Martes, Marso 13, 2018


ASEAN tourism seminar tackles accessibility for PWDs

DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon (center) together with DOT-OIMD Dir. Nelly Nita Dillera (left), and ASEAN-Japan Dir. Vathooniyom Douangmala (right), with representatives from Japan, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

MANILA – Creating a barrier-free travel experience for persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the Philippines was the focal point of the of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Japan Accessible Tourism Seminar hosted recently by the Department of Tourism (DOT), together with the ASEAN-Japan Centre and the National Council on Disability, at the Manila Diamond Hotel.

Seminar participants observed that hospitality services for PWDs are often overlooked by establishments causing hindrances during travel because of limited facilities – from sidewalks, ramps, wheelchair-lifts for cars, to bathrooms, and toilets, including audio and visual guides.

In response the issues, ASEAN member states have started creating facilities and identifying infrastructures to be developed in order to provide better accessibility and reduce barriers for PWDs.

“The Philippines has always been very supportive and now more than ever vigilant in its promotion of the principles of ‘Tourism for All,’ promoting universal accessibility,” said DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Development Planning Benito C. Bengzon, Jr., in his keynote speech. 

During the seminar, representatives from Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines presented technological and infrastructure advances, and barrier-free tour products specifically designed for wheelchair-users, and visually and hearing-impaired travelers, as well as the areas of improvement in the said aspects.

The seminar also tackled the need for sign-language trained personnel in tourism establishments to accommodate hearing-impaired travelers, in addition to creating more PWD-friendly communication aides.  
Among the identified areas of focus in providing accessibility to PWDs are transportation, lodging, and architecture, as well as communication aides.

Raising awareness on PWD challenges and advocating for their inclusion in travel destinations are the premier goals of accessible tourism, noted Bengzon.

The DOT official also said personnel training for establishments and development of programs in consultation with the PWD communities were also promoted in order to eradicate discrimination towards PWDs and level their inclusion in travel privileges with the rest of the population.

Martes, Enero 30, 2018

Chinese Influx Expected With The Chartered Flight In The Philippines

 Chinese to come in droves with new air routes to PHL

The Philippines stands to gain in the influx of more Chinese visitors with the first-ever direct charter flight from Xiamen (XMN), a coastal city in Fujian Province of China to Puerto Princesa City (PPS), Palawan starting next month.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) paved the way for the creation of the XMN-PPS route which will be launched by February 10 by C&D Travel Service China, a charter operator based in Xiamen, with Philippine Airlines (PAL) as the partner carrier.

“We continue to welcome more Chinese tourists to the country as part of the improved diplomatic relationship between Manila and Beijing since President Rodrigo Duterte's state visit to China last year,” said DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo.

Regular operations will ensue on February 14 and 18, which will accommodate more visitors from mainland China.

PAL will be utilizing an Airbus A320 with an estimated 160 dual class seat passenger capacity for the said charter flight.

“Just for starters, the new route will produce a total of 480 international air seats just for that period alone. This is on top of the other new routes that Chinese carriers have opened up direct to other tourist destinations in the Philippines last year,” said Benito Bengzon, Jr.,  DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Development.

Bengzon went on to say, “Another new route from China that our Route Development Team is working on is the Tiajin (TJN)-Puerto Princesa (PPS) also in time for the Chinese New Year. The development of new routes is in consonance with our National Tourism Development Plan’s strategy to improve air connectivity from major tourist source markets to the Philippines.”

To meet the growing demand of Chinese visitors to come to Boracay, Xiamen Airlines earlier this month mounted its direct air commercial services from Fuzhou (FOC), China to Kalibo, Aklan (KLO) using Airbus A321 with 197 seat passenger capacity on a three times weekly frequency.

The said new route was launched last January 12 by Xiamen Airlines with Uni-Orient Travel (PHL) as its major partner.

China, which is the second largest source market of the country following Korea, produced 968,447 tourist arrivals from January to December last year. It is a huge growth of 43.33% from the 2016 Chinese arrivals of 675,663.

DOT Route Development Team Head Erwin Balane added that the new FOC-KLO route will produce up to 591 international air seats bound for the Philippines per week or a total of 30,732 seats per year. (VerGarciaBlogs)

Sabado, Enero 13, 2018

Bloggers Association of the Philippines: PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT TO SAVE BORACAY ISLAND.. A T...

