Food News

Calls to boycott Carcar lechon spread online

A recent report of how lechon vendors in Carcar City’s public market intimidated a customer into buying lechon spurred sharing online of horrible experiences with the vendors, with many calling for a boycott.

Many of those who shared their experiences, via comments and status updates on Facebook, centered on three main complaints:


Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway project completes piling works for main bridge pylons

Progress on the construction of the 8.5-kilometer Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) will be more visible now, particularly for those passing by the Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR) viaduct, after the completion of all the bored piles for the project’s main bridge pylons.

The concrete pours for the pile caps of the two towers between Mactan Channel are almost done, after which, self-climbing formworks for the building of the twin pylons or towers will follow. Piling works for the main bridge’s support anchors have also been completed.

Onshore piling continues for the Cordova viaduct from the temporary causeway while construction of the CSCR ramps’ columns and piers are ongoing. Embankment works are also ongoing for the permanent causeway.

Major milestone

As of the latest count, a total of 1,519 personnel has been fielded for the construction of the CCLEX project.

CONCRETE POURING. The photo above shows Tower 2 2nd stage concrete pouring.

CONCRETE POURING. The photo above shows Tower 2 2nd stage concrete pouring.

“We are delighted to give this update that we have hurdled this major milestone of completing the piling works for the pylons of the main bridge and almost done with the large concrete pouring for the pile caps. We are working hand in hand with our team to complete the works on the other components of the project and be able to deliver the CCLEX, as committed, in 2021,” Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC) President and General Manager Allan Alfon said.

The P30 billion CCLEX project will have two lanes in each direction and will feature the main navigation span twin pylon stay cable bridge, viaduct approach bridges in Cebu City and Cordova sides, CSCR on and off ramps, causeway and toll plaza.

Decongest traffic

The span and height of the bridge will allow large vessels to pass underneath and the link is expected to serve at least 50,000 vehicles daily. It will also give Cordova direct access to Cebu City and is envisioned to decongest the traffic in the two existing bridges and provide faster link between Mactan island and mainland Cebu.

CCLEX features a lighted cross on top of the pylons to symbolize Cebu’s significant role as the cradle of the Catholic devotion.

CCLEC, a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), will build, operate and maintain CCLEX under a joint venture agreement with the local governments of Cebu City and Cordova.

Architectural render of Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway.

MPTC is the largest toll road developer in the Philippines and currently owns, manages and operates the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and the Cavite Expressway (Cavitex). MPTC has other toll roads currently under construction, namely the Cavite Laguna Expressway (CALAEX), the NLEX Connector Road, as well as the ongoing expansions of the NLEX. MPTC also has substantial investments in other toll roads in southeast Asia notably in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia

CCLEC broke ground on the CCLEX project on March 2, 2017, an activity led by President Rodrigo Duterte. CCLEC awarded the “Design and Build” contract for CCLEX to Cebu Link Joint Venture (CLJV) on December 19, 2017.

Bridge financing

CLJV is a consortium of Spanish company Acciona Construccion S.A., and Filipino companies First Balfour, and D. M. Consunji Inc. CCLEC also engaged the services of COWI A/S of Denmark with the Philippines’ DCCD Engineering Corporation, as its sub-consultant, to be the project’s technical advisor/owner’s engineer. Norconsult, a Norwegian consultancy firm, was also tapped as the project’s independent consultant.

The toll bridge project started civil works in July 5, 2018 and has successfully secured financing to ensure its completion.

On Feb. 7, 2019, CCLEC held a signing ceremony for the 15-year omnibus loan and security agreement with the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Development Bank of the Philippines, Robinsons Bank Corporation, Union Bank of the Philippines, Bank of the Philippine Islands and Security Bank Corporation. The remaining funding requirements for the project will be shouldered by the project company.

CCLEX is MPTC’s first expressway project outside Luzon and first public-private partnership project with the local government units of Cebu City and Cordova.

Aside from beefing up Cebu’s road network, CCLEX will help spur economic growth and boost investments not just in Cebu City and Cordova Municipality, but also in the entire Cebu Province and Visayas region. (Press Release)


VECO reminds public: No posters on poles please

As the campaign for the upcoming May elections heats up, the Visayan Electric Company, Inc. (VECO) is reminding the public, candidates, and their supporters not to post campaign materials on its electric poles.

The Commission on Elections released last January Resolution No. 10488, reiterating provisions of Republic Act 9006 or the Fair Elections Act, which provides rules on campaigning for the elections. Section 7 F of the resolution states that during the campaign period, it is unlawful “to post or display or exhibit any election campaign or propaganda material outside of common poster areas, in public places, or in private properties without the consent of the owner thereof.”

VECO election posters
PROHIBITED. Members of VECO’s Revenue Protection Department take out announcements and posters that are posted on VECO poles in Barangay Kasambagan. Comelec rules prohibit the posting of campaign materials on electric posts.


The resolution also provides that street and lamp posts and electric posts and wires that are on public properties are considered as public places.

“VECO is appealing to the candidates and their supporters to heed the Comelec Resolution and keep our poles free from campaign materials,” said Anton Mari G. Perdices, VECO EVP and COO.

Perdices added that as part of its maintenance and safety, poles should be free from any unnecessary attachments and posters.

