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.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

AboitizPower CEO named Entrepreneur of the Year

AboitizPower CEO named Entrepreneur of the Year
Business World Online
October 12, 2011

Erramon I. Aboitiz, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of AboitizPower Corp., was named the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2011 in an awards banquet held last night at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

Mr. Aboitiz was recognized for his exemplary vision, leadership and financial expertise, which allowed him to transform AboitizPower from a regional power distributor into a dynamic power generator and distributor operating nationwide.

Guided by his vision of providing stable, affordable and environment-friendly energy throughout the country, AboitizPower has acquired a diverse range of power assets, allowing it to tailor-fit offerings to the needs of Filipino consumers while promoting the use of clean and renewable energy.

Mr. Aboitiz will represent the Philippines in the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards in Monte Carlo, Monaco in June 2012.

Mr. Aboitiz also received the category award for Master Entrepreneur 2011. He was recognized for applying sound management practices in critical areas of the company, including finance, marketing, human resources and sales. A firm believer in innovation, he led the company to pioneer the construction of small hydroelectric plants around the country, developing the expertise to quickly and efficiently build under-15 megawatt plants. His commitment to promoting sustainability also led to the launch of Cleanenergy, the company’s brand of clean and renewable energy from hydroelectric and geothermal plants.

Other category awards presented were for the Emerging Entrepreneur, Innovation Entrepreneur, Social Entrepreneur, Small Business Entrepreneur and Woman Entrepreneur categories.

Ferdinand Y. Marañon, president and CEO of Sagrex Corp., was presented with the Emerging Entrepreneur award for exemplifying the start-up process. Mr. Marañon established his company to improve the volume and quality of the country’s farm produce, applying innovation and technology to develop packing products, quick-freezing technology, and an entire line of frozen food items.

Bienvenido V. Tantoco III, president of Rustan Supercenters, Inc., received the Innovation Entrepreneur award for turning around and growing his company through exceptional change management skills. Mr. Tantoco’s resourcefulness, sound financial practices and winning people skills allowed him to reverse the fortunes of his companies, nursing them back to profitability.

Anna Meloto-Wilk and Camille D. Meloto, founders of Gandang Kalikasan, Inc., were named Social Entrepreneur for building an organization that champions social transformation for the marginalized and the poor. Tapping the residents of Gawad Kalinga communities for their work force and farming communities for raw materials, the sisters began manufacturing and marketing a full line of world-class organic products that also provided vital livelihood to marginalized communities.

Reynaldo T. Paulino, managing director of Kraftika Filipina, was presented the Small Business Entrepreneur award for best demonstrating management excellence in a business with assets amounting to less than P100 million. Mr. Paulino produces high-quality fashion accessories and decorative home pieces using indigenous materials. These items have been featured in international trade shows and are carried by local and global designer brands.

Maria Fe P. Agudo, president and CEO of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc., received the Woman Entrepreneur award for blazing a trail in entrepreneurship, leadership and community development. Her marketing insights and strategic initiatives lifted Hyundai to become the third top-ranked automotive brand in the country in a span of less than 10 years.

Recipients of category awards were chosen from among 17 finalists from diverse industries. The others finalists were Francisco M. Bernardo III (Let’s Go Foundation, Inc.); Raul Anthony D. Concepcion, (Concepcion Durables, Inc.); Bernard Faustino M. Dy, (University of Perpetual Help Systems-Isabela); Prudencio S. Garcia, (Mekeni Food Corp.); Jaime Enrique Y. Gonzalez, (IPVG Corp.); Pacita U. Juan (Earth Life Store Supply, Inc.); Ronnel C. Rivera, (Gensan Shipyard & Machine Works, Inc.); Genevieve Ledesma-Tan, (Southville International School and Colleges), Winston P. Uy, (Universal Leaf Philippines, Inc.); and Francis Glenn L. Yu, (SEAOIL Phils., Inc.).

