The company’s bottled Puso ng Saging, is an all-natural creation made
of banana blossoms, coconut cream, salted shrimp fry, and spices that
can be used as a spread, topping or the main dish. Consistent with the
company’s vision for the highest food standards, it contains premium
ingredients, no preservatives, and no added flavoring.
The award is a back-to-back win for the Filipino-German company,
having won the Katha Award in the same category in 2015 with their
ready-to-eat bottled Laing or Taro Leaves in Coco Cream.
"Kapfer and Rivera deserves
recognition for its consistency in delivering high-quality and
inventive Filipino-inspired products, such as Laing and Puso ng Saging,
which helps propel the Philippine in the international market as a
source of premium healthy and organic food products,” said Clayton
Tugonon, Executive Director of Center for International Trade
Expositions and Mission (CITEM), the organizer of IFEX Philippines.
A joint venture by Maria
Rivera, who came home from Singapore in 2012 with German husband Chris
Kapfer, the Kapfer and Rivera United Inc. started in 2012 with the
creation of their fine mango jam using premium ingredients.
As a boutique company, it is
committed to bringing new products to the market that are affordable
and authentic, never cutting corners with the use of artificial
additives like flavoring, coloring, and preservatives.
“I’m glad that our line of
healthy products is recognize here in IFEX Philippines,” said Kapfer.
“For this year, we are hoping to get more high-quality buyers from
Korea and Japan and this recognition in Katha is a big boost towards
Aside from tapping markets
abroad, Kapfer and Rivera Inc. aims to focus growth on the local
market, a segment that they believe has great potential and lacking in
premium quality locally made food.
“The Philippine economy is
doing well. More manufacturers are coming up with higher quality,
because people are demanding it,” said Managing Director Maria Rivera
Kapfer. “The problem is we tend to serve cheap stuff, synthetic stuff
for the Pinoys. Why give fruit-flavored jams? We give them real
Rivera added: “We deserve
quality goods for our people and we want to make it mainstream and
affordable. We could have chosen to go to go to gourmet shops but we
said no, we must democratize good quality food and make it more
affordable. You can’t always say, pwede na yan, local naman yan eh.
That’s really bad. We deserve better than that.”
Aside from Puso ng Saging
and Laing, the Filipino-German company is selling single-serve fruit
fillings, such as Strawberry, Calamansi, Guava, Mango and Pineapple,
as well as Macapuno and Ube de Pastillas, under their Island Gems
brand. The company is also offerings manufacturing and toll packaging
As of now, Kapfer and Rivera
United Inc. have established retail stores in Urban Pantry (Green
Hills Metro Manila), Connie's Kitchen Deli (New Manila, Quezon City),
Real Food (Molito, Alabang), Landmark (Makati and Trinoma), Unimart
(Green Hills, Metro Manila), Ritual (San Lorenzo Village, Makati),
Shell Gas Mart (Slex to Batangas, after San Pedro Exit), Enchanted
Kingdom (Agila - The Eksperience) Duty Free (Kalibo, Palawan), and
selected stores of Robinsons Supermarket.
K&R United embraces the
traditional values of integrity, reliability, quality and
cost-effectiveness in dealing with its business partners and clients.
The company’s facility is
located in Cavite, an area in the southern region of Luzon in the
Philippines. We are licensed to operate (LTO), with Good Manufacturing
Practice (GMP) certifications, and registered in US Food and Drug
Gem’s Laing – Processed Fruit and Vegetables 2015 Katha Award
Executive Director Clayton Tugonon (leftmost) and DTI
Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado (rightmost) introduces the
winners of the 2017 Katha Awards for Food at IFEX Philippines.
Katha Awards for
Food spotlights innovative, export competitive products at IFEX
May 20, 2017
PASAY CITY – The 11th
edition of the International Food Exhibition (IFEX) Philippines,
through the 2017 Katha Awards for Food, once again pays homage to
newly developed Philippine food products and applications yesterday at
the World Trade Center Metro Manila (WTCMM) and Philippine Trade
Training Center (PTTC).
The awards aim to strengthen the reputation of the Philippines as a
go-to destination for globally competitive Asian food and ingredients
by recognizing companies that explore new galleries of flavors,
original brand ideas, unique food fusions, and creative packaging
The competition is open to all Philippine-based food manufacturers and
suppliers participating in IFEX Philippines 2017. The winners are
hailed from six different product categories: Food Ingredients, Marine
and Meat Products, Snack Foods, Beverages, Processed Fruits and
Vegetables, and Confectionery and Biscuits and Pastry. The company
with the most creative booth exhibition is also recognized.
Katha Awards for Food was judged by SM Supermarket Senior Vice
President for Marketing Millie Dizon, ZOMATO Philippines Country
Manager Anton Ojeda, Philippines Airlines Manager for Food Planning
and Standards Division Maria Criselda Abantao Rayos, and Food
Packaging and Labeling Expert Abner Villahermosa. They chose the
winners according to Market Demand, 25%; Packaging Design and
Innovation, 35% and; Product Innovation, 40%.
Here are the category winners of the 2017 Katha Awards for Food:
Food Ingredients: FIERY LABUYO BARBEQUE MARINADE of Mama Sita’s
Instilling innovation while keeping its century-old culinary
tradition, Mama Sita’s has newly concocted to perfection the Fiery
Labuyo Barbeque Marinade for lovers of spicy food fusions.
Bold and fiery, the native labuyo chili pepper offers a truly
unforgettable barbeque experience without the monosodium glutamate
(MSG) and other preservatives.
Marine and Meat Products: FISH SAUSAGES of Fisherfarms, Inc.
Farms All Natural Fish Sausages are free from artificial ingredients
and chemical preservatives. Made from 100% fish meat, they provide
around 10% of the recommended daily allowance of protein, contain
Omega-3, and have 0 trans fats.
Free from gluten, casein, nitrites, and MSG, Fisher Farms All Natural
Fish Sausages are perfect for health-conscious gourmets and sausage
Snack Foods: KALE CHIPS of Take Root Food Corner
completely guilt-free, vegan chip that combines the taste of tangy
sour cream with freshly cut chives!
Take Root Food Corner’s Kale Chips is made with all-natural and
organic ingredients. No oil, dairy, sugar or any preservatives. Made
from nutritionally dense leafy greens available, these addicting kale
chips are never baked or friend, but dried at low temperatures to
preserve its essential nutrients and enzymes.
Beverages: TURMERIC TEA WITH CALAMANSI of Muy Bien
Lemongrass is a sweetened tea drink made by the Negros
Occidental-based Muy Bien Ventures Co. Inc. from the natural and
organic extracts of turmeric, ginger, lemon grass and calamansi.
Turmeric comes from the root of Cucuma longa plant. Called in the
Philippines as "Luyang Dilaw," turmeric has a tough brown skin and
deep orange flesh. Curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric,
has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect and a very strong antioxidant.
Processed Fruits and Vegetable: PUSO NG SAGING of KAPFER AND RIVERA
Also known as “Ginataang Puso ng Saging,” this
ready-to-eat Philippine dish satisfies the cravings for a hearty and
savory meal – perfectly served on a hot cup of rice or as an appetizer
paired with toasted bread and melted cheese on top.
Puso ng Saging is high in fiber and rich in taste, while completely
being pork and chicken free.
Confectionery, Biscuits and Pastry: 85% NATULE CHOCOLATE DARK of
MALAGOS AGRI-VENTURES CORP.
Developed to cater the taste of the
high-standard Japanese market, the 85% Natule Chocolate Dark is an
all-organic treat lets you experience the true essence of cacao,
enriched with the subtle sweet aroma of coconut nectar.
The product was made under Malagos Chocolate’s single-origin chocolate
production or what they call the “tree to bar” process, which involves
the planting, harvesting, fermenting, solar drying, roasting, and
processing of the cacao beans into fine-flavored chocolates.
