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Bambi leads in Misamis Oriental Agriculture Development Complex inauguration; Villar sends congratulations

January 22, 2021

ANE-I, Claveria, Misamis Oriental – Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano led in the blessing and pledge of support ceremonial signing for the seven-hectare Misamis Oriental Agriculture Development Complex located here. This, as Sen. Cynthia Villar – the chair of the Senate committee on agriculture – hailed the new development, saying it is timely for the usage of the facility due to the recent passage of the Coco Levy Act in Congress, waiting for signature by President Duterte into law. Villar assured her full support of the project which was mainly courtesy of cigarette giant Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation. Atty. Cancio Nicanor Guibone, PMFTC Inc. head of corporate affairs for Mindanao, said the company granted the provincial government of Misamis Oriental last October a deed of grant of usufructuary rights to use the seven-hectare facility for agricultural purposes and even build minimal structures therein. Also on hand gracing the event last Friday (January 22) and expressing his full support to the project was Misamis Oriental first district Rep. Christian Unabia who said that usage of the facility will complement his many agricultural outreaches in his district. According to Sangguniang Panlalawigan committee on agriculture chair Fredrick Khu, the complex – strategically located at the agricultural heartland of Misamis Oriental – will primarily be a venue for the processing of various agricultural produce in the province. “This will address value-adding needs by farmers, fisherfolk and agri-entrepreneurs and most especially, address the rampant issue of post-harvest loss,” Khu said. Provincial agriculturist Jose Apollo Pacamalan said that the complex will be a state-of-the-art facility which would cater various food processing technologies such as drying, bottling and preservation, among others. Moreover, a post-harvest laboratory will be present for research and development on the lengthening of shelf life of fruits and vegetables. Waxing, application of edible coating and modified atmosphere are among the processes that will be done, ensuring preservation of both pre-finished and finished products. A nursery for the production of lettuce, bulb onion, cabbage, cacao, coffee, mulberry and different varieties of coconut will be established. To diversify the options of farmers, the creation of an inland fish hatchery is already ongoing that when in full operational capacity could produce 500,000 fingerlings for the benefit of 300 backyard farmers. And lastly, the most important service the complex and its facilities will give is research. On top of Pacamalan’s list are hydrophonics, expansion of the tissue culture laboratory, study on the black soldier fly, bioethanol production from cassava and face mask production using abaca. “In this facility, let us teach farmers how to innovate so they will prosper more,” Emano said.

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Safety Technical Institute & Driving Academy serves 3,000 drivers in 8 years

January 18, 2021

SAFETY Technical Institute & Driving Academy in Cagayan de Oro City celebrated its eighth year anniversary last Monday. According to school president Jun Tupag, the LTO and Tesda-accredited institution has already served a total of more than 3,000 enrollees in its driving courses through the years. The school offers two driving programs – the three-day theoretical driving course and the two-day practical driving course. Tupag said the theoretical driving course (which costs P2,500) is a prerequisite to the practical driving course. It consists of 15 hours of lecture divided into three days – Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile, the practical driving course is a prerequisite to securing a student driving license. The course itself is divided into two – one for manual and another for automatic vehicles. The manual course is worth P4,800 while automatic driving lessons cost P5,800. But would-be students need not worry for the tuition cost, they just need to apply for Tesda scholarship, Tupag explained. In a practical driving course, students are taught at Safety Technical Institute & Driving Academy’s own wide expanse of range in Cala-cala, Macasandig. After they have passed the lessons there, they will be allowed to drive in the city with their instructor. Safety Technical Institute & Driving Academy employs six instructors, including two lecturers. It deploys a total of five vehicles for its students – all of them are sedans. Safety Technical Institute & Driving Academy is located at No. 10 Velez Arcade, Zone 7, Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City.

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Mindanao bus company reappoints Leo Rey Yanson as prexy, chairman

January 17, 2021

CAGAYAN de Oro City--Leo Rey Yanson has once again been appointed as chairman and president of Mindanao Star Bus Transport Inc. (MSBTI) as the company has remained committed to ensure the safety of the riding public amid the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic. Yanson was reappointed as MSBTI head during the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting held Saturday (Jan. 16). He is also the chief executive officer and president of the Yanson Group of Bus Companies (YGBC), considered as the biggest bus conglomerate in the Philippines with seven subsidiaries operating all over the country. In Mindanao, the YGBC subsidiaries are Rural Transit Mindanao Inc. (RTMI), Bachelor Express Inc. (BEI), and Mindanao Star Bus Transport Inc. (MSBTI). The other subsidiaries are Vallacar Transit Inc., Ceres Transport Inc., Southern Star Bus Transport Inc., and Sugbo Transit Inc. As the subsidiary’s newly elected leader, Yanson said the company “continues to be steadfast in its goal to serve the Filipino people. MSBTI remains committed to providing the riding public with the most reliable means of public transportation for all.” During the meeting, Yanson, Ginnette Dumancas, Charles Dumancas, Rey Ardo, and Arvin John Villaruel were re-elected as members of MSBTI’s board of directors. Following the election of the directors, the board also held an organizational meeting wherein Yanson was re-appointed as chairman of the board and president of MSBTI, while his mother Olivia was re-appointed as the company’s corporate secretary and treasurer. The company said the newly appointed Board is excited to see how they can continue to push boundaries to provide quality transportation to every Filipino in this great nation despite the challenges of the pandemic. Despite proper and timely notice, stockholders Roy Yanson, Ricardo Yanson Jr., Emily Yanson, and Ma. Lourdes Celina Lopez were absent. All are YGBC leader’s siblings. In a press statement sent to reporters, the company said Roy, Celina and Ricky are believed to be unable to attend the meeting because they are currently hiding abroad as fugitives from justice together with their sister [Celina]. The company added that as of this writing, there are several outstanding warrants of arrest against the four Yanson siblings, known as the “Y4,” for carnapping and for grave coercion issued by the courts of Bacolod City. Just recently, warrants of arrest have also been issued against Emily for the crimes of Perjury and Falsification of Vallacar Transit Inc.’s (“VTI”) General Information Sheets (“GIS”). It is those same questionable GISes that are being used by Y4 to claim their majority ownership of VTI, the company said.

