Thursday, December 08, 2011

Pag-Ibig brings water closer to upland homes

Pag-Ibig brings water closer to upland homes
Cebu Daily News
December 8, 2011

Officials and members of Home Mutual Development Fund (Pag-Ibig) and its employees’ labor association, with the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and Sayaw Farmers Association, turned over a spring box water system in barangay Tabunan, Cebu City on Dec. 2.

The project is an offshoot of Pag-Ibig’s 143 program that aims to fund long-term projects in adopted communities in line with its corporate social responsibility.

The agency’s other projects with the PBSP are the read-along session and the distribution of food packs, snacks, school supplies and toys to 48 grade 6 pupils of Cantipla Integrated School in Tabunan.
The spring box water system was funded by the P500 contributions of each employee of Pag-Ibig branch that totaled to P60,000.

“We are trying to show a new face of Pag-Ibig by not only helping people through our jobs, but by sharing our personal resources to help those in need,” Pag-Ibig Fund Cebu branch manager III Rio Teves said.

Rodrigo Tecson, an 11-year-old resident in the area, said, “I’m happy that PBSP and Pag-Ibig invited us here for the turnover and read-along session. We’re not only excited to use the spring box, but we also learned a lot about the importance of water and our place.”

He said that before, he would always watch his parents leave at dawn to collect water. “It was only when I assumed the responsibility from them did I realize the arduous task,” he said.

“We had to walk for at least 30 minutes before we reached the water source. And we kept coming back to the place to store water we need for a day or two,” he added.

Tecson was among the school pupils who attended the read-along session.

The session introduced them to books about the importance of water, such as “The Munting Patak-Ulan” by Gloria Villaraza Guzman and “Lilay” by Becky Bravo.

Barangay Tabunan is located within the Central Cebu Protected Landscape. It is Cebu’s major source of potable water as well as home to a number of native and endemic plant and animal species. Though considered the water basin of Cebu, residents still experience difficulty acquiring water.

“Now that these residents were given access to potable water with the help of Pag-Ibig, our next step is to ensure that they do not waste this resource, and one of the best ways to address this is to educate the young people about the importance of saving water through read-along sessions,” PBSP senior program officer Olivia Jabido said.

Pag-IBIG, PBSP turnover water system to farmers

Pag-IBIG, PBSP turnover water system to farmers
The Freeman 
December 8, 2011

A government institution further expresses its love for the community by making upland homes more complete—and not by just helping finance the construction of houses.

Officials and members of the Home Mutual Development Fund (Pag-IBIG) and its employees’ labor association with Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and Sayaw Farmers Association turned over a spring box water system in barangay Tabunan, Cebu City on December 2.

Pag-IBIG Fund Cebu Branch Manager III Rio Teves, PBSP Visayas Executive Committee Member Rogelio Lim, PBSP Senior Program Officer Olivia Jabido and 48 Grade 6 pupils of Cantipla Integrated School attended the turnover.

“As a financial and housing institution, we always stress how we maximize our efforts of completing a home by not only providing affordable shelter to our less-privileged communities,” Teves stated during the turnover.

The Sayaw Farmers Association Spring Box Project is an offshoot of the PAG-IBIG Fund’s 143 Program, the institution’s flagship initiative aimed at funding long-term projects to adopted needy communities as its expression of corporate social responsibility.

This is the first time Pag-IBIG initiated a project under the program, led by its Cebu branch. This is also the first effort Pag-IBIG initiated in adopting a community to pour all its CSR efforts to make the impact of their projects more effective.  

Funds used for the spring box project pegged at PHP 60,000.00 were sourced from the budget allocation of PHP 500.00 per employee of the Branch.

“We are trying to show a new face of Pag-IBIG by not only helping people through our jobs, but by sharing a bit of our own personal resources to help those that are in most need of basic services,” Teves added.

Barangay Tabunan in Cebu City is located within the Central Cebu Protected Landscape (CCPL), a 27000-hectare expanse composed of five watershed and protected areas. It is Cebu’s major source of potable water as well as home to a number of native and endemic plant and animal species. To protect the potent resources found in CCPL, massive reforestation efforts and water system installations organized by groups such as PBSP had been going on for years, where community-based groups are tapped to be its partners.

“PBSP implements these water projects for various purposes. First, water is a basic human need and it is every household’s right to have access to safe drinking water. Second, water is integrated in our education projects because sanitation and hygiene is both a need and a discipline that must be understood by our young ones. Third, water fuels agriculture, thus, appropriate water systems are needed by communities to generate good income from their crops. Fourth, water may also be a good enterprise and incomes may be derived from its good management. And finally, water is a resource that must be sustained through simple technologies and holistic measures,” Lim stated.

The spring box will collect water from a spring two kilometers away from the facility and store the water safe from contamination. The facility, located just beside the Trans-Central Highway, will benefit more than 30 households in sitio Sayaw, Tabunan, Cebu City.

Aside from the turnover, the pupils also attended a read-along session and received Jollibee food packs, school supplies, toys and snacks from the Pag-IBIG Fund employees.

“Now that these residents were given access to potable water with the help of Pag-IBIG, our next step is to ensure that they do not waste this resource, and one of the best ways to address this is to educate the younger people the importance of saving water through read-along sessions like this,” Jabido said.

“I’m happy they (PBSP and PAG-IBIG) invited us here for the turnover and read-along session. We’re not only excited to use the spring box; we also learned a lot about the importance of water and our place,” Rodrigo Tecson, one of the pupils, shared.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Bringing water closer to upland homes and hearts

How can a government institution further express its love for the community?

For the employees of the Home Mutual Development Fund or Pag-IBIG, they make homes more complete —and they do not do this by just helping finance the construction of houses.

Officials and members of the Home Mutual Development Fund (Pag-IBIG) and its employees’ labor association with Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and Sayaw Farmers Association recently turned over a spring box water system in barangay Tabunan of Cebu City on December 2.

This is the highlight of a series of activities Pag-IBIG held with PBSP, which included a read-along session and the distribution of food packs, snacks, school supplies and toys to 48 Grade 6 pupils of Cantipla Integrated School, still located in Tabunan.

 “As a financial and housing institution, we always stress how we maximize our efforts of completing a home by not only providing affordable shelter to our less-privileged communities,” Pag-IBIG Fund Cebu Branch Manager III Rio Teves stated during the turnover.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Cebu, Central Visayas to lead tourism push in PH–Jimenez

Cebu, Central Visayas to lead tourism push in PH–Jimenez
By Candeze R. Mongaya
Cebu Daily News 
December 5, 2011

Cebu will be one of the “areas of inspiration” for development in the country next year, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said over the weekend.

“Central Visayas is a great area of inspiration. It is a primary example of what we can do and what more can be done for other regions,” Jimenez said in last week’s awarding of the 1st Asian Underwater Federation Photography Championships.

Jimenez, who encouraged the local promotion of tourists by maximizing online use specially on social networking sites said the bulk of their tourism promotion efforts will focus on Central Visayas.

Jimenez said the region and Cebu have many things to offer tourists like good services, beaches and established cultural and heritage sites.

From August to November this year, Cebu saw an 11 percent increase in tourism arrivals compared to the same period last year, regional tourism director Rowena Montecillo said.

“We are confident that we can maintain and we will be consistent on the arrivals next year,” Montecillo said in an interview.

She said 2011 is a “good year” to boost tourism in Central Visayas.

She said they are brainstorming on how to brand Central Visayas for 2012.

“It is not costly on the promotions side. We are also planning to synchronize the websites of municipalites in our sites,” she said.

Montecillo said they would also change the checklist of standards on accommodation to be implemented next year.

“We just completed the consultation of all accommodation establishments,” she said.

She said it’s important to upgrade to world class standards for accommodation for its clients.

“We want a very transparent standard, specially in improving the services,” Montecillo said.

In related news, ecology stakeholders are considering to promote Buhisan Dam as an eco-tourism destination for Cebu.

The Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of the Central Cebu Protected Landscape (CCPL) where the Buhisan watershed is located passed a resolution to push the rehabilitation of infrastructures in the area.

The proposal was presented by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) during the  quarterly PAMB meeting in the last week of November.

The Save the Buhisan Watershed Project was launched three years ago in an effort to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of which the Philippines is one of 189 member-signatories.

The project is a joint effort by the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Lexmark, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and Shell.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Human AIDS ribbon to form at UST

Human AIDS ribbon to form at UST
By Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 4, 2011

A giant human “AIDS Ribbon” will take shape at the University of Santo Tomas parade ground in Manila today (Sunday) as part of the observance of National AIDS by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the Archdiocese of Manila.

Representatives of HIV-positive communities, families and civil society will form the AIDS ribbon at the UST grandstand at 7:30 a.m., according to a CBCP statement.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, bishop-advisor of the Philippine Catholic HIV & AIDS Network (PhilCHAN), said the symbolic human AIDS ribbon aims to raise awareness to the circumstances of people living with HIV/AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

“Respecting the sacredness of life also means acceptance without bias of those who are already living with this virus. Their life too is valuable and sacred. They too deserve a dignified life with the help of all,” he said.

