Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Legarda: DRR in Business Sector is Not Just CSR

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda said that disaster risk reduction (DRR) is not merely part of the private sector’s corporate social responsibility (CSR), but should be at the core of business strategies.

Legarda, United Nations Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) for Asia-Pacific, made the statement at the Top Leaders Forum 2014: Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration for DRR, organized by SM Prime and the UN Office for DRR (UNISDR) on November 10, 2014 at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City.

“DRR is not only CSR. DRR and CCA should be at the core of business strategies. That is why we have the concept of business continuity planning, which the private sector should put in place to allow them to get their systems back in order immediately after a disaster without substantial disruption and income loss,” she said.

Legarda added that local disasters have become a global issue, considering the disruption in the supply chain of the affected manufacturing companies and stressed that businesses should think of DRR and CCA not as an additional cost, but as an investment.

“When you use geohazard maps and undertake multi-hazard risk assessments before building structures such as malls, housing or other establishments, and comply with updated building codes and standards, you ensure resilience. When you build resilience, you prevent damages and losses when natural hazards strikes, and you will see how you have actually saved because you invested in DRR. Resilience should be integrated and mainstreamed into business strategies, whether by multinational companies or micro, small and medium enterprises,” she said.

The Senator explained that the changing environmental landscape poses various challenges, such as extreme weather events being the new normal, which would likewise change the business landscape, but forward-thinking companies will see adaptation as an opportunity to innovate and contribute to improving the environment.

Legarda said that, as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) suggests, companies should know the disaster risks and how climate change could affect their business; mitigate and adapt to the changing climate by reducing their company’s negative impact on the environment; create business strategies that advocate for ecosystems protection and consider the environmental changes ahead; create BCPs that ensures business resilience and the welfare of employees following the impact of a disaster; mainstream DRR into corporate planning and investment decision-making; and work with the government and other sectors in finding solutions.

Jinggoy: Prosecution is the one delaying the proceedings

MANILA-This refers to recent reports using the statements issued by the prosecution which point to me and the defense panel as those who are delaying the proceedings on the bail petition before the Sandiganbayan. Such claims are utterly incredulous and bereft of logic.
More than anyone else, it is I who desires to have a speedy trial. It is I who is currently detained, who is away from my family and who is unable to perform my duties as a duly elected Senator.  
We have manifested before the court our intention and willingness to attend extra hearing dates and schedules (daily marathon hearings even), apart from the morning court session conducted every Monday. We have also asked for the use of judicial affidavits to expedite the proceedings; however the prosecution has on numerous occasions rejected the suggestion. As one justice has already pointed out, the court could save 50% of trial time should the prosecution agree to executing judicial affidavits.
It is clear that the members of the prosecution panel are the ones slowing down the pace of the proceedings by presenting so many witnesses (according to one of the prosecutors: 26 all in all for the bail petition alone) whose testimonies have no probative value. Remember that we are only hearing the bail petition which is summary in nature. We are not on the trial proper yet. As I am confident that I will be granted bail, the prosecution can present a thousand witnesses if they so wish during the trial proper.
May I just emphasize that while we desire a speedy trial – as a time in jail is a time wasted – this is not and should not be at the expense of the more substantive rights of the accused, i.e. the right to due process and the right to a fair trial. This is the main reason why we will oppose and will act accordingly on the moves of the prosecution panel which we believe may be contrary to law, fairness and justice.
That’s why my lawyers have filed appropriate motions and pleadings in the course of the proceedings, merely in response to the steps undertaken by the prosecution and on other developments on the case.
To my mind, the prosecution deliberately aims to move at a snail’s pace because up to this date they have no evidence against me and maybe they intend to use such holdup to concoct stories, coach witnesses and manufacture evidence.

NIA switches on JICA-funded mini-hydro power plant in Isabela

SAN MATEO, Isabela  -- The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) led the switching-on ceremony of the 45-kilowatt mini-hydro power plant along an irrigation canal here earlier this month on November 4, 2014.

Funded by JICA, the hydro-power facility is constructed along Lateral, District 2 of the NIA-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (MARIIS) here. The newly inaugurated facility can benefit 45 households with an individual consumption of 1000 watts.

NIA Administrator Florencio F. Padernal, Department of Energy Undersecretary Zenaida Y. Monsada, and JICA Senior Representative of the Economic Growth Section Eigo Azukizawa led the switching-on ceremony of the demonstration project which started construction in March and was completed in October this year.

Padernal said that although the new mini-hydropower is not as big as what others expect, the significance of the project is enormous.  “NIA would like to replicate such projects in other areas.  That is one of the reasons why all our irrigation managers from the different regions are here,” he said. 

The NIA Administrator said that secondary to irrigation, the agency operates and implements hydropower projects in applicable areas.  “In fact, we are planning to bid out over 50 new hydro power projects of various capacities around the Philippines the soonest possible time,” he shared. 