Bloggers Association of the Philippines: PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT TO SAVE BORACAY ISLAND.. A T...: DOT, DENR Join Forces To ‘Save’ Boracay Island   DENR Secretary Cimatu (center) challenged all local tourism stakeholders, incl...


DOT, DENR Join Forces To ‘Save’ Boracay Island

DENR Secretary Cimatu (center) challenged all local tourism stakeholders, including hoteliers and travel operators, to actively participate in preserving the natural beauty of Boracay.

Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores (left) together with DOT Secretary Teo and DENR Secretary Cimatu addressing the pressing concerns of the island like offshore pollution and lack of proper sewerage system.

“We can only maintain Boracay’s picture perfect qualities if we can strictly enforce responsible tourism. It’s the only way we can support a sustainable and inclusive tourism program,” DOT Secretary Teo said.

Bird's eye view: Aerial inspection of Boracay Island giving the Cabinet members a better perspective of its overcrowding and over-development concerns.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) today embarked on a joint effort to save Boracay Island, Aklan Province from continuous destruction.

DOT Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu took off on an aerial survey of the world-renowned island, which is fast losing the balance between environmental conservation and tourism development.

The two Cabinet officials later presided over a multi-sectoral meeting, including the island’s tourism stakeholders, to address pressing concerns about on and offshore pollution, brought about by waste disposal.

“It’s a shame that Boracay, which has repeatedly been recognized by prestigious travel magazines as the World’s Most Beautiful Island, may yet end up a paradise lost if water contamination continues,” Teo said.

International visitors flock to Boracay for sun and beach holiday, water sports, scuba diving all year round totaling two million, contributing nearly P50 billion in annual receipts. It has also become a frequent luxury cruise ship destination.

The 10.32 square-kilometer island paradise is nestled between the Sulu Sea and the Sibuyan Sea, comprised by three barangays Yapak, Bulabog, and Manok-Manok belonging to the municipality of Malay, Aklan and with an aggregate population of 34,000.  

Teo blamed the lack of proper sewerage system, as well as a number of business establishments that tap and dispose their waste through the rainwater drainage system all the way to the sea.

Another major problem that prompted the on-site meeting is the alarming recurrence of flooding in most parts of the Boracay tourist hub, particularly the flash flooding that occurred during the typhoon Urduja last December 18.

Meanwhile, TIEZA (Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Authority), DOT’s infrastructure arm, will pour in Php 400 million more to the ongoing drainage project valued at Php716 million.  Phase II is aimed at alleviating heavy flooding in said area.

Cimatu disclosed he had called the attention of Malay Mayor Ciceron Cawaling regarding the worsening garbage problem.

Cawaling, along with Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores, urged the Duterte administration to provide more funds.

“We appeal to both Secretaries to adopt Boracay,” Miraflores urged the Cabinet officials.

In reaction, Teo and Cimatu disclosed that an Executive Order drafted by an inter-agency committee will be submitted to President Duterte to address once and for all the serious problems besetting Boracay. The inter-agency committee will include other government agencies crucial to Boracay, primarily Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Teo said the list of over 100 establishment violators will be divulged soon while Cimatu vowed to conduct an individual inspection of their sewer facilities.

Other problems tackled during the meeting include the impact of overcrowding and overdevelopment where beachfront establishments have extended too close to the shore.

“We can only maintain Boracay’s picture perfect qualities if we can strictly enforce responsible tourism. It’s the only way we can support a sustainable and inclusive tourism program,” Teo added.

Cimatu challenged all local tourism stakeholders, including hoteliers and travel operators, to actively participate in preserving the natural beauty of Boracay. (VerGarciaBlogs)


Manggagawa ng Sci-Tech Firms sa CALABARZON, Gagawing Regular 
 By: Abegail De Vega

May 750 mangggagawa ng iba’t ibang technology firm sa CALABARZON ang gagawing regular matapos makitaan ang kanilang employer ng paglabag sa karapatan ng manggagawa para sa seguridad sa kanilang trabaho.

