DTI chief to
entreps: go digital
Calls for digital
empowerment in PH
February 6, 2017
Newly-confirmed Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon
Lopez has called for digital empowerment in the Philippines to
continue fueling the development of the country’s digital commerce or
e-commerce, a key priority in the current trade agenda.
“I urge our micro, small,
and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to welcome digital integration,” said
Sec. Lopez, adding that now is the perfect timing to rally towards
digital empowerment as the Philippine economy experiences strong
macro-economic fundamentals, renewed investor confidence and good
During the recent office
opening of Google in Taguig, the trade chief said that “digital
integration is a great equalizer, as it allows MSMEs to gather product
ideas and concepts, do market tests and do promotions and selling at
practically no cost.”
He also said that MSMEs can
make use of programs in partnership with companies like Google, so
that the sector “can take advantage of opportunities that go with
With vast interest infused
in the demography of the Philippines as the world’s social media
capital and with 50 million Internet users, accounting for 50% of the
country’s total population today, the Philippines can be a model
country for digital empowerment, according to him.
“I hope that more effective
web services, improved search experience and effective advertising
platform will be delivered to all stakeholders. With Google officially
in the country, we can only expect production of meaningful local
contents,” he added.
Citing Statista, it is
projected that by 2021, 81% of the country’s population will be
Internet users. For the Southeast Asian region alone, the country has
the fastest growing Internet audience at 22% growth rate, according to
the 2014 Global Web Index, which also found Filipinos having the
highest total screen time spent in social networking globally at 3.2
Sec. Lopez also hoped that
digital companies can be more inclusive in its business operations and
assured that DTI will support initiatives that proactively promote
digital inclusion among Filipinos through digital literacy and digital
“I urge tech companies to
spearhead programs that will empower Filipino consumers with skills to
harness the benefits of technology to improve their quality of life,”
he said, adding that forging multi-stakeholder partnership among the
government, the civil society, the private sector and the academe is
an urgent need.
Google’s expansion in the
Philippines also means creation of more jobs for Filipinos, as country
manager Ken Lingan has promised to hire local talents. In addition,
with the population getting more connected and easily more engaged, an
ecosystem of startups can have more strategic venue, in view of
Google’s commitment to grow small businesses online.
climate advocates laud DENR closure of mining operations, call for
continuous action against destructive large-scale mining industry
February 3, 2017
QUEZON CITY –
Environment and climate advocates, as well as members of grassroot
communities, lauded the Department of Environment and Natural
Resource's (DENR) closure of 23 mining operations situated in
functional watersheds and suspension of 5 mining firms, as of Tuesday,
January 31, 2017.
"This action by the
government has finally brought into the forefront the long history of
suffering inflicted by the country's large-scale mining industry on
our environment and our mining-affected communities," said Concerned
Citizens of Sta. Cruz (CCOS) Chairman Dr. Benito Molino.
Molino referred to DENR
Secretary Gina Lopez's findings on the grave environmental degradation
and disruption of community lives that have been occurring in the
mining capital regions of the country.
"The campaign that calls for
holding accountable destructive mining firms and for the halt of these
recently closed mining operations has been left unheeded for years
until now," said Molino.
"It takes bold and concrete
actions to put an immediate stop to the environmental degradation and
community life destruction that have long been the mark of large-scale
mining industries in this country. The DENR amply stepped up to this
challenge with its closure of a number of mining operations,"
Atty. Aaron Pedrosa hoped that this paves the way for more empowered
communities in their fight to reclaim their home and their proper way
of life from destructions caused by the large-scale mining industry.
In lauding the DENR closure
of a number of mining operations, Pedrosa expressed the need for
continuous action, both by the state and its citizens, against
possible retaliatory measures to be undertaken by huge mining
"Stronger safeguards need to
be installed in our institutions to truly break away from the current
state of affairs of our environment where only a handful from the
mining industry dominate in extracting and benefitting from the
country's natural resources," stated Pedrosa.
In concurring with the
observance of Secretary Lopez during the DENR mining audits, Center
for Energy, Ecology and Development (CEED) National Convenor Gerry
Arances noted that farmers and fishers from mining-affected
communities are often stripped of their health and their livelihood
due to the disruptive presence of mining operations in affected areas.
According to Arances,
compunded with statements from Molino, in Sta. Cruz, Zambales alone,
the visible environmental impacts of mining operations by BenguetCorp
Nickel Mines Incorporated, Eramen Minerals Incorporated, LNL
Archipelago Minerals Incorporated, and Zambales Diversified Metals
Corporation, included air pollution, biodiversity loss, floods, food
insecurity, loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, soil
contamination and erosion, waste overflow, deforestation and loss of
vegetation cover, and surface water pollution.