Last March 23, VECO’s Revenue Protection Department, headed by Engr. Ramonito Omboy, already started a pole clean up drive along Barangay Kasambagan. The pole clean-up drive, will continue as long as there are announcements and campaign materials posted on VECO poles.

“The law provides that campaign materials are to be posted on designated poster areas. We in VECO hope that the public, our customers, will help us keep our poles poster free. Let us follow and respect the law,” Engr. Omboy said. (Press Release)

Feature News Travel

MCIA to build Airport Village ‘to improve travel experience’

It takes a village to welcome home or send off a Filipino traveler and authorities at the Mactan Cebu International Airport want to create the space and ambience for that by building an Airport Village.

“We all know in the Philippines one person arrives, half the barangay comes to meet them. So we are creating the space that will allow all of these people to be there, to meet them and welcome them home,” said GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation Chief Executive Advisor Andrew Harrison.

“Our culture has always been for people to meet and greet our visitors as many of us as possible. No airport has that kind of facility – this is the first airport that will allow that,” said Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority General Manager Steve Dicdican.

Mactan Cebu Airport Village
PEDESTRIAN ZONE. The old MCIA arrivals road will be permanently closed and designated a pedestrian zone as part of the Airport Village.


Better experience

Harrison said, “the Airport Village is designed to provide a much better arrival experience for passengers and significantly expanded waiting areas for meeters and greeters.”

The Airport Village is scheduled to be completed by September 2019.

Escalators and high-capacity elevators will link arrivals and departures in the Airport Village.

The Airport Village is part of the renovation of MCIA Terminal 1 based on designs by Architects Budji + Royal Design. The terminal “will have its own unique identity further building on resort-airport themed concept seen with the newly-opened Terminal 2,” GMR Megawide said in a press statement.

Harrison said the Airport Village will have a range of services, tourist counters, transport counters, and various concessionaires.

Mactan Cebu International Airport arrivals pick-up zone
PWD-FRIENDLY. GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation Chief Executive Advisor Andrew Harrison demonstrates the ramp that people on wheelchairs can use to get on the bus that takes people from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 with stops on the car park. With Harrison is Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority General Manager Steve Dicdican.


Pedestrian zone

Dicdican said the increased space will allow the airport to have more local stores and products. He said it “is important for this resort-themed terminal to feature local products.”

Harrison said the Airport Village will be located at the arrivals area. The whole arrivals road will be closed to vehicles and “become a pedestrian zone.”

The increased space will also allow the airport to double the capacity for reclaim bags. Previously, 3 belts were set aside for domestic baggage and 3 for international. After the renovation, all 6 will be for domestic baggage.

Harrison said passengers might encounter “minor inconveniences” with work on the terminal and asked them to be understanding. He said the challenge with the project is that they are working with a “live terminal.”

MCIA Pick-Up Zone
NEW PICK-UP ZONE. Airport authorities recently opened this new Pick-Up Zone for passengers at Terminal 1.


New arrivals pick-up zone

Harrison and Dicdican led the inauguration on March 14 of the new Arrivals Pick-Up Zone in Terminal 1. The zone has several bays where passengers can be fetched by private vehicles. Waiting time in the bays is limited to 2 minutes.

With the opening of the new Pick-Up Zone, the old Arrivals Pick-Up Road in Terminal 1 will be permanently closed. Vehicles fetching passengers have the option of using the main car park between Terminals 1 and 2 or the new Pick-Up Zone.


Business Feature News

Cebu-Cordova bridge done by 2021; CCLEC signs P19B loan agreement

The Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) is on track to be finished by mid-2021 and will transform the economy and social landscape of Cebu, according to officials of the company undertaking the project.

The Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC) signed on February 7 a P19-billion loan and security agreement with 6 banks: Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Development Bank of the Philippines, Robinsons Bank Corporation, Union Bank of the Philippines, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and Security Bank Corporation. CCLEC is a subsidiary of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC).

The total project cost of CCLEX is projected to be P30B. The rest will be funded by MPTC through equity or supplemental loans, said MPTC President and CEO Rodrigo Franco.

CCLEX loan agreement
LOAN FACILITY. Representatives pose with the finance documents after the signing of the P19 billion loan agreement.


Vote of confidence as investment destination

“This financing facility is also a vote of confidence for the attractiveness of the City of Cebu and the Municipality of Cordova as investment destinations,” Franco said. “The CCLEX is expected to transform the economic and social landscape of Cebu.”

CCLEC President and General Manager Allan Alfon said in welcoming guests to the signing that he looked forward to the ceremonial drive-through to mark the opening in a little over 2 years.

Construction of the CCLEX started last July 5 and all 21 piles of the main bridge’s Tower 2 have been completed while 17 of the 21 piles at Tower 1 have been constructed. These, the company said, form part of the bridge’s main foundation.

Cordova Mayor Mary Therese Sitoy-Cho said her town has been preparing its people and implementing infrastructure projects ahead of the completion of the 3rd bridge.

Outstanding partnership model

Francisco Fernandez, executive assistant of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, said they could see the project “from our 8th floor office and we would testify that things are progressing very well. ”

Fernandez spoke for Osmeña during the signing and said the Cordova-Cebu City bridge was an “outstanding model for public-private partnership.”

