Saturday, July 31, 2010

MCPI conducts training on seaweed farming

MCPI conducts training on seaweed farming
Manila Bulletin
July 31, 2010

MCPI Corporation is helping more fishermen tap other areas of the lucrative marine market by teaching them how to produce high-quality seaweeds.

Twenty-four fishermen of the SECAFEE Integrated Development Cooperative underwent a three-day training on integrated seaweeds farming recently at MCPI's Ocean Farming and Research Center in Danajon Reef, Bien Unido, Bohol.

The project is in partnership with the German Development Service/Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst (DED), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP). It is sponsored by MCPI, BFAR and DED's Strategic Corporate-Community Partnerships for Social Progress (SCOPE) Program, which runs for two years.

The training was provided for the fishermen and farmers of Dalaguete, Cebu and Guindacpan and Calituban, Bohol.

German Consultant for SCOPE Janina Wohlgemuth explains, “The goal of the project is to generate a long-term alternative source of income for the people in those three towns. Most of them are fisherfolk and with decreasing fishing yields, they are finding it harder and harder to provide for their families.”

The project also aims to establish cooperation between the farmers and MCPI Corporation in the long run, so that the farmers will have a secure market for the seaweed they are going to plant.

MCPI and DED will further assist the fisherfolk in setting up a 2.5-hectare seaweed farm which will expand to eight hectares after 3 planting cycles. Some of the harvested seaweeds will be given to the Dalaguete farmers and other PBSP-supported farmers in Bohol so they can start their farms in the next planting cycle. A second part of the harvested seaweeds will be used to grow the farm in Guindacpan and the rest will be sold to MCPI.

Wohlgemuth added, “An additional outcome of the training is the protection of the environment. It discourages dynamite and cyanide fishing present in the area as these fishing practices also affect the seaweed farms. Additionally, the seaweed farms serve as a habitat for many marine species.”

PBSP celebrates corporate citizenship

PBSP celebrates corporate citizenship

For the corporate sector, July was a busy month – and it was not over profit or selling. In celebration of CSR month, companies of all sizes partnered with Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), the largest corporate-led foundation in the country, to express their social responsibility.

In the Visayas, various companies partnered with PBSP to help plant mangroves and indigenous trees, provide school supplies and share their expertise – all to help communities build self-reliance.

Education support from The Bellevue Manila
More than 300 public school pupils from the remote barangays of Bohol received school supplies donated by The Bellevue Manila. PBSP and the Bohol Integrated Development Foundation, Inc. helped distribute paper pads, pencils and sharpeners to the children of Malitbog's and Caluasan's farmers,
which were identified by PBSP as having the highest number of dropouts in the previous year. Providing free school supplies will encourage students to stay in school. “The assistance to these pupils is a great help since most of them used their school supplies from the previous year so their parents can save money,” says Malitbog Elementary School Principal Zosima Ampoloquio.

Cebu's reforestation caravan
Through the Cebu Hillylands Reforestation Caravan, PBSP is getting more people involved in the movement to save one of Cebu's major water and ecological resource. Since its kickoff on June 19, increasing number of companies have dedicated their Saturdays to either adopt a hectare for reforestation or send their employee volunteers to plant more trees.

The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Ernesto Yu Foundation, Petron Corp., Dumaguete City Development Bank, QUALFON Philippines, Inc., DMC Busa Printers, Yamashin Filters Cebu Mfg. Corp., Cebu Dynamic Youth, MSM Cebu, Inc., EURO-CB (Philippines), Inc. and Virginia Foods, Inc. helped PBSP plant more than 17,000 tree seedlings In Cantipla, Cebu City.

Employees from Asiatown IT Park and members from the USC Lion's Club are also slated to join the caravan on July 31 and August 1.

The reforestation caravan runs from June 19 to September 25.

Organic farm tour with Bridges Town Square
Gaining more viable returns is also about bringing the market closer to your products. With Bridges Town Square and PR Works Cebu, PBSP organized a tour for print media representatives and Cebu's top bloggers to visit assisted farms with organically grown products.

The tour showcased Sudlon's salad crops and Tabunan's “pinakbet” ingredients, which can be directly bought in Bridges Town Square's Kumprahan Supermerkado.

Kumprahan Supermerkado is the first of its kind that allows farmers to sell directly to its consumers on a rent-free space, eliminating the middlemen and allowing farmers to sell their products for better returns.

Seaweeds training by MCPI
Twenty-four fishermen from Cebu and Bohol are now getting into the lucrative production of high-quality seaweeds with help from MCPI Corporation. The company recently held a training on integrated seaweeds farming for the fishermen at MCPI's Ocean Farming and Research Center in Danajon Reef, Bien Unido, Bohol.

The three-day training taught fishermen how to properly grow and harvest seaweeds as well as prevent diseases which may result to poor harvests. As part of the training, the fisherfolk will receive assistance in setting up a 2.5-hectare seaweed farm which will expand to eight hectares after three planting cycles.

The project, which is also in partnership with the German Development Service/Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst (DED) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), aims to help to provide an alternative source of livelihood in the marine market as well as decrease the number of seaweeds imported from India and Malaysia. It is sponsored by MCPI, BFAR and DED's Strategic Corporate-Community Partnerships for Social Progress (SCOPE) Program.

Cathay Pacific's CSR getaway
Cathay Pacific showed that spending a weekend getaway on an island paradise can also be an opportunity to help out. While visiting the scenic island of Olango, Lapu-lapu City, employees from Cathay Pacific Cargo Philippines, U-Freight Philippines, Vascor Cebu, Centurion Security Agency, TGC, Kwe, DHL and YAS spent their time planting 1,000 mangrove trees with the grade one pupils of POO Elementary School.

Cathay Pacific Manager Camila Taylor, Centurion Security Vice President for Finance Jasmine Pages and DHL Vice President for the Visayas and Mindanao JC Cergneux led their employees in distributing school bags, notebooks, pencils, sharpeners and crayons to the pupils and engaging in story-telling with the children.

“We are very happy that they really spent their time to come to our school and give school supplies for my child. Now I can save more money to spend for his other needs,” said Cheryl Fernandez, 28, mother of 6-year-old Rainier.

Aside from the school supplies, the employees also sent personalized greeting cards for the children to encourage them to study hard.

Coffee table book on CSR
 Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is defined at its best through PBSP's coffee table book entitled “A Better Life, Stories of Corporate Social Responsibility.”

“A Better Life,” the first book published in the country dedicated to corporate social responsibility (CSR), features the CSR milestones of PBSP’s operations in the Visayas in the areas of livelihood and enterprise, education, health, and the environment. It also honors the projects of 32 Philippine companies, which makes the book a valuable resource material for companies, CSR practitioners, civil society, academe and individuals who wanted to know more about helping communities through CSR.

Each copy of “A Better Life” is P2,550.00, inclusive of 12% VAT, and is exclusively sold at PBSP's Visayas Regional Office in Cebu City.

Employee Volunteers Give
Aside from participating in various events, companies and employee volunteers are also helping build better lives through online giving. PBSP has joined Global Giving, an online platform that connects donors to project beneficiaries worldwide. Through the Global Giving site, employees and officers of various companies are pooling their online donations for the construction of more mini dams in Bohol.

The online campaign, which aims to raise $4,000.00 for the construction of six more mini dams, will end on July 31, 2010.

All these examples show how more businesses are working with PBSP to expand their role in society. Beyond CSR Month ends, PBSP works all year to engage more corporate citizens to help create better lives by participating in its roster of developmental projects. For more details, interested companies may contact PBSP through (032) 232-5270 and 232-5283 or send an email to pbspvro@pbsp.org.ph.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Asian Forum on CSR 2010 Moves to Kuala Lumpur

Asian Forum on CSR 2010 Moves to Kuala Lumpur
July 28, 2010
ACN Newswire

Manila, July 28, 2010 - (ACN Newswire) - The 9th annual Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility (AFCSR) will now take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Conference Dates remain the same-October 21 and 22, 2010.

The Asian Institute of Management Ramon V. del Rosario Center for Corporate Social Responsibility (AIM-RVR Center), principal host of the conference, moved the AFCSR 2010 from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur.

