Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Subic chess: Bitoon keeps bid for Top 5 finish alive

IM Richard Bitoon kept his bid for a Top 5 finish alive as he trounced Lou Yiping of China in a pivotal eighth-round match Saturday in the 2009 Subic Open international chess championship at the Subic Exhibition and Convention Center.

One of several Filipino players seeking the elusive GM titles this year, Bitoon beat the 35th-seeded Chinese opponent with the white pieces to raise his record to 5.5 points and move into a tie for fifth to 13th places.

The 34-year-old graduate of Southwestern University-Cebu will go for the win and a possible Top 5 finish when he meets fifth seed GM Abhijeet Gupta of India in the ninth and final round.

Overall, the Medellin, Cebu-native is only a full point behind pacesetting second seed GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami of Iran and only half a point behind second-running untitled Xie Deshun of China, GM Chanda Sandipan of India and GM Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh.

Maghami, seeded second here with an ELO of 2593, drew with Sandipan.

Xiu humbled GM Negi Parimarjan of India while Rahman halved the point with GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son of Vietnam.

Four other Filipino campaigners – IM Julio Catalino Sadorra, GM Darwin Laylo, GM Mark Paragua and IM Oliver Dimakiling – also stayed within striking distance with five points.

Sadorra drubbed Wang Li of China, Laylo and Paragua drew with each other and Dimakiling outsteadied compatriot Emmanuel Senador.

The four Filipino players are tied for 14th to 21st places with still a full round left.

Defending champion GM Jayson Gonzales settled for a draw with IM Javaram Ashwin of India to remain in a tie for 22nd to 29th places with 4.5 points.

GM Bong Villamayor, IM Rolando Nolte, Efren Bagamasbad, Alex Milagrosa and Senador all have four points. – GMANews.TV

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Medical and wellness center in Amorosa, Subic, serves patients, retirees from Northern Luzon and abroad

The George Dewey Medical and Wellness Center is a tertiary private hospital located in Amorosa.

Amorosa is a 12-hectare community composed of the George Dewey Medical College, living and recreation spaces for retirees and the general public, and the George Dewey Medical and Wellness Center.

The environment of Amorosa is a preserved rainforest, providing an ambiance of healing and rejuvenation. Amorosa is located in the Subic Freeport Zone, an area of business, entertainment, outdoor activities, schools, hotels and restaurants, and homes.

The George Dewey Medical and Wellness Center sprawls among the gardens of Amorosa, consisting of nine buildings, surrounding the main hospital and separated from it by grasslined driveways. This unique arrangement provides specialized areas for privacy, proper ambiance and infection control.

The main hospital is a single-story structure with access doors to the buildings of specialty, and areas for parking and emergency. Essentially, the building arrangement follows a logical flow for the medical process, general services, privacy and safety.

The Medical and Surgical Services are provided by doctors who are leaders in their fields.

The medical organization follows global standards of healthcare, enhanced by a hospital information system which provides an integrated holistic approach to the individual patient. Excellence in medical and surgical service is supported by latest equipment.

The Nursing and Ancillary Services Teams are specialized, with regular training programs in coordination with the George Dewey Medical College.

The Human Resource Department goes beyond its scope of responsibility to encourage personal growth and develop the core values of the institution. Quality Assurance Programs involve the Medical, Administrative, Finance, Marketing and Business Development groups, encouraging a culture in the community for excellence in health services and continuing education.

The patients of the George Dewey Medical and Wellness Center are residents of Amorosa, the day and night populations of Subic, residents of nearby communities and retirement villages, as well as patients from other countries and the general public. The residents of Amorosa benefit from the assurance of a tertiary hospital on stand by and the wellness programs to enhance their lifestyle.

The George Dewey Medical and Wellness Center is the only tertiary hospital inside the Subic Freeport Zone, with access to the Subic and Clark International airports and the provinces of Northern Luzon. Its vision of excellence in continuing medical education also encourages medical and paramedical specialty training sessions and conferences.

The Phases of Operation allow for the development of specialized centers of diagnosis and treatment, many of which will be firsts in the underserved population of Northern Luzon.

The potential for growth in the medical and wellness services is large, inside and outside of Amorosa. The standard of care, employment opportunity and empowerment of people the business provides is a significant contribution to society. Manila Times

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

6 nabbed in Olongapo-Subic drug bust

OLONGAPO CITY- Six suspected drug pushers were arrested while 38 sachets of shabu were seized Thursday during a buy-bust operation conducted by Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) operatives in Barangay Calapacuan, Subic town, Zambales.

Chief Inspector Rogelio Ponce Penones, CIDG provincial chief, identified the suspects as Rolando Sabado, 32; Jesus Tajo, 18; Japeth Jabillo, 22; Joel Ignacio, 32; Santiago Querubin, 22, all of Calapacuan, Subic; and Leovin Gomes of Roosevelt, Dinalupihan, Bataan.

Major Penones said that they were able to confiscate 38 sachets of shabu worth R38,000 from the suspects.

Senior Supt. Marvin V. Bolabola, CIDG regional chief, commended Major Penones and his men for the successful operation dubbed as "Oplan Big Berta". (Mar T. Supnad - TEMPO)

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Text messages about H1N1 scare residents

“There is no H1N1 in Zambales,” Gov. Amor Deloso said.

By MARK ANTHONY N. MANUEL - Manila Bulletin

DoH regional director Dr. Rio Magpantay, in a press briefing, said that no cases of the virus are detected in Pampanga or in any other part of Central Luzon. The regional director, however, said that some residents of Region 3 are being monitored and were placed under quarantine to verify if they really have the H1N1 virus.

In Zambales, text messages are circulating, warning residents that H1N1 is already “in the province.”

The text messages say that the two Taiwanese diagnosed with H1N1, who attended a wedding reception in Zambales, have passed the virus to some 50 people who also attended the event.

The provincial government of Zambales, however, disputed the claim of the text messages, saying that everything is done to make sure that no one in Zambales will be affected by the virus.

“There is no H1N1 in Zambales,” Gov. Among Deloso said.

Dr. Magpantay said that it was unlikely for the two Taiwanese virus victims to transfer the virus to those who attended the wedding reception in Zambales, as their infection at that time was still in the incubation stage. Magpantay explained that the virus could only be transferred to another person once the victim already manifested the post-incubation stage of the virus in his body.

Provincial officials of the two provinces and the DoH have appealed to people circulating the text scares to stop making unnecessary false alarm, as this would not help, rather, it would cause serious damages.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Zambales Wedding AH1N1 climbs to eight

A(H1N1) cases in RP climb to 14; DOH says no need to panic

The number of confirmed cases of A(H1N1) influenza in the Philippines has risen to 14, the Department of Health announced Friday.

The four Filipinos confirmed on Friday to be infected with the virus were a 19-year-old female and a seven-year-old girl from the United States, and a two-year-old girl and a 20-year-old male who had contact with Taiwanese nationals during a wedding in Zambales province.

Despite the addition of four more cases to the 10 confirmed cases on Thursday, however, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III assured that there is no indication that there is already sustained community transmission in the country.

“We would like to emphasize that the DOH anticipates this case of A(H1N1 rise at it is happening in many other countries. There should be no cause for alarm," Duque assured.

He said that the latest confirmed infected people – all of whom are Filipinos – have already been administered with oseltamivir, an anti-viral drug commonly used to treat flu infections. All four had “relatively mild symptoms," he said.

Duque said that based on the conditions of the all 14 people hit by the virus so far in the Philippines, the symptoms of the illness had been “mild and self limiting."

In an attempt to quell public fear of the global outbreak, Duque said that the public should actually dread the dengue virus more than the A(H1N1) virus.

He said that the dengue virus has already claimed 57 lives in the Philippines in the first four months of 2009. Meanwhile, the A(H1N1) has a less than one percent “case fatality rate."

“[The four new victims are] being closely monitored in health facilities and all are responding positively to the treatment," Duque said, even as he added that the DOH continues to closely watch the situation.

Despite the rate of cases confirmation – 14 cases in the span of eight days - the DOH reiterated that it was still all systems go for the opening of classes next week.

“There is no indication there is already a sustained community transmission in the Philippines. And for this reason, we do not recommend that classes expected to open on June 1 be postponed," Duque said.

The Health official reiterated that more than any anti-viral drug, the perfect remedy for the A(H1N1) infection if proper prevention. He said that the washing of hands is still the best way to prevent a spread of the virus. “Preventive pubic health measure is still the best weapon against A(H1N1) and all other viruses for that matter."

Duque threw the advise to the public, especially to those people most prone of contracting the disease including those with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, immunodeficiencies, as well as pregnant women and young children.

Wedding gone wrong

The Philippines first charted on the WHO list of influenza affected countries list on May 21 when a 10-year-old girl who traveled to A(H1N1)-stricken Canada and the United States.

