Member News
Clonal nursery established in Pililla, Rizal

Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) and the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) take another step towards shaping a greener nation by cultivating seedlings through a newly-established nursery at the Shell Training Center in Pililla, Rizal.

Planting the seeds for a greener Philippines – this is the driving force behind every reforestation initiative in the country. Spurred by the same aim, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) and the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) take another step towards shaping a greener nation by cultivating seedlings through a newly-established nursery.

The development of a clonal nursery and bamboo propagation facility was agreed between PSFI and ERDB a year ago. Now the 1,000sqm-structure housed at the Shell Training Center in Pililla, Rizal has started operations following its inauguration on July 26, 2018. Training of technical and farm personnel was held from September 12-14, 2018.

Leading the inauguration and ceremonial ribbon cutting were Shell companies in the Philippines (SciP) Country Chairman Cesar Romero, PSFI Executive Director Edgardo Veron Cruz, and former ERDB Director Celso Diaz.

The clonal nursery has the capacity to produce up to 30,000 quality seedlings of endemic and indigenous species in one cycle – around 9 to 12 months – which is a big leap from the numbers yielded by existing infrastructures in a short period of time. This can help broaden the inventory of endemic and indigenous species which are rapidly becoming scarce in the country.

SciP Country Chairman Cesar Romero shared how the project aligns with the company’s overall agenda: “We are proud to be a partner in this project. As many of you know, we are very keen on ensuring that our planet is developed in a very sustainable way. Therefore, environmental conservation and climate change actions are high on our agenda. This project supports that overall agenda, so we see very good alignment between what Shell wants to happen and actually what our country and government want to happen.”

The development of the nursery supports Executive Order No. 193 series of 2015 titled “Expanding the Coverage of the National Greening Program” (ENGP), which targets to reforest 7.1 million hectares of unproductive, denuded and degraded forestlands nationwide between 2016 to 2028.

The project reinforces the importance of public-private collaboration in helping the country achieve its goals. ERDB provided the design of the nursery and it will also share its expertise and technical know-how to the Shell team for the successful propagation of quality seedlings.

Former ERDB Director Celso Diaz had this to say about the partnership and significance of the newly inaugurated nursery: “We have a lot of partners in the country but it is very rare for us to have a partner organization like Shell. So, why did we do this? Because our major species for reforestation are dwindling. It’s difficult to source seedlings and planting materials. With the clonal nursery, Shell can produce cloned planting materials on a mass scale and it can be made available any time of the year. This will surely address the concern on the lack of readily available planting materials.”

The bamboo propagation facility is another notable feature of the project. It targets to grow select Philippine bamboo species that can be used for bamboo plantation projects and future livelihood endeavors. “This is an initial move and what excites me also is the inclusion of bamboo propagation for two things: one, bamboo can absorb 3-4x carbon dioxide compared to other species. And also, bamboo provides plenty of livelihood opportunities,” shared PSFI Executive Director Edgardo Veron Cruz.

During the inauguration, Romero also shared how Shell has always been a champion for the environment through its roster of programs that complements the government’s efforts. He highlighted the company’s environment and biodiversity programs, including conservation of the Tubbataha Reefs, coastal cleanups, mangrove planting activities, community waste management programs around its distribution terminals nationwide, and planting of endemic and indigenous species in Mt. Banahaw, Quezon as part of its Carbon Sink Management Program.

The establishment of the clonal nursery and bamboo propagation facility signifies Shell’s commitment in partnering with the government to create a greener and more sustainable future for the Philippines.

JFC wins AGROW Award for Inclusive Business, shares best practices at the ASEAN Agriculture Summit

For its programs in enabling smallholder farmers earn more income by supplying to the company, Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) received the AGROW Award for Inclusive Business during the 2018 ASEAN Agriculture Summit last October 1.

AGROW Awards was launched this year to recognize game-changers in advancing agriculture in the region. It was conferred by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (BAC) Philippines in partnership with Go Negosyo and supported by the Department of Agriculture.

One of JFC’s initiatives geared towards inclusive business is Jollibee Group Foundation's Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP). The program helps smallholder farmers become agro-entrepreneurs who can supply directly to corporate buyers such as JFC.

