JANUARY 28, 2014
MMDA to Conduct First-Ever Earthquake Census in Las Piñas
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will conduct an earthquake risk survey in Barangay Pamplona 3 in Las Piñas City tomorrow, the first ever government initiative designed to identify public and private buildings that are vulnerable to a strong tremor.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said 80 to 100 engineers of the agency, supported by members of the Philippine Civil Engineers (PICE), city building officials, and 80 engineering students of the University of Perpetual Help will do house-to-house survey in Barangay Pamplona 3 starting at 7 am.
"Our objective is to identify structures that are at risk of damage in the event of an earthquake. Once we have pinpointed the structural deficiencies, city engineers will implement corrective measures," Tolentino said.
Tolentino suggested the conduct of a metrowide earthquake census in the wake of the magnitude 7.2 tremor that badly damaged Bohol and Cebu last October.
A week later, the Metro Manila Council (MMC) issued Resolution No. 13-19, Series of 2013 approving the conduct of the earthquake census on different barangays of the 17 local government units in Metro Manila.
Similar to a population census, enumerators are tasked to do house-to-house inspection and survey, which will focus on the structural integrity of the structure.
Once the building or structure is inspected, a sticker will be posted by the MMDA inspectors.
Tolentino said 20 teams of inspectors will be fielded in Las Piñas to conduct the earthquake census.
"In view of the clamor to revisit some of the provisions of the National Building Code, we should start this earthquake risk audit so we can plan and implement contingency measures in case a strong earthquake hit Metro Manila," the MMDA chief pointed out.
Tolentino added a hazard risk audit of specific structures should be made quickly based on engineering analysis and earthquake reduction formulas, saying that although earthquakes are natural and unavoidable, buildings and structures do not need to collapse or be seriously damaged to save lives.
Tolentino stressed that data gathered from the house-to-house survey shall be used by the local building official and engineering offices to enforce preventive and corrective measures to the identified structures.
"The result of the earthquake census should lead to restructuring of public and private buildings based on risk assessment and cost benefit analysis and other engineering, seismic, and geological models to reduce quake structural deficiencies, thereby preventing unnecessary loss of lives and properties," he added.
Tolentino cited the findings made by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid) which predicted 37,000 deaths in Metro Manila alone in the event of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.
He said the study will help MMDA, in coordination with concerned government agencies and the private sector, to make the necessary preparations and risk reduction measures.
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JANUARY 27, 2014
MMDA to Host Internal Confab on Infectious Diseases on February 4-6
After hosting the 11th Asian Crisis Management Conference (ACMC) last July, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will again host an international meeting next week, which will discuss current developments in the prevention of infectious diseases currently affecting Asia.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the 9th Annual Conference on Countermeasures to Combat Infectious Diseases in Asia by the Asian Network of Major Cities (ANMC) 21 will be held from February 4-6 at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.
With the theme "Meeting City-Level Challenges to Achieve Millennium Development Goals on Infectious Diseases", the three-day annual conference will gather health professionals, various medical associations, medical researchers, and city officials of the 13-member-cities of ANMC 21.
Metro Manila mayors, as well as their local health officers, and other concerned agencies and organizations will also participate in the event.
"Once again, we at the MMDA are honored to lead this international conference. We are hoping to learn and contribute in ANMC 21's continuous efforts to stop the spread of diseases in the Asian region," the MMDA chief said.
Now on its 9th year, the 2014 Countermeasures to Combat Infectious Diseases in Asia forum will focus on relevant programs to control five infectious diseases in the region that seemed on the outbreak in recent years – the Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB), HIV/AIDS, Dengue, Leptospirosis, and Pandemic Influenza.
Tolentino said each member-city of ANMC 21 will present recent medical updates and current policies to combat the further outbreak of infectious diseases and discuss possible joint research and surveys.
"To foster learning and exchange of ideas, we have also invited selected guests with knowledge and experience on the topics to provide additional insights into the trends, policies, challenges, and innovative actions against infectious diseases," Tolentino pointed out.
ANMC, according to Tolentino, recognizes the immense impact of infectious diseases to the health of populations in Asia, and that countermeasures should be put in place to ensure swift response among the Asian states.
Citing recent medical surveys, Tolentino said tuberculosis alone remains to be a major public health problem in the western Pacific region; more than 20 percent of the global burden of TB is found in the region.
"At least 300,000 persons die yearly due to TB. The region has an estimated 135,000 multi-drug resistant TB cases, most of which can be found in China," he said.
As for HIV/AIDS, Tolentino noted that the epicenter of global HIV pandemic is now shifting from Africa to Asia, with Asia-Pacific region accounting for three percent of the estimated three million AIDS cases and 15 percent of the 14 million HIV infections worldwide.
"We should have a solid permanent network of medical experts and researchers to serve as a liaison system linking member-cities' organizations," Tolentino said.
ANMC21, which organizes the annual ACMC and the Countermeasures to Combat Infectious Diseases in Asia, is an organization of Asia's largest capital cities working together on issues such as urban planning, sustainability, and crisis management. It was advocated by then Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara in August 2000.