“First, it reflects our philosophy that government should only provide a service that the private and civic sector are unable or unwilling to do so. Metro Pacific and all the other entities are willing to fill a need so please go ahead then we can reserve our resources for the other needs of our citizens.” Fernandez said.

The project is also a “model of bipartisan support.”

“This was approved by the previous administration and continued by the present administration and today it is receiving unanimous support from the council and all the other government and non-government agencies. It is a fantastic example of what unity can do,” he said.

“Most of all, it is outstanding because the taxpayers do not pay for this project, it is the users. Those people who are not willing or are unable to use this project, they do not have to pay for it. In fact, the City of Cebu and the Municipality of Cordova are not going to spend a single centavo of taxpayers’ money for the bridge,” he said. Instead, they will earn from this project.

3rd bridge Adelino Sitoy
MORE INFRA PROJECTS FOR CEBU. Secretary Adelino Sitoy of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office talks about other infrastructure projects being undertaken in preparation for the 3rd bridge.


More infra projects

Secretary Adelino Sitoy of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office said that as part of the preparation of the bridge, government has started to build a coastal highway from the CCLEX approach in the Cordova side to the Gabi Bridge “in order to be nearer to the beach areas of Lapu-Lapu.”

Sitoy said P187 million has already been released for the project with a further P400 million to be disbursed soon. He said what is needed after this would be a skyway to connect the bridge to the passenger terminal of the Mactan Cebu International Airport.

And there’s more, said Sitoy, who shared that he had been dreaming about the 3rd bridge for close to 30 years.

“We look forward to another bridge, to Getafe in Bohol from Cordova,” Sitoy added.

News Travel

Mactan-Cebu International Airport named Asia-Pacific Medium Airport of the Year

The Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) was awarded the Asia-Pacific Medium Airport of the Year in the CAPA 2018 Asia Aviation Awards for Excellence.

MCIA emerged top among airports with over 10 million annual passengers. It was awarded for having been “the biggest standout strategically,” having “established itself as a strategic leader,” and having “done the most to advance the progress of the aviation industry.”

CAPA’s Aviation Awards for Excellence, held in Singapore on November 8, is regarded as the pre-eminent awards for strategic excellence in aviation. It rewards airlines and airports that are not only successful but have also provided industry leadership in adjusting to a new environment.

MCIA Terminal 2

MCIA was selected for the successful opening of Terminal 2, which provides ample capacity to support international growth and offers the best airport passenger experience in the Philippines. Terminal 2 lifts the airport’s capacity from 4.5 million to 12.5 million. The terminal took only three years to build with construction beginning less than a year after the airport was transferred to a new private sector consortium consisting of India’s GMR and the Philippines’ Megawide.

Mactan-Cebu International Airport
Terminal 2 of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.


Following the successful privatization, MCIA won CAPA’s Asia Pacific small airport of the year category in 2016. Annual traffic reached 10 million passengers in 2017, putting MCIA in the medium airport category. Total passenger traffic at Cebu grew at a consistent 14% clip in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and has accelerated this year, reaching 26% in the first eight months of 2018.

MCIA’s international traffic has more than doubled since 2014, when the airport handled only 1.7 million international passengers. International traffic grew 29% in 2017 to 3.1 million, and is on pace to exceed 5 million this year following 65% growth through the first eight months.

MCIA network

All three main Philippine airline groups have been pursuing rapid expansion at Cebu, which they are now using as an alternative hub for transfer traffic. The airport also has attracted eight new foreign airlines over the last three years, and is currently served by 16 foreign carriers. MCIA’s network has expanded rapidly, and currently consists of 24 international and 16 domestic destinations.

“The opening of the new international terminal follows a highly successful privatization, positioning the airport for rapid growth and making MCIA a model for other airports in the Philippines and throughout Asia as potential PPP (Public Private Partnership) opportunities are evaluated,” said Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority General Manager Steve Dicdican.

At a time of industry upheaval, CAPA Aviation Awards winners are recognized for adopting strategies that offer new directions for others to take up. The CAPA Awards for Excellence are not driven by customer surveys or sponsorship. An independent panel of international judges researches the awards. (Press Release)


Don’t cancel BRT but pursue LRT: Cebu chamber; group warns: Cebu in a crisis

The economic benefits of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system are clear and canceling it is “not the right thing to do,” the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) said in a statement today.

What government can do is to make road widening an integral component of the project, CCCI said.

The organization issued the press statement after reports came out that the Department of Transportation recommended to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez that the BRT project be cancelled.

Urgent need for mass transport

In the letter, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Presidential Adviser for the Visayas Michael Dino government will come up with “a replacement project superior to the BRT.”

“Cebu urgently needs a mass transport system today. It has already reached choke point with traffic congestion affecting all sectors of society,” CCCI said.

“It took more than 10 years for the BRT to go through its approval process not to mention countless time and resources spent in the process. The economists have computed a very high Economic Internal Rate of Return (EIRR) for the BRT at 53% meaning that the economic benefits are very clear. The project is ready to take off,” CCCI said.

Cebu BRT station
A proposed BRT station.