The Philippines is one of seven countries in the world with steadily increasing cases of HIV/AIDS.

A total of 7,884 cases have been reported in the Philippines since 1984. Of these, 1,416 were registered from January to August this year. An alarming 30 percent of this year’s HIV/AIDS cases belong to the 15-24 age group and 55 percent are from the National Capital Region.

Pabillo called on the youth and their families to support National AIDS Sunday by wearing red, which means courage to battle the stigma.

“National Aids Sunday aims to make all of us aware of the serious menace of HIV/AIDS. This menace can only be averted if we appreciate the gift of life and love that the Lord gives us and live respecting the sacredness of life and sex,” said Pabillo, who is also the director of the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action Justice and Peace.

Set to attend the activity are members of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Business for Social Progress.

The CBCP had earlier declared every first Sunday of December as National AIDS Sunday. The decision came with the release of the 2011 Pastoral Letter on AIDS entitled “Who is my neighbor?” which calls on every Christian to reach out to members of families and society who may be at risk of the virus and offer them compassionate understanding and the support they need.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Congratulations, scholars!

Twenty days ago, they were charcoal makers. Now (20 days later), they've become full-fledged carpenters and masons.

Last November 30, thirty-five men from the barangays of Buhisan, Toong, Sapangdaku and Pamutan finally received their certificates of training after completing the 20-day course on Basic Carpentry and Masonry under the Don Bosco Technology Center. This training course is a component of the diSop Butterflies & Trees Project.

Attending the graduation ceremony were DBTC-TVED Training Director Fr. Rex Carbilledo, SDB; DBTC-TVED Trainor Marcia Roma, Jr.; and PBSP Visayas Executive Committee Member Rogelio Lim.

Following their graduation, the scholars will undergo a TESDA Accreditation Assessment for their NC II certification.

Unilab, CDO help flood victims

Unilab, CDO help flood victims
Manila Bulletin
December 1, 2011

Food manufacturer CDO-Foodsphere Inc. and pharmaceutical firm United Laboratories have joined forces with the business group Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) in deploying a quick response team to extend assistance to the victims of typhoons Pedring and Quiel in heavily flooded towns of Bulacan.

The three organizations took the initiative as a part of their social advocacy to bring relief goods as a way of helping the flood victims in the towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy, which are the two most affected areas still suffering from the floods.

CDO-Foodsphere distributed hundreds of cases of canned goods, consisting of ready-to -eat CDO Rice-in-a-Can products, which are ideal quick meal for the flood victims who do not have the equipment to cook.

"Our brothers and sisters who are victims of flood need accessible food, something ready to eat, in times like this. We are prepared in our own little way to help meet their needs," said CDO- Foodsphere President Jerome Ong.

Unilab, for its part, donated cases of multivitamins and medicines for the calamity victims while PBSP distributed bags containing important commodities such as rice-in-a can products, noodles, coffee, sugar, canned goods and other basic commodities.

"This assistance from the private sector will help relieve the situation of our people," said Calumpit Mayor James de Jesus.

"We really appreciate your efforts in helping our people and this is a big help for our constituents, especially those barangays that are still in deep waist water," said Hagonoy Mayor Angel Cruz, Jr.

The three organizations are committed to a common objective of helping people in need in times of emergency.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

PBSP completes contingency plans in 50 priority barangays in Southern Leyte

PBSP completes contingency plans in 50 priority barangays in Southern Leyte
By ES Gorne
Philippine Information Agency
November 29, 2011

All of the 50 priority barangays under the Strengthening Disaster Preparedness thru SMS Technology project, spearheaded by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), have facilitated for the completion of each respective contingency plans.

PBSP Project Consultant Jason Calva reported that all of the 10 recipient local government units, under the project with their five priority barangays, have already completed formulation of their respective contingency plans last Saturday, November 26, 2011.

Calva said that since June this year, PBSP have assisted the 5 - barangays of each the municipalities namely, Malitbog, Bontoc, Libagon, Liloan, San Francisco, Pintuyan, San Ricardo, Saint Bernard, and Hinunangan and the city of Maasin.

He further disclosed that since the contingency plans at the level has been completed then the project will now undertake for the formulation for the ten municipal contingency plans by the month of January and scheduled for the provincial contingency plan by the month of February next year.

According to Maasin City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) Staff Ritchie Sumalinog that during times of crisis, contingency plans are often developed to explore and prepare for any eventuality, designed to inform citizens and concerned officials by the use of short messages system (SMS) technology through cellular phones.

The project will apply mobile phone SMS technology to improve the communication system among DRRM organizations at various levels of the DRRM command chain not only in Maasin City but throughout the province, he added.

The project also aimed to assess existing vulnerabilities; implement disaster avoidance and prevention procedures; and develop a comprehensive plan that will enable the organization to react appropriately and in a timely manner if disaster strikes, it was learned.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Volunteers help SMEs

Volunteers help SMEs
By Angela Celis
Malaya Business Insight
Novemeber 28, 2011

A businessman got a loan through the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP). Three years came and went but the small entrepreneur is still where he was when he started the business.

Obviously, he needs professional help. This is where the PBSP comes in with its slew of volunteer advisers in practically all types of business. Their role is to make a stagnant business grow.

The PBSP selects them from a deep bench. Clearly, the 559 such advisers handpicked by the non-governmental organization want to help the inexperienced owner of a small and medium scale enterprise who found himself unable to make head or tail of the business he thought he could embark on.

The business advisory program’s (BAP) volunteer advisers assist the owners of SMEs become efficient in organization, financial, marketing and operations management.

SMEs entitled to assistance are those involved in agribusiness, food processing, small manufacturing, and tourism. The enterprises must have an asset size of P150,000 to P15 million.

"We look at our roster of volunteer advisers, then we make a match," said Ma. Rocelyn Bernabe, manager of BAP.

"The SMEs have to shoulder the adviser’s transportation, meals, and accommodation. We also ask for a minimal administrative fee," Bernabe told Malaya Business Insight.

Bernabe said that the assistance depends on the style of the volunteer and on the need of the client. During their first meeting, the adviser and the entrepreneur agree on a work plan. The ideal time frame is six months, Bernabe said.

"Basically they’re on their own. At the end of the assistance period, we conduct an exit conference. The program is evaluated together by the client, the volunteer, and PBSP," she said.

From 2003 to 2010, PBSP assisted more than 400 SMEs.

The program was able to generate 979 jobs during the seven-year period.

Bernabe said that BAP began in 1998 when the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO) decided to run the program. Canadian volunteer advisers were sent to Bohol, Cebu, and Davao to assist SMEs in the area.

It was in 2003 when the Canadian government decided to localize the program and the PBSP was chosen to operate BAP. The PBSP delivered the business advisory services through the assistance of Filipino volunteer advisers. The program was supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

"When the CIDA funding ended in 2008, the PBSP management decided to include BAP as a regular program under the PBSP’s Enterprise Development Group," Bernabe said.

Friday, November 25, 2011

PBSP grants P2B to small businesses

PBSP grants P2B to small businesses
By Angela Celis
Malaya Business Insight
November 25, 2011

The total amount lent out by the Philippine Business for Social Progress to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has crossed P2 billion, with more than 15,000 borrowers during the past 22 years, according to Rene Fortuno, director for the development finance division.

Fortuno said that the Small and Medium Enterprise Credit (SMEC) program started in 1989, when the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided the Philippine government with a fund of P286 million.

The USAID tapped the PBSP to craft the wholesale lending facility program which would assist SMEs. The amount is coursed through the Department of Finance and is being managed by the PBSP.

The P286 million revolving fund is loaned to 23 rural banks and microfinance institutions at 5 percent a year.

The banks and the institutions then lend the fund to small and medium businesses, particularly those in trade, manufacturing, services, and agri-business.

The banks can re-lend at a rate of as high as 10 percent.

He said that for fiscal year October 2010 to September 2011, the PBSP lent out a total of P141.5 million.

Fortuno said the PBSP expects to lend out P200 million for fiscal year October 2011 to September 2012.

The PBSP said that it gets a modest management fee out of the total interest earnings. The majority of the earnings goes to the DOF and is remitted to the Bureau of Treasury.

He also said that the program needs more money to beef up the PBSP’s loan portfolio. He said that the PBSP is in talks with an organization in Luxembourg that could probably provide the fund.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DepEd vows to sustain Gilas Internet project

DepEd vows to sustain Gilas Internet project
By Rainier Allan Ronda
The Philippine Star
November 22, 2011

The Department of Education (DepEd) yesterday pledged to sustain the Ayala Foundation-led Gearing Up For Internet Literacy and Access to Students (GILAS) in some 7,200 public high schools nationwide by providing a budget that will allow the schools to pay the monthly connectivity fees.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro made the pledge at the ceremonial handover held at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City by the GILAS consortium.

