Wednesday, December 20, 2006


RP-US friendship photo caravan at Main Lib

December 17-23, 2006 issue - Dumaguete MetroPost

Silliman University is one of only two universities in the Visayas tapped by the United States Embassy to host the “Partnership at 60: Photo Caravan on 60 Years of RP-US Friendship”.

The exhibit was launched on December 7, with guests coming from different schools in Dumaguete City and other sectors. It is open for public viewing until December 20.

Partnership at 60: Photo Caravan on 60 Years of RP-US Friendship is a six month traveling photo exhibit that showcases a unique collection of photos and memorabilia (facsimile) items depicting dynamic bilateral relations and people-to-people exchanges for the last 60 years between the Philippines and the US. It seeks to give students and the public at large an opportunity to understand the evolution of the Philippine-American relations.

The photos and key memorabilia items in the exhibit have been carefully selected by the Creative Committee of the Task Force on the Office of the American Affairs, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the National Historical Institute, the Department of Foreign Affairs Foreign Service Institute, and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. This committee was established through Administrative Order No. 152, signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on May 26, 2006, “Designating the Department of Foreign Affairs to Take the Lead in the Planning, Coordination, Implementation and Conduct of Programs and Activities in Commemoration of the Philippine-American Friendship Day”.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Dumaguete's OTOP

FROM THE STANDS By Domini M. Torrevillas
Publication Date: [Thursday, September 14, 2006]

I must confess I felt surprised that 1) the Department of Trade’s One Town, One Product-Philippines program does not only mean delicacies, garments, leather shoes, baskets and furniture and shellcraft, but also information technology; that 2) Dumaguete City’s OTOP is educational institutions that serve the needs of business process outsourcing, and that 3) Dumaguete does not only mean Silliman University but has other learning facilities that offer quality education.

Perhaps it was sheer loyalty that made me think only Silliman made Dumaguete a university town. A recent visit to Dumaguete opened my eyes to the presence of other educational institutions that could boost the possibility of the city’s becoming the technological center in Region 8.

OTOP-Philippines is a priority program of President Macapagal-Arroyo to promote entrepreneurship and create jobs. Through OTOP, local executives of each city and municipality take the lead in identifying, developing, and promoting a specific product or service which has a competitive advantage. OTOP supports micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to manufacture, offer, and market distinctive products or services through the use of indigenous raw materials and local skills and talents.

Carissa Cruz, undersecretary for regional operations of the Department of Trade, has been actively working on the implementation of OTOP, traveling to many parts of the country to meet with local executives and look at their product offerings. A trade fair held at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong recently displayed the OTOP products of Luzon.

DTI Provincial (Neg. Or.) Director Javier Fortunato Jr. and two assistants, Araceli Maypa and Tammy Sevilla, took me to heads of four institutions in Dumaguete on whose grounds I had never stepped before. First stop was the 4.9 hectare main campus of Negros Oriental State University in Bajumpandan within the city. (The other 5-7 hectare campus is in Pamplona, a few kilometers away from the city.)

Henry A, Sojor, Ph.D., university president, traced the history of the institution, from its opening by the Philippine Legislature in 1927, to its conversion into the East Visayas School of Arts and Trades (EVSAT) in 1956, then to the Central Visayas Polytechnic College in 1983, and finally to the Negros Oriental State University in 2004.

The biggest in Negros Oriental with an 18,000 college student population, Sojor slowly phased out the elementary and high school levels to focus on higher education. He said the big enrolment is in account of new courses such as geothermal engineering, its graduates topping engineering board exams, the university’s being a pioneer as an internet service provider in the province, and its status as SUC Level 4. It is no secret that NORSU’s tuition fees are very low compared with those of other institutions.

NORSU offers the only bachelor’s degree in geology in the province, and has just opened degrees in accounting, nursing, and law. It has colleges for agriculture and fishery, arts and sciences, business and accountancy, engineering and architecture, industrial technology, maritime education, and technical education. It offers doctoral and master’s degrees as well as evening vocational opportunity classes and a continuing education extension program.

NORSU’s graduates easily find employment after graduation, many of them in Manila and at Cebu’s export processing zone because of lack of job opportunities in Dumaguete which has a few hotels and banks. Fortunato of DTI expressed excitement over the coming of multinational information technology companies to the city that will be hiring globally competitive graduates.

