Friday, August 11, 2017

Bislig City to host 4 International events on September 2018

By Nida Grace P. Barcena

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, August 11 (PIA) – The city mayor of Bislig in Surigao del Sur has confirmed their hosting of four significant international events on September 2018.

City Mayor Librado Navarro revealed the information during the flag ceremony on Monday, August 7 and during the ASEAN landmark lighting on Tuesday, August 8.

According to Mayor Navarro, Bislig City will host the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM), International Organic Forum, First Declaration of Asian Organic Day, and the Asian Local Government for Organic Agriculture (ALGOA) Summit in September 2018.

It can be recalled that Mayor Navarro was one of the participants during the ALGOA Summit on September 27 to October 1, 2016, attended by representatives from Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines. During the event, he also signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the development of Organic Agriculture in their Respective Area held in Goesan County, Chungbuk Province, Korea.

Navarro appealed to all Bisliganons to support and help the city government achieve its vision to be the “Model City for Organic Agriculture in the Philippines by 2020.”

Other priority programs of the administration include the following: to boost the economy, launching of Operation 911, basic social services, environmental protection, infrastructure, and improvement of Bislig core values of Integrity, Courage, Resiliency, Accountability and Sustainability. (PIA-Surigao del Sur)


USAID grants livelihood bond to benefit 385,000 women in Southeast Asia

BUTUAN CITY, Aug. 11 (PIA) - The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is guaranteeing a four-year, eight million dollars women’s livelihood bond (WLB) that will provide access to credit, market linkages and affordable goods and services for an estimated 385,000 Southeast Asian women.

The bond which is structured by the Singapore-based Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) is expected to be listed on the Singapore Exchange this month and will be the first social sustainability bond, with a dual focus on social and financial returns, to be listed on a major stock exchange. USAID is providing a 50 percent guarantee of the loan portfolio’s principal to mitigate risk, attract investors and support development.

“USAID is pleased to support the WLB with this loan guarantee,” said Todd Sorenson, deputy mission director at USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia in Bangkok.  “The bond will benefit women living in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) states, particularly Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines,” Sorenson added.

The WLB will provide capital to a group of microfinance institutions and social enterprises that will help low-income women transition from subsistence to sustainable livelihoods and build their resilience to socio-economic stresses.  Long-term benefits, in addition to more successful women-owned businesses, include increased participation in the workforce, higher standards of living, and more education and health opportunities for women and children.

“This brings us one step closer to a day when our financial markets consider social and environmental impact on an equal footing with financial returns,” said IIX founder Durreen Shahnaz, noting that the WLB was supported by public, private and philanthropic institutions, including DBS Bank Ltd., ANZ Banking Group, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Sixty percent of the capital for this bond was provided by Asian investors, mostly private banking clients. IIX is planning to develop additional social sustainability bonds in the future.

Since 1999, USAID through the Development Credit Authority has arranged more than 350 million dollars in credit through 63 guarantees in 13 Asian nations. USAID’s loan guarantee for the WLB  is part of its commitment to the development of the ASEAN region.  The U.S. government partners with ASEAN to support economic integration, expand maritime cooperation, cultivate emerging leaders, promote opportunity for women, and address transnational challenges. (U.S. Embassy/PIA-Caraga)


Feature: Flying high with OTOP Tindahang Pinoy Butuan

The store is abuzz with customers, busily reading the labels and gasping with pleasant surprise as they identify the producers of the different products.

Launched in November of 2004 and formerly known as the OTOP Pasalubong Center, the OTOP Tindahang Pinoy in Gaisano, Jose Rosales Avenue, Butuan City houses a delightful array of products from all over Caraga.

Preparations for its launch started as early as 2002, when now-Provincial Director of DTI- Agusan del Norte Gay A. Tidalgo, together with Engr. Renato S. Corvera, who used to be Gaisano’s Manager, travelled all the way to the Gaisano City Mall in Cagayan de Oro City to seek an audience with the Gaisano patriarch, Don Stephen Sy Gaisano.

After three arduous but hopeful attempts to ask for assistance in finding a home for the OTOP Tindahang Pinoy, the Don finally agreed and identified a 21-square meter space at the mall’s ground floor and granted a discounted rental fee of P20,000 a month with no increase for the next five years.

PD Gay A. Tidalgo first identified CREATE Food as partners to run the store at an P80,000 budget on the condition that they would receive subsidy for their overhead expenses only for the first six months of operation. In return, CREATE Food would get three percent from the gross profit.

CREATE Food soon found that pioneering a fledgling store atop attending to obligations as producers was not as easy as they thought it would be. In 2007, after a series of interventions from the DTI- Agusan del Norte that included organizational strengthening, among others, the OTOP Tindahang Pinoy finally found structure and organizational stability through the active leadership of Manager Kerwin S. Uy.

Today, it can be said that the first-ever OTOP Tindahang Pinoy in Butuan City is among the most-visited stores at the Gaisano Mall.