As of yesterday, the program has provided Internet connection to 4,683 public high schools. Some 2,224 schools are yet to be given Internet connection.

DepEd said that the GILAS program is the first private sector Internet connectivity project to be scaled up by the government.

The GILAS consortium is composed of the Ayala Foundation, Ayala Corp., Ayala-led Globe Telecom, Integrated Micro-electronics, Inc., American Chamber of Commerce, Apple, Bato-Balani Foundation, Bayan, Digitel, GMA-7, HP, IBM, Intel, Makati Business Club, Microsoft, Mitsubishi Corp., Narra Venture Capital, PBSP, Philstar, PLDT-Smart, and SPI.

Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chairman of the Ayala Foundation and co-chairman of the GILAS consortium, thanked Luistro and DepEd for the move of mainstreaming the GILAS initiative.

“We thank the Department of Education, under the inspiring leadership of Secretary Armin Luistro, for their commitment to finish what we started through its programs for computer distribution and Internet connectivity,” Zobel said.

He said the GILAS project is a model of a successful private-public partnership (PPP) scheme now being pushed by the Aquino administration.

“We believe that this can be a wonderful template for future public-private partnerships in education where the private sector pilots an idea, shows proof of concept, brings it to scale, for the government to complete and mainstream the program,” Zobel said.

Zobel said that they were aware of the formidable challenge they had taken on when they started the GILAS project.

“When we conceived of the GILAS project more than six years ago, it was an exciting, if not an ambitious, proposition. It was certainly a lofty dream for us to bring computers and the Internet to all the Philippine public high schools. This was driven by our desire to broaden Internet access for our students so that through this tool, they can open up to a whole new world of learning and explore its near-limitless potential,” he said.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

DepEd, Bohol to spend P25.4M for classrooms

DepEd, Bohol to spend P25.4M for classrooms
By Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
November 20, 2011

The Department of Education (DepEd) and the provincial government of Bohol are jointly spending P25.4 million for the construction of new public school classrooms in the province.

Under an agreement signed by Education Secretary Armin Luistro and Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto, the partnership, which calls for a 50-50 sharing of costs, will start with the building of 62 classrooms.

It is estimated that the central Philippine province needs at least 600 additional classrooms.

The partnership raised to P1.18 billion the total cofunding pledges from local governments this year. The amount is enough to pay for some 1,300 new classrooms in DepEd’s partner localities.

The 50-50 funding scheme with local governments is part of DepEd’s efforts to address the nationwide classroom shortage of more than 60,000.

The agreement between DepEd and the Bohol provincial government said, through the Counter-Parting Program, the participating local government would share with the national government the cost of building new classrooms in areas with acute shortages.

Bohol was the 10th province to join the cofunding program. Earlier, the provincial governments of Camarines Sur, Ilocos Norte and Occidental Mindoro, among others, signed up for the DepEd initiative. Several city governments are also partnering with DepEd for the construction of more classrooms in their areas.

The cofunding program augments DepEd’s school construction budget this year of P11.3 billion, enough to build 11,000 classrooms. DepEd is seeking P12.4 billion in 2012 to eliminate completely the shortages.

The department has also tapped the private sector in its efforts to provide enough classrooms for the country’s public schools. With its partnerships with the Philippine Business for Social Progress, League of Corporate Foundations and Philippine Business for Education, DepEd expects to build 10,000 classrooms in two years.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meet our Scholars (Basic Carpentry and Masonry)


All of them, all 35 of them, were charcoal makers.

With ages ranging from 19 to 42, these men used to trail the densest forests of the Buhisan Watershed and Forest Reserve in search of fine wood, setting aside their own conscience to be able to put food in the table for their own families.

Now they are given better chances of generating more income by learning skills in basic carpentry and masonry for a 20-day course in Don Bosco Technology Center. This is a livelihood initiative under the diSop Butterflies and Trees Project, which will run for three years until 2013.

Through this effort, PBSP helps reduce the pressure on Cebu's treasured forests and uplift the lives of these upland communities.

Pinoy entrepreneurial mind acceptable to Dutch NGO

Pinoy entrepreneurial mind acceptable to Dutch NGO
By Angela Celis
Malaya Business Insight
November 17, 2011

One day six years ago, Noel Percil and Jonah Nobleza separately surfed the internet and discovered there is a non-government organization (NGO) in The Netherlands that conducts a contest among foreigners to find out the best project the NGO could grant initial funding for.

Percil was surprised when he was notified by the NGO, called Business in Development (BID) Network, that he won the first prize for his "Palletizing Plant for Waste Plastic Material." So was Nobleza, who won second place for her "Integrated Mobile Service Unit for Coconut Processing."

Word spread like wildfire. The Dutch NGO, which also accepts entries from more than 20 other countries, was swamped with entries from the Philippines.

Including those coming from other countries, the management and operation of the entries became kind of messy and might be administratively expensive.

Not a bit irked but, on the contrary, extremely pleased, the Dutch NGO started looking for a partner in the Philippines and in 2007 found the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) as the ideal local partner.

The result of the partnership is Filipino entries are now submitted to the PBSP, still online, instead of being sent to The Netherlands.

The PBSP has been conducting the same contest for the last five years.

Eric Camacho, PBSP assistant director for the Center for Corporate Citizenship, told Malaya Business Insight that the PBSP receives an average of 150 entries each year, from small and medium enterprises that need $10,000 to $1,000,000 to start or expand a business.

Camacho said that the business ideas must be environment-friendly, profitable, and must have an impact on the community.

Out of all the entries, 10 finalists are chosen by a technical working group composed of individuals from different sectors.

The finalists will receive a start-up capital ranging from P100,000 to P300,000 each.

Two winners will be chosen from the 10 finalists and sent to join the international BiD competition. This gives them the opportunity to be visible in the international market, Camacho said.

Every year since the BiD challenge started, Filipino finalists were given awards for different categories.

After Nobleza and Percil won in 2005, Joel Abiera won in 2006 in the student category with his "Pinyas: Pineapple Industry for Youth and Society."

Peter van der Werf from Palawan province placed third in 2007 with "South Sea Exclusives." Rev. Xavier Alpasa won the grand prize in 2008 with "Rags 2 Riches."

In 2009 and 2010, Marianne Olano and Nathalie Arsonillo were the "Women in Business Challenge" winners for "Baycrafts" and "Mobile Cassava Processing Unit-Factory Goes to the Farmers," respectively.

Camacho said that aside from choosing the entries which will be sent to the international competition, the PBSP assigns advisers for good business concepts, for both winners and non-winners.

He added that the NGO also conducts "investment matchmaking," where individuals will pitch their business proposals to a group of investors, who could invest in the businesses through loans, grants, or equity.

Camacho said that entries submitted by the poor, including women, and by persons with disabilities have a better chance of making it to the finals.

He added that entries with products that are made out of recycled or local materials also have an advantage.

The fund used by the PBSP comes from corporate sponsors such as Citi, Shell, Smart, Nestle, and Accenture, among many supporters.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An organic dinner

An organic dinner
November 16, 2011
Manila Standard Today

Ten years is a milestone for any organization, more so for non-governmental organizations that have taken upon itself the welfare of the country’s underserved. That’s why when it celebrated a decade of helping alleviate poverty, the Peace and Equity Foundation decided to hold the first “Social Enterprise: The Next Business Model,” a conference that would bring together leaders and NGOs that have been helping rural communities through social enterprise.

The conference featured local practitioners and promoters and their stories of how they achieved both financial sustainability and social impact. The two-day conference, held at the Hotel Intercontinental Manila, tackled different case studies from traditional business people who successfully brought community products into their supply chain, to non-governmental organizations that ventured into profit-making activities to advance social aims.

To mark the success of the conference, PEF tapped celebrity chef Jessie Sincioco to craft a dinner that would best highlight the event’s aims. In turn, chef Jessie turned to the different communities that PEF has worked with and utilized their produce in creating a dinner that would honor the unity among the different participants.

And what the event organizers and chef Jessie decided to bring to the table that night was organically grown ingredients. The menu was a celebration of local ingredients and a new way of presenting Filipino favorites.

Cocktails included crudités made with yacon sticks on ice, taro chips with tzatziki, spinach tempura with wasabi mayo dip, and pickled vegetables. Accompanying these delights were chilled wines of bignay and strawberry, and a refreshing drink made with the juice of red camote tops flavored with calamansi and honey.

The meal started with a novel roll of sautéed oyster mushrooms wrapped in mustard leaf with a dressing of vinaigrette made with sukang Iloko and lemon. The tart dressing balanced the bitterness in the mustard leaf and brought out the sweetness of the mushrooms.

The soup course was a cream of broccoli and cauliflower with whole-wheat croutons.

In between the fish and chicken entrees, chef Jessie served a refreshing sorbet of lemon grass, which cleansed the palate of the sharp flavors of the green. The sorbet highlighted the fresh taste of lemon grass, which was echoed in the lemon grass iced tea served throughout dinner.

