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.