"It is high time that we
realize and act on the fact that we put so much burden on our
environment and our fellow Filipinos in mining-affected areas for the
sake of accommodating a large-scale mining industry that empties and
irreversibly damages our resources without having ever contributed to
our economic growth as a country," said Arances.
Arances noted how the
country's current legal framework on mining allows the entry and the
long-term and large-scale destruction by mining corporations of
communities and ecosystems in exchange for few and insignificant
portions of the revenue gained by these corporations.
profit-driven mining industries have long gotten away with encroaching
upon and fully exhausting natural resources that are meant for the use
and proliferation of our present and future communities," concurred
"In order to instigate a
full stop to the destruction caused by mining operations, we have to
shift our way of appropriating our natural resources and make it fully
attuned to the needs of our own communities rather than that of
corporations," said Molino.
Pedrosa cited The Philippine
Mining Act of 1995, the current law governing mining activities, as
one of the major impediments to a truly pro-people and pro-environment
national utilization of land resources.
"A law that allows mining
corporations to own 100% of mineral ores and land covered in claimed
mining areas has no place in our genuine pursuit of reclaiming our
natural resources for our people," said Pedrosa.
CCOS, Sanlakas, and CEED
have long supported the passage of bills like the Alternative Minerals
Management Bill (AMMB), a bill that champions the adoption of a
sustainable, rational, needs-based minerals management, geared towards
effective utilization of mineral resources for the goal of attaining
an ecologically-sound national and modernized agriculture.
"The closure by the DENR of
major mining operations is a step forward to relinquishing the hold of
corporations over this country's natural resources," said Pedrosa.
"To make this move more
meaningful, however, we have to continue creating more avenues, formal
or otherwise, for our communities to assert their rights over the
utilization and management of their resources and the environment in
which they live," concluded Molino.
secretary Mel Sarmiento mentors Mayor Richard Gomez
By MYLES JOSEPH E. COLASITO
February 2, 2017
TACLOBAN CITY –
Former DILG Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento, an award-winning former
mayor of Calbayog City, had a productive mentoring session with Ormoc
City Mayor Richard Gomez last January 31, 2017 at the DILG-8 Regional
Office in Tacloban City.
The conference was
facilitated by DILG Local Government Academy (LGA) and DILG-8 under
the Mentoring for Optimal Leadership and Development for Newly Elected
Officials (MOLD the NEOs) program. The mentoring relationship is bound
by a contract by the two parties with DILG and LGA, which aligns the
mentor and NEO’s expectations and guides them throughout their
mentoring time together.
According to Mayor Gomez, he
is thankful to DILG for this program is a good tool to validate how
his administration is performing. Among the topics the two discussed
in this session was long-term planning, resource mobilization, peace
and order and the environment.
Mayor Gomez seeks to pursue
initiatives they started in 2016 that involved crafting new ordinances
as part of a road map to make Ormoc a liveable, business friendly,
competitive and peaceful city.
Former Secretary Sarmiento
belongs to a pool of recognized experts in local governance tapped by
LGA to guide new mayors. He also mentors Maasin City, Southern Leyte
Mayor Nacional Mercado and Dulag, Leyte Mayor Mildred Que, with
possibly more to follow.
Sarmiento helped design MOLD
the NEOs process with LGA Executive Director Marivel Sacendoncillo
(also concurrent DILG-8 OIC-Regional Director) when he was still DILG
secretary. After his term ended, he was asked to help guide the new
mayors due to his wide experience as a Galing Pook winner and
congressman, among others.
MOLD the NEOs was crafted
with the realization that local officials are more receptive to advice
from their peers who have the credibility and experience in resolving
Under MOLD the NEO, both
parties shall agree on the objectives, types of knowledge and skills
to be imparted, duration, basis, regularity, communication and their
forms of interaction, making the relationship dynamic.
Chiz seeks senate
probe into AI allegations
By Office of Senator Escudero
February 2, 2017
PASAY CITY – Sen.
Francis “Chiz” Escudero wants the Senate to look into the report
released by Amnesty International (AI) alleging that Philippine
National Police (PNP) officers have paid individuals to kill thousands
of drug offenders in the country.
Escudero told a press
conference on Thursday that he would file a resolution next week for
the Senate to investigate into what he described as serious
allegations by the international human rights watchdog.
