Monday, February 28, 2011

Furniture makers push reforestation, not log ban

Furniture makers push reforestation, not log banBy Mia Aznar
Sun.Star Cebu
February 28, 2011

INSTEAD of imposing a total ban on logging, the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation (CFIF) Inc., would rather see the government strengthen its partnership with the private sector in reforestation efforts.

In a position paper dated Feb. 17, CFIF president Angela Figueroa-Paulin, said that while the objectives of Executive Order 23 (EO 23) are “relevant,” they believe the strategy adopted to address deforestation and flooding are “flawed.”

EO 23 is a moratorium on the cutting and harvesting of timber in the natural and residual forests. It also ordered the creation of the anti-illegal logging task force.

The group said that the ban would be prone to abuse and would, instead, restrict industries that are contributing “significantly” to the Philippine economy.

They believe it would worsen the smuggling of wood and lumber products, noting the limited resources of the government to enforce it and corruption of some officers in authority.

Paulin said a log ban would make industries more dependent on imported wood and lumber, which would drive up production costs of furniture and other wood-based products. She feared this would make Philippine exports even less competitive.

The furniture industry has been hit hard with the global economic crisis after clients in the US and Europe cut back on expenses.

Paulin said a log ban would discourage investments in forest management ventures and make the country lose opportunities in terms of having more reforested areas and employment.

“Government should look at countries that are both successful in reforestation efforts and in their wood exports, before imposing a logging ban,” the position paper read.

Paulin also pointed out that there are Filipino families who derive their income from community-based forest management agreements (CBFMAs), socialized industrial forest management agreements (SIFMAs) and integrated forest management agreements (IFMAs). She said that in 2008 alone, 321,638 households depended on income from 1,783 CBFMAs that covered more than 1.6 hectares of forest lands and public domain lands in the country.

The organization also noted that a log ban was imposed during the term of former president Corazon Aquino and that it did not improve the country’s forest cover.

Paulin pointed out that the country has enough laws on forest management and the protection of natural resources. She said all that is needed is for these laws to be enforced properly without resorting to a log ban.

While they oppose the imposition of the log ban, the organization agrees with the government regarding the need to establish a forest certification system that complies with international standards.

“This is, in fact, what we have been hoping (for) since it would enable us to gain access to markets in Europe and strengthen our foothold on the United States, Japan, Australia and other markets,” the position paper stated.

CFIF assured that the furniture, furnishings manufacturers and exporters, which are the biggest users of wood and wood products, will comply with such a certification system.

“Contrary to the old image of the industry as a big contributor to the denudation of the country’s forests, we have been helping the government’s efforts to reforest public lands. Every year, in partnership with the Philippine Business for Social Progress, our members plant indigenous tree species in the Central Cebu protected landscape, which is covered by the Nipas Act,” it further said.

The group explained they do this because of their belief in sustainable growth for their industry, not for the public relations.

1st Cebu youth summit to be held March 12

1st Cebu youth summit to be held March 12
Cebu Daily News
February 28, 2011

THE first Youth Environmental Summit will be hosted by the University of Cebu on March 12.

Some 100 youth leaders from the different school organizations and barangays are expected to attend the youth summit dubbed “Empowering Youth Leaders to Combat the Effects of Climate Change.”

Darwin Flores, Smart Community Partnerships senior manager, will share the company's disaster preparedness and disaster response initiatives under its community service program Kabalikat.

These include the Marikina Watershed Initiative, the partnership with the Philippine Business for Social Progress and the Southern Leyte Provincial Disaster Council on the use of SMS technology to assist the communication needs of the province in disaster-preparedness and response and the collaboration with the Ateneo de Davao University and the Davao City government to use cost-efficient wireless technologies to help reduce disaster risks and respond to calamities in the region.

Also set to speak at the summit are representatives from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pag-asa), National Disaster Coordinating Council and the Philippine Red Cross.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

People power of the most profitable kind

People power of the most profitable kind
By Tina Arceo-Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
February 24, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—A veteran social development worker scathingly remarked during a major conference that a group or company cannot rightfully claim that it is “doing good” if it is “making a profit.”

As far as the leader of the non-government organization is concerned, a decent profit and noble work to help Filipinos move out of poverty do not—and must not—go together.

Social entrepreneurs MicroVentures, Rags2Riches, Hybrid Social Solutions Inc. (HSSI) and Gifts & Graces beg to disagree.

