photo shows Danilo Lagado being assisted by soldiers in
unloading water pipes at Brgy. Rubas, Jaro, Leyte. At the right
are the farmer-partners, Dir. Domingo Diaz, Col. Dinoh Dolina,
Lt. Col. Reymondo Delgado and Bangon Trustees Leo and Gert
Blanco during the turnover program on August 20, 2015.
farmer-partners in Leyte increase resilience to drought
By JP CATORCE
August 24, 2015
JARO, Leyte – The
sub-cluster of Bangon Mini Farms Alpha Sector Association Incorporated
in the remote village of Rubas, in the mountains of Jaro, recently
received 600 meters of polyethylene water pipes from Landbank Dir.
Domingo Diaz, the Executive Chairman of Bangon.
LBP Dir. Diaz said Bangon’s
livelihood systems include the embedding of resilience measures in the
farms so its farmer-partners can combat the effects of weather,
particularly drought during this El Niño period. The Bangon
farmer-partners in the Rubas sub-cluster will no longer have to worry
about water for their homes and crops, once the water pipe is
connected to a nearby reservoir that is less than a kilometer away.
Diaz asserted, “Tama na!
Bawal na ang gutom at kahirapan!” during the turnover program attended
by Philippine Army officials, Colonel Dinoh Dolina of 802nd Infantry
Brigade and Lt. Colonel Reymondo Delgado of the 19th Infantry
Battalion, and Bangon Trustees Dr. Leo Blanco, Gert Blanco and Thelma
The military has been LBPs
partner in organizing and empowering Bangon Mini Farms since its
kick-off in January 2014.
The water pipes cost about
P52,000.00, which was funded by donations from private individuals.
Apart from this, Bangon farmer-partners also benefited from other LBP-assisted
programs such as livelihood trainings, seeds dispersal, mindset and
values training, regular farm audits, integration into a supply chain
and a support organization. Bangon has also established a 100 square
meter greenhouse in Rubas to grow high-value crops, which can increase
the association’s income by more than P20,000 monthly.
Aleshyla Diaz, a member of
the Bangon’s Technical Working Group cited that Bangon has installed
eight (8) greenhouses at dispersed locations in Leyte as part of its
strategy so that one or several of these greenhouses can survive any
calamity and thereby provide food to Bangon farmer-partners and
clients. According to Diaz, one greenhouse facility is worth
P285,000.00 and are now operating in Dulag, Tacloban, Jaro, Carigara,
Capoocan, Kananga, Ormoc and Baybay.
Gert Cesar Blanco, Bangon
Sector Head said the production of high value crops in Rubas should
increase further due to its rich soil, healthy micro-climate and
proximity to the main markets of Tacloban and Ormoc.
The sustainment of
mini-farms is crucial for Bangon whose audacious goal is to “end
hunger and poverty, one farmer family at a time”, Blanco stressed.
City Mayor John Geesnell “Baba” Yap (right) cuts the ribbon to
formally open the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI)
Micro-finance branch in his city. With him are (left to right)
RAFI Micro-finance & Entrepreneurship executive director Ma.
Theresa Catipay and RAFI chief operating officer Dominica Chua.
The new branch is intended to help provide a stable and
rewarding livelihood to mothers in Tagbilaran.
opens five more branches to cater to more nanays
By Ramon Aboitiz Foundation
August 23, 2015
CEBU CITY – To serve
more client nanays, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI)
Micro-finance has opened five more branches in Bohol, Cebu, and Leyte,
bringing the total number of branches to 23.
Last June 25, it inaugurated
its Tagbilaran City, Bohol branch, which is located at Door 2, Seaview
Apartment, CPG East, Bool District; followed by the opening of its
Square One Commercial Complex, Tipolo, Mandaue City, Cebu branch on
June 29; the Travelers Inn, Valladolid, Carcar City, Cebu branch on
July 2; the Proper Damolog, Sogod, Cebu branch on August 4; and the
Taft Street, Central 1, Poblacion, Palompon, Leyte branch on August
“True to RAFI’s promise of
elevating lives, RAFI Micro-finance has committed to provide
responsive and value-based micro-finance services to the communities,
especially to poor entrepreneurs,” said Jonar Dorado, head of the RAFI
Micro-finance Business Development Unit, on the opening of the
“We are currently serving
over 46,000 families in the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, and Leyte, and
determined to reach out to 120,000 families in the next three years,
by expanding our operations through the opening of branches within and
beyond the areas we currently cover,” he said.