"The most important learning is that it really takes time to secure the necessary permits to conduct an event in China. It is a slow process that starts with forming good relations and partnerships with reputable Chinese organizations. They are serious about organizations they partner with and take time to reconcile their goals with who they partner with. I believe we are making excellent headway in this regard," said Prof. Felipe B. Alfonso, Vice-Chairman of AIM's Board of Trustees.

Recognized as being the largest and most significant conference on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Asia, the 2009 conference recently concluded in Manila with 494 delegates. 473 delegates attended in Singapore in 2008, and 550 delegates attended in Ho Chi Minh City in 2007. For this year, over 500 business executives and other CSR stakeholders from more than 30 countries are expected to attend the conference in Kuala Lumpur.

The AFCSR in Kuala Lumpur aims to highlight innovative programs and best practices in CSR by corporations operating in Asia and to promote CSR as a key strategy in addressing social needs and concerns; to showcase corporate innovation in CSR in Asia and among Asian firms; to promote new thinking and standards on CSR as a strategy; and to build a network of CSR practitioners across Asia. The event is extremely well-supported and attended not only by senior business executives from Asia, but also by major NGOs throughout the Asian region.

The 2010 Asian Forum is presented by the AIM Ramon V. del Rosario Center for Corporate Social Responsibility and co-presented by the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and Intel as Strategic Partners.

AFCSR's notable partners include: ActionAid International Vietnam, ASEAN Foundation, Asia Pacific Philanthropy Consortium, Asia Society, Baltic Management Development Association (BMDA), Business Ethics Institute of Malaysia, Business in the Community-UK, Center for Development and Integration - Vietnam, Center for International Business Ethics (CIBE), Centre for Social Markets - India, Community Business - Hong Kong, Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Council for Better Corporate Citizenship - Japan, EFMD, Euro-China Centre for Leadership and Responsibility at China-Europe International Business School (ECCLAR at CEIBS), Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI), Habitat for Humanity International, Indonesia Business Links, International Business Leaders Forum, Kenan Institute Asia, League of Corporate Foundations - Philippines, Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Management Institute for Social Change - Malaysia, National Center for Sustainability Reporting - Indonesia, Philippine Business for Social Progress, Population and Community Development Association of Thailand, PPM Institute of Management - Indonesia, Responsible Business Initiative - Pakistan, Singapore Compact for CSR and The American Chamber of Commerce in the People's Republic of China.

CHANGE OF DEADLINES: With the move of the Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility (AFCR) 2010 to Kuala Lumpur, the Early Bird Rate is also extended up to September 17, 2010 for registrations.

There will be extension on the deadline for the entries of the Asian CSR Awards to August 31. Companies may enter as many projects as they wish in one or more of these categories: Best Workplace Practices, Concern for Health, Environmental Excellence, Poverty Alleviation and Support and Improvement of Education.

For additional information on AFCSR, please visit the AFCSR website at www.asianforumcsr.com for conference updates.

Read more.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Straight from the Tourists: Organic Farm Tour

Last July 10, PBSP, PR Works and Kumprahan Supermerkado brought Cebu's print media representatives and top bloggers to the farms in Sudlon II and Tabunan for the organic farm tour.

Fresh from the experience, here are the accounts of those who attended the tour:

From Cebu Daily News by Aileen Garcia-Yap
From Sun.Star Cebu by Rebelander Basilan

(For the full story of the organic farm tour, you may visit this link.)

A Day at the Farm

A Day at the Farm
By Maria Eleanor Valeros
The Freeman – Lifestyle
July 27, 2010

Despite the still sad state of roads leading to the interior portions of Cebu City’s mountain barangays of Sudlon II and Tabunan, the media farm tour pulled through last July 10, giving us an on-location overview of organic farming and the quality of farm produce sold at the Kumprahan SuperMerkado.

To better promote healthy living among the Cebuano populace, Kumprahan saw the need to tap the media for an effective launch of its campaign. Thus, the idea of a media farm tour was hatched in coordination with the Philippine Business for Social Progress.

Sudlon and Tabunan have always been subjects of interest in my previous road trips since 2002 because of their cutflower farms, interesting caves and that small lake in Cantipla (a sitio of Tabunan), so the weekend visit, in part, poses again the question: “Where is the promised improved road network?” Or have the farmers got some point there in their suspicion of “farm-to-pocket” moves instead of “farm-to-market” roads?

In Sudlon II, members of the PBSP-cooperative-beneficiary Sudlon Farmers Livelihood and Training Services, Foundation (responsible for bringing to the “bagsakan” 1,000 tons of produce weekly) are grateful of PBSP’s help like the introduction of vermicomposting which is integral in the shift to organically grown produce – as with the growing of tomatoes, sweet corn, eggplants, lettuce, string beans, among others. PBSP, a non-profit foundation, commits to the reduction of poverty in the country by assisting farmers through technology intervention.

However, farm leader Aladin Pagatpat of the 50-member SUFALTRAS mentioned that if only they could be provided with four-wheel tractors to aid contour farming in rolling terrains and a cold chain facility that would store lettuce, baguio beans, tomatoes and atsal (bell pepper), then that would be the next big help to look forward to in line with empowering farmers and invigorating the countryside.

“Sa handling gyod problema. If a cold storage is available, that would help prolong the shell life most especially of lettuce,” he added.

On the health side, most of us grew up with the knowledge that vegetables, in general, are good for our health. It lowers cholesterol, prevents heart diseases and helps brain development, among many other healthful benefits, but never knew a word about organic.

Organic literally means natural, but generally it refers to the growing, raising, or processing of food without pesticides, drugs, synthetic chemicals, or hormones, using methods that conserve natural resources and limit the effects on the environment.

However, Pagatpat admitted of encountering difficulty in dramatically shifting to 100-percent organic growing of vegetables because of the need to control pests with the use of commercial fertilizers. “However, we assure that farm produce are already 70 to 75 percent organically grown,” he said. And with vermiculture, or the use of earthworms to turn organic wastes into very high quality compost, at hand, the shift to 100-percent organic farming is within feasible grounds.

To cater to the need for locally grown Korean veggies, SUFALTRAS looks at the prospect of producing wombok, cucumber and radish in the 500-600 hectares cultivated land of the total 2,000 hectares of arable land in Sudlon II. “It was tested in Cebu south, pero pait man ang radish so maybe if we can facilitate a test with Sudlon soil, makita nato unsay laing factor to consider. Basin it has something to do with soil moisture or the soil component.”

Growing Korean veggies would also introduce a direct delivery system to the very doorsteps of Korean resident-consumers.

Had we only left the assembly area a bit earlier, we could have made a stop at the greenhouse in Sudlon. Meantime, that opportunity has to wait.

After Sudlon, we proceeded to Tabunan, a place I used to frequent back in the late 90s for the annual Mt. Manunggal climb. It has also been chronicled in the book of Col. Manuel F. Segura that this had been the seat of the guerrilla movement during the Japanese-American War. Decades after, it serves as home to “green revolution” with farm leaders of the Battalion Irrigators Association tilling 26 hectares of cultivated land of a total of 3,000 hectares of available agricultural land.

Farm leaders Nonencio Arcayan and Nerio Pador take pride in the disposal of 4,000 kilos a week of eggplants despite the still unfinished road concreting project there.

Because we all believe that the future is not set in stone for these farmers, we would somehow appeal for other agencies to offer a helping hand. Ironically, on the list of partners of the cooperative beneficiaries (PBSP, Department of Agriculture, Presko – Ang Sekreto sa mga Suheto, St. Vincent Neighborhood Multipurpose Coop, Coop Centrum, Carcar United Lowland Farmers Irrigators Assoc., and Bridges Town Square), the missing link is that entity responsible for road improvements.

As for Kumprahan SuperMerkado, it aims to establish itself as the only “bagsakan” for organically grown and organically raised produce in Cebu. Its Grand Farmers Day gives the farmers the opportunity to earn more and the public to buy directly from the farmers, thereby eliminating the middlemen – who control the prices – out of the picture. Due to incessant public demand, Grand Farmers Day became a Grand Farmers Weekend event at Kumprahan.

This, in effect, signifies Kumprahan’s serious intentions to become an all-organic community market, according to Kumprahan chief organizer Jon Ramos.