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Switching to high-value crops disastrous to food security - Piñol

January 17, 2021

DAVAO CITY – Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Wednesday that switching to high-value crops can be disastrous to the country’s food security.   He cited that rice farmers in irrigated and soggy areas, for example, could not be encouraged to switch to high-value crop production because not many crops would grow well in water-logged areas.   “Perhaps, "switching" is not an appropriate word or should not be the intent of the "Doubling Income of Farmers Act." Let us encourage our farmers to double their income by planting high-value crops in areas where these are suitable in addition to their current farming activities,” he said.   He added that he sent a text message to Senator Imee Marcos, asking for clarification on the true intent of a bill she filed titled "Doubling Income of Farmers Act."   The text message reads, "Good morning mam. I read with great concern the report on your proposed "Doubling Income of Farmers Act". I just hope the Businessworld headline "SENATE BILL SETS OUT INCENTIVES FOR FARMERS TO SWITCH TO HIGH-VALUE CROPS" is not an accurate description of the intent of your bill. While we should indeed encourage farmers to plant high-value crops, this should not mean urging them to abandon the production of our staple food in favor of growing dragon fruits. This could have a disastrous effect on our food sufficiency program. I hope you could issue a clarificatory statement. Salamat po."   “The use of the word "Switching" was what set out alarm bells for me as a farmer and food sufficiency advocate. Now, let me get this clear.  I fully support the production of high-value crops. In fact, I am an ardent advocate and practitioner of high-value crop production,” the MinDA chief clarified.   He also cited that as an advocate of Rice Self-Sufficiency for the country, he doesn't even grow rice for the simple reason that his land is not suited for rice production where the growing of crops is determined by the type of soil, the climate, the elevation and the availability of water.   “This means that not every farmer could grow high-value crops because of the aforementioned factors. The High-Value Crops Production Program should not be promoted at the expense of our food production program because the basic essence of agriculture is to feed our people. The program should be double-barreled and well-balanced,” he added.   He said that farmers should be encouraged to plant high-value crops only for additional income, instead. PR

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World-class Kibawe sports complex breaks ground

January 17, 2021

THE municipal government of Kibawe in Bukidnon led in the groundbreaking of the soon to rise world-class facility, the Kibawe sports complex. A project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) through the efforts of Rep. Manuel Zubiri and earmarked by legislation led bt Vice Mayor Raymundo Batao, the Kibawe sports complex will feature a rubberized racing field, among other amenities, which will replace the dilapidated oval of Kibawe Central Elementary School in barangay East Kibawe. This will be the first of 22 sports complexes all over Bukidnon which are planned to be constructed under the administration of Gov. Jose Ma. Zubiri. And for that, Batao is grateful. "Dako akong pasalamat sa atong halangdong gobernador ug sa atong halangdong Congressman ingon man usab sa DPWH nga giuna nila kining Kibawe. Dako akong paglaom sa atong mga kabataan nga taliwala niining pandemya, maka-produce kita og world-class athletes puhon diri sa Kibawe," Batao said. The groundbreaking last January 13 was preceded with an invocation led by the datus and the baes. This will indeed be another boost to Kibawe as it is considered the cleanest municipality in Bukidnon.

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Emergency Committee on COVID-19 advises on variants, vaccines

January 16, 2021

THE COVID-19 pandemic continues to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), according to the WHO Emergency Committee (EC) on COVID-19. The EC met virtually yesterday (14 January) at the request of WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to review the emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and to consider the potential use of vaccination and testing certificates for international travel. On variants, the EC called for a global expansion of genomic sequencing and sharing of data, along with greater scientific collaboration to address critical unknowns. The committee urged WHO to develop a standardized system for naming new variants that avoids geographical markers, an area WHO has already begun work on. On vaccines, the committee underlined the need for equitable access through the COVAX Facility as well as technology transfer to increase global production capacities. The committee strongly encouraged vaccine manufacturers to rapidly provide safety and efficacy data to WHO for emergency use listing. The lack of such data is a barrier to ensuring the timely and equitable supply of vaccines at the global level.  Given that the impact of vaccines in reducing transmission is yet unknown, and the current availability of vaccines is too limited, the committee recommended that countries do not require proof of vaccination from incoming travellers. The committee advised countries to implement coordinated, evidence-based measures for safe travel and to share with WHO experiences and best practices learned. This was the sixth meeting of the Emergency Committee on COVID-19. Since the declaration of a PHEIC on 30 January 2020, the Director-General has been reconvening the committee at three-month intervals to review progress.  The full statement of the Committee can be accessed here.

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