Since 2008, FEP has trained more than 2,000 farmers, 600 of which are directly delivering to JFC commissaries or stores through 15 farmer cooperatives. They supply high-value crops such as onions, tomatoes, bell pepper, lemon and chili, comprising about 20% of JFC’s total vegetable requirements. These have a gross value of more than a million dollars a year.

Key to assisting smallholder farmers in becoming agri-entrepreneurs is the support of agri-enterprise facilitators based in institutions such as local government units, non-government organizations or microfinance institutions. These partners help the program become more efficient and sustainable by organizing, training and coaching farmer clusters towards collective marketing.

One of JGF's FEP partners, Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative from Cebu, was awarded as a finalist for the Inspiring Cooperative AGROW Award. Their member farmers directly supply Chowking restaurants in Metro Cebu.

During the summit attended by more than 2,000 delegates, JGF Executive Director Gisela Tiongson presented FEP as a leading example of how smallholder farmers are empowered, and in the process champion rural development and the agriculture industry.

"From our 10 years of experience, we have learned that entering into direct sourcing arrangement with smallholder farmers entails not only resources, but more importantly, a long-term vision that will see beyond the current state of inefficiency smallholders find themselves in,” Tiongson said.

“Strengthening the farmers’ innate capacity as entrepreneurs to supply, negotiate and compete with other regular suppliers of the company requires patience, a good understanding of the problems of smallholder agriculture, and the ability to partner with other like-minded groups," she added.

Together with various partners, JGF is expanding FEP to reach more farmers, especially the youth.

BDO Foundation, DepEd and BSP deploy finlit program

As part of joint efforts to promote financial inclusion, BDO Foundation, the Department of Education (DepEd) and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) began the regional launches of a financial literacy program tailored for learners, teachers and DepEd's non-teaching personnel. 

The partners unveiled the Financial Literacy Program for Schools in Calabarzon during DepEd Region IV-A's Gawad Patnugot 2018 ceremony in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. The event was led by DepEd Calabarzon regional director Dr. Diosdado San Antonio, DepEd Calabarzon assistant regional director Dr. Carlito Rocafort, BSP Inclusive Finance Advocacy Office managing director Pia Roman Tayag, BDO Foundation president Mario Deriquito and BDO Foundation program director Rose Espinosa. 

The finlit initiative was also launched in Region VII at a gathering of education officials in Cebu City spearheaded by DepEd Region VII regional director Dr. Juliet Jeruta, DepEd Region VII assistant regional director Dr. Salustiano Jimenez, BSP Cebu Regional Office director Atty. Leonides Sumbi and the aforementioned BDO officers. 

At both events, BDO Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of BDO Unibank, distributed LED television sets and USB memory drives to schools division superintendents as part of the nationwide deployment of the program. The memory drives contain the first batch of five financial literacy videos produced by the foundation in collaboration with DepEd and BSP. All the videos and discussion guides will be uploaded on DepEd's learning resources portal and will be accessible to all public school teachers nationwide. 

The educational videos were designed to make lessons on savings and personal finance engaging and compelling for teachers, non-teaching personnel and students. Accompanied by discussion guides and lesson plans developed by DepEd master teachers, the videos will be used in classroom instruction as well as DepEd's Teacher Induction Program, learning action cells and regular training and development programs. Currently underway is the development of the second batch of financial literacy videos on such topics as budgeting, financial management, investing, avoiding scams and the responsible use of credit. 

The Financial Literacy Program for Schools is BDO Foundation's flagship corporate citizenship initiative under its financial inclusion advocacy. The program is aimed at supporting DepEd's efforts to strengthen financial education in its K-12 curriculum and training programs for teaching and non-teaching personnel. It also contributes to the pillar on Financial Education and Consumer Protection of BSP's National Strategy for Financial Inclusion. 

The initiative is expected to benefit as many as 700,000 teachers and 24 million students in more than 47,000 public schools nationwide. By sharing lessons on financial responsibility with educators and the Filipino youth, the partners hope to develop a financially literate citizenry and contribute to nation-building.

Improving lives through entrepreneurship


Apart from a booming artisan chocolate industry that has caught worldwide attention, the province of Davao is fast gaining popularity as a growing agro-enterprise, industrial and service sector businesses, and tourism hub. Its success over the years, while made possible by its rich natural resources, can be attributed to one of its greatest resources – its people.