Best Booth: Fisherfarms, Inc.
As a pioneer in aquaculture products
processing, Fisherfarms, Inc. stages this year’s IFEX Philippines with
a bright and modern scenography, highlighting the interesting insights
on the Philippines’ seafood products, as well conducting on-site
cooking and food sampling activities.
Fisher Farms, Inc, has one of the country’s widest range of premium
quality fresh, frozen, value-added, and completely processed seafood
products to clientele and institutions such as supermarkets,
groceries, fast food chains, restaurants, distributors, and hotels all
over the world. The Philippine seafood innovator is currently present
in key markets such as USA, Canada, Middle East, Asia, Africa,
Australia, and Europe.
2017 labor day state of
employers ignore workers’ slide to poverty, inequality
Associated Labor Unions (ALU)
May 1, 2017
DAVAO CITY – The
country’s biggest labor organization, the Associated Labor Unions (ALU)
warned of uprising among the working poor as means to be freed from
misery if government and employers continue to ignore worsening
poverty and inter-generational inequality caused by joblessness,
inadequate wages, insufficient social protection benefits and
precarious short-term work arrangement.
“We have been witness to
recent series of events where our poorest poor people were forced to
raid rice warehouses, invade government housing units and claim
ownership to lands that they felt was deprived from them. We do not
condone nor tolerate these illegal actions but we attribute these
series of lawlessness as symptoms of an irresponsive government and
inhumane employers and capitalists,” said Alan Tanjusay.
Diminishing value of wage vs. rising inflation
Despite of the country’s
consistent economic growth, the purchasing power of daily minimum wage
fell significantly in the face of 3.4% inflation rate registered in
In a monitoring made by ALU,
the purchasing power, for example, of P491 daily minimum wage in the
National Capital Region fell to P361 in February 2017. While the
average purchasing power of daily minimum wages in regions outside NCR
is P250 a day.
These rates are considered
way below the 2015 standard poverty level of P393 required amount
needed by a family of five for food and non-food needs to survive in a
“This condition needs
immediate response from government and employers. Workers are now
desperate and if this is met inaction many will resort desperate means
to survive,” Tanjusay said.
Tanjusay cited incidents in
April last year where 300 farmers attempted to ransack a rice
warehouse, the recent invasion of government housing units in Bulacan
by hundreds informal settler families and last week’s invasion of a
portion of Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac by landless farmers.
To back up his claims on
growing poverty, Tanjusay cited the result of survey a few days ago by
the Social Weather Station (SWS) estimating there are 11.5 million
families or 69 million individuals who said they are impoverished
compared to 10 million families or 60 million individuals in December
With a vast amount of wealth
generated by a consistently growing economy, why does millions of
families still feel deprived? Where does the money go?
Aside from 40 families of
oligarchs still controlling the economy, Tanjusay specifically
identified the drivers of poverty among workers and their families.
These are growing unemployment, underemployment, and meager social
He said the drivers of
poverty among working poor are the growing unemployment, widening
underemployment driven by inadequate wages, precarious
contractualization short-term contractual work arrangement,
jobs-skills mismatch, inadequate social insurance, worsening traffic
congestion and fire-prone workplaces.
Government’s Labor Force
Survey released on March 14 this year, 39.4 million Filipinos are
employed, out of which are 2.8 million without jobs while 6.4 million
are underemployed of the total 69.4 million workforce as of January
“With only a few families
controlling the economy, our government institution should function
according to their mandates and enforce our laws and implement
programs to make the money trickle down to benefit workers who helped
built that wealth. But these are dysfunctional.
“Analyzing these numbers,
the cause of concern out of this survey is not just on those jobless
but we are monitoring the behavior of the underemployed as well or
those who have jobs yet their income is inadequate to meet their
needs,” Tanjusay said.
Causes of unemployment and underemployment
He identified the causes of
unemployment and underemployment as contractualization, jobs-skills
mismatch, low minimum wage, rising prices of goods and cost of
services, diminishing purchasing power of meager minimum wage and lack
of jobs-creating investments due to expensive electricity, water and
transportation cost, expensive but poor telecommunication and internet
Workers productivity at work
and quality time at home are also hounded by tardiness, fatigue,
stress, caused by worsening traffic congestion and poor mass transport
system and inadequate and aging infrastructures such as airports,
seaports, container ports, railways, roads and bridges.
The ALU also attributes
unemployment and underemployment to high cost of doing business
imposed by local government units, judicial proceedings, and
government red tape, illegal smuggling, occupational safety and
health, tedious labor cases, and meager social protection coverage
including low pension benefit, rising crime incidents, and continuing
peace and order problems.
Contractualization and wage
The issue of temporary
contractualization work arrangement are among the top priorities when
labor groups meets with Duterte in a Mayday dialogue with labor groups
including ALU, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and
labor coalition Nagkaisa to be held 3p.m. today at People’s Park in
“These challenges are
brimming burden for workers. But organized labor groups prioritized
the order of battle by concentrating their energy on the issue of
raising wages to cope rising cost of living and ensuring workers have
security of tenure by banning contractualization and all fixed-term
employment because they need to survive and cope with rising cost of
living not just for today but the days after,” Tanjusay said.
The unions fight to
eradicate contractualization is even made difficult with many elected
executive and legislative government officials through dummies are
engaged in the business of manpower service providers in constantly
providing workers to companies and locators in their areas of
“This racket is working for
both the politicians and business owners. This is profit and secured
votes for politicians in exchange of no delays in permits to operate
and for them turning blind eye on employers’ non-compliance to local
labor ordinances and standards including general labor standards and
occupational safety and health standards,” Tanjusay said.
Kentex and HTI fires
Seventy four workers
perished in May 2015 Kentex factory fire while five workers were
burned to death in HTI fire incident in February this year. These
fatal incidents could have been prevented had there been routine local
level inspections before the issuance of permits to operate.
May 1, 2017 dialogue agenda
Aside from the
contractualization and wage issues, there are ten other issues that
they expect action from Duterte in today’s dialogue.
The ALU and Nagkaisa labor
coalition have grounds to anticipate that Duterte would also certify
House Bill 4444, an Act to Strengthen Security of Tenure sponsored by
TUCP Party-list Rep. Raymond Mendoza as urgent administration measure.
House Bill 4444 shall prohibit all forms of fixed term employment and
criminalizes its violation.
Workers also requested the
Duterte approval of International Labour Organization Convention 151
which empowers government workers to organize and create their own
associations and unions; resolve once and for all the
five-years-and-running dispute on outsourcing between Philippine
Airlines and PAL Employees Association.
Labor groups also requested
for the creation of a tripartite commission to review and revise
guidelines on wage setting, ensure genuine labor representation to
government tripartite bodies, establish a reform of power policy that
will assure security of supply of electricity and its affordability to
make our economy competitive.
They also seek Duterte
approval of deputization of trade unions in the inspection of
workplaces, regularize quarterly dialogue with labor groups, issue an
order prohibiting the collection of recruitment and placement fees,
and assign help desk where trade unions can report rogue cops who are
using the crack down on illegal drugs as a camouflage in
The ALU proposed Duterte to
provide through a P500 monthly subsidy for workers to cope with the
rising cost of living. The proposal is called Emergency Labor
Empowerment and Assistance Program of the Office of the President,
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and accredited trade unions.
Under the proposal, the
Office of the President may initially appropriate and provide the
subsidy amount with the DOLE as lead implementing agency with trade
unions as conduit of the program in distributing cash vouchers after
beneficiaries attended workers’ orientation on fundamental workers’
Forthcoming labor problems
Aside from ongoing
challenges and problems facing workers, the ALU anticipate the influx
of foreign workers to fill the shortage of skilled and professional
workers due to the continuing flight of Filipino workers to work
abroad in search of better wage and higher benefits and the possible
uptick demand for more workers in the light of mega-infrastructure
programs envisioned by Duterte administration’s ‘Dutertenomics” and
‘build, build, build’.
