Wednesday, July 30, 2014
MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today said that the corporate sector should innovate towards sustainability and green development, or continue to face the growing threats of climate change.
Speaking before more than a hundred advertisers representing different companies, Legarda named industries, such as building and construction, finance, and food and beverage, which are threatened by risks posed by environmental trends.
“In general, climate change affects operating costs, markets for products and availability of raw materials, and the changing weather patterns and extreme weather events could also cause business interruption and infrastructure damage,” she said at the General Membership Meeting of the Philippine Association of National Advertisers (PANA).
Citing a 2013 report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), GEO-5 for Business: Impacts of a Changing Environment on the Corporate Sector, Legarda said that the increasing temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere, while seen as a threat, should actually promote ingenuity and innovation in the private sector.
For instance, in the building and construction industry, higher material costs due to availability constraints will be a challenge. But there will be a growing demand for green and sustainable infrastructure and buildings that are disaster-resilient.
Green building designs can generate up to 30% in energy savings, reduce carbon emissions by 35%, reduce water use by 30 to 50% and save 50 to 90% in waste output.
Meanwhile, in the insurance industry, a great concern is the increased cost of insurance claims resulting from extreme natural hazards. Re-insurer Munich Re experienced a 38 percent quarterly drop in profit partly due to the severe floods in Australia in 2010 to 2011, when claims exceeded US$350 million.
The industry can adapt by developing insurance products that would promote climate change adaptation and mitigation such as paying claims that encourage rebuilding homes and commercial buildings that are more energy-efficient after a loss.
The UNEP study also showed that the food and beverage industry is likely the most exposed to the effects of climate change because it is dependent on water resources and various raw materials from agriculture, livestock and fisheries.
“Companies should know and make known the risks and how climate change could affect their business. Mitigate and adapt to the changing climate by reducing the company’s negative impact on the environment. Create business strategies that advocate for ecosystems protection and consider the environmental changes ahead. Have a business continuity plan (BCP) that ensures business resilience and the welfare of employees following the impact of a disaster. Mainstream disaster risk reduction into corporate planning and investment decision-making. Work with the government and other sectors in finding solutions,” Legarda explained.
“The changing environmental landscape poses various challenges that would likewise transform the business landscape, but forward-thinking companies will see adaptation as an opportunity to innovate and contribute to improving the environment,” she added.
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga-President Benigno Aquino III has appointed Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali as the new chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC).
“Your role as RPOC Chair of Region III is very significant in the light of the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Philippine National Police’s efforts to keep the streets of Central Luzon free from crime and lawlessness. Ensuring peace and order and public safety is a common goal that we share, and we look forward to a fruitful and productive partnership with you as we continue to keep the communities of Central Luzon safe and sound,” Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas told Umali in a message read by Regional Director Florida Dijan.
Moreover, Police Regional Director CSupt. Raul Delfin Petrasanta was appointed Vice Chair of the council.
“RPOCs, per Executive Order Nos. 739 and 773 are responsible for the orchestration of internal security operations efforts of civil authorities, agencies, military, and police at the subnational level,” Dijan explained
Its membership is made up of all provincial governors, mayors of highly urbanized cities, chapter presidents of municipal mayor’s league, regional directors of national government agencies, a representative from the mayors of component cities, infantry division commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the area, and three representatives from the private sector. (Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu)
MANILA-A bill granting automatic college admission and scholarship to the top 10 graduating public high school students was approved by the Senate on third and final reading today.
Sen. Pia Cayetano, chair of the Committee on Education, Arts and Culture and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 2275, said the measure, also known as the Iskolar ng Bayan Act of 2014, seeks to make quality higher education more accessible to the underprivileged youth.
Senate President Franklin M. Drilon also hailed the passage of the measure, saying that such initiatives can help address the challenge of providing complete and quality education for the Filipino youth.
“Binilisan natin ang pagpasa nito, upang sa susunod na pasukan ay maging ganap na batas na ito at mapakinabangan ng ating mga kabataan. Sa batas na ito, kahit mahirap ka, basta magaling ka, ikaw ay may laban na makapasok nang libre sa mga state universities and colleges,” he said.
Under the proposed legislation, Cayetano said, the top 10 public high school students of their graduating class would be accorded automatic admission to State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) of their choice within their provinces or nearby provinces, depending on the size of the SUCs and their course offerings.
However, she said, the University of the Philippines (UP) will be excluded in the list of SUCs due to its institutional autonomy as the national university unless it would come up with its own scholarship program for the top 10 public high school students.
“It is an unfortunate fact that college education is out of reach of majority of the Filipinos,” Cayetano lamented during her sponsorship speech.
Cayetano cited a study conducted by the Department of Education which showed that out of the 45 students who graduate from high school, only 26 students actually enrol in college. According to the study, the high cost of education is the primary reason for the low turn-out of enrolees in college.
“The youth are either employed or would rather search employment. The quality of higher education must be more accessible to the students,” Cayetano stressed.
She said once the bill was enacted into law, the scholars would be provided with free tuition fees, textbook allowance and a monthly living allowance.
“The Iskolar ng Bayan Program provides a big incentive for high school students to work hard and excel in their academics in order to rank within the top 10 of their graduating class and be afforded the benefits of this measure,” Cayetano said, adding: “Poverty and lack of opportunities will not hinder the crème de la crème of our public high school system from pursuing higher education.” (Patrishia Catilo)
MANILA-The Senate today approved on third and final reading a bill which seeks to instill business acumen among the Filipino youth by introducing entrepreneurship and financial subjects in the curriculum.
Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, chair of the Committee of Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship and sponsor of Senate Bill 2212, said the measure seeks to encourage Filipinos to go into businesses for themselves as an alternative solution to unemployment and underemployment.