“For the past eight years, we have honored Filipino entrepreneurs who are, collectively and individually, driving the Philippine economy. The quality of this year’s finalists has shone through in the work they have done and they have been deemed role models in their respective industries,” SGV Chairman and Managing Partner and SGV Foundation Chairman Cirilo P. Noel said in his speech.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year program was founded in the United States by professional services firm Ernst & Young in 1986. In the Philippines, SGV Foundation, Inc. established the program in 2003. Co-presenters are De La Salle University, Department of Trade and Industry, Development Bank of the Philippines, Philippine Business for Social Progress, Philippine Stock Exchange and Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Program sponsor is SAP Philippines. Official airline is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Media sponsors are BusinessWorld and the ABS-CBN News Channel.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Deal to benefit pupils in low performing schools in Bohol

Deal to benefit pupils in low performing schools in Bohol
Cebu Daily News
October 10, 2011

A TOTAL of 77 pupils from grades 1 to 3 of Catarman Elementary School in barangay Catarman, Dauis town, Bohol will benefit from  mentoring sessions after telecommunications company and Holy Name University(HNU) signed an agreement to implement smart CommuniTeach in school.

CommuniTeach is a program initiated by Smart to improve learning among the lowest performing public elementary schools through the active participation of the parents and the community in mentoring their children.

The agreement was signed by lawyer Maria Jane Paredes, Smart Public Affairs senior manager for Visayas-Mindanao; HNU President Rev. Fr. Francisco Estepa, SVD; Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) senior program officer Riza Horcasitas and Bohol Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Lorna Rances.

“We cannot rely solely on the teachers or an organization to help our children; it requires the collective effort of all sectors. This is why it is called CommuniTeach,” said Paredes.
Fr. Estepa said HNU is privileged to participate in CommuniTeach since the program enables the university to realize its vision of community service.

He said the program would strengthen the vocation for teaching among HNU’s education students.

HNU will identify its students as teacher volunteers for the weekly program held every Saturday, evaluate and customize the learning modules to fit the needs of the schoolchildren.

Prior to their actual assignment, the teacher volunteers underwent capability trainings to  fulfill their roles and responsibilities in the program.

Parents, prepare food for the children during the tutorial sessions. They have been invited by HNU to sell their delicacies in the university canteen as part of a livelihood program.
CommuniTeach uses the Silid Aralan Learning Technology (SALT), a teaching module that caters to the various learning styles of children.

Simplicio Gadugdug V, a student volunteer, said the students displayed remarkable improvement after six weeks of mentoring sessions.

“This is what gives us volunteers a sense of fulfillment – to see the improved performance of the children. It tells us that the sacrifice of being here every Saturday is worth it,” he said.

Under the agreement, Smart will provide overall program direction and funding for the first year of implementation while PBSP will implement the program and generate additional funds from its member companies to sustain the program.

DepEd through the Catarman Elementary School will identify the student beneficiaries, provide a CommuniTeach center, monitor and report the progress of the students.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Man, son face charges for cutting trees in watershed

Man, son face charges for cutting trees in watershed
By Ador Vincent Mayol
Cebu Daily News
October 6, 2011

A complaint was filed on Tuesday against two men accused of hacking down  trees to make charcoal  in sitio Kulabtingon, barangay Sudlon II in Cebu City.

Richard Ubod and his son Jonard were accused of  violating Presidential Decree 705 or the Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines in charges filed with the Cebu City Prosecutors’ Office.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR-7) said the two men  should be held for trial for destroying the environment.

Both men eluded arrest.

They will be  given a chance to submit counter-affidavits to refute the allegations.
Based on a DENR-7 inventory  the cut logs in a reforestation site in barangay Sudlon  had a value of P1 million.

Tree cutting and kaingin or slash-and-burn farming are strictly prohibited within the 29,000-hectare Central Cebu Protected Landscape.

The trees were in a reforestation site developed by the Philippine Business for Social Progress and  the KEEP Foundation of Ret. Gen. Tiburcio Fusilero.

In his affidavit, Cristito Ruaza, project in charge of  KEEP  Foundation, said he and a laborer saw the two men  cutting native trees last Sept. 25.

Ruaza said the men  scampered away upon sensing their presence.   Juan Pablo Yao, a forester of the PBSP-Visayas,  also executed an affidavit  about the damage.

Last Sept. 28, Yao, along with representatives of the DENR, Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water, and Kantipla Ecosystems Enhancement and Protection Foundation, went to the area to verify reports of kaingin and illegal logging.

When they arrived at sitio Kulabtingon, the group saw illegally cut trees.

They also noticed two charcoal pits in the area and a pile of logs ready to be burned for  charcoal.

The trees that were cut down included 80 mahogany trees, 20 coffee seedlings and a a few others of the species  bagalunga, tubog and molave.

Fresh sap in the stumps indicated that they were recently cut down.