The ALU also identify
climate change events as significant factor that impact workers. The
devastation caused by El Niño and La Niña phenomenon not only
threatens the life and limbs of working people but also displaces and
breaks livelihood patterns.
“Extreme weather events are
catastrophic to all Filipino. The sum effect is if workers are able to
survive these events, they are unsure if they still have jobs and
means of livelihood when their factories and offices are destroyed by
natural forces,” Tanjusay said.
He cited the post-Yolanda
havoc and the recent decision of the government to shut down mining
Decreasing union density
The narrative of workers
struggle for decent work and shared prosperity in globalization age is
made difficult by waning power if unionism.
The Bureau of Labor
Relations of the DOLE estimated there are around 2.1 million workers
registered as members of the union and only around 200,000 of which
are covered by Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) as of December
2016, down from 4 million unionized workers and 400,000 covered by CBA
However, amid the brimming
natural and man-made woes confronting workers, there are bright
prospects that would somehow slow down the downward trend of
unemployment and underemployment and mitigate its negative impacts to
the labor force.
Tanjusay said the
government’s completion and operationalization of mass railway and
utility bus system and the establishment of a national broadband
nationwide spur direct employment in the construction and information,
communication and technology sector.
Impending tax refund
The Bureau of Internal
Revenue (BIR) owes each 600,000 minimum-waged workers nationwide with
an estimated P9,000 “blood money” from the tax they collected for six
months in 2008 amid a law exempting the workers from withholding tax.
In its decision released on
February this year, the Supreme Court said minimum wage earners (MWEs)
should not taxed because they are exempted from doing so by Republic
Act 9502 – the law giving exemption to minimum waged workers from
monthly salary tax deductions. The law became effective June 17, 2008.
However, the BIR issued Revenue Regulation 10-2008 and only exempted
MWEs six months later.
Tanjusay said they expect
the Supreme Court finally decide on the manner of refund before the
end of the year.
Compliance and enforcement
These challenges needs
radical government interventions and serious reforms in the hearts and
minds of employers and capitalists.
“The Associated Labor Unions
is urging the government to consistently enforce labor standards and
occupational safety and health standards. We call on employers and
business-owners to faithfully comply to labor laws and policies,”
If these remains unattended,
poverty will continue to thrive and breed social problems. Ignoring
inequalities will always evolve from one generation to another and
create even more problems, he said.
of the members of the Magbinuligon Bayanihan Association-Women
in Development Association (MBA-WIDA) pose with Municipal
Agrarian Reform Program Officer Maritess Nacilla (extreme left).
(Jose Alsmith L. Soria)
It takes a woman to
do a man’s job: The MBA-WIDA story
JOHN CHRISTOPHER COLASITO
March 23, 2017
TACLOBAN CITY –
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Tatcher, once said, “...that
whenever you want things said, give it to a man, and when you want
things done, give it to a woman.” The women of Magbinuligon Bayanihan
Association – Women In Development Association (MBA-WIDA) formerly the
Opong MPC are proof that women can indeed bring change and make things
Formed from the defunct
Opong MPC, the MBA was organized with the help of DAR in 2009.
According to DAR Agrarian Reform Program Officer I (ARPO I) Ma.
Milagrosa Noveda, she spearheaded the reorganization effort of what is
now the MBA, and has 379 members, 197 of which are females and 182 are
males. It is a federation or network organization, with WIDA as its
The organization has a one
(1) hectare communal farm planted to high yielding vegetable
varieties, in addition to a less than a hectare tilapia fish pond. It
is also engaged in rice production.
But the women of MBA-WIDA,
have walked the extra mile. They may look comely, shy and pretty; but
mind you, some of them are certified welders with NC II certificates
from TESDA. Some have also received training in carpentry and masonry,
and gentlemen, take a bow, these ladies constructed their warehouse
from scratch. ARPO I Noveda says that these women actually built their
warehouse, and it was a sight to see them holding hammers, welding
tools and do construction work. Welding, carpentry and masonry, are
traditionally the preserve of men. It is not every day that we find
women in a rural community break the gender barriers, and the women of
MBA-WIDA, have shown they can indeed make a difference.
In a rural community, the
traditional occupational roles are very much emphasized between sexes.
However, things were to change when super typhoon Yolanda came. It
brought change at a rapid pace.
non-government organizations, private agencies and donors, and
government agencies poured assistance to calamity-stricken areas,
Tolosa, included. There was also a serious shortage of skilled labor
particularly for carpenters, masons, plumbers, electricians and the
like. Soon, government agencies and civic-minded organizations started
training those interested in these skilled occupations that were in
short supply. These trainings included both men and women, and the
members of MBA-WIDA. Together, they were a force in the rehabilitation
and development of their community. After Yolanda, it opened several
opportunities for livelihood and entrepreneurship.
But they did not stop there.
They were able to access ILO funding worth P2M, more or less, for the
construction of their building with provisions for an office and
storage area. It was here that the women showed their carpentry,
masonry and welding skills, and did traditional chores that used to be
the preserve of men, a few years back. Yes, there were males who
helped them along the way, but this was something new and it signalled
a new chapter in the life of empowerment of women in local life.
They were also a beneficiary
under the Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (PAHP), ARPO I Noveda
said. They also availed of the on-site training provided by DAR and
from partners. Today, they are engaged in addition to their vegetable
production where they produce bell peppers, they are in vermi-cast
production, an organic fertilizer derived from African Night Crawlers
earthworms with technology provided by the DAR. They produce green
charcoal briquettes. They have also engaged in the production of red
rice organically, which is in high demand for the wellness and health
conscious market, particularly the diabetics.
They have diversified their interests: meat processing, and catering
business. In line with this, they underwent trainings in food
preparation and food handling, table skirting. They have also produced
nuggets from vegetables. Their latest venture is the production of
organic dishwashing liquid, which they started marketing in their
The MBA-WIDA is an epitome
of empowerment, breaking traditional stereotypes. They have also
learned to think of their future, access and mobilize resources to
effect their plans. They may have to deal with challenges along the
way. But after the storm, they have charted their lives in their
hands, and blazed new trails.
Premium Chocolates launched in the US
By DTI- Industry Promotion
November 18, 2016
CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry’s Philippine Trade and
Investment Center Los Angeles (PTIC-LA) confirmed that Malagos Premium
Chocolates, a chocolate produced in the Philippines, will now be
available in the United States. This was further to the announcement
made by the Davao-based Malagos Agri-Ventures during their recent
participation at the North West Chocolate Festival in Seattle,
Washington on November 12 -13, 2016.
Ned Olney, Save the Children Philippines Country Director, said: “This
study proves that undernutrition has a cost to all of us. In just a
year, Philippines has lost almost 3 percent of its GDP in terms of
education and productivity costs due to stunting. If we add up health
costs, the likely impact would be an additional 0.05 - 1.6 percent.”
The report shows that stunting is the best predictor of productivity
and income, and that undernutrition is linked to lower human capital.
Children who are stunted in the first two years of life are more
likely to repeat grade levels, drop out of school, delay school entry
and have lower income levels when they enter the workforce.
Olney added: “If stunting rates continue to rise, it would be
difficult for families to break free from poverty. It is the poor and
neglected sectors of society that carry the burden of stunting. Any
investment in reducing childhood undernutrition will reduce suffering
and poverty, and will ultimately stimulate economic growth for all
The report found, however,
that Philippines’ investment in nutrition programs is very low at only
0.52 percent of general government expenditures compared to the global
average allocation of 2.1 percent. Citing the report findings, Save
the Children highlighted the need to invest in nutrition programs
during the child’s first 1000 days, from pregnancy up to the second
birthday, which is considered a critical period of care to avert
Olney said: “Nutrition is
the cornerstone of all development efforts. This new report tells us
that for every US$1 spent on programs to avert stunting in children
below 2 years old, the Philippines could save over 100 US dollars in
health, education, and lost productivity costs.”
