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777 Automated Weather Stations, 124 deployed in Mindanao by WeatherPhilippines

Out of the 777 automated weather stations (AWS) deployed nationwide by WeatherPhilippines, 124 are located in Mindanao.

These are either installed at Davao Light and SM sites or priority meteorological sites under the care of our partner local government units (LGUs).

After three years of expanding our nationwide network of AWS, data shows that the country’s metropolitan cities and business districts in the National Capital Region are the biggest users of weather.com.ph.

However, one community in Mindanao went beyond visiting the website to check the local weather, and actually used their localized weather information for sustainable local development. This community is the coastal municipality of Lebak, Sultan Kudarat.

Lebak, Sultan Kudarat

Lebak gets its name from the Maguindanaon term “hollow”, because it sits between a mountain and the Celebes Sea. Its 27 barangays have the best views of the mountains and enjoy the refreshing sea breeze on a 22-kilometer coastline lined with mangroves.

However, perfect as Lebak’s best-of-both-worlds location might seem, this year’s El Niño did not spare the town from droughts and dry spells caused by below-average rainfall.

El Niño and Lebak’s Agriculture

“The severity of the drought was threatening the remaining crops serviced by the irrigation systems, as well the fruit trees, coconut and banana, and the high-value crops such as rubber, cacao, coffee, and other plants,” said Myla Cañete, Lebak’s  Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer.

Aside from indicating the agricultural activities affected by the drought, one of the most hard-hitting statistics she has shown the foundation was the P143-million damage in rice and corn brought by El Niño. Note that this amount is only a fraction of the estimated P4-billion agricultural loss recorded by the Department of Agriculture so far this year.

So how did an LGU empower its community to beat the odds against a natural phenomenon that dries up their community livelihood?

Optimizing Weather Data for Cloud-Seeding Initiatives

Through a weather-data-driven collaboration with the regional government, Lebak was able to mitigate the effects caused by El Niño.

“The Office of the Regional Agriculturist of Region XII has started a cloud-seeding operation in the region,” Myla said, sharing that a team of cloud spotters would pass on weather information for a particular time of day to their cloud-seeding team. The significant weather elements are: 1) visuals of seedable clouds, 2) wind direction, and 3) wind speed.

“The data generated by our AWS greatly enhanced our capacity to provide the cloud seeding team with an accurate forecast on wind direction and wind speed. The 5-day forecast enabled us to closely monitor our skies for seedable clouds, and to determine the  possibility of rain.
 The data of our AWS is vital for us to have rains,” she added.

The AWS has also helped the LGU evaluate the success of the project. Rain gauge data provided the estimated amount of rainfall produced by seeding, which is vital for the cloud seeding team to avoid wasting seeding agents.

After months of planning and preparation, the Department of Agriculture reported in February 2016 that the cloud-seeding initiative in Mindanao successfully induced light to moderate downpours in Sultan Kudarat, Cotabato, and Sarangani provinces.

Weather Knowledge for Sustainable Development

In 2014, WeatherPhilippines deployed 3 AWS in Sultan Kudarat (Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat Capitol, and Lebak) in addition to 224 other priority meteorological sites in the Philippines. This helped LGUs use localized weather forecasts for typhoon preparations.

This year, Lebak’s El Niño experience are examples of how LGUs are going beyond using weather information for typhoon preparedness, and are now maximizing the tool for sustainable development.

 
Cure Philippines Celebrate its 1st Year Anniversary, Admits 501st Patient

On May 1, CURE Philippines (Tebow CURE Hospital) celebrated the one year anniversary of their official launch and ribbon cutting with a Run for a Cause in Davao City. Nearly 1,000 runners supported the successful event to build awareness and raise funds to provide surgeries for children with physical disabilities.

In other exciting news, the hospital also celebrated the admission of its 500th patient during the last week of April. In fact, patient #500 and #501 were 11 year old twin sisters. Janna and her twin sister Jea share a lot of things. They have the same mischievous grin and crazy energy level and they both love to climb on and tease their older brother Jasser. Unfortunately, they also shared a physical problem, severely bowed legs. Mom Juliet noticed the problem when the girls began walking at about a year old, but the high cost of medical treatment kept the family from ever finding help. They were thrilled to find out that CURE could finally help heal Janna and Jea! They have now both received successful surgery and are recovering well.


The Tebow CURE Hospital is based in Davao City and provides life-changing physical and spiritual care to children with disabilities. https://tebowcure.org/

 
PAL Flies Table Tennis Champs For Pre-Olympic Event

The Philippine table tennis team led by Richard Gonzales and Jann Mari Nayre (second and first from left), the country’s number one table tennis players for Men’s and Junior divisions respectively, flies to Hong Kong via Philippine Airlines flight PR 360 to compete in the Asian Table Tennis Olympic Qualification Tournament (singles), a qualifying event for 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

As it celebrates its 75th year, PAL, under its flagship corporate social responsibility program Rprsnt Pinoy!, and in line with its vision to become a source of pride of the Filipinos, supports exceptional but underprivileged individuals like Gonzales and Nayre who were chosen to represent the country in global competitions. Photo also shows Ian Labira, table tennis champion (ladies division) and team coach Kwon Mi Sook.