At Kumprahan, customers can buy their farm products at farmgate prices directly from the farmers on weekends. The Grand Farmers Weekend at Kumprahan is aimed at helping the farmers earn more through direct selling.

“We are also inviting people to adopt a healthy lifestyle and go organic,” Ramos said, referring to the healthful benefits that organic food offers.

Kumprahan SuperMerkado is an innovative community store, the first community market in the Visayas and Mindanao that provides products at merkado prices and freshness, yet at the convenience of a mall supermarket. It is located in Bridges Town Square, Plaridel St., Alang-Alang, Mandaue City.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Reforestation of Marikina watershed under way

Reforestation of Marikina watershed under way
Philippine Daily Inquirer
July 24, 2010

MANILA, Philippines — As public concern swings back and forth from floods to water shortages, a public-private sector initiative has been launched to help address these mounting fears.

The Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF), government agencies, private companies and non-governmental organizations recently signed a memorandum of cooperation for the reforestation of the Marikina watershed to help minimize disastrous floods and improve the water supply for Metro Manila and nearby areas.

The short-term goal is to plant trees on some 600 hectares of the 28,000-hectare watershed, with the long-term goal of reforesting a total of about 9,500 hectares. The parties also agreed to pursue the development of sustainable agro-forestry livelihoods for communities in the area.

The Marikina watershed was the source of most of the flood waters that inundated Metro Manila during Tropical Storm “Ondoy” in September last year.

Reforesting the watershed will eventually improve the capacity of the area to retain rainfall water and thus reduce the threat of floods while helping improve water supply for the metro area.

The Marikina Watershed initiative is a broad-based, multi-sectoral cooperation initiated by the PDRF, the private sector partner of the Special National Public-Private Reconstruction Commission created by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the wake of last year’s destructive storms. It is chaired by PLDT Chairman Manuel Pangilinan and co-chaired by Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.

PDRF’s public sector partners in this initiative include the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Antipolo City Government, the Marikina Watershed Protected Area Management Board and the National Power Corporation.

Its private sector partners include the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, Smart Communications, Inc., PLDT-Smart Foundation, Manila Water, Earth Day Network Philippines, Foundation for the Philippine Environment, Fostering People’s Education, Empowerment and Enterprise, League of Corporate Foundations, Kalingap Marikina Watershed, the Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation, Philippine Business for Social Progress, the Manila Electric Company, Haribon Foundation, UCPB Foundation, Education For Life, National Power Corporation, True Development Foundation, Inc., Mga Anak ni Inang Daigdig, the Diocese of Antipolo, the local government of Antipolo City and the communities of Barangay Calawis and Barangay San Jose.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cathay Pacific's CSR getaway

Cathay Pacific's CSR getaway
International airline proves tourism and
corporate citizenship can go hand in hand

For Cathay Pacific, any opportunity is ripe for corporate citizenship.

Cathay Pacific showed that spending a weekend getaway on an island paradise can also be a chance to help out. While recently visiting the scenic island of Olango, Lapu-lapu City, employees from Cathay Pacific Cargo Philippines, U-Freight Philippines, Vascor Cebu, Centurion Security Agency, TGC, Kwe, DHL and YAS also planted 1,000 mangrove trees with the grade one pupils of POO Elementary School.

The activity is organized by the company with the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) to help restore the denuding mangroves in Olango Island. PBSP aims to conserve Olango's marine resources by planting more than 25,000 mangroves in a year with help from corporate sponsors and volunteers.

The activity also aims to teach the pupils on the protection of the coastal environment by involving them in the planting of mangroves.

Aside from helping the environment, the company also helped improve the education standards of POO Elementary School. Cathay Pacific Manager Camila Taylor, Centurion Security Vice President for Finance Jasmine Pages and DHL Vice President for the Visayas and Mindanao JC Cergneux led their employees in distributing school supplies to the pupils, which include bags, notebooks, pencils, sharpeners and crayons.

“We are very happy that they really spent their time to come to our school and give school supplies for my child. Now I can save more money to spend for his other needs,” said Cheryl Fernando, 28, mother of 6-year-old Rainier.

For Rainier, the school supplies are a heaven-sent.

“I never had this much school supplies before, with this kind of quality. I didn't expect people to help my mother buy school supplies for me because we live very far from the city (of Lapu-Lapu). I thank them for helping us; now I know I can study better because I have notebooks and pencils I can use for writing notes and doing my assignments,” he said.

Aside from the school supplies, the employees also sent personalized greeting cards for the children to encourage them to study hard and engaged in story-telling with the children. Books and other reading materials were also donated by the employees for the school's library.

Taylor said that the company will continue to look into more venues for social development projects in Cebu.

For more photos of the event, you may visit PBSP's Photo Gallery.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gifts for education from The Bellevue Manila

Gifts for education from The Bellevue Manila

Blessed with wonderful beaches, historical structures, diving locations and palatable-looking hills, Bohol has easily become one of the country's tourist attractions. Its unique topography makes it suitable for agriculture, making the province the standing rice granary of the region.

However, Bohol's strong agricultural potential is posing both an opportunity and a threat.

Bohol may be on the way to complete rice sufficiency, but there are other remote barangays in Bohol that are severely affected, most particularly in the area of education.

From the latest statistics, it has been found out that most elementary and secondary schools in Bohol have very high drop-out rates. Since these barangays solely depend on farming for their livelihood, most of the children still have to help their parent farmers in the fields, causing them to miss out on some of their classes.

Because of this, The Bellevue Manila helped the most needy schools in Bohol improve their education standards.

As its support to Deped's Brigada Eskwela for the school year, the company, together with the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and Bohol Integrated Development Foundation, Inc. (BIDEF), distributed school supplies to more than 300 pupils in the schools of Malitbog and Caluasan.

The supplies include paper pads, pencils and sharpeners to the sons and daughters of poor farmers in barangays Malitbog and Caluasan. Teachers also received small bags which they can use for their other essentials.

“The assistance to these pupils is a great help since most of them used their school supplies from the previous year so their parents can save money,” said Malitbog Elementary School Principal  Zozima Ampoloquio.

The chosen beneficiaries were children of the marginal farmers assisted by PBSP with incomes below poverty threshold. PBSP identified the two schools to have the highest percentage of drop-outs.

Aside from the school supplies, PBSP also built Learning Resource Centers (LRCs) through Motolite's Balik-Baterya Program.

With this additional assistance, children will find it easier to study now that they have more tools they can use.

PBSP is now currently implementing the Bohol Poverty Reduction Program in nine municipalities of Bohol, including the towns of Dagohoy, and San Miguel. PBSP targets to help 10,010 marginal farmers achieve better lives.

For the complete photos of this event, you may visit PBSP's PHOTO GALLERY.

Water as 'shared value' for business and society

Water as 'shared value' for business and society
The Philippine Star
July 22, 2010

MANILA, Philippines - A report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) states that as of 2002, some 699 million people in the Asia-Pacific region had no access to safe drinking water.

The report, “Asia Water Watch 2015,” published jointly by the Asian Development Bank, UNDP, UNESCAP and the World Health Organization in 2006, also mentioned that the Philippines’ water use and water supply situation have actually regressed — that is, as more and more Filipinos need water in rural and urban areas, water supply is actually decreasing.

In the next few years, the Philippines could be facing a water crisis with tragic consequences. How do we deal with this emerging crisis?

The recent Creating Shared Value (CSV) Forum held at the New World Hotel discussed how corporations could work with government, NGOs and other stakeholders in ensuring water for both urban and rural communities.

The resource expert who led the discussion was Arjun Thapan, special senior adviser to the ADB president on infrastructure and water.

The CSV Forum sought to encourage corporations to invest in business strategies, practices and programs that are not only profitable but are also catalysts for social progress.

As the CSV Forum’s main speaker, Harvard professor and social responsibility expert Mark Kramer defines it: “Creating Shared Value means policies and practices that enhance the competitiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing economic and social conditions in the communities in which it operates.”

Thapan revealed that the ADB is encouraging the private sector and government to invest in water, specifically targeting the poorest areas, where people need water and sanitation most urgently.

ADB has also done a cost-benefit analysis, proving that investing in water will result in tremendous returns. Essentially, for every dollar spent on water and sanitation for the poor, $6 is generated.

