Full scholarship tech-voc senior high school to open in CDO

An Andrew L. Gotianun Sr. Center for Integrated Technologies, a tech-voc senior high school will open at Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan Manresa campus in Cagayan de Oro City to cater to less privileged but academic qualified youth, complete with full scholarship in tuition fees and board and lodging.

In a Board of Trustees Speaker Series hosted by Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, Fr. Roberto Yap, SJ revealed that the Andrew Gotianun foundation has donated a hefty amount to build and establish a tech-voc residential school in Cagayan de Oro City under the management of Xavier University (XU) where students will live and enjoy tuition and dormitory scholarship. The donation, he said will allow the school to build two new buildings.  


Fr. Yap said this is a school for the poor which will give a full three-year training to deepen academic scales and tech-voc training and really give good Jesuit education including character formation.

In a speech, Jonathan Gotianun, chairman of Filinvest Development Corporation said that their family has chosen to put up tech-voc school in Mindanao for various reasons.

Based on the research he made about Mindanao. He said, Mindanao continues to lag behind the rest of the Philippines in almost every aspect of development.

In a presentation he made, he described that Mindanao despite having 25% of population, only contributes to 15% of country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) having the lowest GDP per capita of P27,000 while Luzon’s National Capital Region (NCR) with the highest GDP per capita of P430,000. This number is 16 times greater than that of ARMM’s. He said, this shows a great inequality and points to a big gap in terms of development.

In terms of average annual family income, he said, Mindanao is behind Luzon and Visayas. Again ARMM is the lowest at 129,000 per annum which is one-third of NCRs. With regard to average annual family savings, Mindanao has the lowest figures, while top three regions belong to Luzon. ARMM has the lowest figure of P17,000 per year while highest is Region 1 which is four times greater than ARMM. Ultimately, regions with lowest annual family income also has the lowest average annual family savings.

As far as labor force is concerned, he said that participation seem to be similar across regions with most of these between 60-65%. These participation rates are low, but ARMM is worst at 48%.

Also, of those between six and 24 years of age, out of school percentages are also the highest in Mindanao when compared to other regions in the country. He said, highest out of school youth percentages are all in Mindanao. On health, life expectancy are lowest in all areas in Philippines. However, females live longer than males in all regions. But if you want to live longer, whether male or female, on average you have better significantly chance to do so just by living in Luzon, he said.


He shared, “We felt Mindanao was the area of the greatest need. We also felt that institutions in Luzon were already getting a lot of support. We wanted to do something in the periphery, in the boundary among the marginalized.”

Further, he shared that they chose to support tech-voc since this is an area that did not get enough attention but could clearly address the need for employable skills in the manufacturing sector. They also wanted to support kids who come from financially disadvantaged families who just wanted to learn a skill that can sustain themselves and their families right after high school. These are kids who can’t afford or simply aren’t interested to pursue a college education.

“By teaching them an employable skill through tech-voc, we can open opportunities for them to break out of the cycle of poverty and hopelessness,” he said.

The donation of the Gotianun foundation will just be enough to complete phase 1 of the school which can accommodate 500 students. The ultimate goal is to go beyond this and quickly expand the school to accommodate 1,500 students every year by building phase 2 and phase 3.

Finally, he encouraged educators, alumni and all sectors to contribute and take action to help. He said that whatever happens in Mindanao will affect everyone living in it in some significant way. He urged each one to be a catalyst for change and to work together to achieve what is seemingly impossible. He said that this school is a way of paying it forward by opening doors of opportunities for the youth.

For more information on this scholarship or to apply, visit www.xu.edu.ph/apply. (JMOR/PIA10)


EU delegates secure slot in MinBizCon 2017

Delegation from European Union (EU) confirmed its participation by securing its slot in the 26th Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon) 2017 in Xavier Estates Sports and Country Club in Cagayan de Oro City on 7-9 September 2017.


In Talakayan sa Limketkai Luxe, Ruben Vegafria, president of MinBizCon 2017 and member of Oro Chamber Inc. said that they are well on their way in the preparation of this big event. Admittedly, he said that an American group cancelled their reservation in the conference but this was easily saved by the EU delegation who are committed to participate in the event.

He said we have to be positive and move forward despite what is happening.  The theme this year is “Emerging Opportunities, ONE-MINDANAO,” where it emphasizes unity in Mindanao.

With the recent events in Marawi City, one of the discussions during the conference is how to help the situation and in its recovery and rehabilitation in the area.

According to Vegafria, about 1,000 participants are expected in the event including local and international business leaders.

Further, various topics will be discussed during the three-day event among them are Mindanao Development Corridor Updates by Secretary Datu Abul Alonto, chairman Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa), Fueling Mindanao Economy Through International Linkages by European Union, Science for Change by Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña, Building a Disaster Resilient Economy in Mindanao, Mindanao Agri- Business: Key to positioning Mindanao in ASEAN and Other Emerging Markets by Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, Development Bank of the Philippines’ (DBPs) Max-Infra in the Dutertenomics, Legislative agenda for Mindanao SME Development, Mindanao Products Access and Connectivity: Challenges and Opportunities by Secretary Ramon Lopez Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Russia: Exploring the Potentials of Mindanao, and Mindanao Industrial Eco- Zone Development and Opportunities.