Undersecretary Monsada said the residents in the community where the facility is located will now have better access to energy.
The first of its kind in the country, the project shows that it is viable to utilize existing irrigation canals even with small water heads for power generation.

The NIA-MARIIS, through its Division II office, will be operating and maintaining the new facility.  

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NIA Administrator Florencio F. Padernal (2nd from L) and MARIIS Operations Manager Mariano G. Dancel (1st from R) accompany DOE Undersecretary Zenaida Y. Monsada (3rd from L) and JICA Senior Representative of the Economic Growth Sector Eigo Azukizawa (2nd from R) in opening the gates of the new 45KW JICA-funded mini-hydro power facility along Lateral B of the MARIS Main Canal in San Mateo Isabela.  With them is DOE Director Mario C. Marasigan.

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NIA Administrator Florencio Padernal, DOE Undersecretary Zenaida Monsada, and JICA Representative Eigo Azukizawa during the switching-on of the 45kw mini-hydropower facility in San Mateo, Isabela.  The event was witnessed by all the NIA regional irrigation managers (in green hard hats).

NIA, SN Aboitiz to optimize MARIS Reservoir

RAMON, Isabela-“We have to be thankful for a project that helps a lot in increasing the income of farmers which is our ultimate objective,” said National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Administrator Florencio Padernal during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Magat River Irrigation System (MARIS) dam optimization project here on November 4, 2014. The project is in collaboration with the SN Aboitiz Power-Magat Inc. (SNAP-Magat).

The initiative is seen to increase the storage capacity of the MARIS reservoir by up to eight million cubic meters that will primarily improve the delivery of irrigation water to a larger area of farm lands. NIA-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (NIA-MARIIS) Operations Manager Mariano G. Dancel shared that with the optimization project, irrigating the whole service area of 85,000 hectares would be possible.

NIA Administrator Florencio F. Padernal said the project is a clear manifestation of a real, effective, efficient private-public partnership.  “Increasing storage water capacity of the MARIS reservoir is laudable as it denotes water security for peaking hours and saves water in cases of abnormal weather condition or in times of crisis as well as increased power generation,” he added.

SNAP-Magat Executive Director Danny de Guzman, on the other hand, noted that the project is an example of collective work between NIA and SNAP.  “These collaborative projects are underpinned by not only technical expertise between NIA and SNAP but also the strength of the partnership that we’ve forged over the past seven years,” he added.

The project will also provide flexibility for power generation. This could potentially add up 7.75 megawatts of additional capacity for the Luzon grid.

The project is seen to start January next year and is expected to be completed in 2016.

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 (L-R) MARIIS Operations Manager Mariano G. Dancel, Ifugao Governor Dennis Habawel, NIA Administrator Florencio F. Padernal, Ramon Mayor Wilfredo L. Tabag, and Danilo de Guzman, SN Aboitiz Power Executive Director during the ceremonial ground breaking at the project site. Behind them are SNAP executives and Danilo Tumamao, representative of the Governor of Isabela.

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The MARIS reservoir is located in the downstream portion of the Magat Dam, one of the largest multipurpose dams in Asia, and is part of the NIA-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (NIA-MARIIS).

Senate bill granting automatic PhilHealth coverage to senior citizens signed into law

MANILA-The country’s more than six million senior citizens could now look forward to spending their robust years as bonafide members of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) as President Aquino signed into law last week the measure granting automatic membership to them.

Under Republic Act (RA) 10645 otherwise known as “An Act Providing for the Mandatory PhilHealth Coverage for All Senior Citizens, Amending for the Purpose RA 7431, as Amended by RA 9994, Otherwise Known as the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010”, all that a senior citizen needs to do to avail of Philhealth benefits in a hospital is to present a valid ID proving his/her age.

“Magpakita lang sila ng ID bilang patunay na sila’y senior citizen at matatanggap na nila mula sa ospital ang karampatang benepisyong laan sa mga miyembro ng Philhealth,” Senate Pro Tempore Sen. Ralph G. Recto, main author of the measure, said.

“Health insurance can never be called universal if it does not cover all seniors. Enrolling them must be automatic, not optional. The ideal is that the minute they blow out the candles on their 60th birthday cake to the moment they breathe their last – they should be PhilHealth members,” Recto said in his sponsorship speech.

Recto lauded Malacanang and his colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives for supporting the measure.

There are approximately 6.1 million senior citizens -- 60years old and above -- in the country today.
PhilHealth, as of December 2013, has 31.27 million registered members and 45.63 Million dependents totaling to 76.90 million Filipinos provided with Philhealth coverage.

In 2013, PhilHealth reported an income from premium contributions amounting to P62 billion, on top of the subsidy of P12.612 billion it received from the national government.

Correspondingly, for 2013, PhilHealth paid P55.559 billion in benefits payment. 


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