from residents, local government units and private entities.(AE)

Reyes, Immonen breeze past, Pacquiao falls in opening day billiard tilt

Sentimental favorite Efren “Bata’ Reyes had little trouble trashing youthful Jerome Adolfo from Cebu, 9-3, to lead first round winners at the 2nd Manny Pacquiao International 10-Ball Championship which opened Monday, December 8, at the SM City General Santos activity center.

Efren 'Bata' Reyes easily breezes past Jerome Adolfo in the first round of the 2nd Manny Pacquiao 10-Ball International Championship.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes easily breezes past Jerome Adolfo in the first round of the 2nd Manny Pacquiao 10-Ball International Championship.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Adolfo looked he was about to give Reyes a good competition by evening up the score after four games, 2-2. But it was downhill from there on for Reyes who captured the next 8 games 7-1 to lead early winners.

Also breezing past the first round was 2009 10-Ball Champion Mika Immonen who easily beat John Salazar 9-2.

Manny Pacquiao graciously accepted first round loss.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Manny Pacquiao graciously accepted first round loss.FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Tournament host and sponsor Manny Pacquiao narrowly lost to John Plunkett from Seattle, Washington 9-8 after missing the 7 ball in the 17th and final game.

Pacquiao graciously congratulated Plunkett after the game.

Canadian John Morra who was runner-up along with German Thornsten Hormman in the 1st Pacman 10-Ball tournament held last September took a little longer to beat Mohammad al-Shamari, 9-4.

Other first round winners were Johann Chua who also handily won over Rodrigo Yucamco (9-3) , Genesis Ouano who edged Lim Wei Kok of Brunei (9-4) and Brunei’s Ahmad Taufiq who blasted John Bautista, 9-2.

Others who were scheduled to see action late yesterday were Rodolfo Francisco ‘Django’ Bustamante, Warren Kyamco, Ronnie Alcano and Hormann who was individual champion in the September 1st Pacman 10-Ball tournament.

The 9-day double knockout tournament has attracted top players from around the world but notables absences were top players from Chinese-Taipei and other top European players like Ralph Souquet who all opted to play in their respective billiard circuits.

The US$150,000 tournament will run through December 17, in time for the birthday of Pacquiao who will turn 36.

The individual champion will get the top prize of US$30,000 while the doubles winners will split the US$40,000 champion purse.

Aside from billiards, Pacquiao also hosted the recently concluded amateur boxing challenge.

Updated CLUP indicates risk-prone barangays

By IAN JOHN M. LAGARE

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The city government is now preparing the City’s Land Use Plan (CLUP) as an added adaptive measure to mitigate disaster risks.

Nael Cruspero of the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) and Dr. Bong Dacera of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) presented to City Mayor Ronnel Rivera on November 26 several maps that indicated different projections for the city’s land use.

City Planning and Development Office head Nael Cruspero (seated left) conferring with City  Legal Officer Armand Clarin (middle) and City Administrator Arnel Zapatos during a committee hearing at the Sangguniang Panlungsod.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
City Planning and Development Office head Nael Cruspero (seated left) conferring with City Legal Officer Armand Clarin (middle) and City Administrator Arnel Zapatos during a committee hearing at the Sangguniang Panlungsod.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

Among these are the Population Density Map, Critical Point Facilities Map, Agriculture and Fisheries Exposure Map, Built-Up Exposure Map, and the General Hazard Map.

According to Dr. Dacera, the current update of the CLUP is in the coordination with the CDRRMC to create more disaster-resilient communities in the city.

“This CLUP is also necessary for us to orient the future investors on where they will put up their establishments, as well as in helping to strategically place them so that they will be close to their support facilities,” Dacera said.

Cruspero also told the mayor that they will conduct a series of consultations with the identified risk-prone barangays, especially those near the coastal lines so that they can discuss to these communities their status and possible preventive response.