The prime movers of these social ventures stressed during the recently concluded People-Powered Markets exhibit organized by PinoyME, Ninoy & Cory Aquino Foundation and the Philippine Business for Social Progress that contrary to popular belief, it is indeed possible to marry the objectives of earning a profit to sustain operations and helping less fortunate Filipinos have a better life.

They and other social entrepreneurs are showing how to do just that, and they hope to encourage other like-minded individuals and groups to take part in the new “people power” revolution that combines pro-poor work and profit.

Rags2Riches and Gifts and Graces earn from selling goods produced by people’s organizations and small communities to the country’s huge fashion, novelty and home-products market.

The multi-awarded Rags2Riches focuses on women in Payatas who transform scrap fabric into woven works of art according to the designs of fashion designer Rajo Laurel, bag artist Amina Aranaz and furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue.

Because Rags2Riches is able to link their products to the marketplace, the Payatas women now earn much more than what they used to get from selling foot rugs.

Gifts and Graces follows the same track as Rags2Riches, but is involved with a bigger number of organizations that produce a wide range of products, from home ware to fashion accessories.

It helps these organizations by improving the quality and design of their products as well as enhancing their production efficiency so that they can sell more products, thus boosting their profit.

Meanwhile, MicroVentures supervises the Hapinoy chain of sari-sari stores, and helps the variety (sari-sari) store owners by giving them access to more goods at less cost.

Main items for sale are personal, home-care and food products such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste and canned goods. They also earn a good profit from selling over-the-counter medicine and phone credits.

MicroVentures is able to do this by aggregating these thousands of sari-sari stores so that they have a better bargaining position with product manufacturers such as Unilever, Nestle and Unilab.

For MarcVentures, its work is about harnessing the power of the sari-sari store and providing the owners—mostly women—with increased income.

HSSI, on the other hand, seeks to address the problem of access of rural poor to electricity, initially through the sale of solar home appliances to homes not efficiently serviced by the national power grid due to their remote location.

HSSI’s mission is to provide all communities with high-quality goods and services for development. Additional products in the pipeline include water purifiers, self-adjustable eyeglasses and efficient cook stoves.

The company could have chosen to distribute other products, but it decided to concentrate on these much-needed goods to contribute to national development.

Rags2Riches, MicroVentures, Gifts & Graces and HSSI are just a few that have adopted the social entrepreneurship model. Hopefully, others will follow in their lead to bring about a new kind of development.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


By John Pages
Cebu Sports Blog
February 23, 2011

KICK off those running shoes and put on your swimming caps; the time has come to take your athletic skills away from fun runs and test them in the open waters of Mactan Island. Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and Philippine Aquatic Sports Association (PASA) invites all competitive and non-competitive swimmers to join the 4th OLANGO CHALLENGE, a fund raising open water swim for the benefit of the people of Olango Island.

The event will take place at Tambuli Beach Club on April 30, 2011 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Launched in 2008, the OLANGO CHALLENGE was crafted with the same dynamic as that of the open water swim category of the Beijing Summer Olympics to help promote open water swimming marathon discipline in this country. The swimming event also serves as an advocacy campaign to highlight the importance of a clean marine environment and raise awareness about the high incidence of drowning in the Philippines.

For four years now, the OLANGO CHALLENGE continues to help improve the lives of 2,300 families on Olango Island through the delivery of basic social services, the provision of sustainable income opportunities and the rehabilitation of the unique environment of the island.

Proceeds of the past Olango Challenges went to the construction and refurbishment of classrooms, the promotion and practice of organic vermiculture and the greening of Olango Island. The 3rd Olango Challenge allowed for the reforestation of 5,200 trees on Olango Island. The construction of another two-room classroom building for the public elementary school at Barangay Caw-Oy shall begin next week and should be completed in time for the 2011-2012 school year.

Proceeds of this year’s Olango Challenge are programmed for use towards an extensive reforestation effort of Olango Island.

Winners of last year’s Olango Challenge include Rey Suerte and Alali Ada Villocino for the 1.5K. Competitive Category; Jason Ong and Lorhiz Echavez of the 2.5K Competitive Category; Nikita Dacera. and Erika Lukang of the 5K Category and Franz Baguio of the 5K Fun Category.