Three days later, on May 24, the DOH added to its list of confirmed cases a 50-year-old woman who came from the US. The first two victims (called Cases 1 and 2) have both fully recovered and should have been discharged as of this posting.

In the next few days, the DOH would announce eight more confirmed cases, including six of who were attendees in the Zambales wedding where an infected Taiwanese mother and daughter were present.

The six wedding attendees – one of which was a foreigner – included:

• a 24-year-old woman,
• her one-year-old daughter,
• a 47-year-old man,
• a 13-year-old boy,
• a 55-year-old man, and
• a 26-year-old woman

Apart from these six people, a one-year-old baby girl from the US and a 13-year-old boy from Hong Kong likewise tested positive for the virus. The teenager has already recovered while the rest remain under observation.

Figures rising

Since May 1, the DOH has monitored 211 people suspected of contracting the novel flu virus. Of that number, 172 had been discarded after testing negative.

As of this posting, the DOH still has 27 remaining cases under observation.

Globally, the virus had stricken 13,398 people in 48 countries, according to the latest report (Update 40) of the World Health Organization. At least 95 people had succumbed to the feared virus.

The three largest countries in North America – namely the United States, Mexico and Canada – continue to lead in the reported confirmed cases. The US has reported 6,764 cases, while Mexico and Canada each have 4,541 and 921 cases, respectively. - MARK D. MERUEÑAS With Johanna Camille Sisante, GMANews.TV

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PLDT Subic Telecommunications Co. Inc., a subsidiary of Philippine Long Distance Company has launched its pre-paid wireless landline service at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone targeting about 100,000 residents in the area.

The new service, called PLDT Landline Plus, is a wireless and portable landline service that allows PLDT subscribers to bring their phones anywhere within their local area.

With PLDT Landline Plus, subscribers can make the same call types as a regular fixed landline service such as incoming and outgoing calls, NDD/IDD, plus SMS.

PLDT Subictel general manager Henry Abes said Subic Freeport area has now become more accessible to the surrounding provinces aside from affording its workers and residents a direct line to their loved ones.

“We would like to cater to the workforce and residents who frequently navigate the provinces of Zambales and Bataan,” said Abes.

He added the PLDT SubicTel’s PLP offering would make communication easier and more affordable.

--By. Roderick T. dela Cruz – Manila Standard

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Ang Kapatiran to field youngest president bet

Does a 39-year-old Councilor from Olongapo City have what it takes to become the next President of the country?

The Ang Kapatiran Party (AKP), a national political party founded by the lay Catholics, thinks so and has named Olongapo City Councilor John Carlos “JC” de los Reyes as its presidential candidate for 2010.

Delos Reyes, who will turn 40 on Feb.14 next year, was unanimously selected by the party’s national electoral committee from among 37 personalities nominated by both party members and the general public. He was Kapatiran’s lone winner in the 2007 elections when the party fielded 30 candidates for national and local positions.

A human rights advocate, De los Reyes has raised issue on extrajudicial killings and has openly criticized Hanjin in Subic Bay over worker’s rights violations, urging government to prioritize the dignity of the Filipino worker.

De los Reyes has also opposed the reproductive health code, saying it is “a dictated and imperialist law that muddles women’s rights.” He is also against the establishment of Ocean 9 Casino in Subic and the commissioning of the Bataan Nuclear Plant.

De los Reyes has a degree in Theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines, and a Law degree from St. Louis University in Baguio City.

He spent his elementary school days at the Ateneo de Manila and high school at De La Salle-Zobel.

--By. Philip C. Tubeza – Philippine Daily Inquirer

Why I'm voting for Kapatiran

By Melba Padilla Maggay

If in today's elections our people do vote according to conscience, there is some chance for marginal parties like Kapatiran. A strong showing by its candidates will send a strong signal that there are people of conscience out there who can be a healing force in our diseased politics. READ MORE

Kapatiran seeking nominations for president

For short listing purposes, a candidate to be nominated for President must possess the qualifications required by the Constitution; must accept the founding principles and platform of the AKP in whole without any mental reservation; must be morally upright, courageous, and competent individual; responsible citizen and parent; and a trusted leader; must have no previous conviction or pending criminal case in court, in the Ombudsman, or prosecutor’s office; must have a college degree; must accept and abide by the AKP Code of Conduct; and must not spend more than the law allows.


Crystal balls

By Antonio C. Abaya

That Nandy Pacheco’s Ang Kapatiran would find it hard to be competitive, no matter who they decide to field as presidential candidate;

That the issues will be the core issues of economic recovery, accountability, graft and corruption, peace in Mindanao, poverty alleviation, foreign policy, the environment;

That the qualities being sought by voters in a president are: magaling (good, competent), madaling lapitan (approachable), mapagmalasakit sa mga mahihirap (will work for the benefit of the poor);


Run-off in 2010 presidential election proposed

Ang Kapatiran Party has launched a search for relatively unknown local politicians with proven track records, who could be projected for national roles.


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Why are fuel prices more expensive in Olongapo City as compared to neighboring towns and provinces, including Metro-Manila? Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. wants to know.


“Fuel comes in through the Subic Bay Freeport and nearby Bataan province where there is a refinery,” Gordon said, “therefore, freight cost could not be the reason for the discrepancy that range to up to almost P6 per liter.”

The City Council established that while diesel fuel costs P31.44/liter in Olongapo City, in Baguio City it is only P29.60/liter, in Dinalupihan, Bataan P24.88/liter, Petron Subic Bay Freeport P30.71/liter, Lubao, Pampanga P24.44/liter, Freeport Oil SBFZ P26.80/liter and in
Metro Manila P24.68/liter only.

“We want fuel prices lowered in Olongapo at a level comparable to other areas such as Zambales, Bataan and Pampanga,” Gordon said, “malaking pabigat ang mataas na presyo ng gasolina at diesel sa mga mamamayan kaya hindi dapat pabayaan.”

He has called the attention of gas station owners operating in Olongapo City to review and reconsider what he termed as “exorbitant and unusually higher prices of fuel products” in the city.

Taking the cue from Gordon, Councilor Aquilino “Jong” Cortez authored Resolution No. 52 Series of 2009, which was unanimously passed by all the council members present.

Gordon said he cannot allow higher fuel prices in Olongapo City as compared to nearby areas. He said he expects positive results with regards to his request to the local gas dealers in the next few days even as he stressed that he is also personally directing his request to concerned government agencies.


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The City of Olongapo is commemorating its Liberation Day with the theme “Kalayaang Ipinaglaban, Dapat na Ingatan” on May 29, 2009, in honor of the patriotism and heroism of the Filipino War Veterans who fought the Japanese invaders in World War II.

Vice Mayor Cynthia Cajudo again leads this year’s celebration with the Veterans Federation of the Philippines - Sons and Daughters Association, Inc.

Descendants off both living and deceased veterans are expected to attend the commemoration.

“It is but fitting that we remember the valor and bravery of our war veterans in Olongapo. Let us continue enjoying the freedom they once won and may we continue fighting to preserve and defend it,” Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. said in connection with the celebration.

Corollary to the celebration, the City Government, through the initiative of Mayor Gordon scheduled a Medical-Dental Mission on May 30, 2009, 8:00 am to 12:00 noon at Barangay Sta. Rita.


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Couple, pal held for drugs

MASINLOC, Zambales – Police arrested a couple and their companion for possession of illegal drugs in South Poblacion here Friday night.

Provincial police director Senior Supt. Rolando Felix identifies the suspects as Edson Tala, 27, and his live-in partner Analyn Malagkit, 36, of Orani, Bataan, and Federico Arga, 27, all of Door 4, Francia Apartment, Alright Street, Barangay South Poblacion.

Police said a team led by Insp. Generico Binan raided the suspects’ house on the strength of a search warrant issued by Masinloc Judge Aida Basa-Diviva.

The couple yielded 30 plastic sachets containing suspected shabu, 56 unused plastic repackers and P26, 466.25 while 85 pieces of unused repackers were recovered from Arga. The suspects will be charged with violation of RA9165.

--By. Mamer Bañez – People’s Journal

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

4 more confirmed H1N1 from Zambales wedding

Philippines' confirmed H1N1 cases climb to 10

Four more people who attended a wedding party in Zambales, which was also attended by an influenza A(H1N1) virus-infected Taiwanese mother, have tested positive for the dreaded virus.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the new influenza A(H1N1) virus cases brought the number of confirmed cases in the Philippines to 10.

Duque said in a press briefing on Thursday that the four new cases include a 24-year-old mother, her one-year-old daughter; a 47-year-old male and a 13-year-old male.

He said the four new confirmed cases attended a wedding party in Zambales, which was attended by a Taiwanese mother and her daughter.

The two foreigners were tested positive for the dreaded virus upon their return to Taiwan.