“It should outrage us that
95 children will die every day because of malnutrition.”
Save the Children is raising
the alarm on the nutrition crisis, and is calling the national and
local government, private sector and the donors to end the appalling
state of malnutrition in the Philippines:
• Support the “First 1000
Days Bill” to enhance the delivery of quality nutrition interventions
in the first 1000 days of a child’s life to prevent stunting among
• Push and sustain equitable
nutrition policies and programs and ensure budgetary allocations that
address the immediate, underlying and basic causes of malnutrition.
• Ensure security of tenure
and sustained training of the community front-liners e.g. such as
barangay health workers and nutrition officers and scholars. Health
and nutrition workers are highly politicized, lack incentives and
support for trainings, have no security of tenure.
• National and local
governments provide clear and separate budget for nutrition-specific
interventions to avoid confusion between health and nutrition budgets.
• Intensify health and
nutrition-related training, research and extension support activities
to support the First 1000 Days Program through the Barangay Integrated
Development Approach for Nutrition Improvement (BIDANI) Network
Program of the Rural Poor and other relevant approaches, thereby
strengthening delivery systems in partnership with the LGUs.
• Scale up cost-effective
and affordable high-impact nutrition interventions to prevent
undernutrition that cripples the country, such as promotion of
exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, vitamin A and iron
supplementation, treatment of acute malnutrition and maternal
• Strengthen enforcement of
the Milk Code (Executive Order Number 51), and the Expanded
Breastfeeding Promotion Act (Republic Act Number 10028) to protect,
promote, and support optimal infant and young child feeding, both in
private and public facilities and spaces.
• We call for the strict and
sustained implementation of nutrition-specific interventions,
including infant and young child feeding (IYCF), micronutrient
supplementation and the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM),
which is now required to be implemented nationwide.
• Revise conditionalities
under the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to
include mandatory breastfeeding and education sessions on infant and
young child feeding.
• Align health and nutrition
programs to the priorities and directions of the Philippine Plan of
Action for Nutrition and the Strategy for Women, Infant, and Young
• Increase the focus on
water, hygiene and sanitation interventions for children by targeting
child-related behaviors and risk factors, such as safe disposal of
human waste, complementary food hygiene and handwashing and
intensifying promotion of Philippine Approach to Total Sanitation (PhATS)
program to reinvigorate our country’s progress towards the national
goals of eliminating open defecation.
Children of War
June 24, 2016
QUEZON CITY – They
are children of war, victims of a war their innocent minds cannot
comprehend. But they know injustice has been to done their parents who
did nothing wrong by helping the farmers, the workers, the poor.
Even adults cannot
comprehend why launching a fight against the causes of poverty and
unrest is a crime. And why one should be jailed for one's political
Angel Lorenzo, 8 years old,
studies at the Children of God Learning Academy; a child seemingly
forsaken by man's folly.
She remembers when the bad
guys came along, took her mother and left her with her one year old
sister and their “yaya” to complete strangers. How she cried and cried
together with her sister. Their “yaya”, terrified and confused, would
not know how to console them. They cried and cried until their
grandmother arrived to take them.
That day, July 20, 2015,
Joyce Latayan, 39, Angel's mother, has just arrived home after picking
her up from school. She noticed two men in civilian clothes inside
their compound. Then she saw other plain- clothes men went up the
second floor of their house. They later came down with bags and a box
of weapons, items which do not belong to Angel's family. They
identified themselves as members of the Criminal and Investigation
Detection Group (CIDG).
The men whisked Joyce away
on the basis of a highly questionable and faulty search warrant issued
from the Cabanatuan City Regional Trial Court and the box of weapons
they were carrying. She was charged with trumped up cases of illegal
possession of firearms and explosives, which were later dismissed by
the Prosecutor's Office in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan where they
At about the same time,
Angelika's father, Ernesto Lorenzo, 59, was nabbed at the IT Center in
Gilmore, Quezon City, by joint elements of the CIDG and members of the
military intelligence group.
Lorenzo is a peace
consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines with
JASIG ID No. ND978229 under the assumed name of "Lean Martinez".
Lorenzo's arrest was based on a warrant for destructive arson filed in
2010 in Lucena City. He was among the activists and leaders of
people's organizations in Southern Tagalog falsely charged with
criminal offenses by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's Inter-Agency
Legal Action Group (IALAG). In 2007, UN Special Rapporteur on
extrajudicial killings Prof. Philip Alston had strongly recommended
abolition of the IALAG and a stop to the practice of filing fabricated
charges against activists.
Lorenzo was a youth leader
of the Methodist Youth Fellowship and had been a long time pastor of
the United Methodist Church after his studies. Later he engaged in
organizing work in the peasant communities and in socio-economic and
development work among urban poor and workers. He is currently
detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology’s Special
Intensive Care Area (BJMP-SICA) at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.
mabuti. (Be good, study well)." This is Kennedy Bangibang's perennial
advice to his only son, Diwin Jude Kenn Monte Bangibang, 8 years old,
whenever he visits him in the confines of the Bureau of Jail
Management and Penology in Tabuk, Kalinga, Cordillera.
A full-blooded Igorot who
hails from a remote village in Cordillera, Kennedy was witness to the
plunder of foreign corporations on their ancestral land and natural
As a student activist in
1987, he had immersed with the peasant masses. He later became a
full-time activist and revolutionary leader. He was illegally arrested
on February 23, 1913 [sic] by elements of the RIU-14 of the Philippine
National Police-Intelligence Group while on board a bus at a PNP
checkpoint in Bangao Proper, Buguias, Benguet. Kennedy is a consultant
of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines on Cordillera
Affairs. His arrest is a blow to the national minorities as their
concern is among the issues to be tackled in the next agenda of the
peace talks – the drafting of a Comprehensive Agreement on
Socio-Economic Reform (CASER).
Victim of a justice system
that grinds exceedingly slow, Kennedy has been languishing in jail for
the past three years and his case being transferred from one court to
another, from Kalinga to Baguio.
While Angel would bubbly
narrate the happy moments with his father as they frolic on the beach
of Pangasinan, where he used to work, Diwin would just matter-of-fact
share memories of his Papa and Mama – the walks in the parks, the
visits to the malls and the one time they went swimming in the
underground river of Palawan.
Diwin's Mama, Recca Noelle Monte, was a New People's Army (NPA)
fighter, who was killed during a military operation of the 41st
Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army on
September 4 and 5, 2014 at Guinginabang, Lacub, Abra. She was unarmed
and bore no gunshot wound indicating from the looks of her remains
that she was tortured while held captive, a clear violation of the
International Humanitarian Law.
Diwin could tell the state of his Mama's remains without batting an
eyelid – the traumatic injuries, crushed skull, unidentifiable face,
broken leg bones. Asked if he actually saw this, he said only from the
picture. The handsome, smooth pinkish face of the boy showed no
emotion, but admitted he is sad and lonely.
Angel was loquacious and confident as she told her stories. Her mother
said she regained her composure with the psycho-social counselling she
underwent after the trauma from her experience.
Asked about her father's work, Angel quipped, "Natulong sa farmers at
workers (helps farmers and workers)". Diwin has a similar impression
of his parents work, "they were helping the farmers and the poor."