“Here’s the big picture. Even if we only invest to meet the minimum requirement set by the United Nations for providing water and sanitation to the world’s poor — known as Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Target 10 — the economic benefits will amount to $54 billion. If we exceed MDG Target 10 and invest in water, sanitation, together with piped-in water to houses, sewage and partial water treatment for all, around $241 billion in economic benefits are generated,” Thapan said.

“More simply, if we invest $8 billion annually in water and sanitation to meet Target 10, we get an annual return of $54 billion in economic benefits. If you think about it, very few other business investments result in such a high rate of return,” Thapan added.

CSV for water investments
How are the economic benefits of investing in water determined? The ADB report explained that these are usually measured in terms of “time savings” which are divided into two types: gains from lower morbidity and fewer deaths; and gains from spending less time and energy to fetch water.

Other ways to measure cost benefits from water investments is in the cost saved from health care, since the lack of clean water for drinking and hygiene contributes to many illnesses.

Thapan also pointed out that investing in water improves a community’s state of nutrition, hygiene and health — leading to many other beneficial results that impact society and business.

“When people in poor areas gain access to safe water, they become more nourished and healthier. This increases their productivity. It also increases the likelihood that children will be attending school, since they are healthy enough to show up in their classes,” Thapan said.

“These improvements in productivity and educational attainment will lead to greater livelihood among the poor. As livelihood among the poor increases, incomes go up along with purchasing power. This opens up new markets for businesses that are willing to invest in water as well as products that are affordable to these emerging markets,” Thapan added.

Water: Agriculture, corporate, domestic use
Thapan also clarified a few things about the efficient use of water. He said that in reality, the inefficient use of water that results in wasted resources and shortages is not primarily the fault of corporations and households.

The major contributor to dwindling water supply in the Philippines and other countries is agriculture — more precisely, the inefficient use of water in the agricultural sector.

“The Philippines has a low rating when it comes to the efficient use of water in its agriculture sector. Both the government and the private sector can work together to improve that efficiency. The efficient use of water in agriculture ensures not only water supply but food supply as well,” said Thapan.

Since coffee is an agricultural product, Nestlé Philippines is doing its part in ensuring the efficient, safe, responsible, sustainable and ecologically sound use of water, according to Edith de Leon, SVP and head of corporate affairs of Nestlé Philippines’.

“Nestlé has practiced CSV long before the term was invented — since it was founded 140 years ago, in fact. The efficient, safe and sustainable use of water is actually one of the pillars of the Nestlé CSV approach. The other two are nutrition and rural development. We have several programs that ensure efficient, sustainable and responsible water use,” said De Leon.

De Leon pointed out that Nestlé is implementing the Sustainable Agricultural Initiative and the Coffee-Based Sustainable Farming System.

These programs teach farmers coffee-growing methods that improve the quantity and quality of their coffee beans in the most environment-friendly and sustainable way.

“Nestlé agronomists teach farmers to construct catch basins in their farms — essentially these are ponds designed to catch and store rainfall for use as irrigation. These ponds can also be used in raising fish for extra income. At the coffee roasting facility, water used in cleaning and processing coffee beans is recycled. Sustainable agriculture promoted by Nestlé even goes beyond efficient water use,” De Leon said.

“Coffee farmers who are trained — for free — at the Nestlé Experimental and Demonstration Farm in Davao learn to plant other cash crops alongside their coffee trees for added income. They are taught to plant crops that help prevent soil erosion. They learn farming methods that minimize the use of pesticides and fertilizers in order to preserve the soil’s arability,” said De Leon.

Nestlé Philippines, in partnership with the ADB, the Philippine Business for Social Progress and the Asian Institute of Management RVR Center for Social Responsibility, organized the Philippine CSV Forum to encourage corporations, government and other society stakeholders to embrace Creating Shared Value as a catalyst for social progress.

Bellevue Manila helps schoolkids in Bohol

Bellevue Manila helps schoolkids in Bohol 
The Freeman - Region
July 22, 2010

More than 300 schoolchildren in remote towns of Bohol recently received school supplies from The Bellevue Manila as part of the company's corporate social responsibility program.

The education assistance was in conjunction with DepEd's Brigada Eskwela campaign for the school year.

The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and the Bohol Integrated Development Foundation, Inc. helped distribute school supplies, which consisted of paper pads, pens, pencils and sharpeners to the sons and daughters of poor farmers in barangays Malitbog and Caluasan.

The chosen beneficiaries were children of the farmers below poverty threshold. Teachers also received bags they can use for their daily activities.

PBSP identified the two schools to have the highest percentage of drop-outs. Being major farming barangays, most of teh children still have to help their parent farmers in the field, causing them to miss some of their classes.

"The assistance to these pupils was a great help since most of them used their school supplies from the previous year so their parents can save money," said Malitbog Elementary School principal Zozima Ampoloquio.

PBSP also built Learning Resource Centers on these schools, which were funded by Motolite's Balik-Baterya Program.

PBSP is now currently implementing the Bohol Poverty Reduction Program in nine municipalities of Bohol, including the towns of Dagohoy and San Miguel. PBSP targets to help 10,010 marginal farmers. (PR) 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Midases of the seas

New Midases of the seas
MCPI and DED help more fishermen
benefit from the growing seaweed market

For the coastal communities, the ocean is their lifeline. 

For years, the fisherfolk solely depend on fishing as their main source of livelihood. Day in and day out, they sail along unsteady waves with hopes that they can catch enough fish to feed for their families.

Unsupported population growth, however, is not on their side.

As the population rises, the demand for fish, among other food products, also increases. Without proper marine preservation efforts, the supply of fish is steadily depleting.  And without any other sustainable means of livelihood for these communities, it won't be long before they, too, would reach a level of income depletion.

SECAFEE (Seaweeds, Cacao and Coffee) Integrated Development Cooperative Chairman Leo Escala shares that it is not the absence of alternative sources which prompted them to solely depend on fishing.

“Our farmers and fisherfolk know that there are other ways they can earn, but they are afraid of risks. Fishing is what has been continually feeding them for years. What if they have invested so much in this alternative and end up losing more income instead?” he adds. 

Business solutions. The situation opened an opportunity for German Development Service (DED) Consultant Janina Wohlgemuth, who, on the other hand, was helping develop business solutions to MCPI Corp., an export company that deals with seaweeds, particularly carrageenan. MCPI Corp. is currently importing high quantities of seaweed from Malaysia and Indonesia to meet its demand, and is looking for more local suppliers which the fisherfolk can address.

Seaweed has become one of the most sought-after products in the market mostly for its extract, carrageenan, which is mainly used in the food processing industry.

With the Strategic Corporate-Community Partnerships for Social Progress (SCOPE) Program, 24 fishermen of the SECAFEE Integrated Development Cooperative learned the basics of integrated seaweed farming through a three-day training at MCPI's Ocean Farming and Research Center in Danajon Reef, Bien Unido, Bohol.

The training, which was conducted by MCPI and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), taught fishermen basic fishery laws and the economics of seaweed production and market prospects of the seaweed industry.

MCPI and DED will further assist the fisherfolk in setting up a 2.5-hectare seaweed farm which will expand to eight hectares after three planting cycles. Some of the harvested seaweeds will be given to the Dalaguete farmers and other PBSP-supported farmers in Bohol so they can start their farms in the next planting cycle. A second part of the harvested seaweeds will be used to grow the farm in Guindacpan and the rest will be sold to MCPI.

SCOPE. The SCOPE Program, which runs for two years, aims to establish cooperation between the communities and the business sector. Under this partnership, the community provides for the business needs of a company, which in turn, makes the company a stable market of the community.

“The end goal of the project is to generate a long-term alternative source of income for the people of Guindacpan, Dalaguete and Calituban. Most of them are fisherfolks and with decreasing fishing yields they are finding it harder and harder to maintain their families. The company benefits from the cooperation as well: they will have suppliers who are trained in the MCPI quality standards who will be able to sell them dried seaweed that fulfills their standards,” Wohlgemuth said.

“An additional outcome is the protection of the environment. It discourages dynamite and cyanide fishing present in the area as these fishing practices also affect the seaweed farms. Additionally, the seaweed farms serve as a habitat for many marine species.”