Interested entrants of the 4th Olango Challenge may join the 2K and 6K competitive, competitive relay or the fun categories. Registration is pegged at P500.00 for the 2K and 6K competitive swim, P500.00 for the competitive relay category and P2, 000.00 for the fun category. Discounts will be given to those who register on or before April 8, 2011.

To join the event, interested swimmers may visit the PBSP office at the fourth floor of PLDT, Juan Luna Ave., Mabolo, Cebu City or the PASA office located at Rm 201, Bldg. B, Philsports Complex, Meralco Ave., Pasig City. Online registration is available via email at pbspvro@pbsp.org.ph or pasainc@gmail.com. Visit the event’s blog site at http://olangochallenge.wordpress.com/ for downloadable forms and updated

For personalized information, please look for Riva of PBSP at (032) 232-5270 or 232-5283 or Alex of PASA at (02) 687-7403.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

XU, SMART, PBSP, DepEd partner for CommuniTeach

XU, SMART, PBSP, DepEd partner for CommuniTeach
Philippine Information Agency
February 22, 2011

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Misamis Oriental, Feb. 22 -- Xavier University (XU) signed a Memorandum of Agreement with SMART Communications Inc, Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), and the Department of Education (DedEd) Region 10 for CommuniTeach, a project seeking to reduce dropout rates in public elementary schools.

The program initiated by SMART aims to enhance the performance of public elementary school children through community teaching-feeding activities.

Through the National Service Training Program (NSTP), XU has been implementing CommuniTeach in adopted elementary schools in Consolacion, Camaman-an, and Upper Carmen since September last year.

Among the activities that have been carried out are tutors’ training, parents’ orientation, baseline evaluation, feeding sessions, and regular Saturday learning sessions for the lowest performing students in the adopted schools.

“We are happy and privileged to be one of the chosen schools,” shared teacher Dr. Ma. Lodel Daabay, Principal of Camaman-an Elementary School adding, “The eight modules in values formation helped a lot in developing our students’ self-confidence.”

To ensure community participation and sustainability, the program engages the Parents-Teachers Community Association as well as the aid of DepEd and the academe to provide logistics and manpower. PBSP provides funding support.

“Education is everybody’s business,” said Stephanie Orlino, manager of the education program of SMART. She emphasized the importance of getting together various stakeholders for the program to become successful. “Let’s all work together to help our children.”

University President Fr Jose Ramon Villarin conveyed his joy in having Xavier students participate in the program. “I’m glad that you enlisted our students because we really want to get involved.”

He stressed that amid all the progress in technology, there is still a need for social progress.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Old, used batteries give life to learning centers

Old, used batteries give life to learning centers
By Cris Evert Lato
Inquirer Visayas
February 19, 2011

DAGOHOY, BOHOL, Philippines—How does one company build learning resource centers (LRCs) out of used lead acid batteries (ULABs)?

The process is pretty simple: Donate the ULABs and Motolite buys it for a higher price. The money is then used to fund LRCs with the assistance of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).

This is how Philippine Long Distance and Telephone Co. (PLDT) was able to generate P880,000, which was used to fund the establishment of 22 learning resource centers in remote areas in the Visayas.

“The learning resource centers have books, which are waiting for you to read. You also have chairs and a table which you can use while reading,” PLDT senior community relations manager Evelyn del Rosario told pupils of Barangay San Miguel Elementary School here during a turnover ceremony last month.

On its marathon distribution to six schools in Bohol, Del Rosario told teachers to allow the students to make use of the books. “Let them wear these out. We will give books again,” she said in Filipino.

PBSP executive director Rafael Lopa encouraged the pupils to take their studies seriously so they could help in the country’s development.

“What we are giving you is just a small thing compared to what you need to do. It is important that you listen to your teachers and study your lessons because you are the hope of the country. Dili pwede ang tapulan (Laziness is not allowed),” Lopa said.

Thirst for books
It was like a fiesta at Malitbog Elementary School when representatives from PLDT, PBSP, Motolite and the Department of Education arrived.

The schoolchildren offered dance numbers and the teachers prepared lechon (roasted pig) and native dishes for lunch.

During the ceremonial ribbon-cutting, the children rushed on-stage after Del Rosario promised to read them a story.

At Caluasan Elementary School, the farthest barangay from San Miguel town, the children shouted “Naana gyud, naana gyud (Here they are),” upon seeing the guests.

