Thursday, June 28, 2012

Clark council, CDC gear for 2012 ConEx

CLARK FREEPORT – The Metro Clark ICT Council and the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) are preparing for the 2012 Clark ConEx International ICT Conference and Expo, a gathering of the country’s top leaders and major stakeholders in the Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry to be held here on Oct. 10-11.

Spearheaded by the Metro Clark ICT Council, the 2012 ConEx aims to replicate last year’s feat that brought together close to 4,000 participants. The council also “Promises to reach out to an even larger global audience by actively supporting and presenting in the International Outsourcing Summit…”

Metro Clark ICT President Frankie Villanueva said this year’s event would feature a business networking conference, ICT (Information and Communications Technology) stakeholders’ exhibit, ICT council’s capability exhibit, investment site tours, DOST-convergence technology roadshow, talent development conference, academic competitions, and leisure and tourism packages.

Villanueva said the annual holding of the ConEx is one of the council’s flagship projects geared to make the Clark Freeport as the country’s foremost IT and BPO destination.

With the regular hosting of the event, Villanueva said ConEx may also help encourage other IT and BPO companies to bring their businesses to the provinces, particularly those in the Central Luzon region, to decongest employment seekers jostling for job openings in Metro Manila.

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PSHS-CLC scholars win int’l awards


CLARK, PAMPANGA – The Philippine Science High School – Central Luzon Campus (PSHS-CLC) bagged a back-to-back victory in two international competitions as six scholars excelled in essay writing, science and technology.

Joshua Miguel C. Danac landed as Finalist while Samantha Beatrice A. De Guzman and Stephanie Kate A. Agor won Honorable Mention Awards in the “Dear Mr. UN Secretary-General International Schools Essay Writing Contest”, Secondary Schools Category with 576 entries worldwide, organized by The Living Rainforest, an indoor greenhouse tropical rainforest located in Hampstead Norreys in Berkshire, England last May 16.

The contest organizers wanted to hear what children think governments and world leaders should be doing to build a more sustainable future on planet Earth.
Quantum Chronicles school paper adviser Aries N. Oliveros served as trainer of Danac, De Guzman and Agor.

Likewise, Mikhael Edrich S. Eubanas, Angel Gabriel D. Pineda and Gabrielle Sophia S. Seva brought home three silver medals for chemistry and physics lab skills and one silver and one bronze medals for biology field study competitions, respectively, during the Asean Plus Three Junior Science Odyssey (AJTPS3O) 2012 held in Negara, Brunei Darussalam last June 10-17.

The 2012 AJTPS3O aimed to encourage and challenge gifted science students to excel in the field of science and technology, stimulate students’ intellectual curiosity through various experiences and experiments, provide the students with the opportunity to foster friendship and networking in the APT region and motivate the students to pursue careers in science and technology.

PSHS-CLC science teachers Arnold D. Pitpitunge, Ivy Razel B. Ventura, Ralph S. Hipolito and Joseph Ednie F. Soriano, Rex S. Forteza, Jed Aries C. Castro, Mark Xavier E. Bailon and John Paolo C. Daupang trained the Pisay delegates.
The PSHS – Western Visayas Campus emerged as grand winner after pocketing seven gold medals in all science categories.

With the combined medals of the two PSHS campuses, the Philippines became the over-all champion.

Teams from China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia and Thailand also participated in the 2012 AJTPS3O.

PSHS-CLC Campus Director Lilia T. Habacon congratulated the students and their trainers for a job well done and challenged the rest of the Pisay scholars and faculty to uphold academic excellence and bring honor to the country.

Clark cited anew as ‘Global Free Zones of the Future’

CLARK FREEPORT – The Clark Freeport has again landed on the pages of Foreign Direct Investment (fDi) Magazine as one of the top Global Free Zones of the future for 2012/13.

In 2010, fDi Magazine, published by the prestigious London-based The Financial Times Business Group, has also cited Clark and its potentials as a world-class economic haven.