Health authorities have yet to determine where the two Taiwanese nationals caught the virus.

On Wednesday, the health secretary announced that four people -- two children and two adults -- have been infected by the dreaded virus.

He said both children have a history of travel to Hong Kong and United States, while the two adults are "contacts of confirmed cases of Taiwan."

The Philippines' first two confirmed cases include a 10-year-old Filipino girl who travelled in the United States and Canada and a 50-year-old Filipina balikbayan from Chicago.

Duque said three of the confirmed cases have already recovered from the viral infection. abs-cbnNEWS.com

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Lions Multiple District holds convention at Subic

The Lions Multiple District (MD) 301, Philippines will hold its 60th Annual State Convention at the Subic Bay exhibition & Convention Center, Olongapo City from May 28 to 31, said Council Chairperson & Past District Governor Danilo A. Sanchez.

“LIONS, Everyday Heroes Bring Miracles thru Service” is the theme of this year’s convention which is hosted by District Governor Salvador G. Toledo Jr. The Convention Chairperson is District 301-D1 Immediate Past District Governor Carmelita S. Cruz.

Representing Lions Club International President, Albert Brandel, are International Directors Ryuichi Goto of Japan; Ellis Suriyati Omar of Malaysia; and Dr. Datuk Naga from India, Chairperson of the Global Membership Team.

Highlights of the affair are as follows: motorcade, call on City Mayor James Gordon Jr., seminars for incoming clubs and districts officers, Pinoy Olympics, Miss Philippines Lions Pageant, medical, dental, refraction and distribution of eyeglasses; tree planting projects; gifts distribution at the Bahay Ampunan Orphanage; Inter-district Club Twinning; Leo Seminar; Opening Plenary; Grand Parade;

--Manila bUlletin

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Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. has created a task force to monitor and prevent swine flu A (H1N1) from entering the city.

The task force, by virtue of Executive Order No. 23, is chaired by City Health Office Head Dr. Arnildo Tamayo, and James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital (JLGMH) Chief Dr. Arturo E. Mendoza as co-chairman.

The City Inter-Agency Task Force for Swine Flu Protection is empowered to formulate preparedness and response plans, operational and technical guidelines and other strategies to help attain program objectives and may require the services and assistance of other city departments and offices.

The task force also tasked concerned department and agency heads to monitor the situation and take protective measures to prevent the spread of A (H1N1) flu.

The task force will also periodically disseminate A (H1N1) virus health advisories and bulletins to the public to dissipate panic and fear among the local residents.

Gordon sees this as an opportunity to establish and improve our health care system that will be capable of responding to a severe situation such as pandemic influenza.

As of 27 May 2009, 48 countries have officially reported 13,398 cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection, including 95 deaths. Health experts said people should cover their mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing, dispose the tissue properly immediately after use, and wash hands regularly with soap and water. It is always best to practice proper hygiene and maintain cleanliness to prevent the transmission or acquisition of virus.

The virus can be transmitted directly from pigs to humans; directly from humans to pigs; and directly from humans to humans.

Dr. Mendoza is cautioning the people against panicking and rushing to clinics upon slightest manifestations of flu. “Unless you have direct contact with an infected animal, person from a country with recorded cases of swine flu, or been to a country where there’s an outbreak, you are not at any risk of contracting the virus.”
To date, there has been no A (H1N1) case recorded in the city.

As a pro-active response to the looming threat that has hit the world and recently the country, Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. assigned several department heads to be a part of the City Inter-Agency Task Force for Swine Flu Protection which convened on May 22, 2009 to discuss strategic approaches in preventing the entry of the said virus in Olongapo City. (Photo and caption/PAO)


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2 confirmed cases of H1NI in Zambales

as 4 new H1N1 cases in R.P. confirmed
THERE are four new laboratory-confirmed Influenza A (H1N1) cases in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Wednesday.

From the two earlier cases confirmed to have the virus, the total went up to six, and the DOH head said they expected “more cases to come” in the next few weeks due to intensive contact-tracing, heightened awareness among the public, continuous international travel and the fact that the number of affected countries continues to increase.

“We are now on second-generation transmission beyond the index case,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told a news briefing at the DOH office in Tayuman.

The four new confirmed cases are two Filipino females, aged one and 26; and two Filipino males, aged 13 and 55.

The one-year-old baby girl arrived from the US on May 19 and was admitted to hospital on May 24; the 13-year-old boy arrived from Hong Kong on May 23 and developed flu symptoms on the same day.

Both the 26-year-old woman and 55-year-old man came from the wedding celebration in Zambales province where two Taiwanese wedding guests had earlier tested positive for the virus.

This makes them (the 26-year-old woman and 55-year-old man) the country’s first “second-generation transmission” cases—meaning, they have not traveled to an affected country but got the virus from an index case or someone who acquired the virus after having visited an affected country.

However, the National Epidemiology Center chief, Dr. Eric Tayag said all the four new confirmed cases are not in any serious condition.

As of Wednesday, the 13-year-old male had fully recovered while the rest still have either fever and cough or cough alone.

The first two confirmed cases—a 10-year-girl and a 50-year-old balikbayan woman from America-—have fully recovered and are awaiting discharge from hospital after their repeat laboratory test confirms that they indeed no longer have the virus.

“Efforts are being taken to complete contact-tracing and to place under quarantine those with known exposure to the confirmed cases. Those found ill will be brought to designated health facilities. The results of the monitoring will be shared with affected local governments once they are available so that further spread will be promptly prevented,” Duque said.

“We know their whereabouts from the time they got ill until the time they were transferred to a hospital,” said Tayag, as the DOH again refused to mention the general location of the new cases.

DOH said they were been preparing for this scenario, and thus expanded the referral hospitals from the original five, to include all 72 DOH-run hospitals around the country.

However, Duque said, “There is no cause for the public to panic. What is important is that anyone who has traveled to an affected country or has been exposed to a confirmed case and manifests symptoms like fever, cough or sore throat, [will] go to a doctor or call the DOH hotline 711-1001.”

He stressed that the case fatality ratio for the influenza A H1N1 is very low at less than 1 per 1,000 infected cases.

“And the global consensus is that the H1N1 is a mild form of influenza illness,” added Duque, who has just attended a World Health Organization conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

New flu case abroad came from RP?

A NEW case of A(H1N1) flu virus abroad was suspected to have contracted the infection from the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday.

Health Undersecretary Mario Villaverde said the department received a report that a Filipino-Japanese boy who left the Philippines was found infected with the flu virus when he reached Japan.

Villaverde also said the DOH is still waiting for details so they could start “contact tracing,” or checking the people who were with the boy when he was in the country. The boy left on May 22.

“We don’t know when he arrived,” Villaverde said. The DOH is also checking where the boy and his family stayed in the Philippines.

The Japanese Health department reported recently that two persons were found positive with the virus.

In Davao City, while the DOH cleared of the A(H1N1) flu virus the three patients admitted over the weekend at the Davao Medical Center (DMC) for high or recurring fever, two new flu cases were admitted on Wednesday in the hospital, said Romeo Huertas, OIC spokesman of the regional Center for Health Development office.

The result of the laboratory test from the three patients showed they were negative of the A(H1N1) virus. The Regional Institute of Tropical Medicine in Alabang, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila, relayed the result through e-mail, Huertas told the BusinessMirror.

The three patients were recommended for release after their fever has subsided.

In the Cordillera, the DOH-Cordillera Administrative Region cleared three of the four suspected cases of the virus after the results of their laboratory test from RITM said they are tested negative.

The three patients are well and no longer have any symptoms, the DOH said, while the test result of one more case is not yet available. Written by Sara Fabunan & Imelda Abaño - Business Mirror Correspondents

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Over four thousand (4,000) Olongapeños and from neighboring provinces such as Bataan and Zambales trooped to the Olongapo City Convention Center (OCCC) on May 26, 2009 for the Special Recruitment Activity (SRA), a part of Mayor James Gordon, Jr.’s job and opportunities assistance program for the people of Olongapo.

The activity was a joint effort of the Subic IT Council headed by Engr. Jay Son, WOW Card Inc., Public Employment Services Office (PESO), Bagumbayan Volunteers and the City Council’s Committee on Labor and Employment.

Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. through the Public Employment Services Office (PESO), headed by Evelyn delos Santos, thousands of job seekers were served, including the former US base employees, who are given priority on the Guam project.

Twenty thousand (20,000) skilled workers are needed to fill in jobs created by the impending transfer of the US military facility in Okinawa, Japan to Guam. In line with this, an on line registration was also conducted which made the processing of applications fast and easy.

“Patuloy nating ilalapit sa mamamayang Olongapeño ang mga trabaho sa pamamagitan ng PESO. Ito ay bahagi ng naisin ko na maiangat ang pamumuhay ng ating mga kalungsod,” Mayor Gordon said.