RAFI Micro-finance aims to
provide capital to nanay business entrepreneurs and to those wanting
to establish their own small economic ventures as a way to empower
them as co-pillars of their respective families. Aside from loans, it
also provides micro-insurance seminars, business trainings,
consultancy, medical missions, and other services.
Hazel Guille, one of those
who attended the Carcar branch opening, was ecstatic that RAFI
Micro-finance already has a branch near her.
“Nalipay kaayo ko ug
nagpasalamat nga aduna nay branch nga duol diri sa Carcar kay sa una
muadto pa ko sa Argao branch," she said.
RAFI Micro-finance is a
program under the Micro-finance & Entrepreneurship focus area of RAFI.
It provides financial resources and know-how to women
micro-entrepreneurs to nurture financial independence and
entrepreneurship. Other focus areas of RAFI are Integrated
Development, Culture & Heritage, Leadership & Citizenship, and
5 towns in Region 8 earn DILG’s ‘Seal of Good Local Governance’
By MYLES JOSEPH E. COLASITO
August 20, 2015
TACLOBAN CITY – Two
provinces and 5 towns in Eastern Visayas passed the 2014 Seal of Good
Local Governance (SGLG) of the Department of the Interior and Local
DILG-8 Regional Director
Pedro A. Noval Jr. revealed today that the SGLG awardees in Region 8
are the provinces of Biliran and Northern Samar, and the
municipalities of Barugo, Carigara and Jaro in Leyte; Limasawa in
Southern Leyte; and Gandara in Samar.
The seven winning LGUs
passed all three (3) SGLG Core Indicators namely, Disaster
Preparedness, Social Protection, and Good Financial Housekeeping; and
at least one (1) other Essential Indicator (either Business
Friendliness and Competitiveness, Peace and Order, and/or Environment)
to earn the highly coveted award.
Dir. Noval expressed
happiness that seven local government units (LGUs) here were able to
pass the high standards of the SGLG in its first year of
implementation. He is optimistic that more will be able to earn the
SGLG nod in the coming years.
“Most LGUs in Eastern
Visayas are actually passers of the Seal of Good Financial
Housekeeping (SGFH), and if they are able to maintain that and perform
well on DRRM and other indicators, it would enable them to cop the
SGLG award,“ Dir. Noval said. He said LGUs in the region could improve
more on Social Protection, particularly on compliance to the
Accessibility Law for persons with disabilities.
DILG Secretary Mar Roxas
launched SGLG in 2014 to build on the successful run of the Seal of
Good Housekeeping (SGH) that was introduced by his predecessor the
late Secretary Jesse M. Robredo. SGLG challenges LGUs to continue good
governance practices and improve basic services, in addition to
measuring their compliance to the Full Disclosure Policy and
observance of COA guidelines.
To ensure objectivity, DILG
cross-posted DILG field officers during the evaluations. The SGLG
criteria is a product of a series of workshops and consultations with
trained DILG personnel.
Dir. Noval said DILG shall
hold appropriate awards rites this September in each winning LGU,
where the SGLG Marker will be formally conferred and installed in a
conspicuous area in the municipal hall.
Further, SGLG recipients
will have the opportunity to avail of the DILG Performance Challenge
Fund (PCF) to be used for development projects. Under SGLG, the PCF
incentive fund for each winning province is P7 million, while for
municipalities it is now P3 million each – up from P1 million under
of 14th Infantry Battalion with Dolores PNP and CENRO Dolores
during the confiscation of 1,120 board-feet Dipterocarp lumber
in Brgy 2, Dolores, Eastern Samar on August 13, 2015.
8ID, PNP and CENRO
confiscate illegally cut lumber
By DPAO, 8ID PA
August 21, 2015
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan
City – Army troops under the Oras based 14th Infantry (AVENGER)
Battalion, Dolores PNP and Dolores Eastern Samar Community Environment
and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) confiscated 70 pieces of
Dipterocarp lumber totaling 1,120 board feet at Barangay 2, Dolores,
Eastern Samar last August 13, 2015.
In a report from Lt. Col.
Peter B. Burgonio, Commanding Officer of the 14th Infantry Battalion,
DENR Region 8 made coordination with 14th IB to assist them in
confiscating the lumber while issuing apprehension receipts in
violation to section 77 RA 7161. The forest products, upon
confiscation, were brought and placed in the custody of CENRO,
Dolores, Eastern Samar for proper disposition.
It can be recalled that in
first semester this year, the 8ID, together with the Provincial and
Municipal local Chief Executives, spearheaded the declaration of their
areas as insurgency-free, thus, paving the way for the line units of
the Division to focus their efforts on non-traditional role.
