LUNCH DATE. November 24, Thursday, I was uprooted from solitary confinement from my “WATCH PRESIDENT RODY DUTERTE” war room in Sabasatariv by a lunch date invite in Viking’s at SM Premier in Lanang, Davao City, by daughter Joanna, my Durian Post executive assistant.
The Davao City government is offering more tax incentives to investors locating in new Central Business Districts (CBDs) being developed outside of the congested downtown business districts. The Davao City Investment and Incentive Code has added more tax perks, on top of old incentives, to businesses locating in the developing CBDs in the upland districts of Calinan, Baguio, Paquibato and Marilog, according to Davao City Investment Promotion Center (DCIPC) head Jason Magnaye. Magnaye said the investment and incentive code is undergoing amendments to attract more investors that include tax holidays that could stretch up to as long as five years. He said identified priority areas for investment in the new CBDs are, among others, agri-business, tourism and recreational facilities,telecommunications, reforestation, power generation, light manufacturing and assembly, and property development.
NO MORE WORRIES. Lack of hotel rooms in coming years in Davao City would be no problem with the city’s skylines transformed into a race in construction of skyscrapers like the 35-floor AEON Towers, Mindanao’s tallest, targeted for completion in 2016 to rise in fast-rising busisness district JP Laurel Avenue
BY JOANNA C. BALANZA
Davao City hotels are enjoying 100% occupancy rate as the city celebrates the Kadayawan sa Dabaw Festival, once more proving the tourist-drawing power of the annual festival of tribal culture and tradition, and fruits and flowers. Jason Magnaye, head of the tourism and investment promotions bureau, bared this good news about hotelsbursting at the seams as thousands of tourists come to watch highights of the 27th holding of the Kadayawan, marketed by the city government as a tourist attraction. The Kadayawan, along with the Araw ng Dabaw in March and the Paskuhan sa Dabaw in December, are listed by the Department of Tourism as must-see festivals in the country. DOT regional head Art Boncato earlier predicted about 70,000 tourists would be coming for the event. But Boncato could be referring only to foreign tourists and those coming from Luzon and the Visayas. The Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan (Street Dancing) Competition, on August 17, and the Pamulak (Floral Float Parade) on August 19 are traditional crowd-drawers of the Kadayawn and in previous celebrations lured more than 200,000 watchers lined up along the sidewalks of the city streets passed by participants. The twin major events end up at the Rizal Park fronting City Hall where city officials and guest and thousands more of spectators watch the culminating events. Mayor Sara Duterte has ordered that Kadayawan be celebrated for a month starting August 1, with a series of activities participated in by the private sector.
Dengue has killed 30 by end of July this year, double the number of victims at 16 for the same period last year,
The deadly tropical disease also recorded an alarming number of victims also for the same period downing 3,952 compared to last year’s 478 victims or a 700 percent increase, according to Dr. Josephine Villafuerte, city health officer.
The disease killed 27 people in 2011.
The health officer said the drastic increase can be blamed on global warming or mutation of the dengue virus-carrying mosquito.
She said the increase was not for lack of effort of the health office, which is conducting ongoing community-based campaigns to educate people on prevention and control of the disease.
Mindanaoans are not being left behind by bigtime real estate developers and investors in building high-rise buildings in Davao City.
Joining what is described here as a “race to heaven” is Rosario, Agusan del Sur Mayor Jessie T. Cuyos whose JTC Mining Corporation is behind the almost completed 12-story Skeptron Hotel along the fast-rising J. P. Laurel Avenue business district in Lanang.
Said to cost P1 billion, Cuyos’ hotel was expected to be opened this year.
Skeptron Hotel joins high-rise buildings in Davao City like the 35-storey Aeon Tower purportedly Mindanao’s tallest that would start building this year, and Kukun Hotel also along JP Laurel inside the Abreeza Mall complex.
Also in the planning board are skyscrapers Oroderm Hotel and Avida Tower of Ayala Land which will rise in the old business district of C.M. Recto.
Meanwhile, the Rosario local government will soon have its own home in a P35 million municipal hall that would be built this year, according to assistant municipal planning and development officer Joselito Serrano
Planning and development officer Marianito Bayron is now in the homestretch of finalizing loan agreements with a government financing institution, said Serrano
Agusan del Sur is now enjoying a rush of adrenalin in the march to progress and development as the province’s rich gold deposits inject more vigor to the economy.
Cuyos’JTC Mining and Philsaga Mining, the province biggest mining companies, are playing key factor in the the economic boom.
Cuyos is gearing up his municipality of Rosario for the big game with projects directed at uplifiting the life of his people with strong focus on projects on water systems, irrigation, farm-to-market roads, health and education. Rosario’s barangay lighting program also has already brightened up almost 95 percent of Rosario’s barangays.