Nineteen (19) Overseas Recruitment Agencies and thirteen (13) Local Companies participated in the Special Recruitment Activity (SRA), in cooperation with the Department of Labor and Employment(DOLE), Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), Technical Skills Development Agency (TESDA) and PESO skills Training.

Aside from employment opportunities, the livelihood projects of Mayor Gordon is also in high gear. The Gawang-Gapo program which has a display booth at the lobby of City Hall, continue to promote bonafide ‘made in Olongapo’ products.

Olongapeño job seekers may visit the PESO or contact telephone numbers ((047) 224-4541 loc. 4168. Entrepreneurs who want to promote their products through Gawang-Gapo may coordinate with the Livelihood and Cooperative Development Office (LCDO) at the 2nd floor of the City Hall or contact telephone numbers (047) 224-8390 loc. 4307.

Close to 5,000 job seekers flocked to the one-day Jobs Fair offered by Mayor James “Bong” Gordon , Jr. to Olongapeños on May 26, 2009 at the Olongapo City Convention Center. The event was successfully held through the efforts of the Subic Bay IT Council, Public Employment Services Office, City Council Committee on Employment and Labor chaired by Councilor Edwin Piano, Olongapo City Skills Training, WOW Card, Inc., Bagumbayan Volunteers and Senator Richard Gordon. (Photos and caption/PAO)


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Be professional, official asks CIDG men

OLONGAPO CITY -- A top police official has rallied his men to professionalize the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in a bid to "redeem" its image.

Senior Supt. Marvin V. Bolabola, CIDG Central Luzon chief, addressing a recent meeting with his men in Zambales led by Chief Inspector Rogelio Ponce Peñones, told the CIDG agents to always act as professional public servants and serve the public without fear or favor.

Colonel Bolabola is regularly going around in his area of responsibility in his bid not only to supervise the activities of his men but also to get a first-hand briefing on the high profile cases being investigated by the CIDG in the provinces and other areas. such as in this highly urbanized city.

"I want you to redeem the CIDG’s image by working professionally and give priority to cases in which the victims are poor people who have less in life," Colonel Bolabola told Major Peñones, a graduate of the Philippine National Police Academy.

Before his designation as CIDG regional chief for Central Luzon, Bolabola was given special citation by the La Union Rotary Club for his professionalism and unequalled and effective style of leadership which he practiced during his stint in Region 1.

Aside from this citation given by the Rotarians, Col. Bolabola has also received various awards and commendations from the Philippine National Police Academy.

--By MAR T. SUPNAD - Manila Bulletin

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LYCEUM de Subic Bay trounced informatics A, 95-73, to join Universal College on top of Group A with a pristine 20 slate in the seniors’ division of the 15th Fr. Martin Summer Cup at the La Consolacion gym.

National University downed Ateneo de Naga, 67-56, in the only other seniors’ match, while San Beda slammed Ateneo de naga, 76-30; San Beda - Alabang blasted Naga City Montessori; 77-61, and PMMS edged Nokia RP, 76-72, in juniors’ action.

Molten, www.gameface.ph, and Danding Cojuangco Jr. are backing the tournament.

--Manila Standard Today

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City PopCom Officer Virginia G. Navarro has confirmed that a total of one thousand, eight hundred forty one (1841) beneficiaries availed of the annual free operation tuli in the seventeen (17) barangays of Olongapo.

The joint project of the city government headed by Mayor James Gordon, Jr. and the SK Federation led by Cheenee Hoya, with the participation of the City Population Commission Office, doctors and medical staff of the City Health Office led by Dr. Arnildo Tamayo was a resounding success.

In an interview, Navarro said over Subic Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) dwGO AM Radio that Brgy. Sta. Rita has the highest number of circumcised kids with a total of two hundred twenty (220) while brgy. Asinan has the least with a total of twenty eight (28) kids.

Due to popular demand, the city PopCom also conducted a special circumcision day at the PopCom office at city hall after the scheduled dates of the operation tuli. An additional of one hundred and nine (109) kids availed of the special free circumcision opportunity.

Based on PopCom records, the total number of circumcised kids this year beat last year’s total.

City PopCom Head Virginia Navarro performs circumcision procedure on a young boy during the “Operation Tuli” held in barangay Sta. Rita on May 11, 2009. A total of one thousand eight hundred forty one (1841) kids all over Olongapo City availed of the annual free circumcision procedure.


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Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. is encouraging individuals aged six to 65 years old to avail of the Red Cross membership program at a minimal fee covering the whole year.

Aside from the other Red Cross services, the membership provides financial assistance in times of accident.

“The concept here is that while you share a minimum amount for the Red Cross beneficiaries, you are also protecting yourself,” Gordon said.

For individual members, they could choose to avail of any of the five types of membership. The Classic Membership, for those aged six to 25 years old for only P35, covers P5,000 accidental medical reimbursement and a daily hospital allowance of P150 a day for a maximum of 60 days in a year. The membership also offers a P12,000 disablement, dismemberment or accidental death benefit and a P5,000 burial benefit or unprovoked murder or assault benefit of P12,000.

With a P100 membership fee, the Premier Bronze type of membership aged six to 65 years old covers accidental death, disablement and dismemberment, unprovoked murder and assault benefit of P35,000, P5,000 burial benefit, P5,000 accidental medical reimbursement benefit and P150 daily hospital allowance if hospitalized.

For the Premier Silver and with a P300 membership fee, members could avail of P100,000 accidental death, disablement and dismemberment benefit; unprovoked murder and assault benefit; P5,000 burial benefit, P10,000 accidental medical reimbursement benefit; and P200 daily hospital allowance if hospitalized.

Premier Gold holders with a P500 membership fee and the Premier Platinum holders with a P1,000 membership fee could both avail of P200,000 accidental death, disablement and dismemberment benefit; P200,000 unprovoked murder and assault benefit; P5,000 burial benefit, P10,000 accidental medical reimbursement benefit; and P200 daily hospital allowance if hospitalized.

“The coverage becomes effective on the date of registration with PNRC and members would be issued a membership ID depending on what plan applied for,” PNRC Olongapo Chapter Administrator Eduardo Buena, Jr. said.

Gordon has stressed time and again the importance of preparedness in coping with disasters and emergency situations.

Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. hands over the accidental death insurance check for P100,000.00 to Regina Sanchez, a city government employee whose brother, a Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Premier Silver member, died in an accident recently. (Photos and caption/PAO)


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A three-day Seminar on Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) was conducted at the Ferdinand M. Aristorenas (FMA) Hall at the City Hall Complex on May 13, 18, 19, 2009 through the efforts of the Personnel Department of the Olongapo City Government.

This is in preparation for the Citizen’s Charter which is a document for civil service standards under the provisions of Republic Act 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.

The seminar was conducted by Maria Cristina Reno-Gonzales, Director II of the Civil Service Commission from the Field Office in Zambales and was attended by the different department heads of the city government.

Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. welcomes the benefits that a Citizen’s Charter will bring to Olongapo City and its constituents.

“We are continuously promoting transparency in all our operations. This will enable the city to improve its public service delivery, transparency and accountability in local governance,” Gordon said.

The group took charge in formulating, writing and packaging the said Citizen’s Charter for the city during the seminar.

The said document, which shall be reviewed for approval of Mayor Gordon, communicates the information on services the city provides to constituents and shall describe the step-by-step procedures to avail of a particular service and the guaranteed performance level that the constituents may expect.

It is expected to greatly improve efficiency in the delivery of government service to the public by reducing red tape, preventing graft and corruption and providing the necessary penalties on violators.

The citizen's charter is included in the 1987 Philippine Constitution which states that a “public office is a public trust and that public officers and employees must be at all times accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice and lead modest lives.”

Gonzales said a citizen's charter is very significant for the city because it is a clear expression of what services an agency provides.

“It enables customers to check their expectations against what is offered and provides a means for giving feedback when expectations are not met.”

She said further that “the public deserves value for money from the taxes they pay, and they have the right to consultation, courtesy, information and the opportunity to express their views in relation to government services.”

As instructed by Olongapo City Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr., heads of offices and departments actively took part in the seminar workshop on Anti Red Tape Act or ARTA which was organized by the Personnel Office headed by Angie Barroga and conducted by Maria Cristina Reno-Gonzales, Director II of the Civil Service Commission Field Office in Iba, Zambales. Gonzales said the seminar was initiated in preparation for the city’s crafting of the Citizens Charter, which aims to improve public service delivery, transparency and accountability especially in frontline services. (Photos and caption/PAO)


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50 Zambales wedding guests sought for H1N1 flu

The Department of Health (DOH) is currently searching for 50 people who were guests at a wedding in Zambales two weeks ago that two Taiwanese nationals infected with Influenza A(H1N1) also attended.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said they found out that the Taiwanese mother and her five-year-old daughter did not attend a yoga conference in the Philippines from May 16 to 20, contrary to early stories that came out in Taiwanese newspapers.