Sa magkahiwalay na compliance order na inisyu ng DOLE-Regional Office 4A, may tatlong technology company na naka-base sa Laguna– Cirtek Advanced Technologies Solutions Inc., Du Pont Far East Inc., at Fuji Electric Philippines Inc. ang inatasan na gawing regular ang 737 manggagawa matapos na mapatunayan na sila ay nagpapatupad ng labor-only contracting.

Nakita ang paglabag ng kompanya matapos ang sunod-sunod na inspeksiyon na isinagawa ng compliance officer noong nakaraang taon. Ilan sa mga paglabag ang kakulangan ng sapat na kapital sa bahagi ng contractor dahil ang mga kagamitan at kasangkapan ng principal ang ginagamit ng empleyado sa trabahong ikinontrata sa kanila.

Ang principal din ang nangangasiwa at namamahala sa pagtupad ng gawain ng mga dineploy na manggagawa, at kasamang nagtatrabaho ng mga regular na empleyado ng principal at ginagampanan din ang parehong tungkulin na may direktang kaugnayan sa pangunahing negosyo ng principal.

Kabilang sa mga natuklasan ang hindi pagsunod sa Occupational Safety and Health Standards dahil walang balidong lisensiya ang tatlong principal na magpatakbo ng mechanical at electrical equipment.

Wala ding balidong fire safety inspection certificates ang Cirtek Advanced Technologies Solutions Inc. at Fuji Electric Philippines Inc.

Ang Cirtek Advanced Technologies and Solutions Inc. ay isang manufacturing solutions partner para sa telecommunications, satellite communications, at semiconductor test boards samantalang ang Du Pont Far East Inc. ay isang science-driven innovation firm na nagre-repake ng fungicides, herbicides, at insecticides.

Ang Fuji Electric Philippines Inc. ay isang Japanese electronic firm na gumagawa ng power semiconductors at iba pang mahahalagang electronic devices na ginagamit sa industrial equipment, automobiles, information equipment, at new energy.

Inatasan din ng DOLE ang Viewers Mobile Inc., isang mobile provider na naka-base sa Lucena City, Quezon, na bayaran ang benepisyo ng kanilang manggagawa matapos na makitaan na hindi nila ibinibigay sa kanilang mga manggagawa ang benepisyong itinakda ng batas sa ilalim ng general labor standards batay sa pagtatasa ng LLCO. (VerGarciaBlogs)

Martes, Disyembre 19, 2017

 Two POEA domain names violate PH government Internet domain policy—Lilac Center

Many may not have noticed it, but the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), may be in violation of the government’s Internet domain names policy by registering not one, but two, critical programs that impinges on the privacy of OFWs.

This was the observation of the Lilac Center for Public Interest, Inc. (Lilac Center) which recently called on the DOLE to be transparent by making public the individual/s under whose name/s the and are registered.

The is the Internet site of the Balik-Manggagawa Online Processing Center which facilitates the issuance of overseas employment certificates (OECs) to returning OFWs, while the is the Internet portal of the controversial OFW ID Card. Both Internet portals collect, access, use, disclose, or process private OFW data or information.  

In a media release, Nicon F. Fameronag, president of the Lilac Center, warned OFWs that their privacy might be compromised when using the two portals.

“By their domain names, .ph shows it is for commercial use and its registrar is a private businessman, hence, for profit, while the domain is solely for registration of Philippine government agencies.

“The government’s Internet domain names policy requires subsidiaries, attached agencies, and non-autonomous components of top-level entities to register their domain names under They are not eligible to register separately,” Fameronag said.

The domain is delegated from the root authority to the Department of Science and Technology’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI). On the other hand, the .ph domain name is administered by dotPH Domains Inc., owned by businessman José Emmanuel "Joel" Disini, chief executive officer. This company also holds and maintains the database of domain names, and

This being the case, the Lilac Center official said whoever owns the domain names and—(and surely, it is not the POEA,” said Fameronag)—could have access to valuable private data of five million or more OFWs. He expressed fear that the person or persons who had registered the two domain names and who administer the two portals could have already accessed OFW data and used them improperly.

“Without us knowing who have access to sensitive OFW data and what security guarantees there are for their processing, OFWs face the very real danger of their personal information being stolen or worse, used for sinister purposes,” Fameronag explained.

This is possible, he said, because dotPH Domains, Inc. has developed the so-called Shared Registry System (SRS) which enable domain name registrars and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to manage domains and accept registrations on their own websites by connecting to the dotPH registry backend.