“We are very thankful for the training because we have learned how to manage and take care of the seaweeds technically. Though most of us already know how to plant the seaweeds, we still lack the knowledge on certain technical aspects like disease prevention and the proper harvesting and drying of seaweeds,” Leo Escala added.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mercury Drug, PBSP help waterless barangay

Mercury Drug, PBSP help waterless barangay
Manila Bulletin
July 19, 2010

Where a resident reportedly consumes only a little over a bucket (9 to 12 liters) of water per day because of limited access, a potable water system will be installed.

Barangay Lacag in the town of Daraga, Albay, is a remote, upland community where people haul water from a source that is two kilometers away.

A water catchment device and a distribution line that leads to common water stations in the area will be constructed. Residents will also be hired to do the construction so as to provide short-term employment.

Mercury Drug Corporation will fund the water project in the barangay through the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), of which it is a member-company. PBSP will work closely with ASCODE, an Albay-based NGO.

For eight years, Mercury Drug has been partnering with PBSP in helping waterless communities throughout the country gain access to potable water. They have so far set up water systems in Muntinlupa, La Union, Cagayan, Bohol, Guimaras and Bicol.

The good turnout of the previous projects has encouraged Mercury and PBSP to work in more areas.

In the PBSP-assisted Tinig ng Nagkakaisa Homeowners’ Association in Muntinlupa, for example, the community is able to save much—P350 per household — from its water costs with the system in place.

The homeowners’ association uses the savings for maintenance and even for Christmas grocery packs for each household.

To replicate the success in Tinig and to sustain the project in Albay, PBSP and ASCODE will organize a Barangay Water Sanitation Association (BAWASA) under the Lacag Multipurpose Cooperative.

The barangay-led association will formulate its own payment scheme to cover water consumption and maintenance costs. A population of more than 2,000 will benefit from the project.

The potable water project in Albay is part of PBSP’s newly launched poverty reduction program in the Bicol region.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Help us build mini-dams for Bohol rice farmers!

For donations, kindly visit this LINK.

Also help us spread the word!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A taste of more organic greens

A taste of more organic greens
PR Works, media reps tour PBSP's organic farms

AS the clamor for greater environmental awareness is pursued, the demand for eco-friendly products is also sought.

Take any consumer, for example. A consumer may chance upon a vegetable stall in the wet market or a grocery chain, but he is still looking for the same thing:

Fresh produce that have cheaper prices. 

Vegetables, fruits and crops that are organically grown.

Organically grown products have become the newest trend among consumers because they have several advantages. They have an environmental edge: they are not touched by pesticides and synthetic fertilizers which may harm the soil and decrease its nutritional content.

Organic farming produce crops of higher quality. It also helps the soil gain higher water retention, which is useful for farmers during the dry seasons.

Studies also show that organically grown products are tastier than those grown from other farming methods.

Going organic. Since the early 2000's, the national government and local government units have taken extreme efforts to push for organic farming. One of the measures they have taken is to provide farmers with cheaper organic fertilizer so they can easily shift to organic farming.

In PBSP, the foundation helped its farmers adopt to the technology without sacrificing their yield by providing technical assistance and trainings. PBSP's Center for Rural Technology and Development (CRTD) trains farmers in the proper method of vermicomposting, which can also be a viable economic venture. Some of the most notable farmer communities PBSP was able to help adopt to organic farming were the ones located in Magsaysay, Sudlon II and Tabunan, Cebu City.

However, the products the farmers would harvest annually would all go to waste if there is no stable demand. To assist in this area, PBSP linked the farms to notable markets to ensure that what they planted would have sure consumers.

The most recent project PBSP took part in is the Kumprahan Supermerkado which opened last May 29 at Bridges Town Square, where farmers get to sell directly to their consumers on a rent-free space.

Usually, farmers depend on the middlemen, who owned or rented the stalls of the wet markets, to sell their own harvested crops. Because of this scheme, only the middlemen can set the prices of the products these farmers would sell, which resulted to lower income. With a venue like the Kumprahan Supermerkado available to the farmers, the farmers are given more opportunities to earn more income on their own devices.

Seeing the success of this project, PBSP and Kumprahan take it up a notch higher—now they are bringing the possible consumers close to the farmers' homes.

A tour for something greener. In coordination with PR Works and Kumprahan Supermerkado, various print media representatives and bloggers were toured to the different PBSP-assisted farms with organically grown products.

Reporters and photographers from The Freeman, Cebu Daily News, Sun.Star Cebu and members from the Cebu Bloggers Society joined Bridges Town Square owner Jon Ramos in visiting Sudlon II and Tabunan, Cebu City.

Sudlon II, also known as the Salad Capital of Cebu, is known for its rich lettuce, tomato and cucumber plantations. Every week, the farms of Sudlon would harvest more than 50,000 kilograms of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as other crops such as baguio beans, eggplants and chilli.

As stated by Aladin Pagatpat, president of the Sudlon Farmers and Livelihood and Training Services Foundation (SUFALTRAS), their yield has significantly almost doubled in number when they started farming organically.

“PBSP did not only teach us how to plant using organic fertilizer; they also taught us crop diversification so we could really maximize the use of our farmland in any planting season we have,” he added.

Because of the slopy and hilly terrains of Tabunan, Cebu City, its farmers can only plant certain flowers and what they call “pinakbet ingredients.”

The tour specifically visited the farm of Nonencio Arcayan, who could harvest more than 4,000 kilograms of eggplant in one harvest. Arcayan can harvest twice every week on Thursdays and Sundays.

“Because of the assistance of PBSP, I am not dependent on using pesticides and other synthetic fertilizers just to be able to harvest more crops. Because organic farming is also pushed, I feel prouder to grow crops that did not completely depend on synthetic materials,” Arcayan said.

For organic fertilizers, the farmers of Sudlon II and Tabunan use vermicompost and chicken wastes.

The other side of the looking-glass. For Sun.Star reporter Rebelander Basilan, the farm tour was more than a nice and enriching experience.

“From this tour, I realized that farmers go through problems from the production to the delivery of their crops. They need attention from as many agencies as possible so we can help them,”  he shared.

Kumprahan Supermerkado, he added, is a very good project because it has easily met the need of the farmers—the venue eliminates the middlemen and allows the farmers to set a better prize for their own products.

“Get to know the farmers' lives, get to know how they survive with their own means. If you get to know their lives, you can sympathize with them and be able to find a more concrete way to help them,” he added.

The Freeman Lifestyle writer Maria Eleanor Valeros, on the other hand, has already noted developments in the personalities of the farmers in Sudlon II since she last visited the place two years ago.

“I can see that they are already good in doing PR, which shows that they take pride with what they have, that they have finally found a niche with the help of PBSP,” she added.

Valeros also saw that the farmers' drive in organizing and strengthening their cooperative has improved.

“Before, you barely feel these farmers' presence in the wet markets as compared to the farmers in Mantalongon. Now, you can see that Sudlon's farmers have a strong presence especially in the Korean market because of their salad ingredients.”

"The enterprise component of the program aims at transforming our assisted marginal upland farmers into farmer entrepreneurs, through sustainable technology development and cost-efficient farming techniques, post-harvest handling, market linkage and establishment of institutional buyers like hotels, restaurants and supermarkets. We will soon produce and establish markets for 100% organically grown fruits and vegetables even outside of Metro Cebu and other provinces," PBSP Technical Officer Leo Pelletero said.

For more photos of the Organic Farm Tour, you may visit PBSP's Photo Gallery.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Feeding our future

Feeding our future
Cebu Daily News, Editorial
July 14, 2010

“With enough and the right kind of food, a baby’s normal weight is ensured,” reads the theme of Nutrition Month this July 2010.

In these parts—where Fire Prevention Month (March) sees a spike in fires and Environment Month (June) reminds people that it’s again payback time to a degraded ecology—that aphorism prescribes rather than describes.

Emma Gaviola, assistant nutrition coordinator, revealed early this month that malnutrition continues to hound Cebu City’s children.

The city’s child malnutrition rate has gone down to 4.32 percent this year from 5.60 percent last year.

That still translates to 35,739 malnourished kids.

Ermita, a depressed barangay in the north district posted 2010’s highest malnutrition prevalence among 130,383 city children below the age of six.