Meanwhile, another 1,149
board feet of illegally cut Lawaan lumber were confiscated by the
elements of 802nd Brigade, Burauen PNP and Burauen MENRO in a joint
anti-illegal logging operation at Barangay Matin-ao, Burauen, Leyte
last August 12, 2015 that netted them 1,419 board feet of Lawaan
lumber. The confiscated pieces of lumber were brought to Burauen
Municipal Hall for safekeeping prior to its turn-over to proper DENR
The accomplishments are
results of the Command’s convergence efforts with various stakeholders
throughout Eastern Visayas where the Army has set focus more on
non-traditional role of assisting other government agencies to enforce
Maj. Gen. Jet B. Velarmino,
8ID Commander, lauded the joint anti-illegal logging operations of the
Army, the PNP and DENR in enforcing environmental laws. Further, he
reiterated that 8ID under his Command will continue to support the
DENR in implementing its environmental protection programs.
Chiz backs bigger
gov’t spending to acquire better, newer military hardware
By Office of Senator Chiz
August 18, 2015
PASAY CITY – Senator
Chiz Escudero favors an increase in military spending to boost the
country’s defense capabilities amid concerns over China’s continuous
military buildup in the disputed West Philippine Sea, but warns the
government against buying old and dilapidated second-hand weapons and
Escudero said that as much
as possible the government should purchase “brand new” military
hardware if it really wants to modernize the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP), which is widely regarded as one of the weakest
military forces in Southeast Asia.
“If we are going to pour in
billions of pesos to improve the AFP, we might as well give our
soldiers the best modern and sophisticated equipment we can get,”
Escudero pointed out.
The veteran lawmaker said it
is high time the Philippines invests in “reasonably priced” brand-new
military weapons and equipment, especially those that would improve
the country’s maritime defense capability.
“Huwag naman tayong bumili
ng sobrang luma na at kakarag-karag na mga sasakyan at depektibong
kagamitan na hindi na mapakikinabangan ng ating kasundaluhan. Huwag
naman po nating ipahamak ang ating mga sundalo,” Escudero said. (We
should discard the old practice of acquiring military equipment and
vehicles that are too old and defective, and no longer useful to our
armed forces. Let us not put the lives of our hardworking soldiers in
He added: “The least the
government can do is to make sure that we provide our military forces
with better and serviceable aircraft, naval ships and other
Under the proposed P3.002
trillion national budget for 2016, the Department of National Defense
(DND) ranks third among the line agencies with the highest allocation,
next to the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of
Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The 2016 budget proposal of
the DND, which exercises supervision and control over the AFP, is P172
billion. It is P27.5 billion higher than its current budget of P144.5
On top of this, the
government has allocated P75 billion for the first five years of
implementation of the 15-year Revised AFP Modernization Act of 2012.
Escudero said the law
provides that the modernization program shall consist of “capability,
material and technology development with the acquisition of new
equipment and weapons system and phase out of uneconomical and
obsolete major equipment and weapons system in the AFP inventory.”
Even as he lauded the
current administration for making long-needed investments in the
military in recent years, Escudero said more needs to be done before
improvements within the AFP can be felt.
Escudero said while the
Department of Budget and Management reported that a total of P68
billion has already been spent to modernize the AFP since 1999, the
much-needed and long overdue upgrades to the country’s armed forces
It is for this reason, he
said, why the Senate has initiated a probe on the implementation of
the modernization program aimed at upgrading the AFP, including the
alleged irregular acquisitions of military equipment and weapons
The DND recently came under
fire for the purchase of 21 refurbished “Huey” helicopters worth P1.2
There were allegations that
the choppers, said to be older than the incumbent senior military
officers, cannot be used and have obsolete parts, and that the
purchase violated certain provisions of the country’s procurement law.
The big-ticket project was
also supposedly tailor-made for a particular supplier in exchange for
Escudero said the helicopter
deal controversy exposed infirmities in the AFP procurement process,
which he branded as “too supplier-driven.”
The AFP Modernization Act,
also known as Republic Act (RA) No. 7898, became a law in 1995 under
the leadership of then President Fidel Ramos, who himself served as
AFP chief and DND secretary during the time of President Corazon
The law was meant to
modernize all branches of the AFP such as the Philippine Air Force,
the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Army. It was intended to last
for 15 years with an initial budget of P50 billion for the first five
years, but the funding was stopped due to the 1997 Asian financial
After the financial crisis,
funding for the AFP modernization was halted and later neglected by
successive administrations until the law expired in 2010.
In 2012, RA 7898 was amended
by RA 10349, or the Revised AFP Modernization Act, which extended the
modernization program to another 15 years with an initial budget of
P75 billion for the first five years in order to continue upgrading
all military branches and boost the country’s defense system.
