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What’s in the news

FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) - March 19, 2015 - 12:00am

Three Australian friends we had dinner with at Mesa restaurant on Aura, asked us about  the temperament in the country today. I asked  them to read  yesterday’s issue of The Philippine STAR for answers. As in past days, all the papers have been playing up two stories: President Aquino’s command responsibility over the Mamasapano massacre, and Vice President Jejomar Binay’s family.

Yesterday’s STAR headline read, “Noy ultimately responsible,” and the story, written by Christina Mendez, said that President  Aquino was found “ultimately responsible” for the police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25 that left scores dead including 44 police commandos.

Sen. Grace Poe presented the findings of the Senate committee inquiring into the massacre and urged the president to “own up to responsibility for Operation Plan Exodus targeting Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan,and two other terrorists.”

On the same page, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. admitted that while the president has the ultimate responsibility in the operation of the police Special Action Force, he did not violate any law. There was no chain of command in the Philippine National Police because it had long been a civilian police organization, he said.

Uppermost on page One was the line that read, “Noy trust, approval ratings plunge to all-time low.” The following story  said Jejomar Binay, vice president of the Phlippines  who is running for president in the 2016 elections, was still tops in a survey conducted by Pulse Asia.

The paper’s left ear said Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr., son of Vice President Binay,  reported his condemning of the deployment of Special Action Forces to barricade the entrance to Makati City Hall. He said this  was in violation of the Court of Appeals’ issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order stopping the implementation of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’ order. Morales had placed the mayor under six-month preventive suspension in connection with the graft charges filed against him over the Makati City Hall Building II project.

Mayor Binay said what’s happening to his family is pure and simple political strategy by their enemy. The same thing could be said by the president.  

Filipinos have differing views on the Aquino-Binay topics, and as election day nears they will be subjected to more mudslinging and malicious reports on the protagonists. We wish we could say that however things turn out, all’s well that ends well.

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For happier stories, we focus on the launch  of another luxurious hotel in the Visayas, and the installation of fraud-free parking meters.

One of the memorable resorts in Boracay is the Boracay Regency Beach Resort and Spa (now renamed Henann Regency). We’ve been to the place — lots of greens,  sprawling,  with first-class facilities,  ground-floor bedrooms opening to a spanking-clear swimming pool, first class service, a few minutes away from the beach. Now there are two other Henann properties in Boracay — the Henann Garden Resort,  and the Henann Lagoon Resort. All told the Henann Group has 1,400 rooms in Boracay alone.

Award-winner hotelier Henry Chusey said  he loved going to Boracay, “but I did not find there a resort that satisfied me. I thought I might as well put up my own.” 

So he put up Boracay Regency Beach Resort in 1998 with only 43 rooms. To his surprise, it was a success. Now the facility has 302 rooms.

 Henry has received major awards for his projects, among them the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Department of Tourism; the 2012 Tourism Personality of the Year award from  the Rotary Club of Manila, and one of People Asia Magazine’s 2014 People of the Year award.

Henry told a group of media persons in Manila the reason for the shift in names. Better to associate grand resorts to a name. Henann is a contraction of his name, Henry, and that of his wife, Anna Lisa, who is the company treasurer.

With the resorts in Boracay well in place, Henry scouted for other sites, and he found one in Bohol, in an island called Panglao. The 400-room Henann Resort Alona Beach will be launched next month — the biggest in Bohol.

The resort in Panglao is several times bigger than that in Boracay and it has a lot to offer tourists, like the Chocolate Hills, Loboc River cruise, a rare look at the tarsiers, great locations for diving, old churches, and a very rich culture.

Aside from Henry and Anna Lisa, two other family members are actively steering the operation of the Henann Group of Resorts. These are Alfonso, 25, a graduate of Hotel Restaurant and Institution Management of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, who is vice president for building construction, and  Karl Henrik, 24, who finished hotel and restaurant management, major in hospitality management, also at La Salle-Benilde. A third child, Christina Ann, 18, is taking up accounting and may be an understudy for her mom.

Henry makes sure his children know  the ins and outs of running a  family “empire” of resorts. The boys work hard, covering all aspects of work in the hotels, from making beds to cleaning up, looking at the food served, to sitting behind the registration and guest  counters.

“We want to give our clients the best, because they are spending good money to be able to stay in our hotels,” Alfonso said.?“It’s not just about keeping the business for ourselves,” Karl said. “We feel responsible for our employees who depend on our company for their livelihood.” Says proud father Henry: “Our customers are always our priority. We want to give them splendid accommodations, superb dining options, great facilities and efficient service set in renowned tourist destinations, with the aim of satisfying all their needs and creating new experiences for them without charging too much.”

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If you’re lucky to find a parking place in Manila while you’re transacting some business at a establishment, you still wonder if your motor vehicle is still standing at the place you left it.

Your parking woes may be over, with an on-street  technology Manila Parking Management (MAPMA) program recently introduced by Capitalwise Group Limited, Capitalwise Corp.

The technology involves installation of parking meters initially on Manila streets, with reloading systems for parking electronic cards (E-cards), and hotlines that motorists may call about parking space availability. One can even call MPMA service marshals for available space in the city. But for how long the space can be reserved is not certain.

The system was explained at a Bulong Pulungan session by Engr. Morgan P. Say, Capitalwise chief operating officer, and his father, Michael G. Say, Capitalwise chair.

Morgan said the 24/7 parking service provides marshals to ensure security (from vandals) and carnapping operators.

Field auditors help check out discrepancies on the parking fees.

One buys e-cards in either P50 or P100 denominations. For the first two hours, one pays P20, and P10 for every succeeding hour.

The 24/7 parking meter service includes marshals to ensure your security and that of your vehicle – which should minimize carnapping incidents in the city.

Plus, there are field auditors to help you check out discrepancies on the parking fees.

You may buy E-cards in either P50 or P100 denominations. You pay P20 for the first two hours of parking plus P10 for every succeeding hour.

If you want, you  may re-load the E-card with the help of a parking officer. If you decide to go to the province and won’t need your E-card, return it to the parking officer who will give you a refund of P20 for the card.

Michael Say said  the MAPMA program benefits the barangays as the company hires and trains local residents to serve as parking personnel.

The project also includes social services such as feeding programs in underserved areas and clean-up drives.

The program, said Morgan, may help minimize tong collections.

 I think MAPMA’s big problem is finding parking spaces in the city and in the future – Makati, where the traffic is endlessly monstrous.

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Email: dominitorrevillas@gmail.com

ANNA LISA BOHOL BORACAY BORACAY REGENCY BEACH RESORT HENANN HENRY PARKING PRESIDENT
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