Meet Geraldine and Ate Nora -- two of the thousands of people who contribute to uplifting lives in Davao.

Geraldine was three years old when she caught the deadly polio disease. But with her strong will, she thought of her condition as a challenge that she should overcome. She grew up with a goal to finish school and land a job so that she would not need to depend on her parents forever.

Geraldine has been living in a community where all are willing to help one another live productive, happy lives. She has been in the ADAP (Association of Differently Abled Persons) Village in Brgy. Indangan, Davao City for 13 years now. ADAP is now a multi-purpose cooperative (MPC) chaired by Geraldine. With the ADAP, Geraldine learned a new skill on baking that helped her gain additional income aside from her seven-year work with a Davao medical center as a data encoder. With this training on baking and bread production provided by the Aboitiz Group, Geraldine and other members of ADAP MPC passed the TESDA National Certification II became certified bakers who are managing their cooperative’s bakery.

Like Geraldine, Ate Nora has a sunny disposition in life. She proudly calls herself a “Sunshine Baker”. Despite the heavy load and challenges of the work day, the smile of this mother of five never falters when she shared how their cooperative, Sunshine Farmers and Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MPC), manages its bakery in order to provide additional income to its members. Today, Sunshine MPC earns an additional P3,000 to P5,000 a day from the bakeshop. It will also begin supplying school and office canteens.

The Aboitiz Foundation, the corporate foundation of the Aboitiz Group, has been assisting cooperatives like ADAP MPC and Sunshine Co-op through its enterprise development program. It teamed up with the Aboitiz business units in Mindanao such as Therma South, Inc. (TSI), Davao Light and Power Company, and Pilmico to help train cooperatives members and provided bakery starter kits and equipment, opening opportunities for them to earn NC II Certifications.

The Foundation also engaged its microfinance partner, Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD), Inc. to help these cooperatives grow their bakeries and other businesses. With the co-ops’ good performance, the Aboitiz Group provided them with free capacity building training modules from the Cooperative Development Authority.

“In the past, ADAP was focused on wood production and fabrication. The baking class allowed us to go into a new venture, which is especially applicable to many of us who are fond of cooking. Baking is physical work and being on crutches was a challenge but this did not hinder our determination to finish the course and pass the accreditation. I am also grateful for the organizational skills training, which is helpful for me in my responsibility with the co-op,” Geraldine shares.

In 2018, the Aboitiz Foundation has reached around 160 officers and members of 20 cooperatives through coop strengthening training programs and trained 75 individuals on livelihood skills nationwide. The Foundation continues to extend assistance and provide sustainable livelihood to more cooperatives in Davao as part of its promise of advancing business and communities by co-creating safe, empowered, and sustainable communities.



Aboitiz, EJAP train Manila journ students & advisers vs. 'fake news'



A total of 73 Manila campus journalists and their teachers from 58 schools gained valuable knowledge in spotting and stopping “fake news” during a seminar workshop conducted by the Aboitiz Foundation in partnership with the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines (EJAP), Inc. and Department of Education – Division of Manila (DepEd Manila).

Held last August 11 at Legarda Elementary School in Sampaloc, Manila, the event featured resource speakers Prinz Magtulis (Financial Times), Jerome Morales (Reuters), and Ruelle Castro (Malaya Business Insight).

“I would like to thank Aboitiz and EJAP for giving us this seminar. We all know the proliferation of fake news in social media is very rampant--it will really help our journalism students and teachers if they are well-equipped on how to spot and stop fake news,” said Ayla B. Urrea, DepEd Manila Supervisor-in-Charge, Elementary & Secondary Journalism.

Magtulis defined “fake news,” discussed the importance of press freedom, and revisited journalism ethics, while Morales elaborated on the news process and where “fake news” can occur. Castro, meanwhile, talked about critical thinking as a tool against disinformation, sharing practical tips on how to spot and stop fake news.

“We are proud to support the best journalism students and teachers of the city of Manila, our country’s future journalists, through this seminar and workshop. With the learnings imparted by the speakers from EJAP, we hope to co-create a community that is safe and empowered through responsible and accurate reporting,” said Maribeth L. Marasigan, Aboitiz Foundation First Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.


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