The fish course was a baked cream dory fillet with spinach sauce. The dory was farmed locally; guests were assured that the fillets were fresh and not frozen for a long time. The spinach sauce added a piquant taste to the fish, masking whatever fishy taste it might have had.

The chicken course was a take on the popular chicken inasal, but using organic chicken and turmeric. It was paired with choice organic vegetables of baby carrots, chayote, and beans and a pilaf of red and brown rice and capsicum. This was certainly not your ordinary corner-store inihaw. The chicken came in huge portions that have liberally flavored with a turmeric-based marinade. It was a pretty yellow even in the dim light.

Dessert was another innovation: tablea chocolate mousse and Cordillera honey panna cotta. It was served with chilled wine made with coffee cherries. The tablea mousse had a flavor that was as delightful as the best dark chocolate, while the panna cotta was soft and welcome. The coffee berry wine was tart to contrast with the meal’s sweet ending. And as a pleasant touch, coffee and tea were served with polvoron, instead of the usual cookie or biscotti.

Chef Jessie matched PEF’s trailblazing effort in the NGO community with a dinner that was memorable that highlighted what the local communities were good at. If only our other celebrity chefs would sit and take notice of our locally grown produce for use in their delicious dishes.

Chef Jessie Sincioco is one of the country’s top chefs. She is behind the success of her Chef Jessie restaurants at the Rockwell Club and Top of the Citi. She was also associated with Le Soufflé and Enchanté restaurants.

For the past 10 years, the Peace and Equity Foundation has worked closely with people’s organizations to provide potable water, healthcare and disaster relief to the country’s poorest communities. It also assisted non-governmental organizations in their livelihood and micro-finance activities to help small entrepreneurs. For this conference, PEF was partnered by the League of Corporate Foundations, Management Association of the Philippines, Philippine Business for Social Progress and PinoyME Foundation.

Monday, November 14, 2011

PPP project for individuals with special needs

PPP project for individuals with special needs
November 14, 2011
Manila Bulletin

With sweet and genuine smiles, the children of Elsie Gaches Village (EGV) welcomed their guests from The Hershey Company-ROHQ and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) for the turnover of a unique simulation room especially built for them.

Elsie Gaches Village is the only government residential care facility in the Philippines which houses more than 600 mentally challenged individuals from five to 65 years old.

Recently, The Hershey Company-ROHQ teamed up with United Way Worldwide and PBSP to kick off the Life Skills Enhancement Project for people with special needs.

This long-term project is to benefit 100 upper and lower trainable clients of EGV that will equip them with adaptive skills and behavior in the mainstream life. This training will also enable them to effectively deal with the demands of a standard routine.

The simulation room is a specialized area where the trainees are assigned to do functions that can boost their morale in doing possible tasks in the workplace. It has complete tools used in the kitchen, dining and living rooms, bathroom, bedroom, and garden.

Monisha Raut, The Hershey Company HR business partner, is very optimistic with the project which will run for almost three years. “It is our responsibility to share our blessings,” she added, referring to The Hershey Company’s commitment to community and children welfare.

During the turnover ceremony, Ma. Alicia Bonoan, NCR director for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), expressed her gratitude to the project’s donors and implementers, emphasizing the great help of PPP (public-private partnership) programs in creating a better society for the marginalized ones.

Moreover, PBSP executive director Rafael Lopa asserted this promising project, putting value to partnerships as a way to improve lives.

The Life Skills Enhancement Training will have four batches covered by the grant. Each batch will enroll 25 participants into a two-hour session for three days a week in six months. It includes a classroom-type exercise, laboratory, and on-the-job training.

The existing module to be used will be enhanced by the EGV rehabilitation team composed of social workers, psychologists, therapists, and staff. There would be less use of writing and more on drawing, role play, scenario building, and simulation exercises.

EGV was established in 1964 with the assistance of UNICEF. Aside from caring for people with mental retardation, the center also attends to children with autism, Down Syndrome, and cerebral palsy.

One out of 100 babies born in the country is with mental retardation (PopCen 2007). This has become more alarming today due to poor access to basic services and maternal healthcare.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Provincial contingency plan mulled for So. Leyte

Provincial contingency plan mulled for So. Leyte
By Bong Pedalino
Philippine Information Agency
November 10, 2011

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, Nov. 11 (PIA) -- Contingency plans in the event of natural calamities have become part of the routine activities of the various municipalities and this city, down to barangay levels.

Recently, however, suggestions were raised as to having a separate contingency plan for the Southern Leyte provincial government, said Efledo Hernandez, the Head of the Provincial Disaster Management Office (PDMO).

Hernandez made the revelation in his welcome remarks during the opening ceremonies for the three-day “Capability Enhancement Training for IEC Educators and Menros” held at Supercha Restaurant 2 here starting today until Friday.

He said as of the moment, only five local government units have submitted their respective contingency plans (CPs), and for the province to have one required the submission of 80% of the LGUs.

Sill, a comprehensive and province-wide CP can be considered in the light of the ongoing 3-day activity, as one of its outputs.

The training was intended for the ten partner LGUs -- nine towns and one city -- selected as pilot sites in an innovative project using SMS technology to warn people of impending disasters that was funded by the World Bank (WB) with Smart Communications and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).

Two representatives were sent per LGU, the one in-charge of Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) Educators and the designated Municipal/City Environment and Natural Resources Officers (MENROs).

Among the expectations aired by the participants were to gain insights, deepened knowledge and understanding, and to learn more about climate change and how it affects the province and their respective localities.

The production of information materials to be distributed to specific communities or barangays was also one of the expected output of the three-day training, said Jason Calva, head of the disaster preparedness through SMS technology project.

The ten pilot LGUs included Anahawan, Hinunangan, Liloan, San Francisco, Pintuyan, San Ricardo, Libagon, Tomas Oppus, Malitbog, and Maasin City.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Private firms tap communities as partners, suppliers

Private firms tap communities as partners, suppliers
By Cris Evert B. Lato
Cebu Daily News
November 9, 2011

What do world-renowned furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue’s Interior Crafts of the Island Inc. (ICI) and Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp. have in common?

Both firms have partnered with Strategic Corporate-Community Partnership for Local Development (SCOPE) to fill up their subcontractor and manpower needs.

SCOPE is a program of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), which aims to get the private sector involved in partnership  the communities  to alleviate poverty.

“SCOPE has been designed to harness private sector’s competence and expertise in doing business to create employment and income opportunities for Filipino men and women,” said Cebu-based SCOPE consultant Janina Wohlgemuth.

Wohlgemuth, who is working with the program for close to two years, said SCOPE’s thrust is to help Philippine-based companies identify opportunities to embed local producer groups as suppliers of services or semiprocessed goods.

This setup creates sustainable and mutually beneficial partnership between the company and community.

Jana Franke, another SCOPE consultant based in Manila since 2006, said they have implemented 36 projects under the SCOPE program in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Interior Crafts of the Island Inc. (ICI), the company run by world-renowned furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue, partnered with SCOPE and implemented an enterprise development project in Cebu.

For years, Cobonpue has been assisting a social sewing center composed of out-of-school boys. They sew bags and T-shirts for no particular market. Cobonpue realized that the sewing center can be turned into a reliable upholstery subcontractor.

Young boys were professionally trained in upholstery and is now serving as ICI’s subcontractor for four years. The sewing center has since named itself to Filo d’ Oro (golden thread).

“The boys are professionals whose works are exported to different parts of the world, used by well-respected people. They have developed themselves for the better,” said Filo d’Oro co-founder Eleuterio Bravo.

Another example is a welding project implemented with the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp. (PASAR) in Isabel, Leyte.

With its aging workforce, it is now in need of young welders, pipefitters and electricians to substitute more than 30 workers who will retire in the next two to three years.

PASAR partnered with the local government of Isabel, Visayan State University, Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to craft a comprehensive training project for the 38 trainees.

Eleven of the 38 trainees are women, whose welding skills are preferred because of their fine works and attention to detail. Twenty of these trainees are currently undergoing on-the-job training for the regular plant shutdown of PASAR.

PBSP vice chairman Philip Tan said SCOPE creates the venue for companies to rethink about the way they approach corporate social responsibility.

“The common practice is to give doleouts but to ensure that these people become self-reliant, we should open channels for them to earn a living in the long term,” said Tan, also president of Wellmade Motors and Development Corporation.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Read-along becomes real-life tree planting

Read-along becomes real-life tree planting
By Hendrix Gil B. Lato
Inquirer Visayas
November 4, 2011

Twelve-year-old Kaye Hanna Inocando has seen thousands of reforestation volunteers in a yearly trek to their mountain barangay of Tabunan in Cebu City since she was 5 years old, but she, a farmer’s daughter, had never experienced planting a tree before.

“It’s my first time to plant (a tree). I go to school when Mama plants trees,” said Kaye, a Grade 5 pupil.

Her mother, Rowena, is a member of the Pungol Sibugay-Cantipla Farmers Association, one of the 13 cooperatives and farmers’ groups tasked with raising seedlings and monitoring the growth of trees planted within the Central Cebu Protected Landscape (CCPL), Metro Cebu’s source of potable water.