The two patients arrived in the Philippines on May 15 and flew back to Taipei on May 20.

Duque said the DOH is coordinating with concerned local government units to track down the guests and advised them to observe self-quarantine.

And while it is not yet known how the patients contracted the virus, Duque said it is likely that the mother brought it in but the DOH does not want to speculate.

Duque said the virus could have been incubating when the mother and her daughter arrived in the Philippines and the signs came out only upon their return home.

Based on the reports of Taiwan health authorities, the mother had manifested A (H1N1) on May 21. Eventually, her daughter had also fallen ill.

Duque, however reported that the country’s first two confirmed cases of A (H1N1) are “both well and do not have any symptoms.”

“They are still being monitored and will be discharged once their repeat polymerase chain reaction tests becomes negative for A (H1N1). At present, all their close contacts have not reported any symptoms of flu and are observing home quarantine,” he added.

The country’s first case was a 10-year-old Filipino girl who acquired the virus after traveling to the United States and Canada, while the second case was a 50-year-old Filipina balikbayan from the US.

Since May 1, the DOH has monitored 111 travelers who manifested symptoms after visiting A (H1N1)-affected countries.

Of this figures, 15 cases still have pending laboratory results.

“Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a total of 12,022 cases and still 86 deaths in 43 countries as of May 24. There are no new countries reporting confirmed cases of A (H1N1),” Duque maintained.

Panic in Baguio

In Baguio City, a child suspected of being infected by the deadly virus is carefully monitored at the Pines City Doctors Hospital.

The DOH-Center for Health Development in the Cordillera said physicians will find out within eight hours if the child, who has shown symptoms of the virus, is indeed positive from the flu disease.

Dr. Nicholas Gordo of the DOH-CAR claimed they already brought laboratory samples from the child to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in (RITM) Manila for confirmation.

Although officials at the Pines City Doctors Hospital have confirmed that they admitted a child from California, they were tight-lipped if it was the case of the dreaded virus.

Immediately, news about the child being observed at the said hospital has caused panic among residents as SMS messages have not stopped spreading.

Thermal scanning, a thing of the past?

Through all this, the DOH is mulling whether or not thermal scanning is an effective tool in warding off the virus.

Duque admitted he now hardly knew of any nation that uses thermal scanner to screen passengers for fever. 

“It’s useless now. I’ve been to World Health Organization (WHO) office in Geneva, they are not using thermal scanning, no one was giving out alert notice or health declaration notice. It was the same in the biggest airport hub in Amsterdam,” he said.

The DOH, Duque claimed, is thinking of shifting to other strategy like “health alert” or massive information drive to prevent the virus from coming in.

“We’ll talk about it because we might need to shift out resources to more effective strategy. The case fatality rate of A (H1N1) worldwide is very low – less than one percent. That means for every 1,000 affected individuals, 0.1 dies. And these are the ones who have co-morbidity or other illnesses like diabetes and hypertension. Those who are immuno-compromised of weak body resistance,” he added.

The department is planning to coordinate with the Department of Foreign Affairs to check how precautionary measures against the disease is being implemented among American soldiers who are in the country for the Balikatan exercises.

“But I think there were already preliminary talks about how this issue should be addressed,” he maintained.

Travel advisory

Meanwhile, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom issued separate travel advisories urging their nationals in the Philippines to exercise high degree of caution, citing confirmed cases of A(H1N1) in the country and threat of terrorist attack and serious crime.

The three countries’ travel advice have been reviewed and reissued, this time containing new information about the dreaded virus, but the overall level of the advice has not changed.

Australia strongly recommended its citizens to take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before they depart.

The also have to confirm that the insurance covers the whole time they will be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in the policy.

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has confirmed cases of avian influenza in birds in a number of countries throughout the world, including some in Southeast Asia.

The Department of Health and Ageing advises Australians who reside in the Philippines for an extended period to consider, as a precautionary measure, having access to influenza antiviral medicine for treatment.

Long-term residents are at a greater risk of exposure to avian influenza over time and should seek medical advice before taking antiviral medicines.

Australians intending to travel to the Philippines for shorter periods are at much lower risk of infection but should discuss the risk of avian influenza with their doctor as part of their routine pre-travel health checks.

If the avian influenza virus mutates to a form where efficient human-to-human transmission occurs, it may spread quickly and local authorities could move quickly to impose restrictions on travel.

The British travel advisory said their citizens in the Philippines should check updates on the number of cases and their locations through the WHO website with dedicated Swine Flu page.

UK maintained the advisory against all travel to Southwest Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of ongoing terrorist and insurgent activity.

Canada’s level of travel warning in the Philippines has not changed but the advisory informed their nationals on the screening measures for the A(H1N1) outbreak. – By Sheila Crisostomo - With Artemio Dumlao, Pia Lee-Brago - PhilStar

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Subic company completes first-ever luxury yacht

SUBIC BAY FREE PORT — Australasia Marine Alliance Corp. (AMAC), a unit of Mustang Marine Australia Services Pty. Ltd., yesterday said it has completed the first-ever leisure yacht to be built here.

The 28-feet Mustang Marine 2800 Sports Cruiser worth A$120,000 was built by Filipino boat craftsmen. It is one of the smallest boats under the Mustang brand name.

AMAC Managing Director Henry Co said the Mustang Marine 2800 Sports Cruiser has passed intensive sea trials with "very impressive performance."

The first Filipino-made Mustang 2800 Sports Cruiser maneuvers in Subic Bay. The boat clocked 30.4 knots per hour during recent trials.

AMAC is an "alternative manufacturer" of recreational boats of Mustang Marine Australia Services Pty. Ltd., the flagship company of Australasia Alliance Corp., the oldest and second-largest boat builder in Australia.

The leisure yacht is powered by a MerCruiser 5.0L MPI Bravo 3 260-horsepower, 300-liter gasoline engine. It went as fast as 30.4 knots or 35 miles an hour during sea trials in Subic Bay.

With technical assistance from Mustang Australia, it took five months to finish the first boat, which is now ready to be shipped to a Thai buyer, Mr. Co said.

"We have to train people step by step, so production of the first boat took quite long. But by the end of the year, we will gear up to about two to three units a month of this size," he added.

"[This] is practically a livable boat with superb craftsmanship and elegant designs found in its kitchen, toilet, bedroom and lounge," Mr. Co. said. — R.T. Garcia - www.bworldonline.com

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Olongapo welcomes SBMA move to grant business incentives to local companies

OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines — Officials of this city yesterday welcomed the initiative of Subic Bay Freeport authorities to grant incentives to investors willing to locate outside of the fenced-in area of the free port, particularly in this city.

Olongapo Mayor James “Bong” Gordon Jr. described the planned incentives package as “a big boost to Olongapo” as the city undertakes its program to improve the local economy and provide sustainable income opportunities to residents, said senior executive sssistant for public relations Mike Pusing.
“Of course, we welcome this plan by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA),” Pusing told The STAR in an interview. “This is good news for us,” he added.

Earlier, the SBMA announced that it is working out a scheme whereby qualified investments based in Olongapo City may receive some incentives enjoyed by companies registered in the Subic Bay Freeport.

According to SBMA administrator/chief executive officer Armand Arreza, the perks may include fiscal incentives like sales tax and five-percent gross income tax.

Arreza said his agency is now coordinating with Olongapo officials in formulating the implementing rules that would allow businesses located in Olongapo to qualify for some incentives under Executive Order 675, which expanded the area where tax- and duty-free privileges for free port zones would apply.

Under EO 675, the tax- and duty-free privileges within the Subic Special Economic and Free Port Zone (SSEFPZ) “shall apply within the secured area consisting of the presently fenced-in former Subic Naval Base and such other areas that may be identified, fenced, secured or declared as additional secured area by the SBMA.”

However, Arreza said that because the planned expansion area in Olongapo is not yet fenced in, duty-free privileges cannot be applied due to concerns on merchandise control.

Arreza said under the planned set-up, businesses wanting to avail of the perks would have to be endorsed by the Olongapo city government to the SBMA.

The system would be similar to that employed by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) which registers and grants perks to investors in privately-owned economic zones, Arreza added.

As of now, among the incentives the SBMA offers to investors registering in the Subic Bay Freeport are tax- and duty-free importation; exemption from all local and national taxes, with only a five percent corporate tax on gross income; unrestricted entry of foreign investments; no foreign exchange control; visas for foreign nationals; and expanded allowable deduction and higher percentage of income allowable from sources within the Customs territory for regional enterprises.

--By Bebot Sison Jr. - Philippine Star

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Job Opportunities in Olongapo-Subic Bay



Sunday, May 24, 2009

Olongapo plans ahead of US base’s move from Okinawa

OLONGAPO CITY — City officials are in deep preparation to ensure that former workers in the defunct Subic Naval Base would get priority jobs in Guam once the Pacific territory becomes a beehive of construction for the planned transfer of the US military from its base in Okinawa from 2010.