In the report, Amnesty
International claimed that the police had “systematically targeted
mostly poor and defenseless people across the country while planting
‘evidence’ recruiting paid killers, stealing from the people they kill
and fabricating official incident reports.”
“Ito’y seryosong alegasyon
na galing pa sa isang international body na marapat at dapat alamin,
hindi lamang nating lahat, pero pati na rin makita kung may basehan
nga ba o wala kaya dumudungis ito sa imahe ng bansa sa daigdig,”
The veteran lawmaker said he
also wanted Amnesty International to explain their findings and
present their sources at the legislative inquiry.
According to Escudero, who
once chaired the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, he was
alarmed by the claim that hired killers were being engaged by the
police force to help in the war against drugs of the government.
The Senate investigation, he
added, will give the PNP a chance to convey their side of the story.
“Yung basehan ng AI sa kanilang report nais naming ipaliwanag nila, at
pangalawa yung mga pulis na na-mention, at kung sinumang nais maglabas
ng ebidensiya kaugnay nito. Dalawa ang pakay naming dito: Una,
mapatunayan kung totoo nga ba yung alegasyon ng AI, at pangalawa,
mabigyan din naman ng pagkakataon ang PNP na harapin ang AI,
magpaliwanag sa harap ng publiko at ibigay ang panig nila sa publiko
at sa AI,” the senator said.
Furthermore, Escudero assured procedural safeguards for sources of AI
and all the other witnesses who will be invited to the Senate probe.
“We can always call for an executive session in order to hear the
testimony of witnesses. Nagawa na namin yan noon at napatunayan naman
ng Senado na hindi namin nilalabas anumang pinag-usapan sa executive
session maliban na lamang kung pagbotohan ito ng mayorya ng mga
senador kung ganyan ka-sensitibo. Nakahanda naman ang Senado na
tumanggap ng mga ika nga mga sekretong testigo para mapangalagaan ang
kanilang seguridad,” Escudero said.
micro-financing fund launched in Tacloban. As part of
Administration’s commitment to provide affordable
micro-financing program for the micro, small and medium
enterprises (MSMEs), President Rodrigo Duterte (middle right),
along with Department of Trade and Industry Secretary (DTI)
Ramon Lopez (middle left), Housing and Urban Development
Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Secretary Jun Evasco (leftmost),
and Mayor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez (right) led the ceremonial
launching of the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) on
January 25 in Tacloban.
Pondo sa Pagbabago
at Pag-asenso launched in Tacloban, Mindoro, Sarangani
February 1, 2016
MAKATI CITY – The
Department of Trade Industry (DTI) formally launched the Pondo sa
Pagbabago at Pag-asenso Program or P3, a micro financing program
intended for small entrepreneurs, in Tacloban City in Leyte on January
25; San Jose, Occidental Mindoro on January 27; and Alabel, Sarangani
Province on January 31, to help eradicate poverty, and promote
business and employment among Filipinos.
Following President Rodrigo
Duterte’s directive to replace the “5-6” money lending system and
provide an affordable micro-financing for the country’s micro, small
and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the P3 funding program provides
microenterprises an alternative source of financing that is easy to
access and made available at a reasonable cost.
“The P3 program is one way
of helping the underprivileged by giving better chances to elevate
from poverty. Aside from the fund, the DTI thru the Negosyo Centers
will assist the MSMEs with programs suitable to their needs such as
access to market, access to financing, and mentorship,” DTI Secretary
Ramon M. Lopez said.
The identified areas are
considered among the 30 poorest provinces poorest in the country.
A total of 92 micro
borrowers where initially identified to receive loan grants ranging
from P5,000.00 to P100,000.00.
Sec. Lopez also reiterated
the administration’s desire to provide livelihood to those who are at
the bottom of the pyramid.
“Why micro entrepreneurs?
The desire and mandate of our president is to help those who do not
have much. If they fail to be employed, we help them to start a small
business,” he said.
The primary beneficiaries of
the P3 Program are microenterprises and entrepreneurs that do not have
easy access to credit or accessing credit at a very high interest
cost. These include market vendors, agri-businessmen and members of
cooperatives, industry associations and co-operators.
The Small Business
Corporation, an attached agency DTI shall administer the P3 Program.
Aside from creating a Program Management Office to oversee the
management and monitoring of the P3 Fund, SB Corporation will make use
of its lending network and the DTI Negosyo Centers in reaching out to
Loan amounts to
end-borrowers will be in the range of P5,000 to P100,000, at a maximum
interest rate of 2.5% per month, with no collateral requirement.