Child malnutrition also plagues barangays Mambaling, Buot Taup, Inayawan, Duljo-Fatima, Sapangdaku, Pamutan, Agsungot, Pahina San-Nicolas and Punta Princesa.

Gaviola attributed the poor nourishment of children not to scarce food but to congestion (Ermita is a magnet for indigents seeking a better life in the city), lack of sanitation and neglectful parenting—many parents, Gaviola says, are engaged in tong-its, mahjong and other forms of gambling.

It’s not entirely innacurate to count these conditions as easy excuses for the city government’s failure to stamp out malnutrition.

After all, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama promised to raise the allotment for nutrition in his planned request for a P200-million supplemental budget only after learning that the city placed fifth in a National Nutrition Council ranking of Central Visayas cities with high malnutrition.

But Gaviola is also on point when she said that fathers and mothers should not consign child-rearing to the government.

With Joelito Baclayon, city agriculturist, seeing a bumper harvest from the hillylands in October, groups like the Philippine Business for Social Progress transferring organic farming technology to food producers and more barangay composting facilities a potential source of nutrients to replenish our eroded farmland topsoil, there’s just no reason able-bodied parents can’t work to earn sufficient, nutritious daily bread.

This is where the government can step creatively in its parens patria role to care for children.

The new program to encourage indigents to clean their surroundings in exchange for food may be a good start. Aside from reducing the probability of floods, it would shelter children from dirt-borne diseases that trump healthful nutrition.

But with Gaviola’s report, gambling turns out to be also a formidable front in the fight against hunger and poor nutrition.

Newly appointed Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo launched a probe against big-time jueteng.

Local government should also crack down on gambling that siphons away families’ food budget.

Persistent childhood malnutrition and hunger in general makes the late national artist for film Fernando Poe Jr. sound prophetic when he said: “The problem of the Filipino is breakfast, lunch and supper.”

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cebu Dynamic Youth plants trees in Cantipla

Cebu Dynamic Youth plants trees in Cantipla

PBSP thanks CEBU DYNAMIC YOUTH headed by Devin Go for helping the foundation plant 2,500 more trees in Cantipla for the 2010 Cebu Hillylands Reforestation Caravan.

For more photos of the event, click

Since the kickoff last June 19, the following companies have already helped PBSP:

June 26
Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc.
Petron Corp.
Dumaguete City Development Bank

June 30

Yamashin Cebu Filters Manufacturing Corp.

July 3

DMC Busa Printers

July 10

NKC Philippines Manufacturing Corp.

July 11

Cebu Dynamic Youth

You have 15 Saturdays to help save the earth.
Make your Saturdays count.
Book a Saturday and help us plant indigenous trees now.

For more inquiries, pls call us at 232-5283/232-5270 or visit us at: PBSP Visayas Regional Office 4th Floor, PLDT Building Juan Luna Avenue, Mabolo Cebu City, Philippines 6000.

Help us through Global Giving!


Minidams have helped the communities of Bohol fight the worsening effects brought by the country's extreme weather conditions.

With these minidams, rainwater is collected and stored, which can already serve more than 10 hectares of rice farms for irrigation. This gives the farmers enough water to plant and harvest rice outside the rainy season and despite the dry spell brought on by the El Niño phenomenon.

For years, PBSP has helped empower these communities by providing them with these minidams to help the farmers withstand El Niño's harsh onslaught. But more action needs to be done. It is something we can not solve entirely on our own.

We invite you to join us in providing minidams to 100 more farmers.

Help us create better lives in Bohol!

Send your donations to PBSP through Global Giving.

Organic farmers eye Korean market in Cebu

Organic farmers eye Korean market in Cebu
By Aileen Garcia-Yap
Cebu Daily News – Enterprise
July 13, 2010

Organic farmers in Cebu City's hillylands plan to tap the growing market of Koreans in Cebu who number almost 50,000.

While local farmers look for ways to do this, they need the help of market operators and the government for linkages and farm equipment.

“We know that there are many Koreans here and most of them eat vegetables. We just need help, said farmer Aladin Pagatpat of barangay Sudlon, in Cebuano.

For now, the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), a corporate-led foundation, is teaching barangay farmers how to use natural fertilizers.

“But we also need help in selling our produce straight to the Koreans,” said Pagatpat, one of the farmer beneficiaries of PBSP.

The group known as Sufaltas or Sudlon Farmers Livelihood Training and Services Foundation, are in charge of 600 hectares of land and produce organically grown egglants, tomatoes and chili.

Pagatpat uses natural methods of fertilizing his one-hectare farm, like vermicast or worm waste.

Member farmers avoid using synthetic or chemical fertilizers and genetically modified organisms to influence the growth of crops.

However, their produce is “70 per cent organic” and not 100 per cent because some vegetables like lettuce still use inorganic fertilizers such as potassium fertilizers right before harvest to prevent pest attacks.

Vermicast - the waste of nightcrawler worms tended in the farm - is usually applied during the early stages of growth.

Farmers also scatter reject vegetables like tomatoes on the ground to provide additional nutrients to the soil.
The group is tapping the Korean Association of Groceries in Cebu which sells vegetables important to kimchi-loving Koreans like radish and Chinese pechay.

Aside from the Koreans, Pagatpat said farmers see a potential large demand for organic produce from establishments like hotels and restaurants in Cebu.

“There is a big demand but we haven’t really sat down to discuss this with them,” Pagatpat said.

He said farmers hope the new Agriculture Secretary would give attention to farmers like them who need three things from the new administration: assistance in farm equipment, capital support and market access.

“We need the farm equipment to help us handle our produce. If they can arrange to let us loan the equipment, similar to how it was done in the cold storage project, that would be good. Most of us don't have any capital. We hope the government can give us access to loans,” he said.

For market access, he suggested a similar setup as the Kumprahan Supermerkado in Mandaue City where farmers can sell their produce directly in a well-planned market without have to to deal with middlemen.

This empowers farmers to have control over how they price their produce.

Nonencio Arcayan of Batallion Irrigators, a farmers group in barangay Tabunan, said infrastructure support is also needed like roads to ease delivery of the farm products.

Jon Ramos, chief organizer of Kumprahan Supermerkado, told Pagatpat that he is leaving for Manila soon because Department of Agriculture executives want to talk to him about the business model of the Kumprahan Supermerkado.

“They want this concept to be duplicated in other areas. I think they're already seeing this as a way to help farmers like you,” Ramos said.

Organic farmers earn more, but still seek help

Organic farmers earn more, but still seek help
By Katlene O. Cacho
Sun.Star Cebu – Business
July 13, 2010

Increases in farm output and income are among the benefits the farmers of Sudlon II and Tabunan have been enjoying since they gradually shifted from the inorganic to the organic type of farming.

This has also opened the way for both barangays to become vegetable suppliers of Kumprahan Supermerkado, an innovative community store that provides products at market prices art Bridges Town Square in Mandaue City.

Aladin Pagatpat, 34, a farmer of Barangay Sudlon II, said organic farming has allowed him to reduce production costs and increase income at the same time.

“I normally spent P2,000 for the production and earned a net income P4,000. But when I shifted to organic farming, my production cost went down to P900 and I earned a net income of P4,100 every harvest,”  said Pagatpat during the Organic Farm Tour last Saturday.

This increased income was due in part to increased demand for organic products, as well as the elimination of the middlemen in the selling process.

Pagatpat is a member of the Sudlon Farmers Livelihood and Training Services Association (Sufaltras). He owns a hectare of land planted with high-value crops like lettuce, beans and tomatoes, among others. He said his vegetables are 70 percent organic and 30 percent inorganic.

Capt. Pricillo Alborez of Sudlon II said Sudlon farmers have slowly shifted to organic farming because of the growing demand for a healthy lifestyle among consumers.

He said the technology intervention of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) has helped farmers improve the quality of their vegetables, which they supply to the market. Sudlon II has about 2,000 residents whose primary source of living is farming.

PBSP, Alborez said, introduced vermicomposting, a process of producing
organic fertilizer (vermicompost) from biodegradable materials with the help of earthworms.

PBSP is the largest corporate-led social development foundation in the Philippines. It is the first of its kind in Asia, leading the promotion and practice of corporate social responsibility.