Some of the farmers used to be illegal loggers and charcoal makers. Others have found alternative sources of livelihood in building nurseries and monitoring the growth of the trees apart from growing vegetables and fruit trees.

The communities have been working with the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), a foundation that aims to alleviate poverty in four focus areas—environment, education, health and sustainable livelihood and enterprise development

“It is ironic really. My child has never planted a tree. This is her first time to plant one although she’s not new to tree-planting because she knows I am a farmer and this is my means of living,” Rowena said in Cebuano.

It was the same story for most of the 34 children who joined the read-along session organized by PBSP and the Inquirer on Oct. 15. They were all raised by farming parents.

“It is essential for these children to understand what their parents do because their parents are contributing so much for the environment. This is also a way of informing them that to be a farmer is not useless at all,” said lawyer-environmentalist Gloria Estenzo Ramos, a coconvenor of the Philippine Earth Justice Center.

Ramos, who also served as one of the readers, stressed that the children must be taught that the place where they live and play had a special contribution in the life and growth of Metro Cebu.

Wildlife habitat, too
Tabunan is located within the CCPL or the “Cebu Hillylands,” a protected area that spans 29,062 hectares of land and nurtures three watersheds (Buhisan, Mananga and Kotkot-Lusaran) and two national parks (Central Cebu and Sudlon).  It provides water to the cities of Danao, Talisay and Toledo, and the neighboring towns of Balamban, Compostela, Consolacion, Liloan and Minglanilla.

“Cebu Hillylands is also a home to birds and tree species found only in Cebu,” according to forester Orlyn Orlanes Roxas. It is the habitat of the Cebu Black Shama (“siloy”), Cebu Flowerpecker and the Cebu Cinnamon tree, all endemic to Cebu.

After three books—“Diola: The Heroine of Philippine Eagles,” “Munting Patak Ulan (The Little Raindrop),” and “The Crying Trees” were read, Roxas talked about the relationship of trees, animals and water cycle.

“This is a rare experience for us because we saw a good way to educate children about the environment. We started by reading three stories, then Miss Orlyn wove everything for better understanding and then the children had their practical experience in tree planting,” said Marnie Racaza, representative of The Outstanding Students of the Philippines Alumni Community in Central Visayas.

Racaza joined fellow TOSPians and grade school student Hannah Isabel Lapurga of Saint Theresa’s College in reading to the children.

Maria Luisa Largo, PBSP program coordinator of Metro Cebu Poverty Reduction program, said this was the first time for the annual reforestation caravan to culminate with a conservation education. Her group plans to do more of this format in the succeeding months, she said.

The children were treated to food and beverage from My Joy/Wanna Eat and Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa. Toys and books were given as prizes and giveaways.

To Rowena, as well as with the other mothers, the experience helped her explain to her children what she was doing.

“It is important that an early age children already knows how to take care of the environment. By planting trees, they help Tabunan, they help Cebu. What will happen to the world if trees are gone,” she said.

USAID - Ayala Foundation to strengthen capacity of civil society organizations

USAID - Ayala Foundation to strengthen capacity of civil society organizations
Philippine Information Agency
November 4, 2011

USAID will partner with the Ayala Foundation to implement a project aimed at strengthening the capacities of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the Philippines.

The project seeks to enhance the core organizational management competencies of more than 100 SUCH ORGANIZATIONS in areas such as planning and strategic management, program design, financial management, governance, and fundraising so that they are able to achieve sustainable and significant impact, be accountable to their stakeholders, and effectively compete for and manage donor resources.

The Ayala Foundation will implement the project in collaboration with a consortium of networks and institutions consisting of the Association of Foundations (AF), Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO), Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC), and the National College of Public Administration, and Governance (NCPAG) of the University of the Philippines.

USAID deputy assistant administrator for Asia Gregory Beck who is visiting from Washington, DC to attend the commemorative activities of USAID’s 50th anniversary in the Philippines, affirms USAID’s strong partnership with CSOs in the Philippines.

“I am particularly proud of our long history and association with civil socities in the Philippines. Indeed, one of the most enduring legacies of USAID in the Philippines is the vibrant, active, and diverse civil society community that exists today.”

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Solar power good for Quezon

Solar power good for Quezon
By Marvin Benaning
Manila Bulletin
November 1, 2011

Several fishing and farming barangays in three towns in the Polillo Island group in Quezon now enjoy electricity through solar power through the work of a non-government organization (NGO) and Team Energy.

In a report, the Alliance for Sustainable Partnership and Initiatives in Renewable Energy (ASPIRE) headed by former National Electrification Administration (NEA) chief Rodrigo Cabrera said the use of solar power became viable in the island barangays after the communities were organized and established their own electrification systems.

Cabrera said the ASPIRE project was conducted from May 2009 to June 2011 in the towns of Burdeos, Patnanungan and Panukulan with support from Team Energy.

He revealed that 16 villages were organized into Renewable Energy and Community Development Associations (RECDAs) and it led to the introduction of 3,400 solar home system (SHS) units.

Electrification has already expanded to seven more households in Quezon and in Tawi-Tawi, where ASPIRE is also working.

In addition, Cabrera said initial social preparation is being conducted in 13 barangays in the Alabat group of islands in Quezon.

Work on the project commenced after Team Energy Foundation, Inc. (TEFI) and ASPIRE signed an agreement on May 26, 2009.

Under the accord, ASPIRE was tasked with the necessary ground work and social preparation of the communities to be energized.

"This includes the conduct of a rapid resources survey of the communities, and organization of members into a RECDA. After sufficient social preparation, ASPIRE undertook the installation of solar photovoltaic systems in the communities, and the establishment of sustainability mechanisms that would ensure sustained benefits for community members from the rural electrification project," Cabrera said.

ASPIRE also worked to secure public and private sector contributions for additional component projects that would contribute to sustainability, he added.

The pilot sites were in Barangays Bonifacio, Carlagan and Mabini in Burdeos, Quezon.

Work in Barangay Tondon, Panglima Sugala, Tawi-Tawi and in Barangay Lookan, Sapa-Sapa, Tawi-Tawi started in July 2009 and ended on April 2010.

"These barangays were chosen after a household energy survey – which had been conducted in eight barangays in Burdeos and 13 barangays in Tawi-Tawi – and measurement of candidate barangays against a set of criteria showed them to be the most suitable pilot sites," Cabrera noted.

After the pilot sites had been identified, community assemblies and the formation of RECDAs commenced and consequently, the establishment of a cost-recovery scheme was assured.

What followed was the strengthening of the community associations through leadership and financial management training.

ASPIRE also extended technical assistance for each RECDA’s registration with the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and assistance on partnership building from external organizations and institutions, Cabrera stressed.

In December 2009, a total of 190 solar home system (SHS) units were installed in Burdeos, Quezon, while a total of 100 units were installed in barangays in Tawi-Tawi in April 2010.

A solar-powered distance education facility was likewise installed in Tondon Elementary School, in partnership with the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).

To ensure sustainability, a service center which would supply replacement SHS and battery units, was established in Bongao in partnership with the Angto Ho Business Center.

The Burdeos households could get the same service from the photovoltaic (PV) supplier – Solutions Using Renewable Energy, Inc. (SURE) – which has its own service center in Infanta, Quezon.

A month after the pilot project came to a close in April 2010, Burdeos RECDAs, out of funds pooled from the cost-recovery scheme, purchased 50 additional SHS units.

The Tawi-Tawi pilot RECDAs likewise purchased 20 additional units.

Having demonstrated promise and success in the pilot areas, ASPIRE also embarked on replicating the strong community organizing approach in other barangays in Quezon province.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ten Moves toward building 10,000 classrooms

Ten Moves toward building 10,000 classrooms
The Manila Times
October 30, 2011

The country's education system is continuously suffering from different problems and issues that pose a great threat to the future of our Filipino children. And with the shortage in teachers, classrooms and textbooks, poor quality education, and underpaid or unpaid public school teachers, among others, the situation, sadly, is just getting worse.

Of the many concerns in education, the shortage in classrooms is considered as one of the worst.

Data from the Department of Education shows that just for the 2011 to 2012 school year, the Philippines need 66,800 classrooms--a figure based on the ideal 1:40 teacher-to-student ratio.

The government, as well as private sectors in the society, continuously tries to lessen the big backlog, but their efforts never seem to be enough.

Today, a new movement called TEN Moves challenges all Filipinos to help in building 10,000 additional classrooms and be part of a bigger solution. It calls for everyone to contribute P10 each day for 10 months, a total of P3,000, for the construction of the 10,000 classrooms for the next two years.

TEN Moves is a multi-sector and multi-stakeholder initiative spearheaded by the 57-75 Movement, led by the League of Corporate Foundations (LCF) and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), and in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd).