Mayor Rivera lauded the update of CLUP and expressed to Cruspero and Dacera that he will give the necessary support for whatever programs that will come out as a result of the full study. (Gensan CPIO/ Ian John M. Lagare)

Amateur standout Paras leads Pacquiao boxing challenge winners

He may not ring a bell outside of General Santos City but Vince Paras has already been featured in Al Jazeera and GMA 7 television special.

The next big thing for Gensan boxing.  Vince Paras pounding a makeshift punching bag while being filmed by Al Jazeera.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
The next big thing for Gensan boxing. Vince Paras pounding a makeshift punching bag while being filmed by Al Jazeera.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

On Friday, December 5, he displayed why he could one day be the toast of boxing world. Like his idol Manny Pacquiao.

Paras of Gensan Team A made a short workout over Franzcar Muyco of Gensan Team B to capture the gold medal in the 48-kilogram junior boys class in the recently concludedManny Pacquiao Boxing Sports Challenge

It did not take very long for Paras to warm up.

By the middle of the first round, he stunned Muyco with crisp and powerful combinations prompting the referee to make the mandatory 8-count.

Vince Paras connects with his right over Franzcar Muyso.Pic by Edwin Espejo
Vince Paras connects with his right over Franzcar Muyso.Pic by Edwin Espejo

In the second round, he stepped up his attacks and sent his taller opponent to the canvass. Soon thereafter, he went for the kill and drove Muyso into the ropes where he pounded his outclassed foe prompting the referee to stop the fight by technical knockout.

Paras also won by stoppages in his preliminary and quarterfinal bouts and added another victim to his reputation has a knockout artist.

Other winners were Karl Joshua Claros of Pacman Labangal Team who won by unanimous decision over Joffer Samar of Cotabato in 38-kg school boys division o the scores of 29-28, 30-27 and 29-28.

The gold medal in the 40-kg division went to Arjay Recopelacion who won by 30-26 on all three scorecards of the judges.

Also earning a similar the same scores in the 42-kg class was Kiths Gerasol of Ctoabato Province over Pacman Labangal’s Dhan Ariel Adolfo.

In the 44-kg school boys division Reymart Alicaba won by unanimous decision over Gerald Samuel of Cagayan de Oro.

Cagayan de Oro’s Francis Jay Diaz avenged his teammate’s losses by decisioning Sajed Huinda of Lutayan Team for the 46-kg junior boys class.

Other winners in the junior boys division were Junil Pamisa of Cagayan de Oro who won over South Cotabato’s Allen Domalogdog in 50-kg class.

In the 49-kg youth boys category, Ken Jordan won by stoppage over Samuel Salva of Cagayan de Oro City.

Capping the 8-team Pacquaio Boxing Sport Challenge winners is Pacman Labangal’s John Paul Bentoso who won over Cagayan de Oro’s Jason Daming by split decision.

Rep. Manny Pacquiao later personally handed the medals and cash reward to all the winners at the atrium of Robinson’s Place where the tournament was held.

PACQUIAO WATCH: Reasons why it will happen – the Pacman vs Moneyman fight

It is a fight that has been talked about over the last 5 or 6 years.

It almost came close only to vanish in thin air.

As the years went by, prospects of it happening also waned.

Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather could soon be facing each other for a dramatic and compelling fight that will eclipse many marks.FILE FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather could soon be facing each other for a dramatic and compelling fight that will eclipse many marks.FILE FOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

But things now appear to be shaping up for what could be the biggest fight – money-wise – in all history of individual sports.

An insider intimated that the Floyd Mayweather Jr-Manny Pacquiao could happen in the fall next year – November.

And it will likely happen at the Madison Square Garden or the 45,000-seat Yankee Stadium in New York – the old Mecca of boxing – where boxing greats are made and unmade.

Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinbson, Henry Armstrong, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler and even our very own Gabriel ‘Flash’ Elorde all appeared in the best and historic boxing arena ever in the US.

And Rocky Marciano – the guy whose 49-0 professional Mayweather is trying to break – was a favorite of New York although he came from Boston, Massachusetts.

If it happens, and is likely to be announced soon, the fight could potentially break all-time record purses as well as pay-per-view buys and gate receipts.