“There is a module that downloads and installs on servers actual communication with the registry backend, accepts online credit card payments, and hosts websites,” Fameronag said.

Finally, the former DOLE executive said that because the two POEA portals engage in the collection, access, use, disclosure, or other appropriate processing of private data or information, the servers being used by these online sites should be governed by Republic Act No. 10173, otherwise known as the Data Privacy Act of 2012, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.

He also said unsuspecting OFWs can be attracted to use the portals and because these display and contain official POEA and DOLE logos.

“Is there an agreement between the DOLE and the POEA for the private owners of and for the use by the latter of official government logos or icons?” Fameronag said, as he urged Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III to investigate the matter. (VGarciaBlogs)

Lunes, Nobyembre 27, 2017



Photo courtesy by Intramuros Administration.
A design thinking collaboration between Inteligencias Colectivas, Intramuros Administration , Design Center of the Philippines paves way for a sustainable transformation of food carts and stalls in Intramuros Photo courtesy of Intramuros Administration. Food carts and stalls in Intramuros are about to get redesigned as “Rolling Manila!” beginning November 15, paving the way for a research on street food peddling in the historical Walled City and the subsequent improvement of these street food stalls using sustainable designs made possible through the ACERCA Program of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and in collaboration with the Intramuros Administration and the Design Center of the Philippines.

In the heart of Manila, Intramuros is one of the nerve centers of the Philippines. The weight of history that it carries and the cultural points of interest that it shelters within its walls coexist with the influx of both local and foreign tourists, a growing commercial activity, the presence of public institutions, private businesses and universities, the proximity of the gigantic port of the megacity and the desire to turn itself into a true hub for promoting the creative and cultural sectors of the country.

Intramuros is all of this and much more. Its urban space is filled with hawkers’ stalls that define a distinctive style of settling the street. The vendors whether or not officially registered as such, represent a unique collective composed mainly of women (69%) with years of experience (50 to 60 years of age) that manages a homey modus vivendi, more often stationary than itinerant. Despite being a living treasure of the other side of Manila, the real one or the one that is not mentioned in tourist guides,- like in other capitals in the world – belittled.

Aware of the importance of socially accommodating this collective of itinerant vendors and the possibility of contributing to it through cultural cooperation initiatives, the Spanish Cooperation, through the ACERCA Program of AECID, has enthusiastically welcome the “Rolling Manila” project of ZOOHAUS, which for two weeks will design strategies that will demonstrate the human heritage of the network physically improving the food carts to make them more attractive and effective as well as making them more visible for visitors to get acquainted with them.

The project recommends a process of enhancement of the vendors in Intramuros as human heritage, working with them in terms of how to include them in the tourism context as well as promoting the local culture through people and what they know to do.

ZOOHAUS is set to collaborate with the Intramuros Administration (IA) and the Design Center of the Philippines for the “Rolling Manila” project to support IA and Design Center’s joint goal of developing a creative cluster in Intramuros. The active partnership between the three agencies explores Intramuros as a laboratory for creating design strategies that will effectively work for the upliftment of the Filipino street food vendors collective as well as reflecting a gastronomic culture that is distinctively Filipino. Moreover, the vision of the creative collaboration is in line with the development plans for the Philippine creative economy.

Intramuros Administration will make available to Zoohaus all the means at its disposal in order to carry out a thorough research on the practical needs of the itinerant vendors, such as location mapping of the street vendors within Intramuros, and engagement of the street food vendors into the project.


Seeing how the project necessitates a design research process, Design Center of the Philippines prepared curated food and design tours around Manila to provide Zoohaus an immersion to Intramuros and its history, Philippine street food culture, and the design and built environment. Also part of the design research process are interaction and visits to tricycle manufacturers and Sarao factory for a deeper understanding of the city’s landscape and transportation system; and visits to Divisoria, Tondo, Quiapo, and Recto for sourcing of possible materials for the redesigned food carts.

Design Center also tapped cultural heritage conservation expert Associate Professor Eric Zerrudo to discuss the significance of Cultural Heritage mapping as a tool in recognizing, understanding, and planning the future use of Intramuros cultural assets; and Chef Claude Tayag to share an overview of the Filipino gastronomic culture.