BRT, LRT will complement each other

“While BRT is a short-term solution ready for implementation, LRT which will benefit a bigger volume of commuters over a wider area of Cebu should be actively pursued today for implementation within the shortest time possible to support the high growth of Cebu. LRT and BRT will complement each other.”

“Cebu is in a crisis situation. Cebu Chamber would like to enjoin all sectors of society to set aside political differences and work together to solve the traffic problems in order to achieve our common desire to have a Cebu where quality family life and business shall flourish,” CCCI said.


Mega Cebu conducts training on traffic management

Mega Cebu, in partnership with the Cebu Provincial Government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau 7 (DENR-EMB 7) started the Metro Cebu Traffic Administration Certificate Course Training on Monday, April 2, at the Golden Prince Hotel & Suites.

The training was conducted with the assistance of the University of the Philippines – National Center for Transportation Studies (UP NCTS). The 5-day training course, which will run until Friday, targets traffic administrators and managers as well as city and municipal planners from Metro Cebu LGUs, national government agencies, and representatives from transport groups and the private sector.

The purpose of the Traffic Administration Course is to orient participants on the principles and rationale of transportation planning and traffic engineering and management. Lectures and workshops were designed to enhance the understanding of the topics covered during the lectures and case discussions. This will give the trainees a chance to practice basic transportation planning and traffic management skills and demonstrate their competence to provide possible solutions to traffic-related problems.

Eight experts and lecturers primarily from the UP NCTS headed by UP NCTS Director Dr. Ma. Sheilah G. Napalang and former Undersecretary of Department of Transportation and Communications (currently DoTr) Dr. Primitivo C. Cal were tapped for the course.

Mega Cebu traffic training
TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT. Dr. Hilario Sean O. Palmiano, one of the lecturers from UP NCTS, talks about Traffic Engineering and Management during the Metro Cebu Traffic Administration Certificate Course Training on April 2 at the Golden Prince Hotel & Suites.

The training is part of Mega Cebu’s ongoing initiative to establish the Metro Cebu Traffic Enforcers Academy, which aims to standardize the functions and the competencies of a Traffic Enforcer, which will be a first in the Philippines. The Subcommittee on Transport and Traffic Management of the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board Research, Program and Organizational  took on complying with two strategic requirements.

First is the institutionalization of the academy through the help of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority in Central Visayas. Second is the competency development of the first batch of MCTEA trainers before taking the Trainers Methodology 1 of TESDA.

Attendance in the training by UP NCTS is part of the pre-qualification criteria to be part of the first batch of MCTEA trainers who will take TESDA’s trainers methodology training.

Governor Hilario Davide III, Chairperson of the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB), emphasized in his welcome remarks the importance of standardizing traffic policies and synchronizing the traffic laws in Metro Cebu to address the worsening problem on traffic.

On the other hand, DENR EMB 7 Director William Cuñado said in his welcome speech that with the implementation of better traffic management, the pollution of the metropolitan area will be minimized since traffic congestion occurrence will be decreased thru proactive enforcement of mitigating measures.

Dr. Sheila Napalang, on her part, shared that the traffic situation in the urban areas will be alleviated if only the road users are kind to each other, meaning the drivers are disciplined and courteous to each other and the pedestrians obey the pedestrian traffic rules and regulations at all times. (Press Release)

Business News

Cebu Link Joint Venture issued Notice of Award for Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway

The Cebu Link Joint Venture (CLJV) has been issued the Notice of Award for the “Design and Build” contract of the 8.5-kilometer Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), the much-anticipated bridge project that will connect Cebu City to the Municipality of Cordova in the island of Mactan.

CLJV is a joint venture of Spain-based Acciona Construccion S. A., and Philippine-based First Balfour Inc. and D. M. Consunji Inc., all of which have proven track records in major infrastructure projects.

Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC) issued the Notice of Award to CLJV on November 23, 2017 at an agreed contract amount of P22.6 billion.

CCLEX will have two lanes in each direction and will feature the main navigation span bridge, along with viaduct approach bridges, a causeway, roadway and toll facilities.

CCLEC is a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), the toll road arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), a publicly-listed infrastructure holding company. MPTC is the largest toll road concessionaire and operator in the Philippines that has now expanded its business in other Asean countries namely, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. The CCLEX is the first of MPTC’s envisioned toll road expansion projects in Visayas and Mindanao.

Acciona’s Ruben Camba, representing the CLJV, said: “We are delighted to be part of this landmark project. We have put together a very experienced team, and are looking forward to working closely together with the customer to deliver a new toll bridge that will benefit both local communities and the Philippines.”

“We are very confident that we can deliver a quality state-of-the-art bridge that will provide not just travel efficiency but also drive economic growth and productivity in the entire Visayas region, and improve the overall welfare of the Cebuanos,” said CCLEC President and General Manager Allan Alfon.

“We are happy to be given this opportunity to bring to Cebu and share with the Cebuanos and the people in the Visayas in general, our company’s expertise in building and operating world-class highways and bridges to create more opportunities and spur economic growth,” MPTC President Rodrigo Franco said.

The CCLEX will give Cordova direct access to Cebu City and is envisioned to decongest the traffic in the two existing bridges between Mactan and Cebu.

CCLEC will build, operate and maintain the toll bridge through a joint venture agreement with the local governments of Cebu City and Cordova Municipality.

