Manila gov’t orders closure of Isetann Mall

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 9, 2019   •   372

The Manila government has ordered the closure of Isetann Mall along Recto Avenue on Wednesday (October 9) due to violations of city ordinances and misrepresenting applications for permits.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso himself served the closure order to the mall’s management.

The Manila Mayor said Isetann Mall was operating as a lessor “without the necessary business permit.”

He also added that the said mall has a questionable number of employees.

“Under its valid business permit, there is a declared area of 1,000 square meters with 10 employees personnel,” according to Moreno.

He also added that there are four operational cinemas in Isetann Mall but only one cinema has a business permit which is valid until the end of 2019.

The mall’s operator, Trans-Orient Management Services was performing the property management functions and services but “has no valid and existing business permit.”

“Sinabihan na namin sa kanila, magko-cooperate sila sa siyudad ng Maynila. Mukhang nasanay sila sa dating administrasyon na para bang walang gobyerno (We already told them to cooperate with the City of Manila. It seemed like they are still used to the previous administration as if there is no existing government),” he said.

According to the Assistant Administrator of Isetann Mall Recto Mercy Jacinto, the mall management accepted the closure order from the local government; however, they were not expecting to have violations when it comes to business permits.

“Ang pagkakaalam namin is mayroon naman kaming business permit (What we know is we have a business permit),” she said.

Moreno said Isetann Mall may reopen once it complies with the requirements mandated by the local government. —AAC

Mayor Isko eyes serving ‘newly improved’ Nutribun to public schoolchildren next year

Marje Pelayo   •   October 17, 2019

Manila Mayor Isko Domagoso

MANILA, Philippines – Mayor Isko Domagoso let elementary students in Rosauro Almario Elementary School (RAES) have the first taste of what he calls ‘newly improved’ Nutribun.

Domagoso is planning to revive the supplementary feeding program for public elementary school children that was first launched in the 70s under the late President Ferdinand Marcos.

“Disente. Naka-plastic. Maayos.  Iyong alam mong pinag-isipan, pinag-planuhan (It comes in plastic packaging. You’ll know it’s carefully designed and planned),” Domagoso said as he described the packaging of the bread.

“Medyo malambot na iyon. Pansinin mo. Hindi na makababasag ng panga. Noong araw kasi ang tigas niya. Lumalaban iyon na parang tsinelas (It’s softer now. Take a look. It’s no longer hard or rubbery),” he added.

The supplementary feeding program was launched between 1968 and 1970 in cooperation with the United States under the USAID Food for Peace program aimed at alleviating childhood malnutrition in the Philippines.

The program ended in 1997.

Nutribun, along with other food items, was served to public school children across the country for free.

On Wednesday, the local government of Manila together with the Philippine Society of Bakery (PSB) distributed nutrition-packed Nutribun coinciding with the World Bread Day.

(It has flour, soy, milk, butter and Vitamin C as well as Niacin, Riboflavin, and Vitamin A),” explained Jonathan Cabiles, PSB vice president, of the nutritional content of the bread.

According to Imelda Tubao, RAES’ school nurse, among the more than 8,000 school children in RAES, 446 are what they call “severely wasted” or described by UNICEF as ‘dangerously thin.’

Meanwhile, a total of 825 are considered ‘wasted’ or slightly undernourished. Most of their students come from poor families.

So far, the local government of Manila has selected students who are regular recipient of free breakfast.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DWSD), meanwhile, has also been serving free lunch and free snacks to selected schools in Manila which needed nutritional assistance.

According to Tubao, the re-introduction of the nutribun program will definitely improve the students’ learning habits.

“Iyong brain niya umaandar kasi kailangan busog ang tiyan (The students’ brain will improve its function because the stomach is full),” she said.

“Attentive na siya sa pakikinig sa guro. Maiintindihan na niya yung lesson ni teacher at dagdag noon, hindi na siya a-absent (Students will be more attentive to understand the teachers’ lessons. Likewise, it will prevent them from skipping school),” she added.

