9.28.2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

Philippines’ TreeVolution: Greening MindaNOW breaks Guinness World Record 

By Venus L. Garcia

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 26 (PIA) – The record breaking attempt of TreeVolution:Greening MindaNOW has made Philippines as the new holder of Guinness World Record for the most number of trees planted in just one hour in multiple locations, with a partial tally of 2,003,251 as of 2:38:40 p.m. on Friday, announced Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Caraga area manager Cecilia Triño.

By enjoining all Mindanawons to beat the record of India wherein 1,945,535 were planted, the target to set a remarkable milestone was already attained even as the core monitoring team is still waiting for the complete count of trees planted from all six Mindanao regions.

Triño said that although the target of TreeVolution is too ambitious, it can't be denied that Filipinos can actually achieve a worldwide recognition for planting millions of trees.

She lauded the planters for accepting the challenge to hit the ground and be part of this historic event through a spirit of volunteerism.

"Initial validation at our level confirms our triumph but we have to go through the tedious process of evaluation by the Guinness World Record team. All evidences such as videos, wrist bands, registration forms, and all other required proofs will be forwarded to them before the official declaration," she added.

Upon knowing the initial result of breaking the record of India's Guinness World Record, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Caraga regional director Nonito Tamayo congratulated and thanked the partner agencies, local government units, technical working group, participants, and the community as a whole.

He particularly extended his gratitude to Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga headed by regional director Abner Caga for the job well done and its all-out support by rendering a special blow by blow and comprehensive coverage of the event.   

“Without your cooperation and hardwork, we can't achieve our goal of this undertaking. Let’s keep working together as one in the advocacy for a greener Mindanao,” remarked Tamayo.

In response, Caga sent his warmest congratulations to the men and women of MinDA and DENR who spearheaded and made serious preparations in a month span of time. “Far beyond our responsibility to disseminate relevant information to the public is keeping our advocacy on environmental protection,” he said.

Meanwhile, MinDA Secetary Luwalhati Antonino said during her interview over PIA Caraga’s 107.8 Power FM radio station that she witnessed a majority of young people participating in the activity.

“It is a good sign that younger generation is showing care and concern to our environment and I hope that the enthusiasm will prevail. We all deserve this victory. Through our unified efforts, we have surpassed the record of India. Our interest now shall focus also in nurturing these trees," articulated Antonino.

With more trees still being counted, MinDA’s TreeVolution website update as of 10:23 p.m., September 26 revealed that there are already 3,373,762 trees planted by 183, 858 planters out of the initial target of 4,636,000 covering a total of 9,200 hectares. (VLG/PIA-Caraga)


MinDA secretary recognizes efforts of Treevolution planters in Mindanao

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 26 (PIA) – Secretary Luwalhati Antonino of Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) expressed her appreciation and recognition to all the participants of the TreeVolution: Greening MindaNOW tree planting activity held Friday in multiple locations in Mindanao. 

"I'm so happy to witness the participation of young people during today's TreeVolution: Greening MindaNOW tree planting activity in most of the planting sites in Mindanao. This means that they are really concern about the environment and they are willing to enhance it by planting more trees," Antonino remarked during her interview on Friday afternoon over Power FM, Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga's radio station in this city.

When asked if there will be another TreeVolution by next year, Antonino confirmed that there will be another one in 2015. "I just hope that their enthusiasm to participate will still remain," she emphasized.

Antonino further acknowledged that Mindanawons are truly nature lovers.

"We all deserve this victory. It's all because of our unified efforts in achieving our main goal and that is to plant more trees and live in a greener life. Beating the record of India for having the most number of planted trees in multiple locations in Mindanao in just an hour is a blessing which we all should be thankful for," articulated Antonino.

Also, Antonino revealed that the government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will tap the services of the indigenous peoples (IPs) through the food for work program to serve as stewards of the trees.

“Through said program, it will also increase the coverage of people who can avail of it, decrease poverty level and help the underprivileged improve the quality of their life. They will be stewards of the planted seedlings to ensure their growth and protection,” disclosed Antonino.

She said the Payment for Environmental Services will be duplicated from other regions wherein funds will be solicited from institutions, businesses and civic organizations to be used in maintaining the growth of the trees planted. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


Butuan dad commends TreeVolution participants

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 26 (PIA) – “I commend the full support and participation of our co-Butuanons from all sectors who undoubtedly volunteered themselves to achieve our goal for the Guinness World Record. It was a noble act, not only for the environment but also for the next generation to experience a greener surroundings. What we did was indeed historic for we are able to unite and finished planting the target seedlings before one hour.”