Enjoying sales of 1.2M per month in the last two years, sales soar to more than 2M during the peak seasons of April to June, when balikbayans return to Butuan to celebrate the town fiesta and from October to December, when Butuanons fly home to be with family and friends.

The customers leave with packages in hand, the excitement of buying local still on their faces. (DTI-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)


Asia’s premier charity, awards gala on HIV advocacy unveiled

BUTUAN CITY, Aug. 11 (PIA) - Long before Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach exponentially raised the human immunodeficiency virus - acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV-AIDS) awareness in the country, many Filipino individuals have been working hard to change the landscape of HIV-AIDS advocacy in the country.

Ten of them will be recognized this World AIDS Day on December 1, 2017 during the first-ever “Love Gala”.

The Love Gala, as unveiled Wednesday (August 9), is the Asia’s Premier Charity and Awards Gala event, which will honor outstanding individuals and their immeasurable contributions at “The Ripple Awards”.

The organization believes that “a single person's act of love can start a wave that can save millions of people."

The Ripple Awards nomination period is open until 31 August 2017.

Visit the Love Gala page: http://lovegala.org/nominate-now/ to nominate someone who has created ripples of positive change that greatly influenced the domestic and global movement towards the HIV-AIDS advocacy.

Potential nominees can be a representative from the following sectors:

• Business (HIV policy in the workplace, companies, programs for business)

• Youth (program for the youth sector, youth-initiated)

• Academe (educational institutions, school organizations, program for schools)

• Government (legislators, LGUs, government organizations)

• Media & Advertising (digital, media organizations, media programs)

• Influencer (individual)

• NGOs (NGO-led programs)

• PLHIV (support groups, individual)

• Medical (hospitals, doctors, clinics, medical practitioner)

• Arts (films, stage play, artworks, artists)

The gala is a collaboration of private and public institutions and youth-oriented organizations to augment the efforts in mainstreaming the HIV-AIDS advocacy to a larger audience.

Institutions and organizations coming together for Love Gala are the following: AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Black Maria Productions, Decent Image of South Signal Association (DIOSSA), Dentsu, Pinoy Plus Association Incorporated, Positibong Marino Philippines, Sustained Health Initiatives of the Philippines (SHIP), Taguig City Government, Team Mag, The Red Whistle, The LoveYourself Incorporated and the US Embassy.

Behind this extensive collaboration of Filipino organizations is “Better Together."

Better Together is an initiative founded by Dr. Antoine Bondaz and Mr. Kenneth Kwok for the purpose of empowering the future generations in Asia and beyond, is a founding member of the Love Gala.

Uniting for a single cause, the gala will also feature a concert headlined by artists who are also HIV-AIDS awareness advocates, and a mini auction that will raise funds to further HIV-AIDS education.

With the Philippines peaking its HIV infection incidence, “We have to firmly stand together in fighting this pandemic, not only for the Philippines, but for the rest of Asia and beyond,” stated organization representative. (Loveyourself.ph/PIA-Caraga)


New courses offered in DOST scholarship

By Keziah Suzaine W. Francisco

BUTUAN CITY, Aug. 11 - The Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) announced its call for applications for its undergraduate and junior level Science scholarships.

For the academic year 2018-2019, SEI has added more courses to its S&T priority courses for the scholarship. New courses include Aeronautical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Agribusiness Management, Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Technology, Applied Statistics, Animal Science, Industrial Design, Industrial Management Engineering-Information Technology, Industrial Pharmacy, Information System, Information Technology System, Manufacturing Engineering Management-Biomedical Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering Management-Mechatronics and Robotics, Marine Biology, Marine Science, Mechatronics Engineering, Medical Technology, Meteorology, Microbiology, Nutrition, Nutrition and Dietetics, Pharmacy (4-year program), Pharmacy major in Clinical Pharmacy (5-year program), Packaging Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, (BS) Psychology, Public Health, and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

For the undergraduate scholarships, Grade 12 students who are either members of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) strand senior graduating class or members of the top five (5 percent) of the Non-STEM strand senior graduating class may apply. The deadline for filing of the application will be on August 25, 2017. The examination is scheduled on October 15, 2017.

Meanwhile, all regular 3rd-year college students in an identified priority S&T course with a general weighted average of at least 83 percent in his/her first and second years in college may apply for the Junior Level Science Scholarship (JLSS). All accomplished application forms must be submitted on or before September 22, 2017. The JLSS Examination will be on November 19, 2017.

Application forms and scholarship brochures may be downloaded from http://sei.dost.gov.ph/index.php/downloads. All applicants may submit their accomplished forms to the DOST Region XI, Dumanlas Road, Bajada, Davao City and to the Provincial Science and Technology Center near them.


For more information on the scholarship application, you may contact them through their official social media accounts, @dostregion11, and through website, http://region11.dost.gov.ph/. (DOST-STIIPR/PIA-Caraga)