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Thelma Cruz

Thelma Cruz

Roxas vows to modernize fisheries, help fishers

Published in Latest News

(Photo from


CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II vowed that he will take concrete steps to modernize the country’s fisheries system if he is elected in the May 9 national polls.


Roxas shared his plans during the first Presidential Debate organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in cooperation with GMA News and Public Affairs and the Philippine Daily Inquirer held at the Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro City.


He said the first thing he would address would be the reduction of interest rates on loans so fishermen would be able to take home more of their hard-earned cash.


“Nauubos ang kanilang capital, ang kanilang kinikita, sa kababayad ng interest at amortisasyon sa kanilang inuutang,” he told thousands of attendees in the first-ever presidential debate in the country.


“Hindi pa nga sila nagpapalaot, iniutang na nila ang kanilang huhulihin. Kaya ang murang pautang ang isa sa pinakasusi para sa kanilang kaginhawahan,” he added.


Next on Roxas’ agenda is the use of modern tools in fishing to achieve a more efficient harvest.


One of the concrete proposals which he introduced and is now being utilized by fishermen in Dagupan City, Pangasinan is the fish finder, which utilizes global positioning satellite (GPS) technology to increase fishermen’s catch, cutting operational costs and increasing their incomes. This was funded by the Aquino Administration’s Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) program, he said.


“Hindi naaaksaya ang kanilang panahon at pera sa kabibili ng gasolina, derekta sila kung saan 'yung mga isda, nahuhuli nila ito at naibebenta nila ng sariwa pa sa magandang presyo,” Roxas explained.


The veteran lawmaker also put emphasis on the construction of post-catch facilities like chillers and refrigerated vans, which would maintain the freshness of the fishermen’s catch.


“Post-catch facilities, ito ‘yung mga chiller, ito ‘yung mga packaging na mahalaga para mas mataas ang kikitain nila kumpara sa kinikita nila ngayon,” Roxas said. “Sa ngayon, limitado ang kanilang kita dahil nabubulok ang kanilang isda. ‘Pag nagkaroon ng mga post-catch facilities tulad ng mga chiller, tulad ng mga [refrigerated] vans, dadalhin ang kanilang huli sa mga pamilihan, gaganda ang kanilang kita.”


These would be complemented by the implementation of more infrastructure projects so fishermen would be able to bring their harvest to markets, Roxas said.


Gaisano group invades Samar, opens Metro store in Calbayog

Published in Business

CALBAYOG CITY, Samar  Cebu-based Metro Retail Stores Group Inc. (MRSGI) has opened its two-storey store in this city, the company’s first in Samar Island and the 15th hypermarket store in the country.


A retail concept store, Super Metro Calbayog offers the same quality of merchandise, friendly service, competitive and affordable to shoppers in Samar and Northern Samar provinces with that of Metro brands.


“Super Metro is your new one-stop community store carrying a wide assortment of products of the best prices. We have always aspired to make shopping quick, easy and convenient for our customer, thus we have decided to open Super Metro hypermart stores located in community close to our shoppers.” MRSGI chair and chief executive officer Frank Gaisano said.


Gaisano added that aside from building stores, the retail giant also provided livelihood opportunities to communities wherein their stores operate, through “employment opportunities to local residents and giving solutions to daily basic needs at affordable prices.”


MRSGI hired at least 200 locals or 80 percent of Super Metro Calbayog workforce.


“For the past 32 years Metro has been given opportunities to our employees in building their career, there will be many employees in Calbayog that will have enough opportunities to enhance their career they choose to,” said MRSGI president and chief operating officer Arthur Emmanuel.


He also said that the company acknowledged the importance of its employees because without them, there would be no Metro store.


With Super Metro Calbayog, MRSGI has now 47 stores across the country, which include department stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets.


Metro Group has already established a good business relationship in the Visayas, Central Luzon, National Capital Region, Calabarzon, and Bicol region.


Metro’s vision is to become a world-class retail store with the mission to provide quality environment, quality service, and to be responsive to customers’ need anchored on its philosophy of customer centeredness.


The firm’s retail activities typically range from supermarket operations, department store operations, appliances, fine jewelry and pharmacy.