This was the statement of Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr during today’s TreeVolution: Greening MindaNow tree planting activity held in Barangay Bancasi.

At exactly 8:30 a.m. Amante led the final countdown before planting begins. "For today's TreeVolution: Greening MindaNOW, we have chosen the 4-feet tall Mahogany seedlings because the higher the plant, there is more chance of survival based on our findings... The employees of the city government and the barangay folks are here participating in this activity. There is a total of 3,000 planters here," he said.

Along with other planters, Amante and his wife planted several seedlings and observed others how they do it.

"The city government has assigned a nurturing team to ensure that the planted trees during the TreeVolution will really grow. We will not let that our efforts for this historic event will just be put to waste. We will intensify our greening program so this will sustain," stressed Amante.

Also, after one hour of planting, all participants moved out in the planting site and safely returned their wrist band to the stewards. They also indicated in the registration form as to how many seedlings they were able to plant. Meanwhile, the stewards meticulously counted the wrist bands returned to them and started to consolidated data.

“Whatever initiative that we will do for our city will surely benefit all. Let's make tree planting our usual activity, not only today but for the rest of the days," he remarked.

Amante and his team then posed for posterity showing thumbs-up as sign of support to TreeVolution and success. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)


USAD, food production, power generation, tourism can sail together in AdS – Gov Plaza

By David M. Suyao

PROSPERIDAD,  Agusan del Sur, Sep. 26 (PIA) - The flagship program of the provincial government called Upland Sustainable Agri-forestry Development Program (USAD), food production and electric power generation that Agusan del Sur are now giving much attention can become the major income generating projects and tourist attraction and destination.

During the first Tourism Stakeholders’ Summit here, Agusan del Sur Gov. Adolph Edward Plaza said while giving much weight to USAD to become full blown in Agusan del Sur by developing rubber, coffee, upland rice and other high value crops plantations in the upland areas, these can also become tourist attractions and destinations if given serious attention and comprehensive and doable plans.

“The USAD, being our flagship program that we believe will address poverty and food problem, is now at the height of its implementation. In this program, developing of rubber, coffee cacao plantation in the mountainous areas and upland rice in the lower areas are the main objective of this program that can attract farmers, technologists and tourist in order to learn and improve the technology in upland farming, and enjoy the sceneries that the beauty of farming can bring,” Gov. Plaza said.

Gov. Plaza posted his challenge to all the municipal executives to show him the tourism potentials of their respective municipalities because he is willing to give counter share in order to develop the areas if ever they pass the requirements.

“Also, I want you to know that our initial plan for Wawa river is to construct a dam for agricultural production but with the findings of Japanese technologists that the river can become source of hydro power generation that can produce from 20 to 26 megawatts of electric power, we are expanding our plan believing that along with power generation, tourism industry will also flourish,” Gov. Plaza said.

The plans and programs that Gov. Plaza presented was confirmed by Department of Tourism (DOT) assistant secretary Arturo Boncato saying the DOT has came up with the new introduction called Agri-Tourism program whose aim is to extend opportunities to the communities who have tourist attraction areas and are also engaged in agriculture.

According to Asec. Boncato, four years ago when the Aquino administration took over the governance and DOT has new secretary, the DOT has formulated the new National Tourism Development Plan and Agri-tourism is included in that plan.

“But we believe that tourism will only become a program without the private sector intervention. For us, the private sector is the heart and soul of tourism because it creates a big 'Bang,'” Asec Boncato said.

Boncato further said the DOT is targeting 10 million entries of foreign tourists and 56 million local tourist this year with DOT’s three strategic direction which are to develop market competitiveness, develop road network and the tourism institutional development- governance and human resources. (DMS/PIA-Agusan del Sur)


Feature: More babies exclusively breastfed, but for shorter period

By Imelda A. Agdeppa

Breastfeeding is the best way of providing infants with the nutrients from the mother’s milk which they crucially need for a healthy headstart at growth and development early in life.

Breastmilk is the ideal and complete food because it contains all the nutrients an infant needs in the first six months of life. It protects babies against common infant diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. Breastmilk is also readily available, ensuring infants of adequate sustenance. It also promotes sensory and cognitive development among infants.