Meanwhile, keynote speech will be given by Carlos “Sonny” G. Dominguez lll, Secretary of Finance.

Vegafria explained that the Oro Chamber has been one of the leading chambers in Mindanao. In fact, Oro Chamber was the first to host MinBizCon several years ago and has been active in the city and the region on certain issues and concerns.

He also said that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary has been supportive in the event by sending memo circular to local government units to support MinBizCon 2017.

Vegafria explained that MinBizCon is an annual gathering of business leaders in Mindanao to discuss opportunities and economic updates at the same time take a look at issues and concerns and make necessary resolutions for action. (JMOR/PIA10)

ASEAN: An artistic powerhouse with diverse, unique, colorful stories to tell

Diverse, unique and colorful are some of the words to describe art culture in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. 

In an interview with Dr. Erlinda Burton, anthropologist and Museum curator at Xavier University Cagayan de Oro City, one of the interesting characteristics of art and culture in the region is its similarity more than its differences. 


For one, we have the same linguistic stock which is Austronesian. Countries like the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hawaii and even natives of Taiwan have the same root language.

Further, among our commonalities include the use of vibrant colors and images we select that although we are separated, we have commonalities because we have the same ancestral groups. 

In the Philippines we have various kinds of arts from our ancestors, Burton said. These include indigenous or traditional art such as from Maranao weaving, Tinalac, T’boli, Mandaya and Manobo among many others.

She said that through art whether, in the performing arts, traditional and contemporary arts, we can show solidarity of culture. Art is a medium to solidarity and peace, living together in harmony among ASEAN countries.

Meanwhile, Rhyan Casiño of Dire Husi, an initiative on youth collective of visual and performing arts based in Cagayan de Oro City explained the importance to support local artists in the region through education and avenues for art expression. 


He said that to sustain artists and continue expression of culture through art, community must learn to appreciate and patronage local art. He added that there must also be a venue to express art. 

Art is who you are, your passion. It’s a gift, a calling and advocacy. Theater arts and performing arts and even visual arts are tools to interpret issues, Casiño shared.

In Mindanao alone are 300 tribes with diverse stories to tell and share. He also urged to make use of social media to make ASEAN art viral all over the world.

David James Yañez, a local choreographer in Cagayan de Oro City shares that they are fighting mainstream. The kind of music and dance today are those from the west. He said that culture evolves and although it’s fine to know and appreciate new music but it is equally important to know your roots. (JMOR/PIA10)

Sikad Para sa Marawi: A bike for a cause

Northern Mindanao Police Regional Office spearheaded “Sikad Para sa Marawi 2017,” a bike for a cause in Cagayan de Oro City on August 19.


According to PRO-10 regional director PCSupt Timoteo G. Pacleb, Sikad Para sa Marawi is a fund raising activity in cooperation with Higalaay Festival 2017 of Cagayan de Oro which start at 5:00 a.m. in Pelaez Sports Center, along Velez street of the city.

PCSupt Pacleb said the event would show sympathy and benefit for the Marawi internally displaced persons (IDPs) and support for the Philippine National Police (PNP) contingents deployed in Marawi City.

A bike ride covering a distance of 21km around the city, PRO-10 spokesperson PSupt Lemuel Gonda said hydration and medical stations are also set up for the participants. 

PSupt Gonda further said the event also advocates an active lifestyle among the participants.

He said participants register individually or as a team with a registration fee of P200.00 and will get free jersey shirt. 

Maute terrorists lay siege in Marawi city last May 23. (PRO10)

***photo by Menzie Montes fb timeline***

Kahimunan 2017 opens at SM CDO Premier

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) region 10 opened its annual regional trade fair at the Atrium of SM CDO Downtown Premier, August 18.


Dubbed Kahimunan (Creations of Northern Mindanao), the trade fair features the best products of the five provinces of Northern Mindanao – Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental.

Products such as processed food; crafts and fashion accessories; sugar, coffee and beverages; nuts and cashew; spices and condiments; health and organic products; and home style and living items from the five provinces are showcased during the exhibit.


Kahimunan also aims to assist micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the region in prmoting their products.

Ruben A. Vegafria, trustee of the Oro Chamber of Commerce and chairperson of the 2017 MinBizCon, said Kahimunan helps exhibitors expand their market and develop into a more competitive and stable MSMEs.

More than 100 MSMEs participated in this year’s Kahimunan trade fair.


Mayor Oscar S. Moreno of Cagayan de Oro City said Kahimunan was considered as one of the core events of the city’s Higalaay Festival for it showcases the convergence and solidarity of the five provinces as one community.