Catwalking on water
in haute couture
Jessica Minh Anh stunningly
opened 2017 with her iconic Seine river's floating runway
January 27, 2017
PARIS – An innovative
catwalk concept was created 5 years ago when a young model and
entrepreneur decided to transform Seine River’s giant glass boat, Le
Jean Bruel, into a 100-metre floating runway. Yesterday, the world
witnessed the 5th outstanding installation of Jessica Minh Anh's
infamous river catwalk as J Winter Fashion Show 2017 premiered 5
exquisite haute couture collections from various continents. Having
added many international successes into her impressive portfolio,
including the Eiffel Tower and Grand Canyon Skywalk’s phenomena, the
multi-talented catwalk producer has maintained her magic on Paris’
With an extraordinary
vision, Jessica Minh Anh created an illusion of models walking on
water by having guests seated facing the multifaceted glass windows
and watch models walking in front of them while the boat was cruising.
As a result, architectural wonders such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre
Dame, Louvre, and the 37 bridges became the natural backdrop for the
The fashion collections
The breath-taking opening
saw Jessica Minh Anh appeared in a Princess Diana inspired haute
couture dress made of white lace with a classic high neck, big
shoulders, and a 2-metre long trail. Following the flawless beauty is
a stunning model lineup in black, gold and white intricate designs
with an emphasis on mermaid silhouettes. The “Retromantic” collection
is a masterpiece of Indonesian talent Fetty Rusli, who brought class
and elegance to Jessica Minh Anh’s theatrical catwalk.
Next, Malaysian fashion
house Emmanuel Haute Couture unveiled 15 looks full of embroideries,
transparency, layers, and floral ornamentation. A master at hourglass
silhouettes, Samantha Chua’s exceptional designs portrayed a new level
of charm, seduction, and opulence. The couturier successfully mixed
handmade beadwork and extravagant embellishments with floor-length
silky softness in classic black and red.
With a modern take on
classic silhouettes, American designer Johanna DiNardo premiered a
distinctive collection influenced by the beauty of the Seine and
Paris. The alluring looks included pleated brocade skirts, water-like
sleeve drapery, bias-cut panné velvet, and contoured metallic lace
veils, edged in Swarovski crystals. Focusing on precision, handcraft,
and detailed tailoring, Johanna’s collection exuded powerful
Adding femininity and
glamour to the grand catwalk, Maria Ruth Fernanda from Jarkata
presented a timeless haute couture collection which revealed
meticulous fabric manipulation and advanced embellishment techniques.
Using colour pallets such as deep red, royal blue, gold, and earthy
beige on tulles, jacquard, silk, and taffeta, her designs perfectly
accentuated a women’s body.
Closing the show with modern
luxury and a bold statement, Filipino representative Sari Lazaro
introduced her “Royal secret garden” collection, which celebrated
impeccable craftsmanship, beadwork, and embroidery techniques.
Marrying dramatic laser cut details on luxurious silks and soft
flowing tulles and laces, the designer stirred up romance, mystique,
and new age flairs. Saving the best for last, the finale design worn
by Jessica Minh Anh was every inch portraying modernised royalty. With
a special 3-dimension skirt, the striking couture dress highlighted
Jessica Minh Anh’s perfect waistline while enhancing her charismatic
and powerful presence. The collection triumphed the Far East’s
captivating and enchanting fashion, which has been penetrating and
harmonising with the Western world.
The beauty looks
To compliment Jessica Minh
Anh’s extraordinary vision, American luxury cosmetics and skincare
brand Elizabeth Arden joined force with UK’s salon ESHK to create an
exclusive modern chic beauty look. The catwalk models appeared radiant
with flawless and youthful skin, strong contours and highlights, and
sophisticated one-side braided low bun hairstyle. The creative team
accentuated Jessica Minh Anh's exotic beauty with Elizabeth Arden’s
brand new eye-popping red lipstick and a custom-made architectural
hair structure mimicking a futuristic flower. Jessica Minh Anh is
known for her signature stand-out look, previously seen wearing
artistically made Eiffel Tower, Burj Al Arab, Sydney Harbour Bridge,
and One World Trade Center hair pieces.