CCLEX will have two lanes in each direction and will feature the main navigation span bridge, along with viaduct approach bridges, a causeway, roadway and toll facilities. The span of the bridge allows for shipping traffic and the link is expected to serve at least 40,000 vehicles daily. It will give Cordova direct access to Cebu City and is envisioned to decongest the traffic in the two existing bridges between Mactan and Cebu.

President Rodrigo Duterte led the groundbreaking for the project in Cordova, Cebu last March 2, 2017. (Press Release)


DOE raids illegal LPG refilling station in Mandaue City

Authorities seized 16,000 canisters refilled with LPG worth P2.7 million in a raid on a liquified petroleum gas refilling station in Mandaue City.

The raid last Friday night was led by the Department of Energy-Visayas Field Office (DOE-VFO) with members of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

Douglas Labra, who was identified as the owner of the refilling station, has been detained for investigation and questioning.

DOE raid Mandaue LPG refilling

The raid came on the heels of the #EPowerMoVisayas last September 7 when Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi highlighted the commitment of the DOE to tighten consumer protection under the DOE’s E-Safety Mo campaign against illegal peddling of petroleum products, including LPG-filled/refilled canisters.

The campaign targets the so-called “bote-bote” or reselling of liquid petroleum products using unauthorized containers.

DOE raid Mandaue LPG refilling

The DOE is working in close coordination with the Cebu Provincial Government to go after the illegal practice, following its passage of an ordinance against it.

The DOE also encourages consumers to report illegal activities to the DOE-Consumer Welfare and Promotion Office at 479-2900 loc. 329 or via e-mail through the [email protected]. The public may also reach the Department through the Official DOE Facebook and Twitter pages.


New majority seen in Cebu City Council with resignation of Abella

There will be a new majority again at the Cebu City Council after the appointment by President Duterte of Councilor Hanz Abella as a commissioner with the National Labor Relations Commission, according to members of the opposition Barug Team Rama.

Under the law, Barug Team Rama will nominate his replacement since Abella ran with the group in the last elections, Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia said yesterday.

Garcia said the Local Government Code states that in cases of a vacancy at the city council of a highly urbanized city like Cebu City, the president will appoint a replacement who will come from the same party as that of the official who caused the vacancy.

Raymond Garcia, Joel Garganera
NEW MAJORITY. Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia (left) with partymate Joel Garganera at the City Hall. Barug Team Rama is expected to regain council majority after Councilor Hanz Abella resigns to assume as a commissioner of the National Labor Relations Commission. (Photo from Councilor Garcia’s FB page)

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña described Abella’s resignation as bad for the city.

Barug Team Rama was the majority party at the council after last year’s election until Councilors Abella, Dave Tumulak and Jerry Guardo defected to the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK).

Councilor Margarita Osmeña described the development as “a disadvantage politically.”

“But the disadvantage may only be today or tomorrow. You win some, you lose some but after you lose, you win,” she said in a Sun.Star Cebu report.

Business News

4-day work week? House approves measure to let companies offer option

The House of Representatives has approved on 3rd and final reading a bill that would allow companies to designate for employees a 4-day work week.

House Bill 6152 will amend the Labor Code to allow companies to increase the workday from 8 hours to 10 or 12 hours. It will then allow companies to shorten the work week to 4 days.

The current Labor Code requires workers to work 40 to 48 hours for 5 to 6 days a week.

Baguio City Rep. Mark Go
Baguio City Rep. Mark Go. (Photo taken from official Facebook page)

“These arrangements give employers and employees flexibility in fixing hours of work compatible with business requirements and the employees’ need for a balanced work-life,” Baguio City Rep. Mark Go, one of the authors of the bill, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The workday arrangement remains optional for companies.

When asked whether working 12 hours a day for 4 days won’t be tiring, Go told Rappler, “You have rest day for 3 days. That’s the advantage. You work 4 days but you are given 3 days rest days. So that will reinvigorate already the people working for companies.”

For the measure to become a law, however, it needs to have a counterpart legislation in the Senate.

Community Feature News

Tutelage Learning Center brings progressive education to south Cebu

With its small class sizes, individualized program for regular and special education students, child-centered curriculum, Tutelage Learning Center is every parent’s dream school.

What’s even better for preschool and elementary kids, Tutelage Learning Center (TLC) will start classes on August 1, 2017 in a second and bigger branch in Pakigne, Minglanilla.

Ava Kristine Rosello, vice president for administration, said they offer all levels of instruction from playgroups to sixth grade as well as early interaction programs for children with special needs.

Tutelage Cebu started out in 2006 with tutorial programs to aid schoolchildren and added classes gradually until they were able to offer the complete primary education levels. Its first school is located on Edros Road, Cebu City.

Tutelage Learning Center
PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION. Officials of the Tutelage Learning Center talk about their school in a press conference. TLC will start classes on August 1, 2017 in a second and bigger branch in Pakigne, Minglanilla.

John Dewey philosophy

TLC espouses the John Dewey method of instruction, which follows the progressive rather than the traditional way of teaching, explained senior curriculum advisor Lanore V. Suico.

She added that aside from the fewer students in Tutelage classrooms, they are also active participants, problem solvers, and planners in classes.