“We don’t have a cabinet full of books. It will be good to have one, read them and see the pictures,” said 8-year-old Ella Mae Canares.

Jessie Cubijano, PBSP Visayas officer-in-charge, said excited faces always greeted them in the LRC turnovers. Most of the children only saw libraries in pictures, he said.

About 30 minutes by van from Barangay Caluasan, 260 children painted the entire Cambangay Norte Elementary School with bright colors. They wore yellow shirts and waved small red and electric blue flags.

Classmates Harold Ebo and Kim Puracan said they were hoping to read more books to enrich their knowledge.

They both love the classic story “Tipaklong at Langgam,” which taught them the essence of studying harder to fulfill their dreams. Harold wants to become a seaman while Puracan dreams of being a policeman.

For the environment
Launched in 2006, the Motolite-PBSP Balik-Baterya program aims to achieve two results.

One is to protect the environment by properly disposing and recycling ULABs which may potentially poison the soil. The other is to improve learning by giving books to pupils, training the teachers and holding remedial reading camps.

“This donation (of LRC) is just the start. We will upgrade the skills of the teachers the soonest possible time,” said Noly Cayabyab, corporate social responsibility head of Oriental and Motolite Marketing Corp.

Cayabyab cited the initiative as an example of a private-public partnership—a program which is also being pushed by the Aquino administration.

The Balik-Baterya program is also being undertaken in cooperation with the DepEd, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Philippine Recyclers Inc.

Eight of the 22 LRCs turned over are in Cebu, three in Iloilo, six in Bohol and five in Samar.

Each center is worth P40,000, Cubijano said. It takes 170 ULABs to generate P40,000.

Ninety-two percent of the ULABs were donated by the top 200 corporations in the country, while 77 percent of total donations came from PLDT and Smart.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Smart trains schools as Guimaras online ambassadors

Smart trains schools as Guimaras online ambassadors
Manila Bulletin
February 15, 2011

MANILA, Philippines — Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), in partnership with Petron Foundation and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), recently conducted a content generation and web development training in Guimaras as part of its efforts to encourage online content generation under its Doon Po Sa Amin (DPSA) project.

Held at the Central Philippine University in Jaro, Iloilo, the training saw participants being given lectures and exercises on research methods, writing for the Web, image editing, photo journalism, blogging, fundamentals of Web design, websites and web servers, website development, publishing and uploading website and underwent a DPSA workshop.

At the end of the training, the 22 schools and the DepEd Guimaras division office were able to upload their websites via Smart’s free website hosting. The participating seven public elementary schools and 15 public high schools are also now considered SSP online associates, which means they can join any of three competitions under Smart’s DPSA.

These contests include the DPSA Learning Challenge, “Ano ang Kwento Mo? (What’s your story?)” and DPSA Quest.

DPSA is a four-year content generation project where teachers and students of Smart Schools Program (SSP) partner schools are encouraged to use Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) to generate and share web-based information and educational materials about their respective communities.

Cash prizes and items are in store for the winners of the three competitions, details of which can be accessed via www.doonposaamin.ph.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Balik-Baterya project to help Tacas Elementary school pupils

Balik-Baterya project to help Tacas Elementary school pupils
By T.W.Villavert

PIA Region 6
February 13, 2011

ILOILO CITY, Feb 13 (PIA)--- Some 389 children studying at the Tacas Elementary School, Jaro, this city, are expected to improve their academic performance following the turn-over of educational materials from the Balik-baterya project.

School Principal Clarissa S. Ojera said in a PIA interview that “ the project is beneficial for the growth of our pupils because some of our books and other learning materials were damaged by the flood, and with this donated educational materials our pupils will be encouraged to study, read more books, and will really help them learn their school subjects."

During the turn-over ceremomy, Senior Program Officer Maricar Olivia Jabido of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) said that three elementary schools in Iloilo are recipients of the Balik Baterya Program which is initiated by the PBSP, Motolite and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company.

By partnering with PBSP, DENR, DEpEd, Motolite has involved the business sector in donating their used batteries which the Motolite buys at a premium price.

The used lead acid batteries from cars, forklifts and other industrial machineries are toxic and harmful to human and environment if disposed improperly.