The launch of TEN Moves was held on October 14 at the Filipinas Heritage Library in Makati City and was attended by key leaders who pioneered the program. They were Education Secretary Brother Armin Luistro, PBSP Executive Director Rafael Lopa, LCF's trustee and former president Maria Cecilia Lopez-Alcantara and LCF Chairman Mario Deriquito.

Luistro, being secretary of DepEd acknowledges that the department has intensified its efforts in providing much-needed classrooms, government resources still remain insufficient to address resource gaps.

Other adverse effects from lack of classrooms also arise such as decrease in participation rates among elementary and high school students; an increase in drop-out rates; and poor student performance.

This led DepEd in joining the TEN Moves campaign and call for every Filipino to solve the classroom shortage. "We are calling on all Filipinos to work with us in bridging resource gaps, especially the task of addressing the classroom shortage, which is a critical step in providing enhanced opportunities for millions of Filipino children," Luistro voiced out.

Ideally, 2 million Filipinos or more need to participate in TEN Moves and donate P10 a day to raise enough money to build 10,000 classrooms. But, Luistro clarified that whatever amount could be donated. According to the secretary, it is not the amount of money but actually the social impact matters in the campaign.

The real goal of TEN Moves is to engage more Filipinos from different communities and sectors to improve the education system of the country.

Alcantra added, "The private sector and the communities must work together in mobilizing local resources and energies in order to improve access to education for millions of Filipino children. It is the future of our children and our country at stake if education challenges remain unanswered."

"We recognize that the private sector is in a unique position to help in this cause by providing specific institutional and resource mobilization capabilities," noted Lopa.

Lopa also called on ordinary citizens and said "We also understand that there is untapped potential among ordinary citizens, and it is our goal to engage them in providing our children with the resources they deserve."

And since the private launch of TEN Moves, it has gathered over P2.5 million in donations through individual donations as well as corporate pledges.

"When we combine individual efforts, the impact that we can make toward enhancing education opportunities for millions of Filipino schoolchildren can be tremendous," concluded Deriquito.

Individuals may contribute to the TEN Moves campaign in the following ways: bank deposits to any BPI, BDO, or UnionBank branches; online donations via credit card at the TEN Moves website at ; and via mobile through G-Cash. More donation channels will be made available as the campaign progresses. The youth are also encouraged to mobilize their friends and networks by influencing their circles of family and friends to pool in resources for the campaign.

Friday, October 28, 2011

In social entrepreneurship lies hope for the less fortunate

In social entrepreneurship lies hope for the less fortunate
By Vanessa B. Hidalgo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
October 28, 2011

It all started with a vision.

People who were interested in easing the plight of poor people came together and started talking about how to improve the lives of those less fortunate. Together, they dreamed of a better society where our “kababayan” need not go abroad to earn a living. Instead, they can stay in their homeland and live a contented life.

These people are what we know as social entrepreneurs. Through their effort, Social Enterprise became “the next business model.”

This model is geared toward empowerment and financial sustainability for the less fortunate. They aim to connect non-government organizations (NGOs) and the private sector with concerned government agencies to eradicate poverty.

Social enterprise is organized by the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) in partnership with the League of Corporate Foundations, Management Association of the Philippines, Philippine Business for Social Progress and PinoyME Foundation.

The proponents hope to persuade forward-looking Filipinos to share their talents and ideas to address the country’s social problems.

“Now is the time for social entrepreneurs,” says Bobby Calingo, executive director of Peace and Equity Foundation.

PEF has worked closely with NGOs to bring relief to the poorest communities.

The organization is now scouring the countryside to find good products and develop the social enterprise sector. It also aims to provide financial and technical aid to microentrepreneurs. The organization wishes to open new doors of opportunity to small businessmen by providing them with loans, equities and grants to revitalize their trade.

Also, PEF provides quality technical support to microentrepreneurs by arming them with the skills to penetrate new markets and to further harness the full potential of their products.

According to Calingo, PEF has allotted over P1 billion for social enterprises. Each enterprise will be given P10 million. The funds may be tapped by any group or individual who wishes to iron out society’s intricate problems arising from poverty.

Calingo notes that while everyone who has the passion and desire to help can avail of the funds, there are still requirements that need to be met before the funds are released.

First, there has to be a developmental aspect. It has to be very clear who are the groups who will benefit from this venture.

Second, the product has to be business-driven. “They need to have a very good business case. It has to be equal to any other business case. It must be a quality product,” he adds.

Third, it must be market-oriented. And lastly, the value chain orientation will be looked into. The product will be assessed for its strengths as well as its areas of improvement.

PEF envisions that in five years, each social enterprise must be at par with the other giants in the industry. They will also look into the benefits it has brought into the community by verifying its return of investment (ROI) and the income it has raked into its chosen community. Finally, they will also assess the social impacts a product has on society.

It is no secret that in the countryside, many make a living through agriculture. At the end of the day, most of the farmers who have bent their backs under the scorching sun still end up with so little to provide for their families.

Social enterprise aims to improve this sad reality by providing the farmers with the means to be self-reliant. Social entrepreneurs hope to teach them how to market their products and set up sound business practices to make them more sustainable.

“We want them to see the value of different markets, to go for two markets not just one,” says Chit Juan, founder of “ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle,” which is a pioneering venture that provides market access for community products and organic retail goods.

“We are here to help them address the market and link them to other markets. We want to provide them with the skills and motivation,” Juan says.

Though the next business model is not just limited to agriculture, the social entrepreneurs also hope that new ideas will pop up along the way. Little great ideas like how to provide potable water, electricity through solar panels and cheap medicines to the poorest communities in our land.

“We want to teach them how to survive and be more sustainable,” says Jeannie Javelosa, who leads the development arm of ECHO Sustainable Initiatives Foundation which that runs programs related to women’s economic empowerment, social-cultural enterprise development and knowledge management.

While each product is unique in its own way, social enterprise aspires to incorporate all the products and “bring everything together and provide a ‘Philippine look,’” adds Javelosa. “We want to make our products reflect our culture and bring various sectors together and become stronger together in the same direction.”

But they admit that they can only do so much. That is why they are inviting more people to get involved in this advocacy to help our country move forward. This social movement is expected to bring about a change in people’s mindsets.

Social Enterprise is there to bridge the gap, applying firm business practices to move toward sustainability with the help of research and technology.

“Social enterprise is a movement toward change. We want people from NGOs, the corporate world and the fresh graduates to consider this as a career,” Javelosa says. “We want to bring social entrepreneurs into the mainstream and create more synergies and come together as one strong force.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

P10 a day in 10 months = 10,000 classrooms

P10 a day in 10 months = 10,000 classrooms
The Philippine Star
October 26, 2011

A donation of P10 a day for 10 months is enough to lessen the problem on the shortage of classrooms in the country.

This is how the TEN (The Entire Nation) Moves works. The program calls for Filipinos to contribute P10 a day for 10 months or a total of P3,000 for the construction of 10,000 classrooms in two years.

The program, an initiative of the 57-75 Movement, led by the League of Corporate Foundations (LCF) and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), was launched to the public today.

The Department of Education (DepEd) said that for the school year of 2011-2012, there is a shortage of approximately 66,800 classrooms in the country, a figure that is based on the ideal teacher-to-student ratio of 1:40.

Among the priority areas that have the greatest need of classrooms are: Pangasinan, Isabela, Batangas, Quezon, Palawan, Camarines Sur, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Zamboanga del Sur, and North Cotabato.

The DepEd said that the shortage of classrooms fuels other challenges within the sector, including: the decrease in participation rates among elementary and high school students; an increase in drop-out rates; and poor student performance.

It said that it has intensified its efforts by implementing programs that include the provision of much-needed classrooms.

However, the department said that government resources are not enough to address resource gaps, prompting the DepEd to enter into a partnership with the 57-75 Movement.

“We are calling on all Filipinos to work with us in bridging resource gaps, especially the task of addressing the classroom shortage, which is a critical step in providing enhanced opportunities for millions of Filipino children,” said Education Secretary Armin Luistro.

The campaign was initially launched among the private sector last July. It has gathered P2.5 million in donations through individual donations as well as corporate pledges of employee mobilization and support.

“The government needs our support in implementing reforms in the education sector,” said LCF trustee and past president Cecile Alcantara.

“The private sector and the communities must work together in mobilizing local resources and energies in order to improve access to education for millions of Filipino children. It is the future of our children and our country at stake if education challenges remain unanswered. As such, we must all do our share to guarantee access to education for our nation’s children."

Those who want to join the campaign may bring in their donations through: bank deposits to any BPI, BDO, or UnionBank branches; online donations via credit card at the TEN Moves website at www.tenmoves.org; and via mobile through G-Cash.

The organizers of the campaign said that more donation channels will be made available as the campaign progresses.

The youth are also encouraged to mobilize their friends and networks by influencing their circles of family and friends to pool in resources for the campaign.

The organizers are optimistic about the power in harnessing and mobilizing national support towards their goals.