Harvard reveals health impacts of Indonesia’s coal plants
August 12, 2015
JAKARTA, Indonesia –
Existing coal plants in Indonesia cause an estimated 7,100 premature
deaths every year according to research by Harvard University and
Greenpeace Southeast Asia – the first of its kind to look at illness
and deaths associated with Indonesia’s coal-fired power plants. This
number could climb to over 28,000 per year if the Indonesian
government goes ahead with an ambitious rollout of more than one
hundred new coal-fired power plants.
These worrying figures are
based on new atmospheric modeling conducted by a research team at
Harvard University’s Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling Group, using a
cutting edge atmospheric chemistry-transport model, GEOS-Chem.
“President Jokowi has a
choice: stay with a business-as-usual approach to generating
electricity and see the lives of thousands of Indonesians cut short,
or lead the switch and rapid expansion to safe, clean, renewable
energy,” said Hindun Mulaika, Climate and Energy Campaigner at
Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
“Every new coal-fired power
plant means elevated health risks for Indonesian people. Lives are cut
short through strokes, heart attacks, lung cancer and other
cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The health impacts sadly also
include deaths of many young children,” said Hindun.
“The proposed “clean coal”
power plant at Batang alone could cause 30,000 premature deaths over
an operating life of 40 years. But the good news is that the
President’s choice just became a lot clearer Indonesia has the
opportunity to leapfrog dirty technologies and follow other world
leaders making the switch to clean energy. This would result in a
healthier, safer and more prosperous population,” said Hindun.
The report, The Human Cost
of Coal, is being launched following the recent announcement by
President Jokowi to build an additional 35 GW of new power plants, 22
GW of which would come from coal power plants.
"Emissions from coal-fired
power plants form particulate matter and ozone that are detrimental to
human health. Indonesia is one of the countries in the world with the
largest plans to expand coal-fired power generation, yet little has
been done to explore the associated health impacts. Our results show
that planned coal expansion could significantly increase pollution
levels across Indonesia. The human health cost from this rising coal
pollution should be considered when making choices about Indonesia's
energy future,” said Shannon Koplitz, lead Harvard researcher in the
“New power generation in
China, US, and the EU is already coming predominantly from renewables
and 2014 was the first year that renewable energy growth overtook
fossil fuel growth globally. China, which offers a warning example of
where unfettered coal expansion could be taking Indonesia, is steering
away from coal because of the horrendous toll on air quality and
health,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, Greenpeace East Asia coal and air
GE rice paper
retracted from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition – Greenpeace
August 11, 2015
BEIJING – Greenpeace East
Asia welcomes the recent retraction of the American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition, on the genetically engineered (GE) ‘Golden’ Rice
paper by Guangwen Tang, as an important step in upholding ethical
standards in research.
The Chinese government,
together with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Chinese Centre for
Disease Control and Prevention, declared the GE ‘Golden’ Rice research
in Hengyang, Hunan Province to be illegal. The first author, Dr.
Guangwen Tang and his co-researchers were found to have breached
ethical standards and were penalized for their actions.
Jing Wang Greenpeace East
Asia, Food and Agriculture Senior Campaigner said: “The students and
their parents who were involved in the study were not provided with
sufficient information before the feeding trials were conducted, of
particular concern given that the food safety of GE crops is still a
controversial question in the scientific and academic world.
“Over the years, the Chinese
public has had growing concerns on the safety of GE crops,
particularly on ‘Golden’ Rice, which prompted the government to
caution on GE research in China, especially when children are
“In 2008, when Greenpeace
East Asia first learned of the research, we immediately sent a letter
to the Ministry of Agriculture to inform them of the study. The
Ministry then replied saying that they met with the related
institutions and had pulled the plug on their research. Although the
study was strictly banned by the government, the feeding trials
persisted and were unknown to the general public.
“Twenty years after it was
first conceptualized, GE ‘Golden’ Rice continues to be a failed
experiment, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars poured into
“Instead of investing in a
failing experiment, governments and philanthropic organizations should
redirect their investment towards long term solutions that will
address not just Vitamin A deficiency, but also food and nutrition
security, especially for countries like China which are starting to
reel from the impacts of climate change.
“They should channel
investments to Ecological Agriculture, a type of farming that grows
food in harmony with nature by working with diversity that exists on
the farm. Diversity builds farm resilience and provides diverse food
sources for diverse diets. These are, in turn, a vital part of the
long-term solution to food and nutrition security including
malnutrition, of which Vitamin A deficiency is just one of the many.”