The PLDT’s used lead acid were bought by Motolite, and the proceeds were used to fund the establishment of learning resource centers (LRCs), which take the form of mini-libraries that include a table, chairs and a bookshelf filled with books and supplementary instructional materials on Math, Science, English, Pilipino, social studies and environment education.

For her part, Evelyn del Rosario, senior manager of the PLDT encouraged teachers to encourage all their students to love the books, and set a schedule for the children’s time to go to the library.

The PBSP, PLDT and Motolite has generated some P880,000 from used lead acid batteries and the fund is used for the established 22 Local Resource Centers in Cebu, Bohol, Iloilo and Samar.

Beneficiaries of the Balik-baterya program for Iloilo are Sta. Rita Elementray School and Abilay Elementary School in Oton, Iloilo; and Tacas Elementary School, Jaro Iloilo City. (JCM/TWV/PIA)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Education through Internet accessibility

Education through Internet accessibility
Sun.Star Pampanga
February 9, 2011

RECOGNIZING the importance of the Internet in today's education of the young, SM Foundation on Wednesday led the ceremonial turn-over of an Internet connection system for the Mabalacat High School through the help of the Smart Education and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).

The event was attended by SM Foundation executive director for education Linda Atayde, Mayor Mariono "Boking" Morales and officers of Smart Education and PBSP.

SM Clark public relations officer Venus Manalang said the program is in continuation of the 2009 initiative of SM Foundation.

In 2009, the SM Foundation donated a classroom for the said high school in cooperation with the Municipality of Mabalacat. This year, Smart Education has joined in the program to help the Mabalacat High School.

"The Internet connection will greatly help in the skills development of both teachers and students of the school. We hope that with this help they can now have access to a multitude of educational materials available in cyberspace," Manalang said.

The Smart Schools Program (SSP) is a community service initiative of Smart Communications Inc. that promotes Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in basic education through partnerships with public schools, its officials and parents-teachers-community associations (PTCAs).

Specifically, it aims to provide public school teachers with Internet access through the PLDT group's wide range of communications solutions, access to online content and teacher-training on Information and Communications Technology.

It is implemented through the Philippine Business for Social Progress, with the support of the Department of Education and a team of individuals, recognized in their respective fields in the academe and business, comprising the Smart Schools Program Advisory Board.

PBSP is the implementing arm of the Program. PBSP conducts groundwork for Smart Schools, facilitates logistical set-ups, implements ICT trainings, and monitors development milestones.

Mabalacat High School principal Dr. Leonardo Canlas accepted the new Internet service connection in simple ceremonies attended by the school's faculty and student body. (Ian Ocampo Flora)

Koronadal opens regional TB center

Koronadal opens regional TB center
Philippine Information Agency
February 9, 2011

KORONADAL CITY, Feb. 9 (PIA) -- The city government of Koronadal today opened the Regional Treatment Center for Programmatic Management of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, the only multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis facility in the region.

The facility was one of the priority concerns of Mayor Peter Miguel when he assumed office last year. He signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Health (DOH), National Lung Center, and the private non-profit foundation Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) National Lung Center for the establishment of MDR treatment center in the city.

Miguel said, he had to push for the establishment of an MDR-TB treatment facility here because residents of the region suffering from the disease need to go to specialized centers such as the National Lung Center in Metro Manila for treatment, which is costly and time consuming.

Treatment of MDR-TB is also more expensive that the usual cases of TB, he added.

In an interview after the MOA signing last year, Miguel said, the MDR treatment center in Koronadal City will effectively hasten the management of control of the increasing number of MDR-TB in the region at much lesser expense on the part of the patient and their families.

Based on the MOA, the city government is only required to provide five medical staff who will run the facility and the building that will house the center as its counterpart in the partnership.

Partner agencies will provide the equipment and machineries, training of the personnel, as well as drugs and medicines for the treatment.

The MOA also stipulates that the treatment center will be turned over to the city government after five years of operation.

Guests during the opening ceremonies include Dr. Vivian Lofranco of the Philippine Lung Center, Dr. Anna Marie Celina Garfin of the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control of the Department of Health, and Mr. Eric Camacho of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Civet 'cat' coffee producer to launch eco-friendly cafe

Civet 'cat' coffee producer to launch eco-friendly cafe
Sun.Star Davao
February 6, 2011

ONE of the top finalists in the annual Philippine Business in Development (BID) Challenge is now set to launch its own high-end specialty store brewing the world's rarest and most coveted coffee variety -- the droppings of a nocturnal animal called alamid in the Southern Tagalog, motit in Northern Luzon, and musang in the Visayas and Mindanao.