They have began to build up a database of the workers, met with United States legislators and members of the Guam Buildup Oversight Committee, and is also exploring a sisterhood agreement with Agana.

They are also developing training modules to facilitate refresher training and retraining in other jobs of the former workers.

Mayor James Gordon Jr. said although the workers already enjoy a “definite advantage” after working under the Americans in Subic for decades, they are “not resting on their laurels” and this is the reason they are busy with their preparations.

“Aside from being hard working, skillful and, most important, proficient in the English language, many Olongapeños have prior experience working in the US Naval Base here,” added Gordon.

By Gordon’s account, around 20,000 mostly construction-related jobs will be opening in Guam starting in 2010 when relocation from Okinawa starts under a $20-billion budget.

Gordon said Guam officials and the US Navy have already expressed preference for former Filipino base workers from Olongapo because of the latter’s unique training and experience under the US Navy.

But closer ties with Guam—the target of Olongapo’s sisterhood initiative—would also provide “special privileges and opportunities” to Olongapo and its army of willing workers, he said.

Gordon reported that he and Guam Sen. Eddie Calvo have already covered the initial formalities toward the signing of a sister-city agreement, which will spell out possible areas of mutual help and cooperation, including the priority hiring of the former workers.

The Olongapo City government has also tapped the Philippine Association of Service Exporters Inc. for help in training and retraining the workers. Written by Henry Empeño - Business Mirror Correspondent

Mayor Gordon and Councilor Piano met with Guam Governor Felix Camacho, local businessmen, navy officers and French consul onboard French Frigate berthed inside US Naval Base in Guam. Photo by Guam Task Force vice chairman Ronnie Lopez

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After participating in the Joint Government-Private Sector Marketing Mission in Guam recently, Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. has initiated the creation of a governing body that will handle all concerns in relation to the Guam project.

This is in connection with Mayor Gordon’s efforts to corner for Olongapeños the some 20,000 jobs that will be created with the impending transfer of the US military facility in Okinawa, Japan to Guam.

The Executive Order No. 25 Series of 2009 entitled “Creation of Olongapo City Task Force Guam” was signed and approved by Gordon.

The said task force will coordinate and make representations for the city to ensure the success of the Marketing Mission as well as the sister-city relationship with Guam.
Pictured above (L-R) Mayor Bong Gordon, Guam Senator Jimmy Espaldon and Guam Task force Head, Councilor Edwin Piano during a courtesy visit at the Senator's office.

Task Force Guam is composed of City Councilor Edwin J. Piano as Chairman, Executive Assistant Ronnie Lopez as Vice-Chairman. Members include Honorio Gomez from Olongapo City Mall, Evelyn Delos Santos from Public Employment Services Office (PESO), Market Master Damian Delos Santos of the Olongapo City Public Market and Jaime L. Mendoza, a consultant from the Mayor’s Office.

According to Gordon, “Task Force Guam is expected to represent Olongapo City and recommend action plans that are geared towards forging a stronger relationship with Guam.”

“Kailangan nating tutukan ang pagtatatag ng isang sister-city relationship upang maging mas epektibo ang pakikipag-ugnayan natin sa Guam. This will definitely help improve tourism and open a variety of business and employment opportunities for both cities,” he added.

The task force is also in charge of submitting proposals and periodic reports to the city government and provide the public updates on the developments of the Guam project. PAO - CHAY

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Mild quake jolts Zambales, Olongapo City

A mild earthquake this morning rocked Zambales, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.

The epicenter of the tremor was located under the sea 20 kilometers southwest of Iba, Zambales, according to Philvolcs director Renato Solidum.

In a radio interview, Solidum said they recorded intensity 3 in the areas of Olongapo and Zambales while intensity 2 rocked Quezon City and Ortigas.

The nature of the quake was tectonic caused by slight movement of the plates, particularly the Iba fault and Manila trench.

Solidum said even a 4.1 magnitude quake is not strong enough to bring down structures.

The quake occurred at around 9:06 this morning. By Dennis Carcamo - PhilStar

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SBMA seeks similar incentives for Olongapo firms

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is working out a scheme that will allow new investments in nearby Olongapo City to receive some incentives enjoyed by companies registered in the Subic Bay Freeport.

SBMA administrator Armand Arreza said the perks would include fiscal incentives such as sales tax and 5-percent gross income tax.

“We are now in the process of formulating the implementing rules,” Arreza said in a statement.

He said SBMA was in talks with with Olongapo City officials to allow companies enjoy some incentives under Executive Order 675.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed the order expanding the area where tax- and duty-free privileges for free port zones would apply.

EO 675 states that the tax- and duty-free privileges within the Subic Special Economic and Free Port Zone “shall apply within the secured area consisting of the presently fenced-in former Subic Naval Base and such other areas that may be identified, fenced, secured or declared as additional secured area by the SBMA.”

But since the planned expansion area in Olongapo was not yet fenced, Arreza said Olongapo-based investments could not yet avail of duty-free privileges.

“Our main concern is merchandise control. That is why we’re initially thinking of giving incentives on sales tax and the 5-percent gross income tax,” said Arreza.

He also said under the planned set-up, businesses wanting to avail of the perks must be endorsed by the Olongapo City government to the SBMA.

The system will be similar to that employed by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, which registers and grants perks to investors in privately-owned economic zones.

SBMA offers tax- and duty-free importation, exemption from all local and national taxes, 5-percent corporate tax on gross income and unrestricted entry of foreign investments. By Elaine Ramos Alanguilan - Manila Standard Today

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Bataan politics starts to simmer

From First Crack of Fel V. Maragay - Manila Standard Today

Over in Bataan, the battle among the rival political forces has started to simmer, adding heat to the summer months, as they maneuver to get the upper hand in the local elections that will take place about a year from now.

The Garcias gained political supremacy in the province after winning the most coveted positions in the 2007 polls. This early, their opponents have reportedly initiated talks for a tactical alliance to dismantle the well-entrenched ruling dynasty there. But the Garcias, led by Gov. Enrique “Tet” Garcia, seem unperturbed and ready to unleash their counter-moves against attempts of their enemies to challenge their political supremacy. Gov. Garcia, a shrewd politician, defeated the powerful Romans, Payumos and Gonzaleses in past elections.

His son, Rep. Albert Garcia (Second District of Bataan), won over Marie Gonzales, daughter of National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, chairman of the Partido Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas. Another son, Jose Enrique Garcia, is the mayor of Balanga, the capital of the province.

Incumbent Rep. Herminia Roman (First District of Bataan), wife of former Congressman Antonino Roman, is reportedly planning to run for governor and fight Tet Garcia in the next polls. Or she could run for reelection and find herself pitted against Gila Garcia, daughter of the incumbent governor. Former Gov. Leonardo Roman may run again for governor. Former representative and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Administrator Felicito Payumo is not yet sure of staging a political comeback.

The fight among the rival forces has turned ugly as signs of mudslinging have begun to surface. The Garcias cried foul when an item appeared in a national daily insinuating that they were protecting a drug syndicate. The newspaper item said that Rep. Herminia Roman, whom the Garcia supported in the previous elections, was cutting off her political ties with the Garcias because of the issue of narco-politics.

The story stemmed from the report that a shabu laboratory, which was a stone’s throw away from the municipal hall in Balanga, was raided by anti-narcotics operatives in December 2007 despite the fact that it has already been shut down after a similar raid there three years before.

The damning story prompted Rep. Albert Garcia to deliver a privilege speech on May 12 and to denounce the alleged attempt of their political opponents to discredit them by linking them to narco-politics. He didn’t have any qualms in pointing to Rep. Roman as the suspected source of the “baseless and malicious story.” He ranted in his speech: “I feel deeply enraged that the Honorable Roman would go around telling people that the Garcias are involved in narco-politics. She was even quoted as saying that she can no longer be with the Garcias for reasons of morality.”

The congressman clarified that although there was a second raid of the shabu laboratory, it was no longer operating at that time. He said records of law enforcement agencies and the courts showed that the items seized in the second raid were the same items which were the subject of the first raid. He belied the insinuation that the drug factory was able to resume operation with the tolerance or connivance of the mayor. “There is no one in the family who has been involved, or will ever get involved in drugs.”

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SBMA cited for timely action on drug case

Two government agencies cited the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) vigilance in the seizure of over 700 kilos of shabu from a locator and now suspected drug trafficker Anthony “Anton” Ang, even as freeport industry leaders described the SBMA officials’ conduct in the seizure as an example of integrity in government service.

In the latest hearing by the Congressional committee investigating the attempted smuggling of over 700 kilos of shabu through the Subic freeport, the chief of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Dionisio Santiago cited SBMA’s vigilance resulting in the seizure of the illegal drugs.