“John Dewey believed that kids learn best if they are doing the activities firsthand. At Tutelage, children express their thoughts and ask questions,” Suico also said.

Curriculum adviser Yollymar Lemente said that aside from the learning they get from academic lessons, kids are also taught such competencies as finance and life skills.

Teacher-student ratio

Riza Sorbito, TLC director, said their ratio per teacher is six to eight kids for the playgroup and nursery levels and 12 for the graders.

She said Tutelage is K-12 ready and has accreditation from the Department of Education (DepEd).

The school, she assured, has zero tolerance for bullying but teachers promote positive discipline.

Tutelage Learning Center decided to open in Pakigne, Minglanilla to cater to residents of the town as well as those in Talisay and Naga.

Feature News Sports

Global Cebu FC fails to break Davao Aguilas defense, settles for draw

Global Cebu FC wasted a golden chance to go on top after settling to a scoreless draw against a gritty Davao Aguilas at the Cebu City Sports Center in the Philippines Football League.

Global Cebu remains at second place with 21 points, two off leaders Meralco Manila, which saw its unbeaten streak ending in embarrassing fashion with a 7-0 loss to the rampaging Ceres Negros.

A win would have put Global on top on goal difference over Meralco.

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas
Matt Hartmann splits the Davao defense. (Photo by Albert Flores)

“The players tried really hard but Davao was better organized on defense and they were able to adjust well,” said Global Cebu coach Marjo Allado.

Global Cebu controlled the pace of the match but couldn’t break through in the final third. Misagh Bahadoran, who had two against the Stallions, was ineffective up front, while Sekou Sylla, who came in the second half for Paolo Bugas, couldn’t get past Keeper Marko Trkulja.

Global Cebu Davao Aguilas
Davao Aguilas Jordan Jarvis receives his citation from the Sportswriters Association of Cebu or SAC for making the national u19 team. (Photo by Albert Flores)

The Davao custodian, who was named the Man of the Match, also collected a last-minute header off Sylla deep in injury time to preserve the draw.

“I’m very happy getting the Man of the match but it was the team that helped me make those saves,” said Trkulja.

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas
Shu Sasaki (25) tries to get past his defender. (Photo by Albert Flores)

Shu Sasaki, whose bicycle kick capped Global Cebu’s 3-0 win over the Stallions, also had a brilliant chance but his first touch off a lovely through ball from Paul Mulders was just too strong.

“Obviously very happy with the results today compared to the last time. They were very organized and Trkilja managed the back four very well,” said Davao coach Gary Philippis, whose team lost to Kaya FC, 5-1, at home in their last game.

More photos of the match by Albert Flores

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Global Cebu FC Davao Aguilas

Business Community News Tech

Globe sets up 41 libreng tawag and charging stations in Leyte, Samar, and Bohol

Globe Telecom has put up 41 Libreng Tawag and Charging stations across the provinces of Leyte, Samar, and Bohol to assist victims of the recent earthquake with their communication needs.

Due to the damage sustained by electric power stations, there is still no electricity in the areas, leaving residents with limited means to charge their mobile phones and make calls.

The Libreng Tawag and Charging stations are open from 9 am – 5 pm and are located in the following areas:


1. Ormoc City – Brgy Cogon near Jollibee
2. Ormoc City – Quadrangle
3. Baybay City – Plaza Rizal
4. Hilongos – SF Commercial, Hilongos
5. Tacloban City – Sonny John Store, Brgy Manlurip along highway infornt of Sunnyville
6. Tacloban City – Marcab Store, Tacloban City new bus terminal
7. Tacloban City – Sacay Store, San Salvador St. Brgy. Puri Palo, Leyte
8. Tacloban City – Rose Tan Store, Don Gorgonia St. V&G Tacloban
9. Kananga – In front of Liz Barbecue, Real st. corner Larrazabal St.

Globe Libreng Tawag
Newly-activated libreng tawag and libreng charging station in Kananga, Leyte


1. Maasin City – Andoks, in front of Mang Tinapay
2. Sogod – Plaza Rizal


1. Calbayog City – Nijaga Park, Gomez St
2. Catbalogan City – Color Print Store, Allen Avenue
3. Catarman – Catarman Park Near City Hall
4. Borongan – Borongan North, Siongco st.
5. Guian – Near Tourism office


1. Barangay Sta Cruz, Calape
2. Barangay Danao, Panglao
3. Barangay Tayong, Loay
4. Barangay Tabajan, Guindulman
5. Barangay Guinacot, Guindulman
6. Barangay Poblacion, Anda
7. Barangay La Union, Candijay
8. Barangay Poblacion, Alicia
9. Barangay Buenavista, Carmen
10. Barangay Poblacion, Carmen
11. Barangay Tejero, Jagna
12. Barangay Larapan, Jagna
13. Barangay Poblacion, Jagna
14. Barangay Poblacion, Duero
15. Barangay Panghagban, Buenavista
16. Barangay Luyo, Dimiao
17. Barangay Poblacion, Buenavista
18. Barangay Poblacion, Getafe
19. Barangay San Jose, Talibon
20. Barangay Poblacion, Bien Unido
21. Barangay San Roque, Mabini
22. Barangay Rosario, Inabanga
23. Barangay Luyo, Inabanga
24. Barangay Lapacan, Inabanga
25. Barangay Poblacion, Pitogo island

Community News Tech

Smart provides more free charging services in quake-affected areas

With the extended power outage in the earthquake-affected provinces of Eastern Visayas, PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications is expanding its Libreng Charging efforts to allow more subscribers to stay connected.