These are the coffee beans taken from the excreta of the local Asian palm civet (Paradoxorus philippinensis), sometimes called the Philippine civet "cat," which after chewing and swallowing the coffee cherries from Cordillera to Cotabato for decades have produced what some had dubbed as the planet's most expensive brew.

Arengga Bote Central, producer and distributor of Arengga Coffee Alamid, was one of the finalists in the BID Challenge Philippines 2007, with their civet coffee entry called "Chain of Happiness."

The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), the nation's largest corporate-led social development foundation, has been spearheading the annual BID Challenge Philippines together with Citibank Philippines and supported by Citi Foundation.

Other corporate sponsors include Shell, Nestle, the Phil. Daily Inquirer, the Foundation for a Sustainable Society Inc. (FSSI), and the Dutch-funded BiD Network, which pioneered the international online business plan competition for small and medium enterprises.

Husband-and-wife team Basil and Alvira Reyes of Arengga also announced via Facebook that for the first time, they will be joining forces with members of the local rock band Alamid for the launching of their group’s namesake and creature of inspiration, the Alamid CafĂ© Xpress, tomorrow.

The launching will be held at the Recreational Outdoor eXchange (ROX) at B1 along Bonifacio High Street at the Fort Global City in suburban Taguig.

The Philippine civet "cat," called luwak in neighboring Indonesia, is not actually a cat of a member of the feline family. It is a nearer relative of the African and Central Asian mongoose, and it closely resembles the weasel of the Western hemisphere.

The Paradoxorus philippinensis, according to the Arengga website, "is a civet that belongs to the mongoose family, a nocturnal animal which uses its nose to choose the ripest and sweetest coffee cherries and relentlessly eats them during coffee season."

Arengga said: "Gathered very early in the morning usually before the sun rises, the forest dwellers climb the mountain and pick the civet droppings on the forest floors. On a good day, a gatherer can collect one kilo of civet droppings."

It said Coffee Alamid is a blend of the country's finest Arabica, Liberica, and Exelsa beans. "When roasted, it exudes an almost musical, fruity aroma," Arengga said. "It has a strong, sweet, dark chocolate-y taste ... perfect for that morning kick or high power meetings, definitely a clean cup?"

On environmental protection, Arengga stressed that Coffee Alamid aims to support the protection of the civets, preserve the civets’ habitat, and provide livelihood for the forest dwellers.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Businessmen urged to share their wealth

Businessmen urged to share their wealth
By Paolo Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
February 5, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—The widening gap between the rich and poor calls for an equal, if not greater, response from local businesses to help raise the living standards of families at the “bottom of the pyramid.”

The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), one of the country’s biggest umbrella organizations for corporate charity work, has since called on its members to ramp up efforts to spread the wealth and let it trickle down to those living below the poverty line.
Unique opportunity

The group’s chair, Manuel V. Pangilinan, said the new government, under a president who enjoys record high approval ratings here and abroad, presented an opportunity for the state, local companies and the international community to get together to bring about true social reform the country badly needs.

“A new government gives us new hope—the scope for public/private sector partnership in social development can be unprecedented and exceptional,” Pangilinan said in a speech at the recent PBSP 40th anniversary celebration.

PBSP counts among its members some of the country’s biggest companies like San Miguel Corp., Smart Communications and the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

“PBSP’s unique role is to work with the government, the private sector, and foreign donors in pursuing our founders’ mandate of ‘divine conspiracy for development,’” according to Pangilinan, who also chairs PLDT.

Since it was founded four decades ago, PBSP has succeeded in helping millions of people, he said.

The group boasts of more than 6,500 projects in health, education, livelihood and environment. It also released P5.2 billion in grants and donations that had been used to improve the lives of over 6.4 million people in the last 40 years.

“All throughout the country lies ample and tangible proof of our good work,” he said.

During his speech, Pangilinan cited the example of Dindo Pagatpat, a Cebuano farmer who has been planting corn and potatoes since he was 12 years old.

With PBSP’s help, Pagatpat was able to switch to high-value crops, enabling him to build a house, send his kids to school and buy a vehicle that he uses for his business.