What do the children of war aspire to be when they grow up? Angel said
she will be a heart surgeon to help the sick. Meanwhile, Diwin wants
to be a lawyer, "so I could defend Papa and Mama. I could free Papa
and give them justice."
climate action on 10th year of “An Inconvenient Truth”
By Climate Reality Project
May 24, 2016
CEBU CITY –
Commemorating the 10th anniversary of Academy award-winning film “An
Inconvenient Truth”, environment groups and climate vulnerable
communities gathered in Cebu to call for the cancellation of approved
coal-fired power plants proposals and just transition to renewable and
cleaner energy source.
The Climate Reality Project
Philippines in cooperation with the Office of Senator Loren Legarda,
Dakila, Greenpeace, Pusyon Kinaiyahan, Foundation for the Philippine
Environment and the University of San Jose de Recoletos organized an
exclusive screening of An Inconvenient Truth and a multi-sectoral
dialogue with students, the religious, and representatives from
coal-fired power plant-affected communities in cities of Naga, Toledo
and Cebu especially that of barangays Sawang Calero and Pasil.
When former Vice President
Al Gore and Participant Media released An Inconvenient Truth in 2006,
the effect was immediate and profound: people everywhere began talking
about the climate crisis – to their friends, their family, and
everyone in their lives – sparking a new kind of movement with
millions demanding action all across the planet.
For so many of us, An
Inconvenient Truth was a wakeup call. It was the moment we understood
the reality of the climate crisis devastating our planet – and it was
the moment we knew we personally had to do something. May 24 marks the
10-year anniversary of the film's release, and we want to acknowledge
and thank you for the critical role you've played in making it a
In 2006, An Inconvenient
Truth inspired millions around the world to speak up about the climate
crisis. Since then, we’ve made progress on many fronts. Just last
December, 195 countries created the historic Paris Agreement to cut
global warming pollution and accelerate the shift to clean energy.
This was a turning point but there’s still tremendous work ahead.
This is the challenge of our
time. Our work to solve the climate crisis could not be more urgent or
important. But today momentum is with us, and together we can solve
Quotes from key speakers:
Al Gore, Nobel Laureate and
former US Vice President; and Chairperson of The Climate Reality
Project (Video Message) -
When we released the “An
Inconvenient Truth” in 2006, I knew we had an important message to
share. But what I couldn’t have known was that the countless people
like you would hear that message and begin talking about the urgency
of the climate crisis in persuasive ways – to their friends, their
families, and their communities – and then, together, we would spark a
new kind of movement with millions of people calling for climate
action around the world.
So as we take a moment to
celebrate the 10-year anniversary of An Inconvenient Truth, I just
wanted to say “Thank You”. Thank you for finding the moral courage to
stand up, even when it wasn’t easy, for taking action to protect our
only home, and thank you for making a difference. We’ve made a lot of
progress together. Just think, last year, 195 nations reach the
historic Paris Agreement to cut global warming pollution and
accelerate the shift to clean energy, a true turning point, but
there’s still tremendous work ahead. And that’s why I’ll be working
with the Climate Reality Project to ensure that countries not only
stick to their commitments but make those commitments even stronger in
the years ahead. And I’m counting on you to continue helping to meet
that challenge, the challenge of our time.
Our work to solve the
climate crisis couldn’t possibly be more urgent or important. But now
the momentum is on our side. I know we can solve the climate crisis.
And I know that thanks to you we will.
Senator Loren Legarda,
Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Climate Change (Keynote
A lot has changed since that
year when An Inconvenient Truth was launched, especially on how we
perceive the climate change phenomenon. People now have a better
understanding of the climate crisis and how it is linked to our
survival. An Inconvenient Truth continues to ignite climate action.
As a developing nation, it
is understandable that the Philippines needs more power, but it cannot
be “we need power at all costs and we will develop at all costs.”
They say that coal is cheap.
I say, coal is not cheap. Coal affects our health, kills biodiversity
and the environment, affects our waters and pollutes the air we
We are a country rich in
renewable energy – the amount of sun and wind is more than enough to
power our entire country many times over.
There is no reason to
hesitate or delay action on a challenge so compelling, on a threat to
humanity so clear and present. For every second that ticks away is but
a second closer to the next calamity. We must lead the way towards
meaningful change for our children and grandchildren, for all of
humanity, for all species in the world, and for Mother Earth.
Rodne Galicha, Country
Manager of the Climate Reality Project Philippines –
Looking back at the
challenges of the film, we were reminded that our planet has all the
means to make our lives convenient through sustainable utilization of
resources within the carrying capacity nature. However, due to our
excessive search for convenience, the long-term result becomes more
inconvenient for our own species to thrive and others are in danger of
extinction. Solving this biggest crisis the world is facing needs
every individual’s commitment and collective action to shift to a
cleaner and livable future.
The Climate Reality Project
in the Philippines will continue to work with communities and partners
to collectively regain the power of the people to define the future
they want for their children's children and the planet.
Screening the film in Cebu
City after the communities’ triumph against the proposed coal-fired
power plant in Barangay Sawang Calero is both a celebration and a way
to collectively reflect on why we do what we can to combat climate
Brother Jaazeal Jakosalem,
Co-Convener of Pusyon Kinaiyahan –
Since 2006, Al Gore’s
Inconvenient Truth still echoes our planet’s cry. The most vulnerable
communities especially the poor call for justice. We are all impelled
to take drastic action to bring back balance and harmony upon all of
creation. Indeed, the cry of the earth is the cry of the poor. This is
a moral and spiritual issue, the integrity of creation.
Gideon Lasco, Environment
Champion for the Climate Reality Project Philippines –
It remains inconvenient to
live up to the implications of climate change partly because for every
inconvenient truth, there is a convenient falsehood. Today, we hear
politicians talk about “clean coal”, as if the word “clean” before
coal can exorcise the havoc coal and other fossil fuels have wrought
upon our planet (coal plants alone account for 1/3 of global carbon
emissions). Today, we hear people talk about “responsible mining”,
which, while it may indeed be a possibility in the future, detracts
from the fact that mining has been responsible for the environmental
degradation in many areas - from Semirara to Surigao.
But perhaps the most
convenient falsehood of all is the idea that we are too insignificant
to make a difference. Indeed, if there is something we can draw
inspiration from in the past ten years, it is the fact that no effort
is too small not to count in our fight to save the planet.
Reuben Muni, Climate and
Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace –
The film "An Inconvenient
Truth" tells us this truth: there is no such thing as an insignificant
act when it comes to solving the climate crisis. 10 years after Al
Gore released his film in May 2006, this wisdom still remains. Every
battle against coal is therefore a significant battle for the planet.
Cebu is one of the most important battles for climate change in the
Philippines. It is not just the country that is watching but the whole
world. Unfortunately, what happens in Cebu does not stay in Cebu. If
we allow another coal plant to be built in Cebu, then we are sending
signals to the rest of the country that it is okay to build more
Hence, Cebu is one of the
iconic fights against coal of our generation. We owe it to the next
generation to ensure that there are no more coal plants that will be
built in Cebu. This year, the people of Cebu City rejected a proposed
coal plant right in the heart of the city. And this year, we declare
that Cebu will break free from coal and other forms of dirty energy.
Ara Chawdhury, Creative
Director of Dakila’s Cebu Collective –
It is evident with An
Inconvenient Truth what the power of film can be. It can be policy
changing petition forming, mind changing. At its best, mind blowing.
At its worst, mind numbing.
Film is supposed to shake
you, to reel you out of your comfort zones. Advocacy filmmaking for me
fails if it preaches to the choir. We aren’t doing any favor by
creating messages only we want to hear, or by alienating anyone who
does not agree with us.
Presedent Diosdado Macapagal Agrarian Scholarship Program
scholar, Samuel Guadalquiver Jr. (extreme left), pose with the
writer, Clariza Estremera (second from left); Municipal Agrarian
Reform Program Officer Romeo Castil (third from left); and his
advisory class. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria)
Destiny: The Samuel
By CLARIZA C. ESTREMERA
May 10, 2016
TACLOBAN CITY –
“There were times when my parents would tell me, I might not be able
to continue my studies next school year because the harvest is low or
the price of copra had gone down. Every time I hear this, the
uncertainty of getting a college degree dreads me. Thus, I applied for
a scholarship to finance my college education.”