Already, SPI, a business process outsourcing company, has established its offices at the outskirts of Dumaguete, employing 700 copy editors to go over technical/scientific journals of foreign-based publishing companies. Fortunato said 99 per cent of SPI copy editors are graduates of the city’s schools. The DTI executive was able to draw SPI to the city two years ago and he is likely to attract more investors, among them possibly call centers.

A rich source of employees for the multinational outsourcing companies is Foundation University, which offers over 60 specialized higher education areas of study, including information and computer science. It was established in 1949 by its founder and first president, Dr. Vicente Guzman Sinco, a former president of the University of the Philippines, one time Philippine commissioner of foreign affairs, and a signer of the United Nations Charter.

The university received a national award from the Commission on Higher Education in the 2006 Best Student Services Competition as the Best in Student Development for Academic Year 2006-2007. In addition to 20 undergraduate courses, four graduate offerings, four postgraduate courses and non-degree courses, it has retained its kindergarten, elementary and secondary schools.

Foundation University has a competitive advantage with its Cisco Networking Academy Program. From the worldwide leader in networking for the internet, Cisco Systems teaches designing, building and maintaining computer networks to the university’s high school, college students and professionals. It uses the latest methods in information technology and virtual classroom of the future.

Still another feather in the university’s cap is its strategic partnership with Entheos IT, Inc., which provides exhaustive training for medical transcriptionists.

St. Paul University, founded in 1904, is the first of 36 educational institutions owned and administered by the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres in the country. A co-educational institution offering doctoral, masteral and undergraduate courses, its biggest enrolment, understandably because of the big demand for nurses, is in its nursing department. More students are now taking up computer science and information technology.

The head of the university, Sister Maria Nilda Masirag, said emphasis is being given to students’ competency in English, and tutorial classes are held towards that end. That’s a good move, as outsourcing companies require mastery of the English language.

Our fourth stop, the Colegio de Santa Catalina de Alejandria, was opened in 1959 by the Most Reverend Epifanio B. Surban, D.D., the first bishop of Dumaguete. It was named after the patron saint of the Diocese of the city. Today the Colegio, popularly called COSCA, is wrapped around the back of the Roman Catholic cathedral, offering 15 courses, and strong in midwifery, hotel and restaurant management, criminology, education, and management.

The president, Father Enrique N. Balongag, told us of the school’s strict entrance requirements. Applicants must pass a qualifying exam and English proficiency test (an enrolled student who fails in his English course must take English-0), and accepted students must take a test in religion (failure means taking a remedial course).

Assuming office only last month, Father Balongag and the new management team have noted a "mismatch between what the institution truly is and what the institution is actually doing." Courses and training for instance, did not address the core purpose for which the institution was established i.e. service to the local community.

The institution’s new direction covers evangelization through catechesis, as well as technical assistance through technological training of its technical formation and human resource formation.

COSCA will not be left behind in the frenzied educational institutions’ race towards preparing their students for employment in five-star establishments. Right now, its hotel and restaurant management majors are taking their practicum in Malaysia and Hongkong.

I did not have to be taken to Silliman to experience the excellence of its IT systems. (My loyalty to my alma mater remains.) But together, Silliman University, Foundation University, Negros Oriental State University, St. Paul University, and the Colegio de Santa Catalina de Alejandria are honing their students’ thinking, writing and oral skills to contribute to the completion of the city’s One Town, One Project image.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Arnaiz is top RP Gov

December 3-9 2006 issue – Dumaguete MetroPost

Gov. George P. Arnaiz on Wednesday received the prestigious “Most Outstanding Governor” award during the 2006 Local Government Leadership Awards (LGLA) ceremony held at the Philippine Senate. Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. handed the award.

The Award rites coincided with the anniversary of the enactment of the 1991 Local Government Code. The other awardees are Surigao City Mayor Alfonso Casuiarra as “Most Outstanding City Mayor” and Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn as “Most Outstanding Municipal Mayor.”

The LFLA recognizes deserving local elected officials who have shown exemplary leadership traits, innovativeness, good governance practices and made substantial contributions in improving the quality of lives of their constituents. There are three categories: Most Outstanding Governor, Most Outstanding City Mayor, and Most Outstanding Municipal Mayor. Awardees receive a plaque of appreciation and Php1000,000.00 cash grant.

Instituted in 2002, through the efforts of Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Father of the Local Government Code of 1991, the awards are given by a consortium of government agencies and the Philippines’ top academic institutions. At the forefront of this prestigious award-giving body is the Center for Local and Regional Governance (CLRG) of the University of the Philippines’ National College of Public Administration and Governance. This year’s expanded National Selection Committee (NSC) includes distinguished members from the academe, government, business, media and civil society.

