Wao-Maguing road now open to traffic, Lanao sur guv sees boost in agri trade

LANAO del Sur – Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Alonto Adiong, Jr. of Lanao del Sur officially traversed the now passable Wao-Maguing road, also known as “The Dream Road”, in the morning of April 4, 2016 and seen to boost the agricultural sector and trade between Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur.

It took him and his convoy two and half hours to reach the municipalities of Amai Manabilang and Wao from Marawi City using the said road. In the past, residents of mainland Lanao del Sur would travel eight hours to go to the towns of Wao and Amai Manabilang of the same province and had to first pass through Lanao del Norte, Iligan City, Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon.

According to Engr. Mikunug Macabantog of DPWH Region 10, 11.3 kilometers of the 75-kilometer national road is still being concreted and shall be completed once the funds allotted for it from the 2016 budget is fully released.

Macabantog also said that DPWH has already requested for the inclusion of additional funds in the amount of P255 million in the 2017 national budget to fully concretize the remaining 6.5 km unpaved portion of the Dream Road and another P152 million for the construction of five permanent bridges necessary to connect the road.

Plans for the Wao-Maguing road, now jointly constructed by Fiat Construction and CDH Construction, started in the later part of the 1950s when Senator Ahmad Domocao Alonto, Sr. lobbied for the approval of the allotment of funds for the said project when he was a member of the Senate Committee on Public Works and Highways. Because Alonto was not re-elected, the budget was diverted to another province in Mindanao. When his son-in-law, Congressman Mamintal Adiong, Jr., was elected into office, Alonto urged Adiong to continue the plans for the Dream Road.

Adiong died during his second term as governor and the continuation of the Wao-Maguing Road was shelved. His sons, Bombit and Ansaruddin, continued the plan to construct the project when they got elected as governor and congressman respectively.

Governor Bombit Adiong said he was overjoyed seeing the Dream Road becoming a reality in his administration because of the history behind the said project which involved his family. He added that the Wao-Maguing Road shall make it easier for farmers of Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur to sell cheaper fresh agricultural crops to one another thereby enhancing the economy and livelihood opportunities in his province. He also added that monitoring the implementation of his programs in Wao and Amai Manabilang towns would be easier.

Congressman Ansaruddin Adiong said he shall continue doing everything he can for the Dream Road to be fully concrete by 2017 should he win the Lanao del Sur first district congressional seat once more on election day this year.

Mindanao Goldstar Daily

Added value pushed in Northern Mindanao research congress

BusinessWorld Online
Mark D. Francisco
April 1, 2016

Small-scale farmers in Northern Mindanao continue to expand into value-added products as they recognize the need to diversify income sources.

The farmers and agriculture officers of 16 local government units (LGUs) in the region took part in a two-day congress this week on Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR).

Under CPAR, crops and technology packages for making value-added products are introduced to farming communities by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The program was introduced to the farmers in 2005.

At the congress that opened on March 28, the LGUs exhibited their existing processed products from rice, corn, soybean, different potato varieties, and vegetables.

Their goods include food crisps, native cakes, milk, and soap.

There was also a demonstration of potato-based farming systems and an introduction of alternative crop varieties.

DA — Region 10 Director Lealyn A. Ramos said she was elated to see how the communities have developed their own value-added food and non-food products.

“We are backing our farmers up through trainings and support in production, post-harvest, technologies, [and] market linkages, among others,” Ms. Ramos said.

The outstanding farmers groups, agriculture workers, and LGUs were given recognition during the event.

JOBS DRYING UP
Employment in Northern Mindanao’s agriculture sector, which makes up about 23% of the regional economy, has been declining due to the dry weather brought about by El Niño, according to the National Economic and Development Authority in Region 10 (NEDA-10).

In NEDA-10’s latest quarterly report released this week, the number of agriculture workers dropped to 725,000 as of October 2015, fewer by 13% than the year before.

The agriculture sector covers agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing.

Cecilio Y. Clarete, NEDA-10 chief economic development specialist, said the decline could be attributed to the erratic weather phenomenon.

The country’s weather bureau started logging a significant sea surface temperature anomaly in April 2014, and the prevailing El Ninõ is expected to last until the middle of this year.

House OKs tax incentives for 1st time homebuyers




By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 7, 2015 – 12:00am



MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means has approved tax incentives for first-time homebuyers to make homeownership easier and more affordable.