These were the recollections
of Samuel Guadalquiver when we visited him before the school year
closed in Quezon Elementary School, where he is teaching for seven
Samuel, or Boboy, to his
family and friends was one of the President Diosdado Macapagal
Agrarian Scholarship Program (PDMASP) recipients in Northern Samar.
His parents, Samuel Sr. and
Amelita, are both agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) so that he
qualified for the said scholarship program.
PDMASP is a four-year
college scholarship offered by DAR to deserving dependents of ARBs
under the Program Beneficiaries Development component of the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
“It was only by accident
that I discovered the PDMASP,” Boboy said.
According to him, when he
was in his first year in college at the University of Eastern
Philippines, he applied for the Catarman Educational Scholarship
Program offered by the local government unit so he could continue with
his studies. But he was denied of the said opportunity. Or was it a
blessing in disguise?
When he returned back to
their school, Boboy read an announcement at the bulletin board about a
scholarship program being offered by DAR.
He grabbed the opportunity
and got the slot. Later, he learned that DAR just re-opened its search
to fill-in a vacated slot. Boboy must have been destined to become a
PDMASP scholar to reach his dreams. In 2008, he graduated with a
degree of Bachelor in Elementary Education Major in Social Science.
The third in a brood of nine
(two are now deceased), Boboy is the first to earn a college degree
(the second is sister, Gloria, who was also a PDMASP scholar) in their
family, and one of the handful of professionals in their village,
which is situated in the mountains of Catarman, 27 kilometers away
from the town proper.
He was the only one of the
less than 20 pupils enrolled in grade 1 in 1994 who finished college.
“He was so determined,” his parents said proudly of him.
When I asked why his other
classmates failed to continue their studies, Boboy said, it could
probably be due to lack of motivation. He disclosed that their
teachers rarely report to school then because of the distance. That is
why his parents transferred him to the town proper when he was in
Barangay Quezon is one of
Catarman’s remotest villages. There was no road at that time. People
had to walk 10 kilometers to and from Barangay Polangi by just passing
through a trail. Now, this barangay could already be reached by
motorcycles for P70. Very soon, when concreting of the road is
completed, travel will be much easier and perhaps cheaper.
Boboy, who used to help his
parents in the farm, said determination to escape from poverty pushed
him to strive and find ways to reach his dream.
After graduation he took the
licensure examination for teachers and passed it.
But why did he return to
Barangay Quezon to teach, when there were better opportunities at the
town proper or elsewhere?
Boboy humbly said he wanted
to serve his fellow residents in their community. But to us he
inspires the young and motivates them to take education seriously to
have a better future.
According to Boboy, had he
not taken his studies seriously and without the PDMASP, surely he
would have also remained a farmer until today, carrying heavy loads of
copra and other farm products.
As a teacher, his supervisor
Annie Dulay said, he is a good one, while his pupils described him as
strict when it comes to their lessons.
He taught his students to be
industrious. The once idle surrounding in their school is now planted
to pili nuts and bananas.
Presently, Boboy is planning
to take up masters degree this coming school year.
Looking at him in his
uniform and listening to his story, makes me proud to be part of DAR
which was instrumental in helping this son of ARBs free himself from
the bondage of the soil and find his destiny.
from DAR and East-West Seed Philippines harvest organically
grown pechay at the farm of Jose Dautil (right) in Barangay
Hinabay, Inopacan, Leyte. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria)
By JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA
April 19, 2016
TACLOBAN CITY – When we
reached Barangay Hinabay, we were led to a vegetable farm of Jose
Dautil, 54, that was ready for harvest. We picked some kilos of sweet
pepper, and pechay, and paid him the corresponding price. Then we
moved to Barangay Cabulisan to see more vegetables in other farms.
These adjacent villages nestled on top of a mountain in Inopacan,
Leyte are now known for organic vegetables.
Farmers here are now
seriously pursuing high value organic vegetable production after the
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) subjected last year the members of
two agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) to a five-month
training on high value crops production using the natural farming
Being covered by the second
phase of the Agrarian Reform Communities Project (ARCP-II), DAR tapped
the East-West Seed Philippines for the conduct of the said training
under the Agricultural Enterprise Development to the Hinabay Upland
Farmers Association (HUFA) and the Cabulisan Multi-Purpose Upland
Farmers Association (CAMUFA).
When asked what they like
about organic vegetable production, Marissa Bisnar, 38, an agrarian
reform beneficiary (ARB) said the products are sold at a higher price
than those grown the traditional way. Even if they are a little bit
expensive, more consumers prefer to buy organic vegetables, she added.
From her last harvest,
Marissa shared that she earned P8,350 from her four plots of sweet
pepper, four plots of tomato and ampalaya, which became additional
income for her family.
Cristita Abenoja, a merchant
from Barangay Cabulisan who buys the farmers’ harvests and sell them
at the town’s market disclosed that her products are easily sold out
because consumers opt for organic vegetables.
Organic farming now becomes
the trade mark of these two barangays. When buyers learn that the
vegetables come from the said barangays, they already know that it’s
organic, Abenoja said. Further, “my customers increased,” she added,
because the information had spread to nearby towns like Hindang, Bato
and Baybay City.
For that, these farmers
living on top of the mountain, 18 kilometers away from the town proper
are thankful they were taught organic farming.
Abaca used to be the major
crop of the farmers here. But because of the bunchy top disease,
farmers ceased planting abaca, and shifted to vegetable production in
2004. Last year, with the joint effort of DAR and East-West Seed
Philippines, the natural farming system was introduced and changed the
lifestyle of the farmers here.
With this method the farmers
no longer sniff chemicals when spraying pesticides, according to
CAMAFU president Edelito Merrano Sr., 51. Likewise, they can save more
because they no longer buy fertilizers and pesticides, he added.
Instead, they use the
vermicast their association is producing. Vermi-culture and vermi-composting
have been introduced to them by DAR in 2015 as alternative sources of
CAMUFA was among the 100 ARB
organizations provided with a shredder and 30 kilos of African night
crawlers last year.
At the moment CAMUFA is also
selling vermicast at P350 per sack of 50 kilos. While African night
crawlers are being sold by the association at P500 per kilo.
450 displaced families in Surigao del Sur each received food
supplies good for one month - consisting of 50 kilograms of
rice, 2 litres of oil, 2 litres of soy sauce, 1 kilogram of
salt, and 2 kilograms of sugar - as well as a hygiene kit
containing bath soap, shampoo, detergent, feminine hygiene
products, toothbrushes and toothpaste for a family of six.
for people displaced by armed violence in Surigao del Sur
February 22, 2016
MANILA – Around 2,400
people displaced in Surigao del Sur received one-month food supplies
and hygiene items to help them cope with their displacement since
The International Committee
of the Red Cross (ICRC), with its primary partner the Philippine Red
Cross (PRC), distributed the relief items on February 18 to complement
the aid already given by the authorities.
"Prolonged displacement is a
challenge for both the affected families and the authorities. The
displaced depend on aid as they still fear going back home," said
Pascal Porchet, head of the ICRC delegation to the Philippines. "We
are here to fill in gaps and ensure that the families get adequate
support while they remain displaced."
The majority of the
displaced have been living in the provincial sports complex in Tandag
City for over five months now, after three civilians were killed in
"We have been here since
September 1, 2015, and we still fear for our safety," said Leonila
Enriquez of Brgy. Diatagon, Lianga municipality. "We are very grateful
to the ICRC for helping us since the early part of the displacement
until today," said the mother of eight children.