The 2011 updating survey on infant feeding practices among children 0-23 months old by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) revealed that among 0-5 month-old infants, about half (or 48.9 percent) are exclusively breastfed.

Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breastmilk and no other liquids or solids are given, not even water, with the exception of oral rehydration solution, or drops and syrups of vitamins, minerals or medicine.

Results of the survey also revealed that among 6-8 month-old infants, only 5.1 percent are exclusively breastfed, while among 9-23 month-old infants; a measly 0.6 percent are exclusively breastfed.

The survey covered 6,653 children 0-23 months old. Of these children 24 percent belongs to the 0-5 month old group, 27.4 percent to the 6-11 month old group and 48.6 percent to the 12-23 month age group.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends to mothers worldwide to exclusively breastfeed infants at least for the first six months to achieve optimal growth, development and health for the infant.

The region with the highest percentage of exclusively breastfed 0-5 months old infants is Eastern Visayas with 72.7 percent.

On the other hand, Central Luzon, Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon (CALABARZON), National Capital Region (NCR), Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Cagayan Valley and Central Visayas are the regions with lower percentages of exclusively breastfed children. These range from 27.8 to 48.5 percent, which are lower than the national percentage of 48.9 percent.

The survey also revealed that 51.9 percent or about half of mothers start to breastfeed within the recommended one hour after delivery, followed by 32.3 percent or one-third at less than one day after delivery, and 15.8 percent at more than one day after delivery. Immediate breastfeeding within an hour after birth is crucial because of colostrum, the yellowish, sticky breastmilk produced at the end of pregnancy. The WHO recommends colostrums as the perfect food for the newborn due to the antibodies it contains.

According to the 2011 updating survey, the proportion of exclusively breastfed 0-5 month-old infants is 46.7 percent, higher compared to the 2008 national nutrition survey result of 35.9 percent. This reflects an increase of 10.8 percentage points.

Moreover in 2011, the proportion of exclusively breastfed 0-23 month-old infants is higher 11. 8 percent, compared to 8.6 percent in 2008.
Exclusive breastfeeding reduces infant mortality due to common childhood illnesses like diarrhea and pneumonia and helps the baby recover during illness.

Breastfeeding likewise benefits mothers, as it helps to space children, reduces the risk of some cancers such as ovarian and breast cancers.

Further, breastfeeding helps women return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster and lowers rates of obesity.

Although there have been increases in the proportions of exclusively breastfed infants over the years, the increases are only in small percentages.

Policies to promote and protect breastfeeding like providing nursing stations in the workplaces, must be seriously implemented, and should be compatible with women’s work.

Strict implementation of the Mother-and-Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (MBFHI), includes giving the infant immediately to the mother to breastfeed within the first hour of birth to make sure colostrum is consumed by the infant.

Communication and advocacy for active involvement in support of breastfeeding is important in increasing the percentage of exclusively breastfed infants.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City. Email: mvc@fnri.dost.gov.ph. Telefax: 837-2934 and 827-3164, or call 837-2071 local 2296 or visit our website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph. (FNRI-DOST S & T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)


Feature: Cutting down on salt

By Ma. Idelia G. Glorioso

Sodium is an essential mineral for life. It is found in the blood and in the fluid that surrounds cells. It maintains cellular environment and prevents cells from swelling or dehydrating. Sodium is also important for maintaining proper nerve and muscle cell function.

An overly high intake of sodium which is a component of salt, has been linked to high blood pressure particularly in susceptible individuals. High blood pressure increases risk of heart disease, stroke and other diseases. Sodium affects the blood pressure in two ways. These are by favoring the retention of too much water in the blood and by causing the swelling of the innermost lining of the arteries which narrows the diameter of the blood vessel.

Limiting sodium — which is present in salt, seasonings, processed foods, bread, bakery products and other substances in foods you eat — is one of the most important things that people with hypertension can do. Sodium retains fluid in the body. To pump the added fluid, the heart has to work harder. People with heart failure should not put this extra strain on their hearts.

It is estimated that many Filipinos eat more salt and sodium than recommended. The Filipino diet contains about 2000 mg of sodium coming from sodium inherent in foods, particularly animal and vegetable foods as well as from salt added to food which is about 5g of salt. With the addition of soy sauce, patis, mono sodium glutamate (MSG) or vetsin and other salty condiments during cooking or seasonings at the table, or excessive intake of salty fish and highly salted fermented fish or sauces such as bagoong, the sodium intake increases drastically to about 6000 mg (about 15g of salt).