Despite the benefits of organic farming, farmers of both areas still need full support from the government in terms of the supply of farm equipment, loans and market access.

“We hope the Aquino administration will extend its full support to the farmers, especially in helping us market our products directly to companies or restaurants without having to course these through the middlemen,” said Alborez.

The farmer-members of the Battalion Irrigators Association of Tabunan have likewise asked for support infrastructure like road improvements to help them transport their goods to the market.

Tabunan is estimated to be more than 30 kilometers away from JY Square in the city proper.

PBSP invites volunteers to join reforestation caravan

PBSP invites volunteers to join reforestation caravan
The Freeman, Community section
July 13, 2010

The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) invites companies and individuals to join the 2010 Cebu Hillylands Reforestation Caravan by adopting a hectare for reforestation or by volunteering to plant trees on any Saturday of the caravan.

So far, more than 900 volunteers from 35 institutions have already taken part in the caravan since it was launched last June 19. These volunteers joined hands to help regreen the denuding forests in the Cebu hillylands and help put a stop to the worsening effects of climate change.

The 2010 Cebu Hillylands Reforestation Caravan aims to involve the business sector in reforesting 124 hectares by planting 300,000 indigenous tree seedlings for 15 Saturdays from June 19 to September 25, 2010.

“We don't just plant—we make sure it survives. This is the friendliest tree planting activity organized,” PBSP Cebu Hillyland Development Committee Chairman Eileen Mangubat said.

Airlift Asia (Cebu), Inc., KEEP Foundation, Asiatown IT Park, Cebu Daily News, Cebu Energy Dev't. Corp., Cebu Private Power Corp., East Asia Utilities, Fooda Saversmart Corp, Jollibee Foods Corp-RBU Vis-Min, KEEP Foundation, Lexmark Research & Dev't. Corp., Ng Khai Dev't. Corp., Phil. Guardians Brotherhood Inc., PLDT, Qualfon Phils. Inc., San Miguel Corp., Shell Phils., SMART, Sun Star Publishing Inc., TMX Phils. Inc., Toledo Power Corp., Cebu Microelectronics Inc., Petron Corp., Qualfon Philippines, Inc., Dumaguete City Development Bank, Yamashin Cebu Filters Manufacturing Corp. and DMC Busa Printers are among the companies that joined the caravan as of July 3.

Aside from the companies, volunteers from barangays Luz, Magsaysay, Sudlon and Tabunan and groups like the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc., Sto. Niño de Cebu Agustinian Social Development Foundation, Battalion Irrigators Association and Tabok Workers Multi-Purpose Cooperative also joined the event.

“We come up with this activity in order to save our mother earth,” Mark Lloyd Cabahug of Yamashin Filters Mfg, Corp. said.

“If there is corporate social responsibility, there is also what you call cooperative social responsibility,” Janith Boyonas, General Manager of the Tabok Workers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, added.

Of the 35 institutions, Cebu Microelectronics, Inc. had the biggest delegation by bringing in 200 employee volunteers.


Inquiries and details about the reforestation caravan can be addressed to Ms. Malu Largo at (032) 232-5283. Interested individuals and companies can also send an email to malu.b.largo@gmail.com/mblargo@pbsp.org.ph.

NKC, SMART joins 4th Saturday of PBSP's Refo Caravan

NKC and SMART joins 4th Saturday of PBSP's Refo Caravan

Rain or shine, the fourth Saturday of PBSP's 2010 Reforestation Caravan was attended by two companies who committed to help conserve the environment and put a stop to climate change.

NKC Philippines Manufacturing Corp., an institution that manufactures bearing-related parts, particularly rubber oil seals, and SMART, a telecommunications company, both planted more than 2,000 tree seedlings to help PBSP reforest an additional hectare in Cantipla, Cebu City.

“We joined this reforestation caravan because, first, it helps the environment and, second, I can have fun planting trees while serving a greater purpose,” SMART Admin Specialist Rodrigo Natad said.

Natad is one of the eighteen SMART employee volunteers headed by Public Affairs Senior Officer Lourdes Gocotana. It was the first time he participated in a tree-planting activity, and with the experience, he wishes to join another one again.

For NKC Anti-Pollution Committee Head Edmond Ouano, planting trees is more than just meeting the company's ECC requirement stipulated by DENR.

“This activity is just part of NKC's annual environmental plan to help Cebu have a better environment,” he said.

He added that with NKC's nature of business, the conservation of Cebu's environment has become one of the company's major thrusts . With its recent expansion of an additional plant, NKC has become more conscious of planning more eco-friendly activities for the upcoming months.

Also present in the activity were NKC President Junichi Ishida, Production Manager Haruhide Ono, QA Manager Tadashi Tokuda and Sash Roller Manager Reizo Takehira.

To see more photos of the event, you may visit PBSP's Photo Gallery.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Smart and green in the office

Smart and green in the office
The Philippine Star
July 12, 2010

MANILA, Philippines - Mobile phone services are inherently earth-friendly since they allow subscribers to reduce their carbon footprint by communicating and conducting transactions wirelessly.

Employees of leading wireless services provider Smart Communications, Inc., however, are taking a step further to be eco-friendly not only in their work, but also at work.

They are planting trees, recycling, patronizing earth-friendly products, promoting biking as an alternative mode of transport, segregating waste, and participating in a river cleanup as part of the activities for the Philippine Environment Month under Kabalikat, the company’s corporate social responsibility program.

 “Environmental awareness is high among our employees since Smart has been consistently engaging them as volunteers in several earth-friendly projects like SmarTrees, our nationwide tree-planting initiative. At the same time, we regularly conduct awareness campaigns that highlight eco-friendly measures at the workplace, said Smart Public Affairs Group head Ramon R. Isberto.

Tree Planting
In Cebu, employees from Smart and parent company Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) trooped to Barangay Tabunan for a tree-planting activity organized by the Philippine Business for Social Progress. They helped plant trees that included the Cebu cinnamon, fire tree, kamatsili, almaciga, tipolo, narra, bangkal, and taloto in the mountain barangay, which is part of the Central Cebu Protected Landscape and the source of Metro Cebu’s water.

Smart, through its tree-planting program, has been helping reforest the country since 2004. In 2009 alone, the combined efforts of Smart employee-volunteers and community partners have resulted in the planting of close to 350,000 seedlings and mangrove propagules in selected provinces across the country.

Trash For Cash
Employees at the Makati head office started with a Recyclables Collection Event, held in partnership with the Philippine Business for the Environment, to celebrate Philippine Environment Month. They turned over recyclable materials like paper, cardboard, plastic products, empty ink toner cartridges, and obsolete/broken electronic devices to accredited recyclers.

To encourage the practice of choosing earth-friendly products and items, Smart organized a week-long bazaar, which enabled employees to buy eco-friendly products that included organic rice, fruits and vegetables, veggie chips, “green” mobile phone chargers, and organic bath and beauty products.

Cycling Over Driving
Smart teamed up with the Firefly Brigade to conduct a bike clinic that aims to promote cycling as an alternative mode of transportation. Those interested in switching to cycling as a mode of transportation in the metro learned information like basic non-motorized transportation, basic bike maintenance, bike commuting skills, and safe urban cycling practices.

Waste Segregation
Smart’s Administration and Materials Management Group-VisMin is implementing waste segregation at the Mabolo office in Cebu to encourage eco-friendly practices at the office.

River Cleanup
In Mindanao, employees participated in a Cagayan de Oro river cleanup and a fun run aimed at raising funds for the river’s maintenance, both organized by the First Rafting Adventure.

Smart’s activities for the Philippine Environment Month is part of its commitment to pursue and support earth-friendly initiatives including the 10 Million Movement launched by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Earth Day Network Philippines, Inc. earlier this year. Everyone is encouraged to commit to an earth-friendly act by logging on at the Smart-sponsored 10 Million Movement website (www.10mm.ph).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

'Bagsakan' opens in Mandaue

'Bagsakan' opens in Mandaue
By Rebelander S. Basilan
Sun.Star Cebu

July 11, 2010

THE desire to promote a healthy lifestyle among Cebuanos and uplift the lives of local farmers has led a young investor to organize an innovative community store in Mandaue City.