While the general health
situation in the sports complex is managed well by the Provincial
Health Office, cases of stomach problems and diarrhea were reported. A
probable cause is poor hygiene and sanitation in the evacuation
Between September 2015 and
January 2016, the ICRC and the PRC already helped 3,500 displaced
persons in Surigao del Sur with food, household and medical items,
potable water supply, and construction of toilets in the evacuation
The ICRC is a neutral,
impartial and independent humanitarian organization whose mandate is
to protect and assist people affected by armed conflict and other
situations of violence. It has had an established presence in the
Philippines for over 60 years and a permanent presence in Mindanao
spiral machine used for panning in the gold exploration.
deny pay-off over the Cobarrubias’ “gold and silver exploratory work”
By GINA DEAN
February 18, 2016
CALBAYOG CITY – The
Sangguniang Bayan of Gandara finally revoked and nullified the
resolution granting Mrs. Cherry dela Cruz Cobarrubias to rehabilitate
Gandara River by means of dredging. Said resolution was approved in
2014 under the administration of Mayor Eufemio Oliva and Vice Mayor
However, the municipal
government discovered that the dredging operations funded by the
Cobarrubias, has turned out to be an exploration work of gold and
silver mineral deposits at Brgy. Gerali. Local officials were
lambasted by concerned citizens over the social media and accused of
receiving pay-off from said permittee (or holder of exploration
In a public hearing held
last February 10 at Gandara Cultural Center, Mayor Oliva denied the
bribery issue imputed against them by the people. He clarified that
the resolution was approved by the sanggunian in good faith without
receiving any favour from Don Angelo C. Cobarrubias or his mother
Cherry. The approval of the application for exploration is not under
the municipal government but under the DENR-Mines and Geosciences
Bureau Regional Office 8 after the applicant has completed all the
necessary documents required by concerned government agency.
MGB-8 OIC Regional Director
Nonita Caguida explained that Don Angelo C. Cobarrubias’ application
for Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) was filed on April
2005 covering 808 hectares of land located at Gandara and San Jorge,
Samar. In the process of application, a Notice of Posting was sent by
MGB-8 to the provincial government of Samar which was automatically
downloaded to the concerned municipalities for 30 days posting in
The purpose of posting was
to inform the public and concerned stakeholders for possible protests.
Receiving no complaint within the reglementary period prescribed by
law, the application of Cobarrubias proceeded smoothly with a
Certificate of Posting allegedly issued by each municipality.
But while in the process of
acquiring MPSA, Executive Order No. 79 or “Institutionalizing and
Implementing Reforms in the Philippine Mining Sector Providing
Policies and Guidelines to Ensure Environmental Protection and
Responsible in the Utilization of Mineral Resources” was issued in
June 2012. Pending the issuance of MPSA, the proponent amended their
application into exploration and submitted it to MGB-8 for final
validation and clearance.
Caguida clarified that all
the application documents of Cobarrubias were scrutinized; and in fact
the 808 hectares was reduced into 501 after the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources Office conducted study in the
For those who are under the
“No Gold Zone” areas (tourist and agricultural areas), it could not be
covered by the exploration work. Upon validation of application
documents, the exploration permit covering 501 hectares situated in
Gandara and San Jorge, Samar, was released by DENR’s Mines and
Geosciences Bureau Regional Office 8 on January 20, 2015 to Don Angelo
C. Cobarrubias of 2711 B-Wack-Wack, Twin Towers, Wack-wack,
Under the Mining Act of
1995, the exploration allowed the permittee to conduct exploration
work within a period of two years from its approval, and subject for
renewal on the same period up to 8 years for metallic and 6 years for
non-metallic. Based on research, gold is considered metallic mineral
while silver is a combination of different small elements which are
found in gold, lead, zinc and copper ores.
People Cry, No to Mining!
Out of 69 barangays of
Gandara, 41 have attended the public hearing with 924 registered
participants coming from the different organizations like the church,
business sector, senior citizens, youth, academe, government retirees,
concerned citizens, local PNP and municipal and barangay officials.
Citizens of said municipality were shouting as a sign of protest to
the exploration work being conducted by the Cobarrubias at Brgy.
Gerali since 2015.
The church under the Diocese
of Calbayog cited the 50 year moratorium of mining operation issued by
the government after the Bagacay Mines experience. Brgy. Gerali
according to the Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer, Aida Gamba is an
agrarian reform community along with other nearby villages.
In the absence of a map,
Samar PENRO Elpidio Simon believed that the 501 hectares which was
claimed by Cherry dela Cruz Cobarrubiasas a mining zone area is under
Samar Island Natural Park. He added that the DENR have implemented the
National Greening Program (NGP) and Community-Based Forest Management
Program (CBMP) at Brgy. Gerali and nearby villages.
Who is Cherry dela Cruz
She claimed herself as a
true-blooded Gandareño who hailed from Brgy. Gerali. Established
connections in the circle and sponsored the rehabilitation of Gandara
River. Received an award from the municipal government as the “Most
Outstanding Gandareño in 2014”. In a conversation with a reliable
source, he disclosed that Cherry dela Cruz Cobarrubias’ mother was
from Matuguinao and her father was from Catbalogan, Samar. Contrary to
her claim that her family originated from Brgy. Gerali where
exploratory work is being conducted, the source revealed that Cherry’s
father used to teach at said barangay.
She had a colourful life in
the film industry as she produced “Bulaklak ng City Jail” and many
more. In the field of politics, she is still the president of Marcos
According to the source,
Gerali mineral deposits was then a long time project of Cobarrubias.
She was able to persuade millions of investment from an Australian
couple but their partnership was terminated when the couple has
detected suspicion from said operation. It was also learned that
Samar’s former Vice Governor Jesus Redaja made an investment in a
mining operation at Bagacay Mines, but the deal was cut short leaving
the latter’s equipment abandoned at the mining site.
To get Cherry Cobarrubias’
comments, the writer requested her geologist for an interview but no
feedback was received.
The National Law vs. People
Despite the strong
disapproval of the people of Gandara, Cherry Cobarrubias is confident
that the exploratory work will pursue.
MGB-8 OIC Regional Director
NonitaCaguidasaid that the documents for the acquisition of
exploratory permit have undergone a long scrutiny, and local
ordinances or resolutions with the intention of revoking such permit
cannot be allowed for it cannot supersede the national law as provided
in RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. Caguida was one of
the witnesses in the Exploration Permit issued by MGB-8 to the
Cobarrubias in January 20, 2015.
On the other hand, an
insider of the Environment of Natural Resources Office advised that a
written petition of the people may work by directly submitting the
same to the central office. The absence of a public consultation prior
to the exploration work could be one of the basis of the petition, he
report estimates coal plant emissions could kill 2,400 Filipinos per
February 3, 2016
MANILA – While coal
is king in the Philippines, a new Greenpeace Southeast Asia report has
revealed for the first time the current health impacts of existing
coal-fired power plants, as well as projected health impacts of
operating and planned power plants in the Philippines.
The report, Coal: A Public
Health Crisis. Diseases and deaths attributed to coal use in the
Philippines showed an estimated 960 premature deaths each year due to
stroke, ischemic heart disease, other cardiovascular diseases, and
respiratory diseases. If the new power plants are to be developed,
premature deaths may rise up to 2,410 – more than double the current
number of people dying from coal-related pollution in the Philippines.
“Results of the research
show that coal-fired power plants expose everyone in the Philippines
to toxic pollution, resulting in hundreds of premature deaths every
year,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, Senior Global Coal Campaigner at
Greenpeace International and also one of the authors of the research.
“Leading economies from the United States to China and Europe are
already relaying on modern, renewable energy sources for their
additional power needs, showing that this is a real option for
Philippines as well.”