“Had the SBMA personnel relaxed their guard in this case, billions of pesos worth of shabu would have flooded the streets,” Santiago said.

Earlier in the same hearing, Presidential Anti- Smuggling Group (PASG) chief Undersecretary Antonio Villar Jr. expressed the same recognition of SBMA success in thwarting the smuggling attempt. The seizure is the biggest haul ever in the illegal drug trade.

Armand Arreza, SBMA administrator, gave the credit to SBMA personnel, saying their dedication and honesty in their job paid off, adding that “our boys did not waiver in the face of deceit even as they exercised determined caution in giving locators the respect they deserve.”

“Our boys stood their ground, insisting on getting the shipping documents on the boxes that later turned out to contain shabu,” Arreza said, adding that “no inch was given in the demand for the shipping documents. They were protecting the interest of government after they were told by Ang the boxes contained sensitive computer parts.”

Ang, then being a known locator in SBMA, claimed that the cargo contained sensitive computer parts and requested it should not be opened while he promised to bring to the SBMA the required shipping document even when the boxes passed the dog sniffing screening to detect contraband.

Ang failed to return with the shipping documents on the promised time. The SBMA law enforcement team then called PASG, the government’s anti-smuggling group to open the boxes. It was only then that they found out the boxes contained crystalline substance that was suspected to be shabu.

The PDEA later confirmed the substance is shabu. The packaging of the shabu in boxes was intended to deceive sniffing dogs.

According to Arreza, three employees in the team that led the seizure of shabu boxes earned the “Gantimpala Agad” Awards of the Civil Service Commission while the rest were given commendations. This award is the reward component of the CSC’s “Mamamayan Muna, Hindi Mamaya Na” program. By FRANCO REGALA - Manila Bulletin

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Olongapo joined Green Wave and Brigada Eskwela 2009

ICT Rise-Up Club of the Olongapo City National High School joined the "world green wave campaign" yesterday by cleaning the area and watering plans inside the school campus followed by a tree planting activity at the Olongapo lighthouse (parola) area in Barangay Kalaklan, this city.

The Green Wave is a multi-year global campaign that enables children and youth to make a difference – one school, one tree, one step at a time. The Green Wave brings together children and youth from around the world to raise awareness about biodiversity, and the need to reduce its loss. The Green Wave contributes to the Plant for the Planet Billion Tree Campaign.

Video above shows City Councilor Ed Piano together with ICT Rise-Up Club Adviser Ms. Jocelyn G. Mañago, Evely Nuesca, Fe Porras - Computer Dept OIC and Daniel Migues - DepEd joined the students in this worthwhile activity.

Meanwhile, members of Bagumbayan Volunteers and students of Olongapo Skills Training Center led by Councilor Ed Piano participated in the annual Brigada Eskwela.

The group adopted the Nellie E. Brown Elementary School (NEBES) for three reasons
1. Barangay West Bajac Bajac is the host of the Welding Program of the Olongapo Skills Training Center.
2. From among the schools in the city, NEBES has most number of chairs that are made of metal and needed repairs.
3. The city plans to make NEBES a pilot school wherein trades such as welding, carpentry, masonry, plumbing and painting will be part of its planned high school curriculum.

More than a hundred chairs and tables were repaired and repainted during the activity. Cleaning of the sorrounding area including roofs, drainages, gutters and tree trimming were performed by the volunteers.

Video above shows the Bagumbayan Volunteers in action during Brigada Eskwela repairing chairs, cleaning classrooms and school library, watering plants, clearing walkways and drainages, trimming trees and painting the facility.

DepEd to save P3B with Brigada Eskwela

THE Department of Education (DepEd) hope to save some P3 billion or more in schools maintenance and operating costs with this year’s ‘Brigada Eskwela.’

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus made the statement disclosing that the peso value of donations-in-kind from generous donors amounted to P1.2 billion.

Lapus also disclosed that from only 31% participation rate or 12,533 schools in 2003, DepEd’s Brigada Eskewla posted a100% participation from all public schools nationwide.

Last year, the 44,619 public schools that joined “Brigada Eskwela” created P2.9 billion savings on maintenance and the peso value of volunteer time was pegged at P1.6 billion.

“Brigada has gone a long way in lengthening the service life of school facilities to the advantage of the education department which is perennially in need of additional funds for its infrastructure programs.” Lapus said.

The DepEd clarified that there is no cash involved in the Brigada Eskwela program and since community members and leaders of civic groups and non-government organizations are only encouraged to donate construction and cleaning materials and volunteer labor man-hours.

The materials included paint, plywood, hollow blocks, lumber, cement, sand and gravel, nails, Galvanized Iron (GI) sheets, wires, desks, toilets, doors, windows, and various cleaning materials.

The weeklong activity focuses on minor maintenance work, including the repainting of the roof and exterior walls and repair of leaking water pipes, ceiling boards, broken furniture and windows.

Lapus directed elementary and secondary school principals to lead the “Brigada” activities in their areas. The principals are held accountable for the donated materials as well as in-charge in soliciting volunteer man-hours for the activity.

Now on its seventh year, Brigada Eskwela which revives the Filipinos’ “bayanihan” spirit, was designed to encourage parents and members of the community to volunteer their time and efforts on maintenance and repair of their children’s schools in preparation for the opening of classes in June.

The DepEd annually gives appropriate recognition to “Brigada” participating schools, divisions, and regions that go “above and beyond” what is expected, for involving large volunteer turnout, and for doing permanent renovations and repair. By: Jeffrey C. Tiangco - Journal online

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JOBS FAIR & POEA e-Reg for Guam Buildup

Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. is once again providing assistance and more job opportunities to job seekers in Olongapo by sponsoring a one-day job fair on May 26, 2009 at the Olongapo City Convention Center from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm.

The job fair is targeting local workers and OFWs who were displaced due to the global financial crisis.

“I shall remain constant in bridging the gap between job opportunities and Olongapeños. We will continue bringing in agencies and local companies to help the people find better job opportunities right here in our city,” said Gordon.

The Subic IT Council headed by Engr. Jay Son is taking charge of the preparations for the job fair. WOW Card, Inc., on the other hand, will provide the equipment and the promotion for the activity.

Meanwhile, the Public Employment Services Office (PESO), Bagumbayan Volunteers and the City Council’s Committee on Labor and Employment will provide technical assistance.

According to Councilor Edwin J. Piano, the one-day job fair is initially conceptualized to aid the city government in the pooling of 20,000 skilled workers for the Guam project.

“Other than the Guam project, we are also inviting applicants interested in the call center industry. Inaasahan natin ang pagpasok ng isang call center dito sa lungsod at tatlo pa sa loob ng Subic Bay Freeport Zone,” added Piano.

Several local companies have already expressed their participation in the job fair. Among those companies are I Will Communicate, Nozomi Fortune, Conti J Group and others.

Some 20 overseas recruitment agencies were invited for the recruitment activity. These agencies are offering jobs that are readily available and already have job orders.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) Technical Skills Development Agency (TESDA), PESO and Skills Training are also part of this activity.

Online registration as required by POEA will also be made available for this job fair. “This will ensure a speedier and timely processing of the applications. Aside from being paperless, the information encoded will go directly to POEA Job matching database,” concluded Piano.

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Antonio is solo leader in Subic chessfest

SUBIC — Grandmaster Rogelio "Joey" Antonio Jr. outsmarted Le Quang Liem of Vietnam in 59 moves of the Sicilian to vault into the solo lead after the ninth round of the 2009 Asian Continental individual chess championship Thursday at the Subic Exhibition and Convention Center here.

Flashing the form that made him the country's top player only several years ago, the 47-year-old pride of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro finished off his sixth-seeded Vietnamese rival to claim his fourth win in the last five rounds.

The win enabled the 28th-seeded Filipino to grab the solo lead with seven points on five wins and four draws with only two rounds remaining in this prestigious, 11-round tournament organized by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) in cooperation with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

Half a point behind Antonio are two Indian and two Chinese players – Grandmasters Chanda Sandipan and Surya Shekhar Ganguly and Grandmasters Hou Yifan and Zhou Weiqi.

Sandipan drew with Hou, while Ganguly and Zhou halved the point in 39 moves of the Sicilian to remain within striking distance.

Grandmaster Wesley So also made his presence felt, beating Elshan Moradiabadi of Iran in only 33 moves of the Ruy Lopez to keep his hopes alive.

The 15-year-old So capitalized on a blunder by his Iranian rival – a queen push to h4 on the 26th move – to turn a difficult, middle game struggle into a resounding victory with the white pieces.

When the end came, So is threatening to mate Moradiabadi’s king with either his queen on g8 or his knight on d6.