ANMC21 member-cities are Bangkok, Delhi, Hanoi, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Metropolitan Manila (represented by MMDA), Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, Tomsk, Ulaanbaatar, and Yangon.
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JANUARY 23, 2014
Skyway Stage 3 Construction: MMDA Chairman Advocates ‘Roadways Construction Lifestyle Adjustment'
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino today called on the public, particularly private motorists and commuters, to make adjustments in their work and travel schedules and personal lifestyles to cope with the expected traffic congestion in Metro Manila to be brought about by the impending construction of Skyway Stage 3 project.
Tolentino said Metro Manila residents, both commuters and motorists, should learn to adopt what he calls the Roadways Construction Lifestyle Adjustment during the 32-month construction of the roadways system together with eight other road expansion projects.
"This is a construction of massive proportion that would last 32 months. Building this alternative highway is expected to create traffic problems so everyone should make adjustments," the MMDA chief said.
"What we need is extra huge amount of patience and understanding and cooperation but once Skyway 3 is completed, it will result to faster and more convenient travel within the metropolis," Tolentino added.
Unless important, Tolentino suggested that Metro Manila residents should limit their movements within their respective localities, and plan their travel efficiently as these will redound to lesser volume of vehicles and pedestrians in the streets.
"If you're a Pasay resident, don't go to Quezon City just to watch movies. We should plan our trips ahead so as not to contribute to traffic congestion and also for our own convenience," Tolentino said.
The MMDA chief also suggested to private companies to adopt a "flexitime" working hours for their employees, especially those located along the route of the construction projects.
Tolentino said the MMDA will lead a traffic summit on the first week of February to draft a comprehensive traffic management plan for the entire Metro Manila for the duration of the construction period.
Aside from Skyway Stage 3, he pointed out that a number of road and infrastructure projects are lined up to start this year, which will inevitably cause inconvenience, such as the NAIA elevated expressway, Sta. Monica-Lawton Bridge, Makati Avenue underpass, and the Pasay-Taft flyover, among others.
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JANUARY 16, 2014
MMDA Continues "Linis Palengke 2014"
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will resume its "Linis Palengke" program tomorrow at the Muntinlupa Public Market in Muntinlupa City.
Chairman Francis Tolentino said the program will now focus more on environmental protection with lectures on ecological solid waste management pursuant to Republic Act 9003, anti-littering, and anti-smoking aimed at fostering public awareness.
"This program is intended to improve the health and sanitation of the public markets by ensuring cleanliness, convenience, and security. This is essential for the protection and safety of the consumers," Tolentino said.
150 MMDA personnel from Solid Waste Management Office, Metro Parkways Clearing Group, and Flood Control and Sewerage Management office will conduct cleaning, clearing, declogging, painting, and minor repairs of the market premises.
MMDA will also turnover to the market administrator garbage bins, utility carts, and compressor washer. Aprons will likewise be distributed to vendors of wet goods.
According to the MMDA chief, the program will help upgrade the standards in the operation of public markets.
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JANUARY 16a, 2014
MMFF EXECOM: No Irregularity in MMFF Fund Use
The Executive Committee of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) today brushed aside baseless insinuations made by the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) concerning the alleged mishandling of the earnings of the annual movie festival.
Marichu Maceda, spokesperson of the MMFF Execom, maintained that all the funds of the MMFF, particularly the amusement tax collections, are intact and accounted for, and had been properly distributed to its intended beneficiaries.
"The MMFF Execom is mandated to allocate and remit to the designated beneficiaries the net proceeds of the amusement taxes after deducting all operational and incidental expenses of the MMFF. This is being complied with religiously every year," Maceda said, citing the provisions of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) Executive Order 86-09 that established the MMDA's operation and management of the annual film festival.
MMFF derives its tax revenues from the amusement taxes waived and donated by the 17 Metro Manila local government units during the 10-day festival that runs from December 25 to January 3.
To evaluate its overall annual performance, Maceda explained the MMFF takes into consideration both the gross revenues of Metro Manila theatres and provincial theatres.
Maceda, however, stressed that due to changes in the amusement tax structure, gross revenues from Metro Manila theatres are further reduced by the following factors:
- Since 2003, Quezon City, Manila, Caloocan, Malabon, and San Juan reduced its amusement tax rate from 30 percent to 15 percent
- In 2006, Quezon City further reduced its amusement tax rate from 15 percent to zero percent. All other LGUs reduced their amusement tax rate to 10 percent pursuant to Republic Act 9640, amending section 140A of Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991.
- In 2011, Marikina followed Quezon City's example, bringing down its amusement tax rate also to zero percent
- Pasay City also decreased its local amusement tax from 10 percent to five percent
- Resorts World Cinemas are tax-free under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) law
- Closure of several theatres
Maceda also pointed out that the amusement tax derived by Quezon City, which is tax-free, comprised about 30 percent (102 theatres) of the total amusement tax collections of the MMFF, significantly reducing the net proceeds of the tax in relation to the gross revenues.
"Thus, even if the MMFF gross revenues increase, the amount given to beneficiaries may decrease due to these factors," the MMFF spokesperson said.