At the same time, the tours around Manila allows Zoohaus to see the food carts the vendors built themselves in its natural, dynamic environment, which will provide information on the very context in which they are set, and lends the design process the necessary context. Unraveling these devices, “Rolling Manila!” will allow the discovery of some aspects of the socio-economic reality of this area in Manila, its industry and resources, the form of settling the public space of the city and other elements.

ZOOHAUS will share their techniques and expertise with designers from the Design Center to improve and modernize these stalls on wheels using designs and objects that may increase their effectiveness and enhance its attractiveness to visitors.
 A prototype of redesigned carts

The prototyping of the redesigned carts and stalls will also be done in partnership with Escuela Taller de Filipinas and student observers from the Lyceum of the Philippines University. At the end of the project, a map will be developed to further put in context the food culture and assets within the walls of Intramuros and a new experiential dimension. The public display and conference on the redesigned carts and stalls will be on 29 November 2017 at 10:00 AM in Plaza Sto. Tomas, Intramuros.             


ZOOHAUS is a platform for networking that came into being in 2007, combining the interests of different agents linked to the fields of architecture and urban planning. Since 2009, ZOOHAUS has set up INTELIGENCIAS COLECTIVAS, an open online platform and a free of charge database that collects skills classified as related to traditional construction and urban practice. The research as well as the design and construction work of INTELIGENCIAS COLECTIVAS is always carried out with local agents through workshops and construction of prototypes.

ZOOHAUS has been awarded in several competitions, placing second and receiving a secondary award in EUROPAN IX, aside from garnering the first prize in URBANACCIÓN organized by the foundation La Casa Encendida in Madrid as well as the Arquia/Próxima Award in 2013. It was also a finalist in the XII Spanish Architecture Biennial, selected by the VIII Ibero-american Architecture and Urban Planning Biennial. ZOOHAUS has also received the Karl Brunner Prize in the urban planning design category during the XXIII Architecture Biennial in Colombia, the VIII Architecture Biennial in the Caribbean and the XI Architecture Biennial in the Dominican Republic. In 2013 and 2014, ZOOHAUS formed part of the project and exhibit “Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities", curated by Pedro Gadanho at the MoMa in New York and at MAK in Vienna.


The Design Center of the Philippines is the leading agency committed to cultivating a culture that thrives in creativity, value creation, and innovation. The enhanced role of the Design for the creative economy is the fruit of the Philippine Design Competitive Act of 2013 (also known as Republic Act 10557). Its mandate is to promote design to:

● Improve the creative branding and competitiveness of quality Filipino products in the global market.
● Create value for Filipino products through strategic development and sustainable economic growth. ● Enhance quality of life through innovation The Design Center teams up with the Intramuros.

Administration in various projects aimed at reviving the Walled City of Intramuros, and developing it into a creative hub, where its historical, cultural, and relatively young human assets are leveraged on for urban development. Aside from Rolling Manila, Design Center and IA worked hand in hand in staging open houses, design talks, design tours, design competitions, workshops, art installations, and other activities aimed at enriching everyone’s creative sensibilities.


Under its mandate, the Intramuros Administration is committed to the orderly restoration and development the Walled City of Intramuros as a monument to the Hispanic period of our history. As a highly regarded cultural landmark, Intramuros is an icon of Filipino heritage and national consciousness that calls for the preservation and enhancement of its historical value. In view of the agency’s restoration and redevelopment programs for Intramuros, the Intramuros Administration engages in projects and activities, and forges strategic partnerships that ensure its inclusive and sustainable development.

The ACERCA Program of AECID 

A training program of AECID for development in the cultural sector, the ACERCA Program was created in 2005 to implement the First Line of Action in Culture and Development: Training Human Capital in the Cultural Sector. Its main objective is the enhancement of the skills of partners of Spanish Cooperation in all cultural fields. One of the main lines of action is the training and capacity-building of cultural players and managers from public and private institutions to contribute to the improvement in the promotion of culture of partner countries. It is also directed towards facilitating the meeting of experts and professionals with a view to establishing cooperation mechanisms, regional strategies and the creation of networks. ACERCA likewise seeks to reinforce institutions and consolidate state policies on culture through the development of specific training programs at the request of counterpart institutions.(VerGarciaBlogs)