Overall, So has a nine-round total of six points on four wins, four draws and only one loss. Manila Bulletin

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Three-man independent panel starts investigation of Subic Freeport drug case

THE three-man independent panel that investigated the Alabang Boys has started its investigation into the questionable disappearance of suspected international drug-lord Anthony Anton Ang after he was caught in possession with some P5-billion worth of high-grade shabu at the Subic Freeport Zone.

The panel, headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Carolina Grino-Aquino with San Beda Graduate College of Law Dean Fr. Ranhilio Aquino and retired Sandiganbayan Justice Raoul Victorino as members, would look into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the drug suspect and determine possible liabilities of prosecutors and agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) and of the Subic Freeport authorities.

Solicitor General Agnes Deva-nadera, whose office is providing legal assistance to the probe panel, said the investigation would zero in on the administrative aspect of the case and as well as on the alleged bribery angle.

Bribery may come in, but the focus is whats going to be the accountability of the public officials, the solicitor general said.

She said the objective of the investigation is to establish some facts, and to inquire on the reaction of the officials when all things happened.

It could be lapses. It could overt act. It could be intentional acts. It could be none. It could be regular action, she added.

A congressional committee is also investigating the drug case. In its latest hearing, both the PDEA and PASG have virtually exonerated the Subic Freeport authorities, saying that Had the SBMA [Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority] personnel relaxed their guards in this case, billions worth of shabu would have flooded the streets.

Armand Arreza, SBMA administrator, gave the credit to SBMA personnel, saying their dedication to and honesty in their job paid off, adding, Our boys did not waiver in the face of deceit even as they exercised determined caution in giving locators the respect they deserve.

Ang, then being a known locator in SBMA, claimed that the cargo contained sensitive computer parts and requested it should not be opened while he promised to bring to the SBMA the required shipping documents even when the boxes passed the dog sniffing screening to detect contraband.

Ang failed to return with the shipping documents on the promised time. The SBMA law enforcement team, then called PASG, the governments anti smuggling group to open the boxes. It was only then that they found out the boxes contained crystalline substance that was suspected to be shabu.

The PDEA later confirmed the substance-contained shabu. The packaging of the shabu in boxes was intended to deceive sniffing dogs. -- William B. Depasupil -Manila Times

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Subic authority mulls extension of perks to Olongapo

The state agency in charge of the Subic Freeport will be granting tax perks to qualified investments in the adjacent city outside the economic zone, it said in a statement on Friday.

Such a move will spread economic benefits to nearby communities and also help the agency fulfill its job creation mandate, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said.

Ventures locating to Olangapo City may be granted sales tax breaks and the lower 5% gross income tax enjoyed by locators inside the freeport, SBMA said.

"We are now in the process of formulating the implementing rules [in line with Executive Order 675 signed in 2007]" SBMA Administrator Armand C. Arreza said in the statement.

The order had stated that tax perks for the Subic Freeport "shall apply...to other areas that may be identified, fenced, secured, or declared as additional secured area by SBMA."

But SBMA is mulling withholding duty-free privileges for imported materials for Olangapo locators because the "planned expansion area...is not yet fenced in."

It was not immediately clear if the "additional secured area" would encompass the entire city or just a section of it.

In relation to this, the agency is drafting the master plan that will increase road networks between the freeport and outlying areas, it said. — JADH

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Olongapeneo Wins US Congress Art Competition

Elsinore High Senior Wins Congressional Art Competition

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Vista) announced Earl Fedrick Arquisola winner of the 2009 Congressional Art Competition for California’s 49th District. Arquisola, an 18-year-old Elsinore High School senior submitted this year’s winning art-work, “Motherly Care.”

“I am really proud of all the students for embracing their talent and participating in this year’s competition,” said Rep. Issa. “We have many young and gifted artists in our community and I congratulate Earl for winning this year’s competition.”

Drawn using colored pencils, “Motherly Care” was inspired by a similar picture seen in a magazine.

“I just saw this ad in a magazine and I really liked it, so I just started to draw,” Arquisola said. When asked about the final product he said, “I loved it—it’s the best I’ve ever done.”

Born in Olongapo City, Phillipines, Arquisola moved to the U.S. four and a half years ago. Set to graduate in June, Arquisola plans to attend San Jacinto Community College. He started drawing with pencil and paper just three years ago at the age of 15.

A three-member panel of judges, made up of Vista High Art Teacher Carolyn Thom, Rancho Buena Vista High Art Teacher Cherie Freddie, and Mrs. Kathy Issa (Rep. Darrell Issa’s wife), evaluated seventeen other finalists choosing Arquisola’s “Motherly Care” for its compassionate depiction of a mother rocking her baby to sleep.

Beginning June 24, 2009, Arquisola’s artwork will be displayed in an eleven-month exhibit in a hallway entrance to the U.S. Capitol Building along with winners from other Congressional Districts. As the winner of the 2009 Congressional Art Competition, Arquisola receives three round trip tickets to Washington, D.C., an art workshop with professional artists and educators, and is invited to attend a reception at the U.S. Capitol.

“The Congressional Art Competition is a rewarding experience for young artists and those of us who work in the U.S. Capitol and get to view the beautiful works on display for a year,” Issa said. “I am very proud of all of our contestants and the collection of impressive artwork that our judges chose from this year.”

The art competition takes place every year and is open to all high school students in the 49th Congressional District. Students who wish to participate in next year’s competition should contact Congressman Darrell Issa’s District Office by calling (760) 599-5000. Valley News

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Tourism gets boost -- Gordon

Senator Richard Gordon, author of the recently signed Tourism Act of 2009, called on Negrenses to take full advantage of the new law to boost tourism within their island.

Gordon is set to speak the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary in their ongoing national convention at the Bacolod Pavilion Resort and Hotel today.

“Negros is poised to lead the pack in Philippine tourism with the signing of the Tourism Act of 2009 and with its Bacolod-Silay Airport. No longer will it be ‘Buglas’ or disconnected as an intensified promotion of Negros under the new law will make it a Philippine gateway to international tourism,” Gordon said.

With its fruitful implementation, the law will precipitate hugely increased foreign tourist arrivals and better management of tourist destinations, he said.

With a burgeoning Negros tourism industry, even the small farmer, fisherman, and even ambulant vendors will experience a dramatic increase in their earnings, he added.

Gordon said that the new law will also lead to an increase in the value of their real property as investors look for land to lease.

“Negros, being right in the middle of the Visayas regions and gifted with many attractions, makes it prime property for foreign investors looking to establish tourism businesses. I am fully confident that the law will make Negros a premium investment destination for tourism,” Gordon said.

The senator also said that increased investments because of tourism will spur the demand for more workers in all sectors of business.

“Increased tourism leads to business growth and this is why we say, ‘Tourism means jobs’. The signing and implementation of the tourism law will generate the jobs needed to replace the jobs that are being lost overseas and even here in the Philippines,” Gordon said.

Negros Oriental is home to the dive site of Apo Island, the Balwarte Rocks and Negros Oriental Marine Conservation Park. Dolphins and pygmy sperm whales can be viewed out in Tañon Strait at Bais Bay. The Bird Sanctuary and Mangrove Park, a 400-hectare protected mangrove forest, allow visitors to view birds and other wildlife, he pointed out.

Another attraction is the Canlaon Volcano, one of the tallest peaks in the Visayas, he said.

Negros Occidental is equally blessed with beautiful natural scenery, unexplored waterfalls and mountains, white sand beaches, and crystal springs, he said.

“Tourism is integral to our fight to provide a better life for our countrymen, for wherever tourism advances poverty retreats,” Gordon said.

The new tourism law will precipitate foreign investments in tourism industries as it provides measures that will make it easier for foreigners to set up business within tourism zones. Section 77 of the law mandates the TIEZA to establish offices where prospective Tourism Enterprise Zone investors can register to obtain incentives and benefits as well as all necessary licenses and permits, he said.

Section 86 of the law provides for incentives such as income tax holidays spanning six years will be given to investors; gross income taxation of only 5 percent; 100 percent exemption on all taxes and customs duties on the importation of capital equipment; and the exemption of transportation and spare parts from tariffs and duties.

Foreign investors will also be allowed to lease land in the Philippines for a period of 50 years, which can be renewed once for a period of 25 years, he added.

Gordon stressed that the Tourism Act of 2009 is actually the distillation of the successful formulas for development which he implemented while he was chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

“Our vision for this law and for Philippine tourism is to give our countrymen the tools and guidance that will enable people to replicate the success of SBMA in every island of the Philippines. Its faithful implementation will hopefully provide our countrymen a way to realize their dreams of a better life in their native Pilipinas,” Gordon said. Visayas Daily Star

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This is a joint private blog of volunteers from Subic Bay. It is being maintained primarily to collate articles that may be of importance to decision making related to the future of Subic Bay and as a source of reference material to construct the history of Subic Bay.

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