Aside from its nutritional benefits, Mayor Isko said he decided to revive the Nutribun program because it means not just the bread but memories of his childhood.

“I’m a product of public education system. We were so excited to go to school simply because of this nutribun and Klim,” he said.

“Kapag humilata ka sa bahay tatamad tamad ka, nganga. Kapag sumokpa ka sa eskwelahan may tinapay ka tapos may Klim (If you’re lazy staying home, you’ll get nothing. But if you go to school, you’ll get bread and milk),” the Mayor added.

Mayor Isko targets to kick start the Nutribun supplementary food program by next year and will be implemented in all public schools across the city of Manila. – MNP (with reports from Bernard Dadis)

Mayor Isko lifts closure order against Isetann mall

Marje Pelayo   •   October 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Isetann Mall in Recto gets back to business on Friday (October 11) after the Manila City government lifted the closure order it issued against the mall for violation of various city’s ordinances.

In a statement, the city government said Mayor Isko Domagoso approved the recommendation of Bureau of Permits chief Levi Facundo to lift the closure order after the mall secured the appropriate permits needed to operate.

“Upon coordination with this Office and submission of requirements, this is to confirm that you have substantially complied with the deficiencies/ violations noted in the Closure Order in relation to the operation of your business,” the lift order read.

“In view thereof, the Closure Order dated 9 October 2019 is hereby lifted,” it said.

Isetann Mall was ordered closed following reports of various violations of city ordinances and misrepresentations in permit applications.

While the city government allowed the mall to resume operations, it warned Isetann Mall that “any future similar violation or any other violation of the terms and conditions of the business permit may constrain this Office to take similar action or may lead to the revocation of your permit.”

Aside from documentation requirements, the mall management also settled of its tax deficiencies worth P2 million under the city government’s tax amnesty program.

For its part, the mall management vowed to strictly implement the anti-fencing law that criminalizes the act of buying and/or selling stolen items in all of its establishments inside the mall.

“In keeping with the instructions of the City Mayor, the sale of secondhand phones will no longer be allowed here at the Isetann Cinerama Complex,” the mall said in a letter to the Mayor as cited by the Manila Public Information Office.

LRT2 resumes partial operation for Cubao-Recto route

Marje Pelayo   •   October 8, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Light Rail Transit Authority has announced the resumption of partial operations of its train service from Cubao to Recto and back starting Tuesday (October 8).

In a statement, LRTA Administrator Reynaldo Berroya said they have completed the safety checks on the unaffected section of the train system.

“Thorough safety checks have been completed, and the signaling, telecommunications, power supply systems, tracks and the trains for these stations have been cleared and in normal condition. Hence, we are now ready to serve the riding public,” he said.

However, the LRTA has made adjustments to the train service schedule to give way to maintenance works.

Train operations will start late at 6:00AM from the previous 4:30AM and will close early at 8:30PM from the previous 10:30PM, according to the LRTA.

Specifically, Cubao station will be open from 6:00AM to 8:30PM while Recto Station will accept commuters from 6:00AM to 9:00PM only.

“We appeal to our passengers to allot an additional hour for their journeys since speed restrictions and a limited number of trains will be fielded to ensure passenger safety and the sufficiency of the power supply coming from the remaining rectifier substations,” Berroya stressed.

To serve the affected passengers, point-to-point buses (P2P) will be fielded at Masinag, Emerald and Santolan stations to and from Legarda starting Tuesday.

Likewise, 40 modernized public utility vehicles (PUVs) will be stationed to ferry passengers taking Santolan-Legarda route.

Meanwhile, a bus service loop will also be available at Santolan, Katipunan, Anonas and Cubao.

These PUVs and buses will operate from 5:30 AM to 9:00 PM daily.

Fare rate will be P15 from Santolan to Cubao and P25 from Masinag to Legarda.

Meanwhile, free rides from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will be available daily from 7:00AM to 7:00PM from Santolan to Cubao and back.

As of press time, tracks that connect Santolan, Katipunan and Anonas stations remain closed as the power supply and signaling systems in the said three stations are still down.

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