Smart has extended communications assistance to residents and disaster response units following the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that recently hit Jaro, Leyte, and affected nearby cities, municipalities and provinces.

Mobile network not damaged

According to Ramon R. Isberto, PLDT and Smart Public Affairs Head: “Even as some areas are hampered by the power loss, our mobile network was not damaged by the quake. Our subscribers in the area have sufficient load because our dealer network remains intact. We are addressing the need of our subscribers to recharge their devices.”

Power outages were experienced in Leyte, Bohol and the Samar provinces after the quake, prompting the telco to open up a number of its cell sites, offices and retail stores in the region as free charging and free calling stations for affected residents.

Smart Libreng Charging
Residents charge their mobile devices at a Libreng Charging station at the Smart cell site in Barangay Linao, Ormoc.

Communication support was also provided to Leyte’s Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, for easier coordination in the province’s three worst-hit localities—Ormoc City, Kananga and Jaro.

Free charging, free calls

Smart has also partnered with local government units, and its distributor network in the region to set up more Libreng Charging and Libreng Tawag centers in strategic areas such as the local gymnasium and the provincial loading stations.

Recognizing communications as an important form of relief, Smart has been consistent in immediately providing communication as aid in the form of free calls and charging services, and emergency communication links during disasters, to help government and humanitarian agencies coordinate and deliver more effective relief efforts to affected communities.

The list of Smart’s free calling and charging centers is updated regularly through its community partnerships Facebook account, (Press release)

Business Feature News

Cebu Landmasters CEO named Entrepreneur of the Year

Jose Soberano III, who steered his homegrown business Cebu Landmasters, Inc. to an initial public offering (IPO) earlier this year, was picked Entrepreneur of the Year during the 2017 Grand Chamber Awards.

Soberano received the award from the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) during the Grand Chamber Awards and Fellowship Night last June 30 at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

The awards night capped the Cebu Business Month 2017 celebration.

Soberano, chairman and chief executive officer of Cebu Landmasters, Inc., left Ayala Land in 2000 to build what is now the top local housing developer in Metro Cebu.

Jose Soberano III
Jose Soberano III speaks during his awarding as the Entrepreneur of the Year during the 2017 Grand Chamber Awards.

Prestigious award

The Entrepreneur of the Year is the most prestigious among the five awards bestowed by the chamber. The other awards are Corporate Social Responsibility Institution, Small Business Entrepreneur, Countryside Entrepreneur, and Young Entrepreneur. The awardees are chosen by the CCCI board of trustees and past presidents.

CCCI President Melanie Ng said Soberano distinguished himself as the only Cebuano entrepreneur to bring his company public.

“Receiving this most prestigious award is thanks to my whole Cebu Landmasters team whom I consider family. They are the main reason why CLI is where it is today: number one in Cebu and soon to be number one in Visayas and Mindanao,” Soberano said in a speech during the awarding

P12 billion expansion

Soberano announced earlier this year a P12 billion expansion in the Visayas and Mindanao to address the need for housing, offices, and commercial spaces. CLI has simultaneous development projects in Cebu, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao for 2017.

Saying he has confidence in the economic prospects of the Visayas and Mindanao, Soberano urged local entrepreneurs to become champions in their turf and, at the same time, leverage opportunities beyond Cebu and the region. (Press Release)


Gisela and Niño Boniel: union ‘made in heaven’ falls apart; Joseph Gaisano dies at 76: Cebu News Digest June 10, 2017

When Captain Gisela Bendong and Niño Rey Boniel married, many thought it was a match made in heaven. Captain Gisela was making her mark as the first female pilot of AirAsia while Niño was credited with improving his town’s classification from 5th class to 4th class as one of the youngest mayors in Bohol.

In 2016, Gisela was elected mayor of Bien Unido to replace her husband, who won as 2nd district PB member.

On Wednesday, Niño was arrested along with 4 others, linked to the reported killing of Gisela, whose body has yet to be found. One of those arrested is the PB member’s cousin who told police Niño shot Gisela while they were in a boat. He said they wrapped her body with fishing net and weighed it down with rocks before throwing it into the Mactan sea.

Gisela told her best friend Angela Leyson that she felt she was just a trophy wife.

“(Niño) clipped her wings. Gisela was in love with flying, but she was convinced to give it up to run for mayor of Bien Unido”
Angela Leyson, Gisela’s best friend

Read more: Cebu Daily News: When a union made in heaven falls apart | Cebu Daily News: Lost in the depths | Sun.Star Cebu: Bien Unido mayor a trophy wife: best friend  | Sun.Star Cebu: Politician faces multiple charges for wife’s slay 

Court says police can’t detain Niño Rey Boniel

Regional Trial Court Judge Marivic Tradayo-Daray has barred police from detaining Bohol PB Member Niño Rey Boniel and his driver.