 
Aboitiz-donated AGAPP Classrooms Total 246 in the Past Six Years

ABOITIZ AGAPP CLASSROOMS DONATED. Last April 29, the Aboitiz Foundation turned over to the Department of Education 30 AGAPP (Aklat, Gabay, Aruga Tungo sa Pag-angat at Pag-asa) Silid Pangarap kindergarten classrooms to several schools nationwide, bringing the total number of Silid Pangarap classroom donated by the Aboitiz Foundation since 2011 at 246. In the photo are Aboitiz Foundation Trustee Antonio R. Moraza, Chairman Erramon I. Aboitiz (1st and 2nd from left, respectively), Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Sonny Carpio (1st from right). Also with them are Pinky Aquino Abellada, AGAPP Chairperson; Mario A. Deriquito, DepEd Undersecretary for Partnerships and External Linkages; and Noemi Sebastian, APRI Vice President for Corporate Services (4th, 3rd, and 2nd from right, respectively).

A total of 30 AGAPP (Aklat, Gabay, Aruga Tungo sa Pag-angat at Pag-asa) Silid Pangarap kindergarten classrooms were recently donated by the Aboitiz Foundation, the corporate foundation of the Aboitiz Group, to the Department of Education (DepEd), putting the cumulative number of Silid Pangarap classrooms donated by the Aboitiz Foundation since 2011 at 246.

These Silid Pangarap classrooms, built in 15 schools nationwide, were turned over to the Department of Education (DepEd) last April 29 at Enderun Colleges, Taguig City as part of the Aboitiz Foundation’s continuing commitment to education and are seen to benefit 1,800 kindergarten pupils.

Aboitiz Foundation officials, namely Chairman Erramon I. Aboitiz, Trustee Antonio R. Moraza, and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Augusto Carpio III, together with AGAPP Chairperson Pinky Aquino-Abellada and DepEd Undersecretary for Partnerships and External Linkages Mario A. Deriquito were present during the turnover ceremony. Other DepEd and local government officials as well as kindergarten teachers and principals from beneficiary schools were also in attendance.

Since 2011, the Aboitiz Foundation, in partnership with AGAPP, has spent over P143 million to build 246 Silid Pangarap classrooms in 123 schools nationwide, benefitting over 55,000 kindergarten students.

“We in Aboitiz believe that a better-educated youth means a better Philippines. We believe that it is in education where we can create the greatest impact so it is only fitting that we allocate the bulk of our CSR budget to it,” Aboitiz said.

In 2015, the Aboitiz Group spent a total of P415 million on corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives that had a positive impact on the lives of over 500,000 direct beneficiaries. Of this amount, P232 million or 56% was allotted to realize the Group’s promise of delivering a better learning environment for students through facilities and assets alike.

It was also last year that DepEd recognized the Aboitiz Group as a long-standing partner in the government’s bid to uplift the state of the country’s public education system, and as the Philippines’ biggest contributor to public education.

“Indeed, AGAPP Silid Pangarap is more than just a school building. To the excited and curious little girls and boys it has welcomed over the years, it is where their dreams and imagination are awakened and nurtured.  It is our privilege to be able to do our part and we commit to continue doing our part to help make our youth become lifelong learners,” Aboitiz added.

 
Philippine Geothermal supports 2016 Earth Day Youth Eco-Camp in Albay

Philippine Geothermal Production Company, Inc. (PGPC) joins the Tiwi and Albay Local Government Units in celebrating the 2016 Earth Day in Albay province through an Earth Youth Eco-Camp with the theme “Youth Leaders Unite for Coastal and Fishery Resources Protection.” Held on April 20-22, more than 70 youth leaders, teachers and partners from government and nongovernment organizations, participated in the event at the Tiwi Watch Station cum Coastal and Fishery Resources Learning Resource Center.

The youth eco-camp was organized under Environmental Conservation Sustaining Tiwi’s Aqua-Agri Resources (ECO-STAR), a corporate social responsibility program co-funded by Philippine Geothermal to develop and promote Tiwi’s coastal eco-tourism potential and provide livelihood to tourist services sector. ECO-STAR recognizes the importance of protecting Tiwi’s coastal and fishery resources by instilling a deep sense of stewardship among the youth and the 12 coastal barangays of Tiwi. Tiwi is known as a sea turtle haven in Albay because of its improved coastal and marine biodiversity for years of implementing a coastal and fishery resources management program also supported by Philippine Geothermal.

ECO-STAR program partners Tiwi LGU, WWF Philippines, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippine Red Cross, Albay Blue Lane Eco-Nautical Resources, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and other government/non-government organizations also supported the event to fulfill its primary objective to develop youth vanguards with deep commitment and sense of responsibility for the environment and biodiversity conservation.

The three-day camp became a fun-filled learning activity on leadership, coastal and fisheries management, biodiversity protection, astronomy, climate change adaptation, and disaster risk reduction. Integrated in the learning modules are cross-cutting themes such as gender and development, food safety and security, and social entrepreneurship. The program organizers hope that the ideas learned by the participants from the eco-camp will resonate with their families, schools, and communities.

The event received favorable feedback, as one youth-participant described it as a fun learning experience which provided an opportunity to create new friendships.  Employee-volunteers mainly from the  Facilities Engineering department of Philippine Geothermal who facilitated the team building games and exercises, also found the event an enriching experience because it allowed them to share their knowledge with youth leaders in their community.

 

Youth participants and sponsors headed to the shoreline to meet with volunteers from the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection and community members for a clean-up drive held simultaneously with the Earth Day celebration in Albay.


Participants released three different species of sea turtles as part of the activities of the Sea Turtle Awareness and Rescue (STAR) Center

 

AG Saṅo, a climate activist and Filipino artist, shares skills in mural painting using marine species as subject.

 
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