Getting over the flooded 2016
The great success of J
Winter Fashion Show 2017 was even more rewarding and well received
considering Jessica Minh Anh’s 2016 river catwalk was affected by a
heavy flood on the Seine. “We informed her 3 days before the show that
she had to move it to a week later, and again 3 hours in advance on
the new date that the boat would not move. She was calm, positive and
very decisive. She impressed us all.” said Marco Goncalvez, Director
of Operations, Bateaux Mouches. The model had the boat positioned at
the angle where the Eiffel Tower was the most visible, and went on to
produce one of the best catwalks to date. It was not the first time
Jessica Minh Anh was proved an effective problem solver, as she also
saved her epic catwalk at Gemasolar power plant the year before after
an unexpected and destructive storm. As Madame Figaro stated “With
Jessica Minh Anh, nothing is impossible”
J Winter Fashion Show was
supported by Montblanc, Elizabeth Arden, ESHK UK, Bateaux Mouches, DOT
Laser UK, ProPress UK, and Belmont Hotel Paris. The high profile event
included a VIP red carpet entrance, the iconic runway, and the VIP
party with drinks, canapés, and live music on board Le Jean Bruel. The
flawless production marked a new era in Jessica Minh Anh’s fashion
world domination, as she increases her number of shows per year to 4.
We shall wait with excitement for her next catwalk announcement,
expected in April 2017.
The Vietnamese born, Russian
raised, and Paris-based fashion model and catwalk producer gained her
formal education in IT in Malaysia and PR in the United Kingdom before
transforming London’s Tower Bridge into the world’s newest catwalk.
Besides her mind-blowing productions at iconic monuments including the
Eiffel Tower, PETRONAS Twin Towers’ Sky Bridge, Grand Canyon Skywalk,
One World Trade Center, and Gardens by the Bay’s Skyway, Jessica Minh
Anh is known for her “catwalks on water” on the Hudson river and Seine
river, as well as her “sky-high ocean catwalks” on the sun deck of
international cruise ships in Sydney, New York, and Dubai. Jessica
Minh Anh’s most visually attractive project, besides the Grand Canyon
Skywalk, is her runway in the middle of a solar power plant in Spain
as she added technology into her long list of catwalk elements.
opens new home
Announces grant for digital literacy program for one million Filipinos
January 26, 2017
MAKATI CITY – Google
Philippines is supporting the growth of digital economy in the country
with a Google.org grant to Digibayanihan, a nationwide digital
literacy program that promotes digital inclusion among Filipinos.
This was announced on
Thursday when Google Philippines opened its new home, four years after
it launched its first office in the country in 2013. The support from
Google is expected to extend Digibayanihan’s program to one million
Filipinos in Visayas and Mindanao.
Google.org is the charitable
arm of Google that supports and champions people and projects that are
combatting the biggest human challenges of the 21st century. One of
its key focus areas has been the improvement of education,
particularly ICT enabled literacy.
“This step is part of our
continuing effort to create a stronger, more inclusive digital economy
in the Philippines. While our internet penetration has improved the
last five years, 2 out of 5 Filipinos are still missing out on the
huge opportunities that come with being online. We want to empower
them with digital know-how so that they can make the most of the
Internet,” said Ken Lingan, Google Philippines country manager.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez
who was guest of honor at the launch said, “With the population
getting more connected and engaged every day, it is necessary for
individuals, businesses, and communities to have the right skills to
thrive in today’s modern economy. That’s why we welcome Google’s
commitment to promote digital inclusion and empower every Filipino
online, and in effect, drive the country’s economy forward.”
Google also highlighted the
importance of developers in the digital economy of the country with
the launch of the Launchpad Accelerator program in the Philippines.
The program provides equity-free support to help start-ups scale into
Citing the recent Google-commissioned
report by Temasek, Google said that the Philippines’ online market
value is set to reach US$19 billion by 2025, making e-commerce a major
economic driver in the next 10 years. “Our local developers and
start-ups are instrumental in creating impactful businesses that are
tackling tough local and global issues. We see the importance of their
role in what will be a booming e-commerce in our country in the very
near future because what they do have direct impact in people’s
lives,” Ken said.
start-up Zipmatch, which uses 360° technology to differentiate itself,
is the first Filipino participant in Google’s accelerator program.
Secretary Lopez recognized the program as a potential boost in the
e-commerce industry, and encouraged micro, small, and medium
enterprises (MSMEs) to take advantage of the digital space and digital
training provided by Google and DTI agencies nationwide.
“SMEs still account for more
than 90% of our enterprises, and Filipinos rely heavily on them for
goods and services. I think it is just right for the SMEs to embrace
digital integration now and make use of programs like what we provide
working with tech companies like Google so they can take advantage of
opportunities that go with going digital,” Sec Lopez added.