“As the number of unemployed youth in the country grows each year, we really have to create new ways of thinking to address the epidemic,” Aquino said in his sponsorship speech.
“Through training and exposure, young people would have an option of choosing to be their own bosses and start their own businesses as an option, instead of being an employee for a company that is not their own,” he added.
Under the bill, Aquino said, the Department of Education would develop and integrate subjects and competencies in entrepreneurship in the curriculum for the primary, secondary and alternative learning modules.
In addition, he said, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and other private institutions would develop entrepreneurship and financial literacy modules for the tertiary and post-secondary education.
He said financing and grants would also be provided for the students, together with mentoring and the much-needed market linkages.
“Financial literacy in the basic education system is a good foundation for entrepreneurship in the future. Let us enable an environment where these young people can harness their innate energy and creativity and provide them the opportunity to start on their own and build their own businesses,” Aquino said. (Pilar S. Macrohon)
MANILA-In a move to further uplift the welfare and dignity of women, the Senate today moved to repeal an outdated law which penalizes widows who remarry within three hundred and one days after the death of her husband.
Senate Bill No. 1647, filed by Sen. Nancy Binay under Committee Report No. 47 and sponsored by Senator Pia Cayetano, chair of the Senate Committee on Women, Family Relations and Gender Equality, repeals Article 351 of the Revised Penal Code, which punishes women who contract premature marriages.
Senate President Franklin M. Drilon lauded the lady senators who took the lead in the latest effort of the Upper Chamber to eliminate discrimination and promote gender equality.
“This measure enjoyed the full support of the Senate, for it is only right to abolish laws that serve no purpose other than to perpetuate discrimination against women,” he said.
Known as “Crime of Premature Marriage,” Article 351 also covers women whose marriages have been annulled or dissolved, if she marries before the expiration of the period of 301 days after her legal separation.
Violators face punishment of one month to six months jail term and a fine not exceeding P500.
“Since there has been no known conviction for violation of Article 351 of the Revised Penal Code, it is high time that we in Congress take the necessary step to abolish antiquated laws which serve no other purpose other than to perpetuate discrimination against women,” Binay said.
“Approval of the measure by a male dominant-Senate is the right step towards ensuring the equality of law between men and women,” she added.
For her part, Cayetano said that there should be no room for laws that “perpetuates discrimination against women in our laws.”
Senators Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar and Binay signed the committee report. (Apple Buenaventura)
The Senate today approved on third and final reading two bills seeking to make education more accessible to poor and working Filipino students.
Approved were Senate Bill No. 2272, also known as the Ladderized Education Act of 2014 and Senate Bill No. 2274, or the Act which seeks to expand access to education through open learning and distance education.
SBN 2272 was sponsored by Sen. Pia Cayetano, chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, and co-sponsored by Sen. Cynthia Villar while SBN 2274 was sponsored by Cayetano and co-sponsored by Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Jinggoy Estrada, Antonio Trillanes IV, Miriam Defensor Santiago, and Villar.
Senate President Franklin M. Drilon welcomed the passage of the bills in the opening of the 16th Congress, saying that the improvement of the national education system “remains as one of the most important in our legislative agenda.”
“These approved measures are designed to remove barriers to the effective delivery of education throughout the country, such as poverty, distance and age. We really need to make our education more readily accessible to all for a better future,” he said.
Institutionalization of Ladderized Education
SBN 2272 seeks to institutionalize the ladderized education program established under Executive Order 358, series of 2004, which provided for the mandate and legal framework for a wider-scaled-and accelerated -implementation of ladderized education nationwide, according Cayetano.
Ladderized education is a system of education that allows students to progress between technical-vocational education and training (TVET) and college, and vice-versa, while at the same time opening opportunities for career and educational advancement for working and non-working students.
Under the ladderized system of education, Cayetano explained, a student who has completed two years of tech-voc training will receive a certificate, allowing him or her to gain employment as soon as possible. A student may proceed to further studies if he or she would choose to.
“Many Filipino youth and adults take tech-voc courses because they cannot afford the expenses of a regular education. Tech-voc training by itself is a viable career option because it is rapid, flexible, jobs-oriented and competency based,” Cayetano said.
She cited a Philippine poverty and education profile report published by the University of the Philppines-School of Economics on September 2013 which showed that out of 100 children who entered elementary schools, only 45 students graduated from high school and 13 completed college.
Cayetano said the enactment of SBN 2272 into law would address the present compartmentalization of tech-voc courses, along with college degree programs that hinder the recognition and accreditation of tech-voc competencies in college degree programs. She said the bill synchronizes tech-voc and college degree programs, thereby allowing individuals to progress between tech-voc courses, college degree programs and, ultimately, gainful employment.
For her part, Villar, who authored and led the passage of 28 bills on higher or technical education when she was the chairperson of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education from 2004 to 2010, said that a ladderized education system would benefit the poor by helping them attain higher or further education.
She said the ladderized system would allow graduates of tech-voc courses to pursue higher educational courses offered in colleges and universities without having to start all over again, as the system allows the transfer of credits earned from tech-voc courses to a degree program.
Expanding Open Learning and Distance Education
According to Cayetano, Senate Bill No. 2274 or distance education, is a mode of delivering education and instruction “on an individual basis to students who are not physically present in a traditional setting, such as the classroom.”
“Even though students and teachers are separated through time and space, the measure allows for instruction to be delivered through specially designed materials and methods, such as the use of more advanced technologies like the Internet,” she said.
Students enrolling in open learning systems can get their education through the use of different learning technologies and multimedia material, which strictly follow an approved curriculum, Cayetano further explained.
Under this measure, she said, distance education at the tertiary level will be at par with existing standards, and comparable to formal educational systems, giving more Filipinos more access to quality education and employment. (Yvonne Almirañez)
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