“When we combine individual efforts, the impact that we can make toward enhancing education opportunities for millions of Filipino schoolchildren can be tremendous,” said LCF education committee chairperson Mario Deriquito.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Noynoy thanks Black Eyed Peas leader for classroom advocacy

Noynoy thanks Black Eyed Peas leader for classroom advocacy
By Jocelyn Montemayor
Malaya Business Insight
October 25, 2011

At a private meeting Monday night, President Aquino personally thanked international singer Allan Pineda, more popularly known as Apl.De.Ap of the Black Eyed Peas, for his classroom building advocacy.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the President met Pineda and the other members of the Black Eyed Peas - Stacy Ann Ferguson (Fergie), William Adams (Will.I.Am), and Jaime Gomez (Taboo) – at the Quezon City house of Rafael Lopa, president of the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation and executive director of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).

Pineda’s APL Foundation is working with the Aquino foundation in the construction of school rooms. The PBSP is also advocating Ten Moves, or the collection of P10 pesos per day in the next three months to collect P3,000 which would be added to the funds being raised for the construction of 10,000 classrooms in fourth class municipalities in two years.

Lacierda said Aquino declined invitations from the Black Eyed Peas for the Chief Executive to attend their concert at the Mall of Asia Concert Grounds last night.

The international pop group arrived in Manila Monday.

4 provinces get US aid

4 provinces get US aid
By Roy Mabasa
Tempo News
October 25, 2011

The United States Agency for International Development/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) has extended a $750,000 cash grant for the United Nations World Food Program’s (WFP) Disaster Preparedness and Response project in four of the most disaster-prone provinces of Northern Luzon.

The 12-month project in Benguet, Cagayan, Laguna and Sorsogon, which is already up and running, is being implemented in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and WFP’s local NGO partner the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).

In a statement issued on Monday, WFP Philippines Country Director Stephen Anderson said the support extended by the US government is critically needed for “a country which is so vulnerable to natural disasters.”

“WFP highly appreciates USAID/OFDA’s timely and generous funding for a key government priority,“ said Anderson. “The recent floods and the damage to agriculture caused by typhoons Pedring and Quiel have highlighted once again how essential it is for us to work together to improve disaster preparedness and response.“

The participating LGUs have earmarked P13.9 million in counterpart funds for the projects, while DSWD is providing P3.9 million from its Disaster Fund.

SoLeyte PDRRMC SMS technology system enhanced

SoLeyte PDRRMC SMS technology system enhanced
By R.G. Cadavos
Philippine Information Agency
October 25, 2011

In a meeting held Wednesday at the Provincial Governor’s Office, presiding officer Jason Calva urged each member of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) and concerned warning agencies to support the Strengthening Disaster Preparedness of Southern Leyte Thru SMS Technology project that focused more in communications to better prepare the communities before, during and after any disaster through free broadcast.

It can be remembered that each member were required to regularly make advisories or incident reports for broadcast using the short message system (SMS) Technology that started last March 2011 yet.

The infoboard system project was in coordination with the World Bank, Smart Communications and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) in a Memorandum of Agreement signed with the Provincial Government through Gov. Damian G. Mercado.

“The advisory or any important incident report will be sent to Provincial Infoboard Administrator for broadcast,” Calva, the Project Consultant disclosed, pushing all concerned agencies to report any important incident that happened in each are of concern so that response will be acted accordingly.

The contents of the broadcast are coming from the reports, either advisory or incidents, from all concerned warning agencies, especially from the members of the PDRRMC, Calva revealed. “This will make the operations in full blast,” he said.

He further bared that all reports will be properly documented, validated and authorized by the concerned department head to avoid misinformation or misguidance , especially during calamities.

“The project with Smart and PBSP will end next year, totaling to P3 million for the SL Menu via SMS technology, nobody from the Smart and PBSP will be working with us anymore since everything will be turned-over to the provincial government,” Calva clarified during the meeting participated by the members of the PDRRMC.

Meanwhile, Smart Communications representative Charie Yanella discussed the flow of the Provincial Disaster Management Council-Southern Leyte Menu for the infoboard technology. These include advisories, feedback, and hotline numbers from the provincial offices, including members of the PDRRMC and other priority contacts, the general information site, among other information.

Philippine mining wealth seen at $840B

Philippine mining wealth seen at $840B
COMP: Security, gov’t policy concerns need to be addressed
By: Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
October 22, 2011

The Philippines’ potential mining wealth is estimated to reach $840 billion (P47 trillion), or 10 times the country’s annual gross domestic product, according to Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) president Benjamin Philip G. Romualdez.

In a speech during a Philippine Mining Club luncheon, Romualdez said the mining industry could also help curb poverty, citing studies that the industry had a multiplier effect of 28 times on employment. This means that for every person directly employed in mining, 28 more jobs are created in allied and downstream industries.

This means the industry’s growth will help reduce unemployment and poverty, which remain the greatest challenges facing the government, he added.

If the country’s entire mining reserves were mined, the total mineral production could amount to $840 billion.

According to industry data, the Philippines ranks third in total gold deposits, fourth in copper, fifth in nickel and sixth in chromite. The country has 8.03 billion tons of copper, 4.91 billion tons of gold, 0.81 billion tons of nickel, 480.26 million tons of iron, 39.66 million tons of chromite and 433.88 million tons of aluminum.

However, Romualdez said concerns about security, tax system and mining policies of the government had limited the entry of foreign and local investments into the industry.

He criticized security-related and other issues that were plaguing the industry, including insurgent attacks on companies, church leaders relating the recent killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio to mining, restrictions imposed by local governments on mining operations and additional taxes planned by the government.

Such uncertainties, which companies have to deal with on top of huge exploration and development costs, have driven many investors away, including mining giants Anglo American and BHP Billiton.

Still, Romualdez said, the chamber would continue to promote and defend the industry. Asked whether companies should beef up security in their areas, he said investors, especially foreigners, were “uncomfortable” with that.

“We don’t want to appear as if we are militarizing our operations and that’s really the responsibility of the state. We will leave that issue to individual companies but we welcome the government’s response to the Surigao incident,” he said.

He said COMP had met with the police, the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources after insurgents raided and burned the facilities of three mining companies in Surigao del Sur on Oct. 3.

Romualdez said the industry group had also provided inputs and was awaiting Malacañang’s national mining policy.

While this is happening, he said, mining companies were crafting a “Mining Scorecard” on social and environmental programs in partnership with nongovernment organizations and civil society groups, including the nonprofit Philippine Business for Social Progress and environmental protection group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Philippines.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Citi celebrates Global Community Day

In celebration of their Global Community Day, employee volunteers of Citi held a clean-up drive in Cabancalan 2 Elementary School. The company activity is headed by Vice President Tomas Yap.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chinabank Savings starts ’em young

Chinabank Savings starts ’em young
By Jennifer Ambanta
Malaya Business Insight
October 19, 2011

Responding to the central bank’s call to educate the young on being financially responsible, Chinabank Savings, a subsidiary of the China Banking Corp., has launched a start-them-young savings program.

Children as young as 7 are now considered an important component of the savings account portfolio of Chinabank Savings.

At present, 5 percent of Chinabank Savings’ deposit portfolio is from its kiddie savers product called "Easi-save", where children can save as little as P500 initially and build up their savings from there.

If parents opt to start their children’s account at a much bigger sum of P3,000, the kiddy depositors get a free "biggy bank" as an incentive to even save more.

The savings account will yield a 1.25 percent interest per annum with a maintaining balance of P500.

According to Janice Ty, deputy senior manager for product development and marketing services of Chinabank Savings, the bank hopes to improve the 5 percent share of the children’s savings in the total deposit portfolio.

"We aim to improve it in the coming months, we will have tours and we will partner with schools to encourage savings," Ty said.

Data show that only 5 percent of Filipino kids have a savings account and only 22 percent of Filipinos have a savings account with a minimum deposit of P3,000.

"Most of the youngsters’ first savings accounts are payroll accounts, so it is really best to start teaching the kids the value of money at an early age," said Ty.

Chinabank Savings recently opened its 21st branch in Daraga and will open five more before the year ends.

BSP and Citi Foundation have joined hands in maintaining an exhibit that aims to educate kids about the value of money.

Citi Foundation, the social responsibility arm of Citi Philippines, aims to keep kids in the know about saving through an exhibit tagged as "Money Matters for Kids".

The exhibit opened in 2009 and will be housed this year at the BSP.

Sanjiv Vohra, Citi country officer for the Philippines, represented the Citi Foundation during the signing of the deed of donation to the BSP, together with Philippine Business for Social Progress executive director Rafael Lopa and Museo Pambata executive director Maricel Montero.

Vohra said financial education should not be taken lightly by parents.

"Financial education should not be underestimated. Even at a young age, it is important to start a conversation with our children on how they can become wise savers, careful spenders and smart consumers. So, we are very grateful that our long-time partner in advocating financial literacy, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, will continue and develop what we have started with ‘Money Matters for Kids!,’" said Vohra.

The exhibit aims to educate both kids and parents the value of saving at an early age.