Under the November 22, 2010 directive of the Office of the President, the bulk of the amusement tax proceeds goes to the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation, Inc. (MOWELFUND), which gets 50 percent; FAP, 20 percent; Motion Picture Anti-Piracy Council, 20 percent; Optical Media Board, five percent; and Film Development Council of the Philippines, five percent.
Maceda pointed out there is no transmittal of proceeds to the MMDA because it is not a beneficiary of the MMFF fund.
She reiterated that MMDA was tasked to manage the MMFF on the virtue of MMC Executive Order 86-09 issued in 1986.
As to the case filed by FAP, Maceda said the MMFF Execom will answer the charges in court, stressing that FAP has no basis to claim P82 million in amusement tax proceeds earned by the MMFF from 2002 to 2008.
The recent MMFF garnered close to P1 billion in revenues, making it the most successful and highest-earning festival in its 39 years of history because of good management and practices instituted by the current administration.
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JANUARY 11, 2014
MMFF Hits 1 Billion Mark
Capping off its two-week run on January 7, 2014, the Metro Manila Film Festival 2013, headed by Overall Chairman Francis Tolentino, broke all records, hitting almost1 Billion mark in overall gross for its eight official entries. My Little Bossings, Girl Boy Bakla Tomboy, Pagpag, and Kimmy Dora took the lead four among the entries this year. The rest of the entries include (in no particular order) Kaleidoscope World, Pedro Calungsod Batang Martir, Boy Golden and10,000 Hours.
"With almost a billion pesos in overall box office, we are overwhelmed and so proud that the MMFF has managed to break records, proving that the Filipino movie industry is not only surviving, but thriving, despite stiff competition from foreign movies. But more than the money, and despite the issues that surrounds the Festival every year, we have set out to prove, and actually proven that MMFF is a strong Filipino tradition that brings us together as a family despite the hardships that we've faced as a nation, especially this year with a hard hit from Typhoon Yolanda," said Tolentino as he described this year's Festival, highlighting that the MMFF is a welcomed year-end breather and celebration for the viewers.
As the MMDA Chairman, Tolentino has headed the MMFF since 2010 which has steadily set the record for the highest grossing Festival in 39 years. "We love a good story, a good laugh, and a few tears here and there. More importantly, we love our own. And the MMFF movies give us that and more. And let's not forget our New Wave Section for independent, student short films and animation films," he added. The MMFF New Wave Section served as the pre-Festival activity which ran last January 18-24, 2013 in SM Megamall and Glorietta 4 Cinemas.
The MMFF held its annual Parade of Stars last December 22 and Awards Night last December 27, 2013.10,000 Hours raked in most of the major awards, including Best Picture, Gatpuno Villegas Award, Best Director for Bb. Joyce Bernal, and Best Actor for Robin Padilla, while Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy and My Little Bossings received the 2ndand 3rd Best Picture Awards, respectively. Ms. Maricel Soriano from Girl, Boy won the Best Actress Award. The selection of winners for all the categories were a rigorous process, from the selection of the members of the Board of Jurors (comprising of members of different sectors of the society and respectable and knowledgeable members of the movie industry) to the private ballot voting and auditing of the votes through an auditing firm.
Tolentino, on behalf of the MMFF, sincerely thanked the movie industry, the MMFF Executive Committee, the Special Working Committee on Festival Preparations, the Selection Committee, the Board of Jurors, and the Mayors of Metro Manila for their continued support to the MMDA and theFestival which made it a big success.
The proceeds from the amusement tax from the local government units of Metro Manila during the Festival run of MMFF will be given to its beneficiaries from the movie industry, namely: Movie Workers Welfare Fund, the FilmAcademy of the Philippines, the Motion Picture Anti-Film Piracy Council, the Film Development Council of the Philippines, and Optical Media Board.
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JANUARY 10, 2014
MMDA, Paint Manufacturer To Repaint Edsa Underpasses
In line with its Edsa Makeover project, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will forge an agreement with a paint manufacturing company on Monday, January 13, for the beautification and painting of the tunnels along Edsa.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino will sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Asian Coatings (AC) Business Development Head Edison Oribiana for the painting and maintenance of the walls of P. Tuazon, Shaw Boulevard, and Ayala underpasses.
Under the MOA, AC will do painting works in the walls of the Edsa underpasses for a period of three years at no cost to the MMDA, which shall approve the artworks suggested by the paint company.
"We are grateful to Asian Coatings for their support in the Edsa Makeover project and their desire to help beautify Metro Manila," Tolentino said.
The Edsa make-over project, an MMDA urban renewal initiative, is aimed at bringing about physical and cultural transformations to Metro Manila's primary thoroughfare through landscaping, beautification, and re-greening.
Tolentino said motorists, commuters and pedestrians driving or walking along Edsa will benefit from the project, as it will provide a refreshing contrast from the visual clutter that proliferate the 28-kilometer highway.
The Metro Manila Council (MMC), through Resolution No. 12-07 issued on January 26, 2012, has expressed support to the Edsa Makeover project as a solution to the problems in Edsa, such as traffic congestion, worsening air and noise pollution, proliferation of billboards and other forms of advertisements, flooding, and increasing number of street dwellers.
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