The partner institutions forming the awards consortium include De La Salle University-Manila, Development Academy of the Philippines, and the DILG’s Local Government Academy.

In receiving his award, Gov. Arnaiz said he “humbly accepts this award on behalf of the 1.2 Million Oriental Negrenses whose abiding faith in our leadership has inspired us to explore new pathways of development and to move forward with confidence and a firm determination to make a difference in their lives.”

He added that the field of local governance has never failed to excite him. “Everyday offers new challenges and endless opportunities to better the lives of our people. We are fortunate to have been given this privilege to serve and in the process recognized for our efforts,” Arnaiz said.

Among the LGLA’s roster of previous awardees were Bulacan Governor Josefine Dela Caruz, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, Iligan City Mayor Franklin Quijano, Conception-Iloilo Mayor Raul Banias (2002); Governor Loreto Leo Ocampos, Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., and Pamgil-Laguna Mayor Sergio Manzana (2003).


Negros Oriental cookbook eyed

By Victor L. Camion
November 5, 2006 issue- Sun Star Dumaguete

GOVERNOR George Arnaiz said he looks forward to Negros Oriental having its own cookbook containing local and native menus.

Arnaiz issued this statement after the success of the two-day 1st Grand Cookfest dubbed "Lutong Garbo sa Oriental Negros" at the height of the Buglasan Festival on October 26 and 27.

On opening day, the governor encouraged local cooks to prepare local and native dishes that are

Unique to the province.

Sylvia Uy, vice chairman of the Oriental Negros Tourism Council (ONTA), said the winners of the cookfest could now start their own food business.

Uy said right after the contest, participants had started receiving orders.

Due to the success of the contest, ONTA plans to organize another competition, this time on Negros Oriental beverages in the next Buglasan Festival.

The Spicy Cardisoma of the municipality of Sibulan lorded over the 15 menu-entries in the cook fest held at Negros Oriental High School gymnasium.

Ginataang Steamed Chicken of Bacong won second prize followed by Ginataang Pasayan of Amlan.

First placer cook, Angelita Licerio of Sibulan, received P10,000. Ma. Victoria Morallo of Bacong, P5, 000, and Lucena Sedillo of Amlan, P3, 000.

The winners also received gift pack and a trophy each.

The Board of Judges was composed of culinary experts Michaela "Micky Fenix" Macabenta, Pinoy food columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer; Patricia T. Chiong Sr., vice president for administration of the Philippine Air Lines; and Jessica Avila, proprietor of Chika-an Restaurant in Cebu City.


Or Neg allots P22M, for track oval

October 29, 2006 issue – MetroPost Dumaguete

SAY GOODBYE to dust and dirt at the Perdices Coliseum soon. The provincial government has scheduled bidding on November 7 for the installation of rubberized track oval.

This major upgrade, estimated to cost around P22 million, will put the facility at oar with world-class track ovals in Bacolod, Cebu, Manila, Cabanatuan, and Iligan, to name a few.

The amount for the rubberized track oval will be taken from a loan made by the provincial government with the Development Bank of the Philippines.

Gov. George Arnaiz said the improvement of the track oval is in line with the construction of the Provincial Convention Center. “This is for the people. It’s a multi-purpose structure. We also want to address the shortage of hotel rooms and convention facilities with the construction of this Convention Center,” he said in a telephone interview.

The pre-bidding for the rubberized track oval was held last Thursday, October 27, 2006, which was attended by three prospective bidders.

But one bidder was reported to have complained that the specifications for the project favored and particular suppliers and excluded suppliers of pre-fabricated track ovals.

Lawyer Ismael Martinez, provincial general services officer, said the specifications set by Bids and Awards Committee are justifiable and above-board.

He said the BAC has decided to use the “wet-poured” material instead of the pre-fabricated material, whose supplier quoted a price that was much higher than the approved budget of P22 million.

Provincial Engineer Susano Ruperto, who is also a member of the BAC, said that there was nothing irregular with their decision to select the “wet-poured” material. “Anyone, even the supplier of the pre-fabricated material, is free to quote a price for the wet-poured technology for the rubberized track.”

“In the end, it is the choice and prerogative of the end-user that will prevail,” Martinez said. “We decided that while the pre-fabricated rubberized track oval may offer the best technology, it is not within our price range, so we chose the technology that will fit our budget,” headed.

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