According to BSP Gov. Amando Tetangco Jr., "This exhibit will be a great help in enriching our financial literacy initiatives and we look forward to transporting it to different cities, municipalities and provinces around the country. Being involved in financial education is a process, a long-term investment."

"Our taking over ‘Money Matters for Kids!’ is certainly in line with our advocacy and we will pursue its thrust to educate children about the values of money for them to have good financial decisions," Tetangco said.

"Money Matters for Kids!" introduces money concepts to children through different sections and fun activities.

They can learn how to identify authentic bills in "Spot the Difference," develop their budgeting skills at the mock grocery store, and get familiar with bank transactions through the child-friendly automated teller machine (ATM).

The exhibit will run until Oct. 29, 2011, after which the BSP will take it around the country as part of its financial education campaign.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cebu Hillylands Reforestation Caravan - Culminating Event

Employee volunteers from Lexmark International Philippines, Inc.; Union Galvasteel Corporation; Accenture Philippines; Muramoto Audio-Visual Philippines, Inc.; Philippine Society for Mechanical Engineers and PLDT joined PBSP for the last leg of the Cebu Hillylands Reforestation Caravan.

On the other side of the hillylands, more than 15 children from Cantipla attended the Read-Along session organized by Philippine Daily Inquirer. Stories that show the importance of water and the watersheds were presented in the activity.

After the read-along session, the children along with their parents and guardians also planted tree seedlings in the Veco Reforestation Park's arboretum.

Responsive, participatory governance

Responsive, participatory governance
By Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos
Cebu Daily News
October 17, 2011

Congratulations to the Cebu city government and Mayor Michael Rama for the Gawad Pamana Award it received last week, together with 14 other cities, 15 provinces and 16 municipalities. A total of P91 million from the performance challenge fund was given to the awardees as incentive for transparent, accountable and participatory governance. The Gawad Pamana ng Lahi is given for the LGU’s “exemplary performance across major development initiatives in administrative governance, social governance, economic governance and environmental governance.”

In his speech during the ceremony, which was also the culminating activity of the 20th Local Government Code Anniversary, Interior and Local Government Secretary Robredo emphasized that the Code was not enacted to give power to local leaders, but was adopted because of “the belief that when they are measured on how they use their power, capacity, and resources, they will excel in their positions and serve their constituencies well.”

He also mentioned the need to review the Code and make it more responsive to the needs of the times, and to specifically address the dire effects of climate change. If the Local Development Councils are just activated in each barangay, city, municipality and province and a policy of inclusion is put in place, we will have a good fighting chance to surmount the impact of climate change.

It is rather alarming, however, that the minds of policy-makers are seemingly stuck in the financial aspect of disaster response and management and less on community engagement.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte’s comment that our country has enough funds for disasters (Philippine Daily Inquirer, Oct. 15) is rather presumptuous and lulls people to a false sense of complacency, which is by itself disastrous.

How can we possibly predict how much is needed for disaster management especially since the country is considered the third most vulnerable to disaster risks and calamities? Can one ever quantify the value of lives lost, the suffering and anxieties of displaced families and the so-called environmental refugees?

While funds are important, they are not everything. What is essential is to plan and collaborate as a community and together build resilience in responding to the climate crisis and protecting the most vulnerable, our children and the elderly. It is time to mobilize the participation of citizens in governance for them to be fully conscious of their role in disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM). Nothing beats prevention and preparedness.

The call of Mayor Rama for a multi-stakeholder consultative assembly is a step in the right direction. But it should not just focus on the flooding problem but look at the sustainability dimension including the community-initiated proposals to climate solutions and in “redefining development.” The city’s Sustainability Ordinance could help provide the framework for the expected robust discussion that will ensue.

Last Oct. 13, the International Day for Disaster Reduction was commemorated to heighten our awareness about our individual role in reducing risks due to disasters from earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and other calamities. Instead of waiting for a year, it is be best if we have more frequent and regular DRRM-awareness raising events to make it a part of our lifestyle.

I am sharing with you the 10-point checklist that LGUs and other stakeholders should take into account in undertaking a climate resiliency campaign, culled from http://www.unisdr.org, as follows:

1. Put in place organization and coordination to understand and reduce disaster risk, based on participation of citizen groups and civil society. Build local alliances. Ensure that all departments understand their role to DRRM.

2. Assign a budget for disaster risk reduction and provide incentives for homeowners, low-income families, communities, businesses and public sector to invest in reducing the risks they face.

3. Maintain up-to-date data on hazards and vulnerabilities, prepare risk assessments and use these as the basis for urban development plans and decisions. Ensure that this information and the plans for your city’s resilience are readily available to the public and fully discussed with them.

4. Invest in and maintain critical infrastructure that reduces risk, such as flood drainage, adjusted where needed to cope with climate change.

5. Assess the safety of all schools and health facilities and upgrade these as necessary.

6. Apply and enforce realistic, risk-compliant building regulations and land use planning principles. Identify safe land for low-income citizens and develop upgrading of informal settlements, wherever feasible.

7. Ensure education programmes and training on disaster risk reduction are in place in schools and local communities.

8. Protect ecosystems and natural buffers to mitigate floods, storm surges and other hazards to which your city may be vulnerable. Adapt to climate change by building on good risk reduction practices.

9. Install early warning systems and emergency management capacities in your city and hold regular public preparedness drills. 10. After any disaster, ensure that the needs of the survivors are placed at the centre of reconstruction with support for them and their community organizations to design and help implement responses, including rebuilding homes and livelihoods.


I am grateful to PDI and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) for the distinct privilege of participating in the “Read-along Session” at the Visayan Electric Co. Reforestation Park Project at sitio Cantipla, barangay Tabunan, Cebu City last Saturday. The theme was caring for our environment and our biodiversity.

After the storytelling proper and being amazed by the highly participative kids and creative and enthusiastic fellow readers, we planted indigenous and native tree species in the area. According to Cris Evert Lato, it was the first time that the reading session was held as part of the closing ceremony of PBSP’s annual and 19th reforestation caravan at the Central Cebu Protected Landscape. PDI’s mascot, the cuddly Guyito, is now a reminder of the enriching moments that we shared last weekend with the kids and their mothers and our inspiring young green leaders.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Group seeks to build 10,000 classrooms in '10 Moves'

Group seeks to build 10,000 classrooms in '10 Moves'
By Apples Jalandoni
October 15, 2011

MANILA, Philippines - This is how a typical day at Payatas Elementary School looks like.

With so many students, there's a shortage of classrooms, with some classes being held in hallways.

Here, students don't have their own tables and chairs as they share space in benches.

The Department of Education admits, this school year, 60,000 more classrooms are needed to reach the ideal.

This results in a higher drop-out rate and poor academic performance.

But the group 57-75 Movement, which is composed of the league of corporate foundations and Philippine business for social progress, may have just the solution.

Their project "Ten Moves" aims to look for 2 million Filipinos who will donate P10 pesos a day for 10 months to build 10,000 classrooms.

They say P10 is not that big an amount for those have much.

Ten pesos, after all, can only buy 10 candies, a packet of noodles or 2 cookies.

The project hopes to collect P600 million.

"Ten Moves" encourages all Filipinos to participate in improving the quality of education in the country.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cebu Daily News, NGOs lauded for promoting respect for eco-laws

Cebu Daily News, NGOs lauded for promoting respect for eco-laws
By Edison delos Angeles
Cebu Daily News
October 13, 2011

Cebu Daily News along with several non-government  groups were recognized by the Cebu City Council yesterday in a resolution for their “dedication and active participation” in helping  enforce the country’s environmental laws in Cebu.

The paper was cited along with the Philippine Business of Social Progress (PBSP), Kaabag sa Sugbo Foundation and the Kantipla Ecosystem Enhancement and Protection Foundation during the council’s off-site session in barangay Bonbon yesterday.

The council referred to  a Cebu Daily News Sept. 29 exclusive story  “Trees end up black coal,” which reported  how five hectares of a reforestation site in the hinterland barangay Sudlon, Cebu City, were ravaged by illegal tree cutters.

The trees were cut  down to be made into  charcoal to be sold at P200 per sack in the market.

A father and son were arrested by police after they were caught burning the logs in a pit last Sept. 25. Criminal charges were later filed against them by the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources.

“It just so happened that among all the papers, Cebu Daily News would often publish stories that focus on programs aimed at enforcing laws that protect the environment and resources of Cebu,”said resolution sponsor  Councilor Edgardo Labella in the session yesterday.

He was asked by colleagues why the paper was singled out.

In the same resolution, Labella urged the Association of Barangay Councils to “take active steps in crafting a unified environmental law enforcement mechanism by preparing and implementing a tough security plan to protect Cebu City’s forest cover.”

It cited reforestation sites and watershed of the Buhisan Dam, Kotkot-Lusaran Forest Reserve, Sudlon National Park, and neighboring communities planted with indigenous trees like narra and molave found mostly in all 36 mountain barangays of Cebu City.