In the meantime, MRSGI chief strategy and governance officer Jonathan Juan Moreno said that Metro considered Calbayog for their expansion project not only for the economic stand points, but as well on good governance.


“I look at Calbayog really as a city that is well ran. Calbayog has been known for its good governance and it was not very difficult for us when the business was made for us to make a decision to come here.” Morena said.


City Mayor Ronaldo Aquino expressed his gratitude to Metro family for bringing their store to the city.


“I can’t hardly find words to say, I couldn’t imagine that this is what Calbayog is today,” Aquino said.


“With Metro Group’s investment in the city, the people here will not only enjoy the luxury of the store but as well an opportunity for employment,” he added.


Under the city’s investment code, Super Metro Calbayog can enjoy a business tax moratorium in the next five years. This is one of the local government’s strategy to attract investors.


The Gaisano stores was established in 1949, when Doña Modesta Gaisano, together with her five sons, set up White Gold Department Store, acknowledged as the premiere retailer of post-war Cebu City.


Upon the demise of Doña Modesta in 1981, the Gaisano siblings moved on and pursued their respective business interests, according to the company’s website.


In 1982, second youngest son Victor Gaisano and his wife Sally, built the first Metro Gaisano Department Store and Supermarket in Colon, Cebu City. They started the business from very humble beginnings with their children, Margaret, Jack, Edward and Frank.


Today, Metro Retail Stores Group has transformed itself into a company encompassing multiple store formats: Metro Department Store, Metro Supermarket, Super Metro Hypermarket; and has grown into a company of over 9,000 employees with 47 stores serving the needs of over 250,000 shoppers a day.

Comelec gun ban violators now at 507 -- PNP

Published in Latest News

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CAMP CRAME, Quezon City — More than 500 persons, some of them policemen and government officials, have been arreste by Philippine National Police (PNP) operatives since an election gun ban was imposed in the country.


Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, PNP spokesman, said 507 persons, mostly civilians, were apprehended for carrying firearms since the implementation of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) gun ban. Those nabbed include 490 civilians, two police officers, four government officials, six security guards, four employees of a law enforcement agency, and two members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit, Mayor said.


Mayor added that the PNP confiscated 304 firearms, 3,028 deadly weapons, 14 grenades, seven other explosives, 12 firearm replicas and 2,995 ammunition.


The gun ban is being implemented by the PNP and other law enforcement agencies in line with the country's national and local elections on May 9. It started on January 10 and will last until June 8.


“[PNP chief], Police Director General Ricardo Marquez, assures that the PNP will remain vigilant in its law enforcement and security operations to ensure safe and fair election,” Mayor said. 


Mayor said that from the 396 arrested on Wednesday, persons who were found carrying firearms increased to 507 during the election gun ban period.


Mayor said 490 of the 507 apprehended are civilians while two are police officers, four are government officials, six are security guards, four are employees of a law enforcement agency and two are members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit.


The officer said the PNP also confiscated 304 firearms, 3,028 deadly weapons, 14 grenades, seven other explosives, 12 firearm replicas and 2,995 ammunitions since January 10.


The election gun ban period started January 10 and will last until June 10.


(Photo from Philippine Star)


SAN FRANCISCO — After a week-long homecoming tour in the Philippines which included visits to Malacanang and Congress, Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach returned to the United States and was mobbed by fans upon her arrival at the San Francisco International Airport.


From the airport, she motored to the Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California before going back to New York.


In Santa Clara, Pia worked as a special correspondent for the syndicated entertainment newsmagazine show “Inside Edition” covering the "Super Bowl 50" with the show’s regular correspondent Megan Alexander.


Top network ABS-CBN covered Pia's arrival in San Francisco reporting that the Filipina-German beauty queen was given a warm welcome by fans at the airport.


Fans literally mobbed Pia as they tried to get a glimpse of her who still looked fabulous after a 12-hour flight from Manila.


On television reports monitored in Manila, even police officers were seen taking photos with Pia.


The Filipina beauty queen arrived in San Francisco via Philippine Airlines Flight PR-104 at around 10 pm.


Jonas Gaffud, Pia's Miss Universe trainer, sent her off at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The mediamen were barred from interviewing her at the airport because they needed prior approval from the Miss Universe Organization (MUO).