Another PBSP success story is Jayson Ferariza, a young volunteer at a tuberculosis clinic run by PBSP.

Ferariza helps out at the facility without pay because he himself used to be stricken with tuberculosis, Pangilinan said.

The medicines he helps hand out are too expensive for poor people like him to buy. But with the global fund—channeled through PBSP—more Filipinos were able to recover from this dreadful disease.

The institution’s innovative solutions, such as the provision of livelihood that PBSP’s Maqueda bay fishpond project in Samar undertakes, stand out as another sterling example of how the organization has contributed to lasting change.

But Pangilinan warned that the PBSP’s achievements did not mean its members could rest on their laurels just yet.

“Poverty today has grown so large, and has become more complex, compared to what it was 40 years ago. Our response to its alleviation must change correspondingly,” he said.

“Grants and donations must increase ... [enough to] make a difference.”

The support which the global fund and the US Agency for International Development provide to combat tuberculosis in the last few years is “an outstanding example,” Pangilinan pointed out.

But if poverty alleviation were to matter, PBSP would have to raise the level of grants and donations to between P4 billion and P5 billion in the next five years, compared with the P1.8 billion over the last 5 years, he said.

“[While] our members and their contribution have risen over the years, we will need to rely on foreign donors for majority of our funding at a foreign-to-domestic ratio of 4:1,” he said.

Pangilinan expressed hope that with the help of the new administration, the organization would be able to meet its goals.

“Thirty years ago, a young man in his early 20s named Noynoy Aquino joined PBSP as executive assistant to then executive director Ernie Garilao,” Pangilinan revealed.

“I’m sure that his invaluable experience helped shape the future President’s deep sense of compassion for the poor and the deprived. We are honored to have one of us placed in a position to make a real difference for our country.... The poor are part of us; and us, a part of them.”

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

PBSP, Angelo King Foundation turn over training center for Bohol farmers

PBSP, Angelo King Foundation turn over training center for Bohol farmers
The Freeman News
February 1, 2011

CEBU, Philippines - Three large private organizations have joined hands with the government, and accomplished the public-private partnership (PPPs) program as they turned over an agricultural training center at Brgy. Malitbog in Dagohoy town, Bohol recently.

The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), Angelo King Foundation, Inc. (AKFI) and the Bohol Integrated Development Foundation Inc., (BIDEF) completed the multi-purpose building where at least 10,000 farmers will be trained in sustainable agricultural production.

The PBSP and AKFI turned over to BIDEF the building, named BIDEF Technology and Livelihood Center, in ceremonies attended by top officials of the three organizations and Provincial LGU Affairs coordinator Reynaldo Gacayan, representing Governor Edgar Chatto, other government officials and beneficiary farmers.

BIDEF president Fr. Victor Bompat, accepted the center that will assist farmers by providing them with the technology on organic farming, specifically on vermiculture, which the provincial government has also been pushing for.

AKFI's board trustee Joaquin Sy, in his speech, said the center is a testimony of what public service can contribute for the development of the country.

"We believe that through our simple and humble collaboration, we can empower people and transform lives and together, we shall promote and nurture partnerships by sharing growth and prosperity at the local level," he said.

For 20 years, AKFI has partnered with PBSP in putting up 204 centers all over the country, and 10 of these are in Bohol. Sy added that AKFI has committed to provide more assistance to establish additional similar centers this year.

PBSP, in partnership with BIDEF, has carried out projects for the farmers in the towns of Carmen, Dagohoy, San Miguel, Danao, and Trinidad.

With the new center, these programs will be expanded to other adjacent and rice-producing towns–Pilar, Sierra Bullones, Batuan, Bilar, and Loboc–over a three-year period.

PBSP executive director Rafael Lopa, said: "Napakahalaga pong hanapin natin ang ating kanya-kanyang mga role sa pagbabagong dapat mangyari dito sa ating bayan. Kaya sa amin, napakahalaga nitong mga partnership na ganito para mas makarating ang benepisyo sa mas maraming kababayan natin."

Forging partnerships with local organizations is an ideal way of getting the business sector more involved in the reduction of poverty in the country, Lopa said.

Gacayan, for his part, thanked PBSP and AKFI for helping the government in poverty reduction programs. "These people (from the organizations) have better dispositions in life, and yet they are here to help the farmers of Bohol," he said.