“There is no justification for respondent and the PNP personnel under his command and authority to hold and detain the petitioners without warrant,” Daray said in his grant of the habeas corpus petition filed by Boniel. Read morePolice can’t detain suspect in mayor’s murder: court

Niño Rey Boniel suspended last year for “hastily” issuing cockpit license to relatives

The Sandiganbayan suspended Bohol PB Member Niño Rey Boniel and 8 others for 3 months without pay last year for “hastily” giving a cockpit license to his relatives. They were suspended pending trial of graft case filed against them. The case was filed by a person who said renewal of her cockpit license was “arbitrarily rejected” while that of his relatives got approved. Read: Boniel, 8 others suspended over issuance of cockpit permit last year 

Joseph Gaisano dies at 76

Cebuano businessman Joseph S. Gaisano died Wednesday night at 76. He was awarded for his outstanding achievements by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2004. Gaisano was also praised for his contribution to the Sinulog Foundation, Inc.

“He is a loss in the business industry. I feel sad upon hearing the news about his passing, Joseph had been a dreamer and had transformed his dreams to reality,” former mayor and foundation chairman Michael Rama said in a SunStar Cebu report.

Read: Cebu businessman Joseph Gaisano passes away at 76

Complaint filed against Grab driver for harassing passenger

A female passenger accused a Grab driver of caressing her hair and kissing her when she booked a ride in Mandaue City to the Cebu South Bus terminal. The LTFRB is looking into the complaint. The agency also impounded the Grab vehicle and will be imposing a P120,000 fine for operating without an LTFRB authority. Read: Complaint filed vs Grab driver 

Other stories

Commuters in southern Cebu bear brunt of heavy traffic 

AFP asks people: stop spreading hoax terror reports

Mayor Tomas Osmeña, Councilor Dave Tumulak dismiss Global Peace Index 2017 survey result, says Philippines still peaceful 


Bohol PB member faces parricide case: Cebu News Digest June 9, 2017

Bohol Provincial Board Member Niño Rey Boniel will be charged with parricide for the kidnapping and killing of his wife, Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Bendong-Boniel, police said.

Police investigators said Boniel kidnapped and shot his wife, a commercial airline pilot, and threw her body into the sea. Sun.Star Cebu reported that the parricide case will be filed in Lapu-Lapu Regional Trial Court, since Gisela was shot in Lapu-Lapu City. The serious illegal detention and kidnapping charges will be filed at the Tagbilaran Regional Trial Court in Tagbilaran, Bohol. (Read: Politician faces multiple charges for wife slay)

Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel
The reported killing of commercial pilot and Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel is front page story in all 3 English dailies in Cebu today.

What we know so far about the case:

  1. Riolito Boniel, Niño’s cousin, told police it was Niño who shot Gisela while they were on a boat. They then wrapped her body with fishnet and weighed it down using 2 rocks.
  2. Angela Leyson, Gisela’s best friend, said they just came from filing a graft case with the Commission on Audit in Tagbilaran City and the mayor’s annulment papers.
  3. Leyson said Gisela wanted to leave Niño and felt she was only being used for her position.
  4. Leyson also told police that before she lost consciousness, she saw Gisela talking to her husband and then getting punched in the stomach.
  5. Sun.Star Cebu reported that when asked why he killed his wife, Niño shook and bowed his head and said, “Lawom kaayo (ang rason). Mangayo lang kog dispensa (It’s complicated. I just ask for forgiveness).”
  6. The Philippine Daily Inquirer, quoting friends of the couple, reported that Niño got angry at his wife when he learned she got a loan for a watch worth P2.5 million. (Read: Bohol mayor shot dead, thrown into sea; husband arrested)
Business News

Cebu business group launches CBM 2017

As a campaign to help bring businesses to the next level, Cebu Business Month (CBM) 2017 has lined up a host of activities that seeks to equip companies with the tools they need for growth.

Melanie Ng, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president, said during the CBM 2017 Grand Opening Salvo last Friday that the month-long event aims to inspire businesses to contribute to the competitive advantage of Cebu in the global economy through development in the areas of entrepreneurship, productivity, and technology.

CBM 2017, which marks the event’s 21st year, carries the theme “Step Up Cebu” for Sustainable Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Productivity for the Upliftment of Cebu.

Cebu Business Month 2017
CEBU BUSINESS MONTH. Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Melanie Ng (4th from left) and Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale (6th from left) flank CCCI brand ambassador Kenneth Cobonpue as they lead CCCI officials during the opening of the annual Cebu Business Month.

Expand business, be next big thing

Charles Kenneth Co, CBM 2017 chair, said the month-long event that serves as the yearly highlight for Cebu business is ready to help entrepreneurs who want to expand their business, tourism stakeholders who are looking to entice more visitors, and startups who dream to become the next big thing.

During the event, Ng also announced the selection of Kenneth Cobonpue as CCCI brand ambassador.

The choice of Cobonpue was in line with the business group’s quest to increase awareness among members, especially millennials, of CCCI’s vision and mission and to have someone represent the best of Cebu with the rest of the world.

Homegrown but global brand

She said the world renowned designer embodies the chamber brand, one that is homegrown but global.

Also during the CBM 2017 Grand Opening Salvo last June 1, business executives unveiled the business group’s priority focus areas of tourism, entrepreneurship, and ICT-BPM.