The panel, chaired by Marikina Rep. Romero Federico Quimbo, approved the proposed First-time Homebuyers Act upon the recommendation of the Committee on Housing and Urban Development and the Committee on Appropriations chaired by Rep. Alfredo Benitez of Negros Occidental and Isidro Ungab of Davao City, respectively.



Rep. Arthur Yap of Bohol is the principal author of the proposed law.



The incentives are exemption from payment of transfer tax and a five-percent discount on the cost of a dwelling unit. The seller or developer who gives the discount can claim it as a tax credit for the year it was given.



Yap said his bill aims to enable the government “to achieve its sworn goal to alleviate the condition and welfare of a majority of the Filipino families, especially those who have the basic need for shelter.”



“With this measure, such goal can be partly achieved. It would make it easier and affordable, especially to low and middle income groups, to finally acquire the dream home they may call their own,” he said.




He said his proposed law, if enacted, would not only give first-time homebuyers incentives but would further fuel the construction boom, which would become the catalyst of economic growth and development.



“It would strengthen, promote and support the component activities of housing production and finance. Finally, it would increase private sector participation in the investment of their funds into housing finance, construction and development,” he added.



The measure refers to a “first-time homebuyer” as any person who, for the first time, purchases a house and lot or condominium unit or constructs a house on a land he/she owns and who intends to occupy the same as his/her principal place of residence.



The incentives may be availed of for the purchase of a housing package or the construction of a house falling under the category of low-cost housing and medium-cost housing as determined by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).



The first-time homebuyer would be provided the schedule of payment of installments until full payment of the purchase price.



The bill provides a fine of P5,000 to P50,000 or imprisonment of six months, or both at the discretion of the court, for any person who makes a false claim regarding first-time homeownership and the tax credit arising from it.

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New Singapore service to boost Mindanao tourism

Foreign tourists make up a small percentage of total visitor arrivals in the region, accounting for only about 6% of the 2.29 million recorded in 2014, based on data from the Department of Tourism (DoT).

DoT Regional director Roberto P. Alabado III said the agency is optimistic that the number will increase with the Cebu Air, Inc. unit’s twice-a-week service from the Singapore Changi Airport, which is a major international hub.

The Singapore-Davao route, for which Cebu Pacific launched a service in 2008 but discontinued, is currently covered solely by SilkAir (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, with nine flights a week.

Mr. Alabado said a delegation composed of representatives from the DoT, Davao City Tourism Office, Cebu Air and other private sector tourism stakeholders went to Singapore last week to “update” the Singapore market on Davao Region’s offerings.

“(We) did a product update and introduced to the Singapore business and tourism industry the new (Cebu Pacific) Davao-Singapore (flights) and oriented the Singaporeans what to expect here in Davao City,” Mr. Alabado said.

He said they emphasized the region’s eco-adventure and eco-tourism attractions, including mountain destinations and scuba diving, as well as food and cultural sites.

Mr. Alabado said the agency also received inquiries from private tour operators about halal offerings, which could bring in more Muslim visitors from various parts of Asia.

The DoT official admitted that strictly halal establishments have yet to be identified as they are still waiting for the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) from the National Commission of Muslim Filipinos (NMCF) on proper procedures for halal certification.

However, he stressed: “There are some establishments here that practice halal since 10% of our population here is Muslim,” Mr. Alabado said.

Overall, Mr. Alabado said the agency is optimistic that the additional air services will boost tourism in the region.

“We have created an impact and I hope business-to-business transaction would result to an increase in visitors coming from Singapore,” he said.

At the same time, Mr. Alabado said it is banking on the continued promotion of Davao City as a MICE (meeting, incentive, conference, exhibition) venue to keep visitors coming despite the setback from the still unresolved kidnapping incident in neighboring Samal Island in late September.

“We have to take extra care now on what’s happening. We have talked to the (tourism) properties and resorts, and they said that they were affected by the incident,” he said, noting that local government units and police and military authorities have strengthened security measures in the region.

The DoT, he said, is giving an “extra push” in marketing Davao City and Samal Island, which offers beach destinations that the city does not have, as a combined destination.

“The tourists take faith in our efforts and they continue to come here, and what happened in Samal was just a temporary setback,” he said. — Maya M. Padillo

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