The products of every province and city in Northern Mindanao are also the products of the region. As they combine, they become bigger and more marketable, Moreno noted.

The Kahimunan regional trade fair will run until August 29, 2017. (APB/PIA-10)

***photos from fb page of CDO City Councilor Jay Pascual***

CDO celebrates month-long ‘Higalaay Festival’ in August

The local government of Cagayan de Oro City and City Tourism office have set core events for “Higalaay Festival” for the entire month of August in celebration of the feast of St. Augustine, patron saint of the city.

In a press conference set by the city, a total of 14 core activities and 69 parallel events are in store for Kagay-anons and visitors alike.


City Councilor Jay Pascual said that it’s still business as usual in Cagayan de Oro City despite the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao. Business still continues. People can still expect street parties to really feel the Higalaay festivities, he said.

Meanwhile, Col. Roy Orquia, commander of Task Force Oro admitted that Cagayan de Oro is near Marawi City, roughly three hours away, where clash between government troops and terrorists are still ongoing. He said that Task Force Oro was created to strengthen security measures of the city.  In the civic parade alone, they are expecting 23,000 participants excluding spectators. But he assured that security plan for August is done and they are integrated and synchronized together with the City Police Office and City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO).

Among the core events include Higalaay Agri Fair and Graden Show at Gaston Park on August 1-31, Mindanao Fashion Summit at Limketkai Center on August 3-5, Cowboy Festival: The Annual Cagayan de Oro Horse Show at CDO Uptown on August 18-20, Kahimunan Regional Trade Fair 2017 at SM Downtown Premier on August 18-29, Kagay-an Festival Marathon at Centrio Mall, Carnival Street Dance Competition at Dvisoria on August 20, Higalaay Chorale Competition at Ayala Centrio Mall on August 22, Higalaay Festival Sale August 21-31, Miss Cagayan de Oro 2017 Coronation Night on August 26, Higalaay Street Parade and Floats and Centrio Mall Bisperas Fireworks on August 27 and Religious Procession at St. Augustine Cathedral, Fluvial Procession at Duaw Park and Kagay-an Pyro Musical Festival at Pueblo de Oro Business Park on August 28.


According to the City Tourism Office, Higalaay Festival is a “Friendship Festival,” the word “Higalaay” comes from the Cebuano word “higala” which means friend or pal where Cagayan de Oro is tagged, the City of Golden Friendship.

For more information on the schedule of events, the Higalaay Festival Secretariat is located at the ground floor executive building city hall compound or you may email inquiries at cdo.citytourismcouncil@gmail.com. (JMOR/PIA10)

University service learning program seals partnerships with local communities

Xavier University (XU) – Ateneo de Cagayan, through the Service Learning Program (SLP) of the Social Development cluster, enables students and faculty members to engage with communities outside its academic confines.

To seal these partnerships with various communities, a ceremonial memorandum of understanding (MOU) signing was held on July 18 at XU.


Partners from Northern Mindanao came to the event and among them were representatives from the local government units (LGUs) of Alubijid, Gitagum, and Cagayan de Oro in Misamis Oriental, as well as LGU Talakag, Bukidnon.

Deans and faculty members of the university were also present in the said MOU signing.

This year’s theme of XU SLP is inspired by Pope Francis who gives favor to the peripheries: Immersing Oneself in the World’s Joys and Sufferings.

In his keynote message of XU president Fr Roberto Yap SJ, he presented a contrast between XU-SLP and St Ignatius’ spirituality of finding God in all things: “In spite the tears and joys in the service that St Ignatius gave, it is still the poor which he preferred to minister to.”

Yap added, “That is why we like SLP because it allows our students to love God deeply, to love the world deeply, so that when they are immersed, they can give.”


In the activity, XU-SLP team leader Jannina Alfante reported that 32 faculty members are now engaged in the program, bringing with them over 1,500 students who are now involved in 34 projects in local communities. 

With this, XU-SLP’s target of reaching 1,500 individuals this semester has now been achieved.

A few partners were asked to give testimonies after they signed their respective MOUs.


Alubijid Municipal Mayor Alvin Giovanni A. Labis stressed that each year that they partner with XU-SLP, they realize their limitations in the government, of which XU students help fill the gaps, particularly in information dissemination. 

Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno highlighted in his testimony the “best years” of the city (1954-1964) when late Mayor Justiniano Borja collaborated with XU in the delivery of social services through the sharing of competence between the academe and the government. 

The MOU signing culminated with the speech of XU’s VP for social development Roel Ravanera, saying, “XU students’ engagements will hopefully help in mitigating disasters in the future.”

He also emphasized that SLP is an enabler for the XU community in a sense that it allows students to hone and apply their competence and contribute to the greater society at the same time.

On behalf of the Service Learning team, Ravanera expressed his gratitude to all the partners of the program — civil society organizations, government agencies, fellow academic institutions, and religious organizations — for their openness to collaborate with Xavier Ateneo. (Maria Farina Roa/XUComm)