The 2003 National Nutrition and Health Survey (NNHes) conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) has shown the prevalence of hypertension of 22.5% among Filipino adults. This means that 22 in every 100 Filipino adults are hypertensive. The survey also noted that at the age of 40 years, the blood pressure starts to rise.

Here are some tried-and-true ways for reducing sodium intake:

Limiting salt when you eat:
Eat natural foods with little or no added salt.
Take the salt, patis, bagoong, soy sauce, catsup off the table.
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables and other low-sodium foods instead of canned and processed foods.
Eat fresh meats and fish instead of ham, bacon, tinapa, dilis, daing, etc.
Limiting salt when you cook
Avoid any seasonings, including soy sauce, patis, bagoong, bouillon cubes, chili sauce, meat tenderizer, soy sauce, steak sauce, and worcestershire sauce.
Use fresh herbs, lemon juice and vinegar as seasonings in place of salt.
Drain and rinse canned foods before preparing them in order to remove some of the salt.
Limiting salt when you shop
Read food labels to check salt content (listed as "sodium") . It is still important to read the label to see exactly how much salt it contains. The less salt, the better!
 Start with what is in your cabinet right now so you can stop buying high-sodium foods such as processed/instant foods and snack chips.

The correct balance of electrolytes and water within the body cells is essential for life's vital functions. The most important electrolytes are sodium, potassium and chloride with small amounts of bicarbonate, magnesium, calcium and other trace minerals. To balance electrolytes in your body, drink plenty of water and eat fruits high in potassium like banana and orange juice.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, FNRI Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City, Tel./Fax: 8372934, 8373164; e-mail: mvc@fnri.dost.gov.ph or at mar_v_c@yahoo.com; FNRI-DOST website: http//www.fnri@dost.gov.ph. (FNRI-DOST S&T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)


Surigao City hosts forum on national standards

By Rodrigo R. Matabaran

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Sept. 26 (PIA) - The Philippine Association of Black Iron and Galvanized Iron Pipes and Tubes Manufacturers, Inc. in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) conducted a Forum on Philippine National Standards (PNS) 26:2003 or the Black Iron and Galvanized Iron Steel Pipes PNS on September 22, 2014 at Parkway Hotel, Barangay Luna, this city.

The activity is an information campaign to disseminate information and regulatory mechanism governing product standards particularly on PNS 26:2003, a product standard for black iron and galvanized iron steel pipes.

In his welcome message, DTI provincial director Celestino L. Negapatan expressed his gratitude to the technical team of Philippine Association of Black Iron and Galvanized Iron Pipes and Tubes Manufacturers, Inc. and to the participants as well for their effort and for finding time to join the activity.

He explained that one of the agency’s priorities is the continuing effort to educate the business sector, the local government units, other stakeholders and the general public on product standards.

A total of 62 participants attended the forum composed of hardware store owners and their representatives, contractors, civil engineers, building designers and engineering office personnel of the local government units of the provinces and municipalities of Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Island, some officers of different consumer groups in the province including Surigao Consumer Association, Surigao del Norte Consumer Organization, Inc. and Claver Consumer Organization.

During the forum, Engr. Patrocinio J. Santos, Senior Technical Officer and Roderick B. Loreto, Junior Technical Officer of the Phil. Association of BI-GI Pipes Manufacturers informed the participants about the mandatory standards of PNS 26:2003 for Black Iron and Galvanized Iron Steel Pipes.

Engr. Santos and Junior Technical Officer Loreto, emphasized on some technical details as well as the quality of steel pipes with product standards certification whether produced by local manufacturers or imported from other countries, they encouraged the local hardware dealers to buy and sell steel pipes that passed the standards for the overall welfare and safety of the consuming public and consumers were advised to buy the right type of steel pipes for a particular use whether for water pipes or structural purposes considering safety and cost implications.

DTI personnel also presented and discussed topics on the Promotion of Green Economic Development (PROGED), Consumer Act, Consumers Rights and Department Administrative Orders governing product standards that stipulates fines and penalties to business establishments violating laws governing product standards and among others. (SDR/DTI-Surigao del Norte/PIA-Surigao del Norte)