Jon Ramos opened last May what he claimed to be the “first community market in the Visayas and Mindanao that provides products at `merkado’ prices and freshness.”

The Kumprahan SuperMerkado at the Bridges Town Square in Barangay Alang-Alang seeks to offer local farmers the opportunity to enjoy higher profit and the public the opportunity to “buy directly from farmers.”

Ramos said the store will be a place where consumers can buy organic fruits and vegetables. 

Going organic
“We are inviting people to adopt a healthy lifestyle and go organic,” he said.

“Kumprahan SuperMerkado is a community market or a ‘bagsakan’ for organically-grown produce in Cebu. Our profit here is only incidental. We want this to spur economic development in the province,” he said.

The store also offers consumers a community membership card, so they can enjoy discounts.

Ramos said he aims to provide a 200-square meter area, or equivalent to 10 stalls, in the store where farmers can directly sell their products to buyers.

He said he is working on a partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Tourism to promote the One Town One Product program.

Ramos and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), a non-profit foundation, toured the media yesterday to the farms in Sudlon II and Tabunan, Cebu City.

Nonencio Arcayan, who grows eggplants and flowers in Tabunan, lamented they don’t make enough profit selling in Carbon because of middlemen.

Ramos said the community market seeks to eliminate middlemen, who control the prices for the farmers’ produce.

Reggie Marie Barrientos, PBSP communications officer, said the foundation is committed to uplift the lives of farmers.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

PBSP expands Bohol poverty reduction program

PBSP expands Bohol poverty reduction program
Manila Bulletin
July 8, 2010

TAGBILARAN, Bohol — The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) is expanding its poverty reduction program to benefit agricultural communities, particularly in assisting some 10,000 families gain self-sufficiency in rice in Central Bohol.

PBSP, which is the largest social development foundation in the Philippines and the first of its kind in Asia, is comprised of over 260 large, medium-scale and small companies allocating a portion of their income for social progress projects around the country.

Combined corporate financial contributions are used by the PBSP to fund selected integrated programs in education, health, sustainable livelihood, environment and enterprise development
In Bohol, the foundation works with the local government and various communities. Its expanded poverty reduction program in the province will reach nine rice-producing municipalities and 103 barangays.

Over 92,000 families or some 38.8% of total population in Bohol live in poverty and PBSP intends to help 11% of this targeted group to rise above poverty.

PBSP’s partnership with the people of Bohol has shown encouraging results and the country’s principal foundation committed to corporate social responsibility (CSR) intends to continue supporting the Bohol provincial government’s rice self-sufficiency agenda for at least another half decade more.

Exequil Bahalla, 52, a farmer living in Barangay Katipunan, Carmen is one of 760 farmers who has benefited from the 40 Small Water Impounding Systems (SWIS) project built by PBSP and partners. The SWIS has helped Bahalla and his fellow farmers in doubling their cropping and shield them from the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

“With the small irrigation system, we can plant rice in advance and increase rice yields. This allows our crops to flower in the first week of February and harvest rice sooner. We can then plant more crops (throughout the year),” Bahalla said in the local dialect.

The PBSP has also introduced organic farming using vermicompost and other appropriate farming technologies for increased farm productivity.

According to Jose Antonio Aboitiz, a representative of the Aboitiz-owned Davao Light and Power Co., and Chairman of PBSP’s Visayas Regional Committee, the foundation has “built up the capacities of 33 community-based organizations with a combined membership of 5,442 farmers.”

He said Aboitiz added that after five years of support to subsistence farmers, “60 percent of total household beneficiaries realized income above the poverty threshold of Php 10,435 while 40 percent realized varying levels of income increases.”

Said PBSB expanded program in Bohol will improve farming technology, livelihood, and enterprise productivity of beneficiary-partners in the province. At the same time, public school education will be improved, health needs met, and environment and climate change issues addressed.

To help reduce poverty in more than 100 communities in the province in the next five years, PBSP aims to raise at least P20 million each year. PBSP members have already committed Php1 million this year. The foundation’s German development partners have also signified support by about Php16 million for the implementation of its Bohol Food Sufficiency Project in the towns of Carmen, Dagohoy and San Miguel.

“We are confident that businesses will continue to expand their social responsibility beyond their core operations and beyond their immediate communities. Such businesses have already made  commitments to reach out and support poverty reduction in Bohol,” Aboitiz underlined.

In totality, PBSP, since its establishment in 1970, has benefited 4.7 million Filipinos and assisted over 6,400 social development projects through a total of P7.5 billion in grants and development loans.

Monday, July 05, 2010

15 Questions...

2010 Cebu Hillylands Reforestation Caravan

15 Questions You May Want to Ask Us About the Reforestation Caravan:
Why only 15 Saturdays?
PBSP will only plant tree seedlings for 15 Saturdays in line with the country's rainy season. This is to ensure that all the tree seedlings we planted will have an 85% survival rate. Your tree seedlings will only have a higher mortality rate if they are not planted during the rainy season.

How much does it cost to adopt a hectare for reforestation?
A hectare for reforestation costs PhP 40,000.00. This includes the cost for maintenance and replanting of the tree seedlings in case the need arises.

I do not have enough funds to adopt a hectare for reforestation. Can I still join the caravan in another way?
Yes, you can! Companies and other interested individuals can help us by becoming volunteer tree planters. You can also help us spread the word about our reforestation efforts!

How can I join the reforestation caravan?
Joining our caravan is easy! Just contact Miss Malu thru our phone line at 232-5283 or thru email at malu.b.largo@gmail.com or MBLargo@pbsp.org.ph to book  your Saturday.

When and where shall we meet for the activity?
It depends on where you want to meet. We could meet in front of Asiatown IT Park's The Walk, where we gathered during our kickoff, or to another location that is more convenient for you.

What tree seedlings are we planting?
For this year, we will be doing enrichment planting using indigenous tree seedlings such as the Cebu cinnamon plant or kalingag,  narra, almaciga, fire tree, kamatsilis, tipolo, bangkal and taloto, among others.

Why choose these species?
Our birds feed and nest on the bark and fruits of indigenous trees, making them the most suitable trees to plant in the forests.

What bird species can we see flourish because of our reforestation efforts?
A lot of them since all our birds feed on the fruits, seeds and bark of our indigenous trees!  The rarest and endemic among them are the Cebu black shama, also known as the siloy, and the Cebu flowerpecker.

When did the reforestation caravan start?
We launched the Cebu Hillyland Development Program (CHDP) on 1988 to encourage the business sector to be involved in our efforts to conserve the hillylands and reduce poverty in the communities. This was in line with the city government's call for the business sector's involvement in implementing development programs in the hillylands.

How many companies had joined PBSP's reforestation caravan since it started?
To date, we already tapped the participation of more than 100 institutions to join us. 

Since you started planting tree seedlings in the Cebu Hillylands, how many hectares have you already helped reforest?  
As of 2009, we already helped reforest 923.25 hectares of the 29,000-hectare Central Cebu Protected Landscape. For this year, we will help reforest an additional 124 hectares of the Hillylands.

You already mentioned the phrase “Cebu Hillylands” more than once. What exactly does this term pertain to?
The Cebu Hillylands is actually another term for the Central Cebu Protected Landscape or CCPL.

Aside from saving the environment, what other benefits can we get from reforesting our Hillylands?
The Cebu Hillylands is Metro Cebu's main source of potable water. It has five watersheds, including the Buhisan Watershed Forest Reserve, where our Buhisan Dam is. The CCPL is also home to various plant and animal species. Reforesting it would mean more water and life for us.

How is your reforestation caravan helping the communities within the area?
Aside from our reforestation efforts, we also organized other social investment initiatives for the communities to make sure that they still earn more without harming the environment we reforested. One of the technologies we introduced to these farmers is the technique on agroforestry. With agroforestry, farmers are able to maximize the potential of their land by planting various high-value crops that project more income.

What makes PBSP's Reforestation Caravan different from the other tree-planting activities organized nationwide?
For one, the holes are already pre-dug, which makes it easy for our planters to plant more tree seedlings in the area. Our seedlings are also already placed near these holes so our planters will not have to experience the hassle of carrying tree seedlings to plant. We also make sure that all the tree seedlings planted will have an 85% survival rate.