Survivors of last year’s tragic flood that killed 34 people in Davao City may no longer fear a similar incident: the Davao City government would soon implement a P20 million housing fund for THE survivors whose houses along the Matina Creek and other affected areas were swept away by the June 29, 2010 floods.
Davao City councilor Arnolfo Cabling said the Davao City Council has approved a P7 million counterpart fund to the P20 million the National Housing Authority (NHA) released for the flood victims.
Two hundred units of low-cost housing at P100,000 each for the surviving families would be built from the fund in the Los Amigos, Tugbok resettlement site of the local government.
On the night of June 29 last year, rampaging waters, dumped by a freak tornado upland of the city, overflowed the Matina Creek, sweeping houses mostly along the bank of the creek.
Thirty four bodies were recovered a day later as Dabawenyos woke up to face up to the worst flooding that hit the city. Three areas—Matina, Bangkal and Talomo— were inundated by the flood that in some areas reached rooftops. The worst hit was Matina.
Two units of high-speed water axis will start ferrying passengers to and from Samal Island after the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) would have approved the franchise to operate of Davao Express Water Taxi Inc.
Company manager Jheannie Lava Callao, said the water taxis would sail off from Sta. Ana Wharf, Sasa Wharf, Lanang and Water Insular Hotel to any point in the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos).
“Hopefully, we will be operational next week,” Callao said.
If the passenger load is good, we will be adding three more units, said Callao of the taxis that run on maximum speedof 22 miles per hour. The company has invested P10 million into the venture, the first of its kind in the country and considered as “pioneering investment” by the Board of Investments.
BADJAO coin diver at Sta. Ana Wharf in Davao City. The seafaring Badjaos have become a tourism of sorts at the government facility.
BY JOANNA C. BALANZA
The Davao City government has put on hold a plan to develop the Sta. Ana wharf as a tourist haven after the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) refused to give the local government full control and management of the government facility.
A DREAM CONCEPT for Sta. Ana Wharf as a major tourist destination
But Mayor Sara Duterte said she is submitting a new proposed Memorandum of Agreement to PPA after the agency rejected a City Hall proposal to solely manage the wharf.
PPA and City Hall presently co-manages the facility that is eyed to be developed into a tourist attraction.
A foreign investor from Hongkong earlier had expressed interest in building a marina in the wharf located in Sta. Ana district.
The Chinatown Development Council also earlier said it was interested in developing the 8-hectare property into a Chinese-inspired tourism complex.
Despite the rejection by PPA of the City Hall proposal to have sole management right, Mayor Duterte said the local government is still inviting investors to pour funding for development of the wharf under the concept of a Public-Private Partnership.
We will make this project a joint venture undertaking by the local government, PPA and investors, she said.
Who says Davao City would be lacking in hotel rooms?
Not Mayor Sara Duterte.
Mayor Duterte has expressed elation at reports three more hotels are abuilding in the city, as hotels here groan from high occupancy rates.
In what is seen as added entries to the city’s “hotel boom.” three more new hotels would be rising up in two years—Kukun Hotel of Ayala, Park Hotel of Radison, and Tune Hotel of the Red Planet and Air Asia consortium.
Some say we lack hotel rooms. Now we have these, said Mayor Duterte.
The number of tourist arrivals in Davao City this year could potentially reach the one million mark in a few years based on annual growth rate of 10 percent.
Figures for 2010 showed tourist arrivals of about 683,000. The volume placed Davao City in the 6th slot of most favored tourist destinations in the country.
Comparatively, first quarter volume this year showed 370,000 visitors up 10 percent for the same period in 2010 numbering 335,000.
If the increase rate is persistent throughout the year at ten percent, Davao City potentially have been visited by yearend by more than 700,000.
Final year-ender tallies are not yet in but Davao City Tourism and Investment Promotions Office (DCTIPO) chief Jason Magnaye is jubilant at the figures, confident that 2011 could be a bigger year for local tourism compared to 2010.
THE SUN IS ALWAYS RISING GLOWINGLY for Davao City through a flood of investments and growing tourist volumes, and the latest, the honor of being picked as one of the fastest growing cities in the world.
BY JOANNA C. BALANZA
Tourism promotions players are bringing their campaign right in the heart of China with giant billboards in Beijing’s metro subway stations in winter when Chinese look for refuge as tourists in other countries to escape the harsh weather.
The huge billboards would be erected in the central business districts from December 5 to 30.
“Davao joins Cebu and Boracay as featured sun, and and sea destinations in the Philippines during winter time in Beijing,” said Art Boncato, regional director of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Davao Region.
The campaign comes as Davao City pumps more energy in its tourism campaign to get a crack at growing tourist arrivals with a special eye on Chinese tourists.
Middle of this year, Chinese travel writers wrote glowing features about the city in Chinese newspapers, after a tour here organized by the tourism department and the local government.
The number of Chinese tourists is the fastest growing outside of tourists from Europe and the US breaching the 50 million mark this year from a low of 9 million ten years ago.