Cebu News Digest: March 24, 2015: 6 armed men rob P1.9M from bingo club; Police to heighten security during Holy Week; Concreting of A.S. Fortuna St. to be completed on May 26

In less than 25 minutes under broad daylight, six armed men robbed an electronic bingo outlet in City Time Square on Mantawi Drive in Mandaue City.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 announced that the concreting in A.S. Fortuna Street will be completed on May 26.

Expecting rise of local and foreign tourists in Bantayan Island and of workers going home to their provinces during Holy Week, the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) will set up measures to heighten security during that period.

Here are the top stories for today, March 24, 2015:

E-Bingo Club robbery an inside job?

After robbing E-Bingo Club in the City Time Square yesterday afternoon, six armed men fled on board two motorcycles, carting away almost P2 million in cash.

E-Bingo Club
The E-Bingo Club in City Time Square along Mantawi Drive in Mandaue City was robbed last night by six armed men. (Photo taken from City Time Square Facebook page)

Part of the cash (P1.156 million) came from the club’s vault and the rest from the club’s income for three days (P794,137).

The robbers had locked the seven employees of the club—the security guard, two cashiers, gaming head and three attendants—inside the comfort room. One of the robbers carried a .45 pistol while another carried a KG9 pistol.

Then they fled in the direction of Barangay Subangdaku.

The police received a call for help at 2:14 p.m. Because the robbery looked thoroughly planned, they are not discounting the possibility that someone working inside the bingo place may be involved with the robbers.

CPPO to deploy more police personnel

The CPPO will deploy 120 police personnel in Bantayan Island during the Holy Week due to the increase in the number of tourists going there.

They are also bracing for traffic problems with workers expected to go home to their provinces during the period. Traffic problems may also come in the form of some other towns having activities along the highway during the Holy Week.

“We discourage activities that are done along the highway kay makapasamot sa traffic.” — CPPO Director Senior Superintendent Noel Gillamac

Several factors delay road concreting on A.S. Fortuna Street

Since February 15 last year, commuters and motorists have endured the traffic caused by the ongoing road concreting along A.S. Fortuna Street.

But it wouldn’t be long, as DPWH 7 announced that the concreting in A.S. Fortuna Street will finish on May 26.

“Our construction has been delayed because our work during the day is sometimes being cut due to the heavy volume of vehicles passing by.” — DPWH 7 Project Inspector engineer Reymond Catalunia

Another cause for the delay is the movement of pipes owned by the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) to safer ground to ensure that water supply in Cebu City and some parts of Mandaue City is not cut off.

TOP CEBU HEADLINES. The front pages of Cebu's 3 English dailies.
TOP CEBU HEADLINES. The front pages of Cebu’s 3 English dailies.

Other Cebu News stories:

Sun.Star Cebu: Scholars’ TOR ‘held hostage’

The Freeman: Money behind killing of high school student?

The Freeman: Five men face robbery charges

Sun.Star Cebu: Informer, quick texts helped police capture 7 robbery suspects in 3 towns

Cebu Business headlines:

Sun.Star Cebu: SMEs paired with potential buyers in DTI’s speed matching event

The Freeman: Revisions in certification scheme to affect PS license holders – DTI

Events Food

Cebu delicacies sold in one place during August

Craving any of Cebu delicacies like the Argao torta, Bogo pintos, or Carcar chicharon?

For the whole month of August, you don’t need to travel two to three hours to buy Cebu specialty products as countryside cottage industries have come to sell these in the ongoing Agro-Trade Fair 2014 at the Capitol compound along Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City.

Just by walking a few short steps from stall to stall, you get access to many products from Cebu places that are several kilometers from each other.

Cebu delicacies

capitol agro-trade fair
These radishes are among the fresh produce being sold at the Capitol Agro-Trade Fair 2014 in Cebu City.

Get the cabcab from Tudela, budbud from Sogod, polvoron from San Fernando, dried dish from Bantayan, and ampao from Carcar in one spot. Tudela, a town in the island of Poro, sells food products made from cassava: cookies and cabcab. Cabcab is a thin and crisp wafer eaten paired with latik, a sweet syrup derived from coconut milk.

Rice crispies and durable shoes that are trademark goods of the southern town of Carcar are also on display as well as household furniture and home implements fashioned from wood and rattan.

bogo pintos
Pintos from Bogo

The main ingredient of the budbud is sticky rice. In one kind, the rice is ground and mixed with chocolate. Another is made with whole grains.

Fruits, vegetables

Fresh produce from farms in various towns like Moalboal, Cordova, Barili and even Busay and Sirao in City City occupy several of the makeshift kiosks. Vegetables like squash, radish, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplants, string beans as well as fruits like avocado, banana, coconut, and jackfruit are being sold at the fair.

busay plants
Flowering and decorative plants from Busay.

The barangays of Busay and Siraw also sell decorative and flowering plants at the agro-trade fair, one of the activities of Cebu’s 445th Founding Anniversary that falls on August 6, 2014.

It is being held behind the Cebu Provincial Capitol along Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City.


With Bantayan, Malapascua still rebuilding, Capitol promotes Southern Cebu attractions

While the destination islands of Bantayan and Malapascua recover from super typhoon Yolanda, the Provincial Government encourages tourists to visit other Cebu attractions.

Cebu provincial tourism officer Mary Grace K. Paulino said heritage structures in southern Cebu such as Spanish period churches and buildings are intact.

“Our southern tour is very popular right now especially because the old churches and other heritage sites of Bohol had been destroyed or damaged during the earthquake,” she added.

Since Yolanda did not directly hit the towns or cities in the southern part of Cebu, nature sites like beach and mountain resorts and the dive spots of Moalboal were either spared or sustained only slight damages, according to Paulino.

“We suggest to tourists that they visit other Cebu destinations because we have plenty. The good thing that we’ve noticed is that our tourism industry is going back to normal,” she added.

MOALBOAL BEACH. While the destination islands of Bantayan and Malapascua recover from super typhoon Yolanda, the Provincial Government encourages tourists to visit other Cebu attractions like the beaches in Moalboal. (Photo by Max Limpag)
MOALBOAL BEACH. While the destination islands of Bantayan and Malapascua recover from super typhoon Yolanda, the Provincial Government encourages tourists to visit other Cebu attractions like the beaches in Moalboal. (Photo by Max Limpag)

In the case of Bantayan, she revealed, around 80 to 90 percent of resorts were damaged and couldn’t accommodate guests. There are almost 30 accommodation facilities in the Bantayan town of Sta. Fe alone, she added.

Only 3 or 4 resorts in Bantayan are currently operational, Paulino cited, adding the situation would have a huge impact on the local economy of the island which is being driven by tourism.

Right now, Paulino said the Provincial Government is helping in clean-up activities in affected Cebu areas, especially in Malapascua.

They’ve also met with affected establishments to determine how the province can help them get back on their feet.

According to her, one program they’ve identified is to provide livelihood to local employees of the resorts who currently do not have work.

Before the typhoon, the Provincial Government had been conducting trainings on community-based tourism programs. The goal, Paulino added, is to teach the local people to conduct tours for tourists as a way of providing them jobs.


Many Philippine destinations open to tourists after Yolanda

Trips to the Cebu destinations of Bantayan and Malapascua are now available albeit with some limitations, an advisory from the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Central Visayas said.

DOT 7 Regional Director Rowena Lu Y. Montecillo said ferry operations in Bantayan have returned to normal a few days after super typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan) wrecked havoc in the Philippines.

Tourists may avail of special trips to Malapascua, Montecillo added in the advisory.