Compelling reasons

So what made or will make both Mayweather and Pacquiao agree to a possibly US$1-billion boxing blockbuster hit?

For one, it is the most compelling fight that can equal, if not surpass, all great boxing rivalries. No, make that all other fights.

Second, the two have run out of competition. Competitive competition, that is.

Third, it is the biggest money there is out there to make for both of them. And, for that matter, all the rest of sports history in a single event.

Fourth, for the sheer economics of it aside from the individual purses. Over the last 2 years, both fighters have seen their marketability slide over their failure to face each other. Their PPV numbers are down and the PPV carriers, including two of the biggest Cable TV producers, can no longer continue to guarantee their purses without recouping their expenses.

Fifth, time is running out and Father Time is catching up with both fighters. But although they are both past their peak, they still have the competitive juices to make a memorable and unforgettable fight.

Sixth, and the most important, the boxing fans all over the world are still clamoring for it.

And seventh, I need to watch that fight.

Yes, mark that event in your calendar because once it happens, it may never come again.

Even if they fight a couple of more after their first date next year, those rematches could no longer eclipse the drama, excitement and compelling story of a rivalry-that-never-was but is now shaping into a fight that is never-too-late-to-happen that will come in November.

Last night, I received a text from a lawyer-friend telling me to make the necessary hotel arrangements again in the Big Apple!

Enjoy!

Gensan fish catch on pace to break 2013 total

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Total volume of fish catch in General Santos in November went down slightly compared to October, according to the data released by the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) here.

But overall catch for 2014 has already exceeded last year’s total landings.

Philippine yellowfin tuna are sought after in upscale Japanese restaurants in Los Angeles.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Philippine yellowfin tuna are sought after in upscale Japanese restaurants in Los Angeles.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

With the December catch still to be added, the 180,035.54 metric ton partial total fish landed at the General Santos City Fishing Port Complex this year has already exceeded the 2013 total catch of 167,578.75 metric tons.

More than 80 percent of total fish landings in General Santos City are yellow-fin tuna and tuna-like species.

A total of 15,363.81 metric tons of yellowfin tuna and tuna-like specie were landed at the General Santos City Fishing Port Complex, down from the October total catch of 16,807.44 metric tons.

Counting all fish species, the total fish landing for the month of November also went down to 16,618.29 metric tons from 18,139.17 tons.

Frozen tuna continue to grow as 59.4 percent of the total landings came from foreign as well as Manila-based suppliers.

Foreign vessels unloaded a total of 8,646.39 metric tons at the General Santos City fish port complex.

The remaining 480.4 tons came from Manila-based frozen tuna suppliers.

Total tuna catch this year is on pace to a 6-year high.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Total tuna catch this year is on pace to a 6-year record high.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

The Pocket 1 High Seas are closed to tuna fishing every August and September of the year.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources director Asis Perez had earlier said Philippine tuna catch will likely increase as more Filipino fishing boats have already returned to the Pocket I High Seas following the 2012 tragedy where more than 372 Filipinos were caught in the eye of Super Typhoon Pablo (Bopha).

Of the 372 Filipino fishermen from General Santos city who were caught in a perfect storm in the high seas ion December 2012, only 18 bodies were recovered.

The rest remain missing and are presumed dead by now.

General Santos is acknowledged as the Tuna Capital of the Philippines.

Six of the country’s 7 operating tuna canning plants are located in the city with over 20,000 workers directly employed by the industry.

Over the last 5 years, total volume of tuna catch has been on the rise following a steep decline in tuna catches in the early 2000s.

This prompted the WCPFC to institute measures to arrest the decline of stocks in the tuna-rich fishing grounds of western and central Pacific Ocean.

Among the measures are 3-month ban on FAD fishing in 2 pockets of high seas in the Pacific Ocean and strict vessel monitoring.

The Philippines was granted exemption in Pocket 1 High Seas in 2011 and started sending catching vessels to the area before Pablo struck in 2012.

Filipino tuna fishing operators resumed operating in the area last year.