More than one-third of the
energy used to generate electricity in the Philippines comes from
burning coal. Currently, the country has 17 operational coal plants,
with 29 more approved by the Department of Energy (DOE), set to begin
commercial operations by 2020.
The report is based on
research carried out at Harvard University on the impacts of emissions
coming from coal-fired power plants on the air quality of selected
countries in Asia. For the Philippine version, Greenpeace collaborated
with HealthJustice to write the report, with support from Health Care
Without Harm – Asia and the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.
Coal use harms the
environment and public health at every stage of its life cycle.
Coal-fired power plants emit sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide
(NO2) and other gaseous pollutants in the air that can react
chemically to form particulate matter that is 2.5 µm in diameter.
Aside from generating
particulate matter, coal combustion also affects health indirectly by
contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change can bring
extreme heat, lead to natural disasters, and eventually increase
diseases transmitted through insects such as malaria and dengue.
The study evaluated 13
operational coal-fired power plants in the Philippines with a combined
installed capacity of 3,799.10 megawatts (MW), as well as the
potential impacts of plans to build 29 new coal-fired power plants
with a total capacity of 11,700MW, which could dramatically increase
levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and PM2.5
“This pioneering study is an
important addition to the growing body of health and scientific
research on the adverse impacts of coal-fired power plants, not only
to the environment, but to human health as well,” said Reuben Andrew
Muni, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines. “We
strongly recommend for the DOE, the DOH and other policy-makers to
read it and take heed as it presents a strong case on why the
Philippines should end its dependence on coal-generated electricity
now, not only for economic, environmental and climate change reasons,
but on public health grounds as well.”
“This new study just
confirms what we already know about the health effects of coal based
on international evidence. For the longest time, we have been ignoring
the environmental case for the phase out of coal. I hope that this
time, the public health argument will convince us that coal is not the
way to go towards a clean, sustainable and healthy energy future,”
said Dr. Renzo Guinto, Campaigner for the Healthy Energy Initiative,
Health Care Without Harm-Asia.
“New coal plants are a
lose-lose proposition for the public. Increasing dependence on coal
will consign us to dirty air for 30 or more years, as coal gets more
expensive and other countries abandon it as an energy source. There is
a way out of this vicious cycle. We must embrace renewables through a
strong, health-driven energy policy," said Atty. Ipat Luna, a Trustee
“Coal burning is a proven
nuisance to health and the climate. The more coal plants and mines are
commissioned by the government, the more people and communities are
placed in the direct path of perdition. Undoubtedly, it is a kiss of
death to host communities and vulnerable nations like the Philippines.
We thus demand for a moratorium on new coal plants, phase out of
existing ones, and for a just transition to renewable energy options”
said Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, SANLAKAS Secretary General and PMCJ Energy
Working Group Head.
Considering the Philippines’
rising population, poor health outcomes, and the scarcity of resources
needed to adapt to the worst effects of climate change, Greenpeace
recommends that the country should end its heavy dependence on coal as
an energy source and accelerate initiatives involving renewable energy
(RE) resources to meet its energy demands. RE is emerging as the
energy of choice for an increasing number of communities and local
government units (LGU). The report recommends that the government
phases out of coal and fully embrace RE sources in the Philippines
based on public health considerations.
Download the pdf version of
Coal: A Public Health Crisis. Diseases and deaths attributed to coal
use in the Philippines at
“Sole for a Soul
Project”: PAREF Rosehill goes to the peripheries
By GLECY GAMBOA, PAREF
January 20, 2016
ANTIPOLO CITY – “The
project helped me learn to fully go out of my comfort zone and open my
eyes to the needs of others, and knowing this has helped me further
understand and give meaning to our school's mantra, "I lead. I serve."
Betina Sales, PAREF Rosehill
Student Council President, together with officers, Mika and Gabrie
Cordero and teachers, Ms. Calai Clarino and Ms. Carmel Mendoza,
represented the Rosehill students who donated black school shoes to
196 students of Doña Brigida Elementary School in Tolosa, Leyte on
December 14, 2015.
Betina, Mika and Gabrie were
very happy and fulfilled when they saw the smiles on the faces of the
students as they received their early Christmas gifts. As Mika said,
“I felt really glad because we were able to share our blessings and
time with the kids.”
Each pair of shoes was
personally labelled and inside each shoe box was a letter from a
Rosehill student. One of them, Angela, wrote: “Hope you like the
shoes! Study hard to reach your dreams and never give up. Stay strong
with any problems you will encounter and take care. God bless you
always. Never forget to smile, Larabel.”
To heed Pope Francis’ call
to go to the peripheries, the PAREF Rosehill Student Council launched
its outreach project, “Sole for a Soul” in August 2015. This is one of
the school’s on-going relief efforts for Tolosa, Leyte residents who
were severely affected by Typhoon Yolanda last November 2013.
The Student Council believes
that giving a pair of school shoes to the beneficiaries will help them
feel better about going to school.
Rosehill is grateful to
parents, students and teachers who supported this project and to the
Tindog Tolosa Foundation for this opportunity to reach out to Doña
Brigida students and teachers.
Students from Grade 6 to
Fourth Year High School donated P500 and they were encouraged to raise
the money on their own.
Niki, a Grade 7 student
said, “I saved up from my allowance and I was happy that I got to help
someone who deserves much more.”
Bea, who is in Grade 6,
earned her P500 donation by playing the violin in an event. “I felt
great to be able to help in my own little way,” she said.
Indeed, it was worthwhile
saving up for that ‘soleful’ cause. As Betina said, “Seeing the smiles
on their faces and even some tears of joy upon getting the shoes
really made me realize that the best things in life are free. In the
end, it was as if the 500 pesos we each raised had a new "value" and
it was, ironically, priceless.
conditions for inmates affected by Leyte prison fire
December 2, 2015
MANILA – Access to
clean water, sanitation and overall health and living conditions have
improved for 1,800 inmates affected by the fire that struck Leyte
Regional Prison two months ago.
On October 8, the prison’s
Maximum Security Compound was completely destroyed by a fire that also
claimed the lives of 10 inmates and injured several others.
“Since it would take some
time before a permanent structure could be rebuilt, we supported the
prison authorities in taking temporary measures so the inmates may
have slightly better conditions,” said Woody Assaf, head of the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office in Tacloban.
On October 25, the ICRC
installed two rub halls or relocatable tent-like structures as
emergency shelters. The affected prisoners were initially moved to the
Minimum Security Compound or slept outdoors after the blaze.
“We continue to improve the
rub halls by working on its concrete flooring. Elderly prisoners and
those with ailments were prioritized to occupy the rub halls, which
also helped decongest the Minimum Security Compound, where about 750
affected prisoners remain. The authorities could partly restore the
segregation between compounds, which helps in prison management,” said
Two 10,000-liter water
tanks, distribution lines, and water points were installed by the ICRC
to increase the availability of potable water in the prison,
benefiting all inmates. Twenty-four new toilets are also being built
for their use.
Relief assistance for the
prisoners, in the form of dressing kits, medicines and medical items,
2,000 hygiene kits, and 409 sleeping mats and blankets, were provided
by the ICRC about a month ago, on top of other emergency items it
distributed with the Philippine Red Cross a day after the fire.
Support was provided to ensure that access to basic health services
Within its confidential
dialogue with the Bureau of Corrections, the ICRC shared its findings,
coordinated its response plan, and will further support the
authorities in January to develop a plan of action to restore optimum
conditions of detention.
As part of its long-term
support to the detaining authorities, the ICRC will soon complete the
construction of a new infirmary in Leyte Regional Prison to enhance
access to, and improve the quality of, medical care for the inmates.
Leyte Regional Prison is one
of the places of detention being visited in the country by the ICRC, a
neutral, impartial, and independent humanitarian organization, to
monitor the conditions of detention and the treatment of people
deprived of freedom.