Once she is back in New York, she is expected to be deluged with engagements as she continues her reign as Miss Universe.


Manila Bulletin reporter Robert Requintina said Pia vowed to come back in Manila if her tight schedule would permit.


For sure, she is expected to return for the grand coronation night of the 2016 Binibining Pilipinas beauty pageant at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City on April 17.


Pia's appearance on Feb. 7 as the “Inside Edition” special correspondent for Super Bowl 50, the National Football League championship, would be her second appearance in the same magazine show. The first one happened weeks after she was crowned Miss Universe.


A day before she left for New York, Pia made true to her promise to attend the wedding of her close friend, actress Pauleen Luna with actor-television host Vic Sotto.


In her message to Sotto, 61, during the wedding, as reported by GMA News, the beauty queen said: “Please take care of her. I know that she’s very strong and she can take care of herself, but deep inside, there is a fragile heart. So, please take care of our friend. We love her very much, as you do. We’re confident that she’s in very good hands.”


Pia acted as bridesmaid to Luna, 27, during the wedding held at the St. James The Great Parish Church in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.


The Filipino-German beauty queen also had a chance to meet Nicomaine ‘Yaya Dub’ Mendoza of the mega-hit ‘kalye-serye’ aired over of top-rating noontime show Eat Bulaga.


Pia relayed again her gratitude to the legions of AlDub fans who voted for her in the 2015 Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada on Dec. 20, 2015.


“Thank you AlDub fans for supporting me in the Miss Universe pageant,” she said.


In her Instagram post, Pia posted a photo with the newlyweds and captioned it: “And they lived happily ever after.”


While in the Philippines, Pia was honored with parades and programs, including a call on President Aquino in Malacanang and the two houses of Congress where she was awarded citations.

At the Senate, Pia expressed her wish to enter politics someday, a statement which caught Senate President Franklin Drilon flat-footed. Drilon advised her to slow down on her political plans.

Pia had her big moment when she was honored at the Araneta Coliseum with beauty queens in attendance.

In the event, Pia made her victory walk in her royal-blue gown by Albert Andrada, cheered right on by the audience that love her like a sister.


The grand homecoming special show was made more memorable by the presence of past Bb. Pilipinas-Universe winners, except Gloria Diaz, the country’s first Miss Universe (1969), who was reported to be in Japan.


The beauties were led by Margie Moran who last won Miss Universe in 1973, with the 42-year drought broken by Pia, the “confidently beautiful with a heart” after her week-long hectic homecoming.


The original plan was for Gloria and Margie to reenact the crowning of Pia. Only Margie did the honors.


Other beauty queens in the event were former Bb. Pilipinas-Universe beauties were acknowledged on stage, namely: Simonette delos Reyes-Ferraren (1970), Vida Doria-Legaspi (1971), Chiqui Brosas-Hahn (1975), Dang Cecilio-Palanca (1979), Maricar Mendoza-Du (1981), Desiree Verdadero-Abesamis (1984), Joyce Ann Burton-Titular (1985), Gem Padilla-Thomas (1990), Abbygale Arenas-de Leon (1997), Miriam Quiambao-Roberto (1999), Nina Ricci Alagao-Flores (2000), Karen Loren Agustin-Ostrea (2002), Gionna Cabrera (2005), Lia Andrea Ramos-Moss (2006), Bianca Manalo (2009), Venus Raj (2010) and Ara Arida (2013).  


Also present were Jorge Araneta and wife Stella Marquez, Miss Universe Organization (MUO) president Paula Shugart, MUO talent director Esther Swan, Pia’s mom Cheryl Alonzo-Tindall and aunt Olive; and Binibini queens Pia’s batchmates Bea Santiago, Mutya Datul and Cindy Miranda; Lara Quigaman-Alcaraz, Jennette Fernando-Dizon, Lia Andanar-Yu, Issa Gonzales, Gladys Dueñas, Patty Betita, Alma Concecpion, Peachie Sacasas-Alimurung, Denille Valmonte-Valera, Carlene Aguilar-Ocampo, Patricia Fernandez-Garcia, Czarina Gatbonton, Dianne Necio and Kim Suiza.  


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