Clark Development Corporation (CDC) Chairman and Officer-In-Charge Eduardo Oban, Jr. said this Freeport ranked number eight in the magazine’s list of global Freeport zones in the world. Dubai Airport Free Zone (Dafza) topped this year’s list followed by UAE-based Dubai International Financial Centre in second place and Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone in China for the third spot.

The other companies in the top 10 list are Iskandar in Malaysia, DuBiotech in UAE, Tanger Free Zone in Morocco, Freeport of Ventspils in Latvia, Chittagong Export Processing Zone in Bangladesh, and UAE-based Dubai Media City.

The Clark Freeport also ranked third in fDi Magazine’s top five best airport zones in the world. First on the list is Dubai Airport Free Zone followed by Tanger Free Zone in Morocco.

The fourth spot was awarded to Mauritius Freeport in Mauritius while tied in fifth place are Salalah Free Zone in Oman and Bahrain International Airport in Bahrain.

The magazine said at least 600 free zones across 120 countries were invited by fDi to complete a survey requesting both qualitative and quantitative data regarding their free zones.

The information collected was set under five categories: incentives, facilities, cost-effectiveness, transportation and best FDI promotion.–CDC-PRD

Monday, June 18, 2012

CDC endurance race athlete to compete in the US, gets support

Lawyer Jonnifer M. Lacanlale of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) Legal Department (right) receives a P50,000 cheque from Pampanga Vice Governor Joseller “Yeng” Guiao after the Provincial Board passed and approved a resolution extending their support for the CDC legal officer’s bid to compete in the 160-meter Western States Endurance Run 100 Miles (WS100) held in the United States from June 23 to 24. The 30-hour race is considered as the oldest and most historical trail race in the America. Photo by CDC Public Relations Office

CLARK FREEPORT – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has recently passed and approved a resolution that supports a senior legal officer of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) in his bid to compete in a grueling endurance race in the United States this June 23 to 24.

Sponsored by Board Members Crisostomo Garbo and Raul Macalino, the SP approved Resolution 2627 or “A resolution authorizing Governor Lilia G. Pineda to grant Mr. Jonnifer M. Lacanlale financial assistance in the amount of fifty thousand pesos chargeable against the current appropriations allotted for youth/sports development programs under the non-office account of the office of the governor.”

Lacanlale will be flying to the United States to represent the Philippines in the grueling 160-kilometer Western States Endurance Run 100 Miles (WS100) from June 23 to 24. His participation in this endurance competition would make him the first Filipino to qualify and, hopefully, finish the prestigious 30-hour race, dubbed as the “granddaddy” or the oldest, most historical trail race in the America.

One of the senior lawyers of the CDC Legal Department, Lacanlale has competed in a number of international and local endurance races, which include the 160-kilometer trail race “Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc (UTMB) where he was the first of two Filipinos to ever finish the race held from August 26 to 27, 2011. The UTMB was widely regarded as “the most difficult foot race in Europe.”

He was also the only Filipino in November 2010 to have competed and finished the Great North Walks (GNW 100) – regarded as the toughest trail race in Australia. Among the recent local races he competed in was during the 102-kilometer Bataan Death March ultramarathon (BDM 102K) held this year where was declared champion and course record holder.

In 2011, Lacanlale ran the BDM 160K and BDM 102K, which were only one week apart but was still able to bag the “Grand Slam Award” back-to-back for both races that traversed the actual route of the World War II Bataan Death March.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

PhilRice exec urges farmers to think green, smart rice farming

by Ramon Efren R. Lazaro

Farmers are being urged by Dr. Eufemio Rasco Jr., executive director of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) to consider green and smart initiatives to attain food security and sufficiency.

He emphasized energy in rice farming, mechanization, biotechnology, use of information and communication technologies, and upcoming Philippine Rice Academy as some green and smart initiatives that could help the country achieve rice self-sufficiency.

During the recent 2012 National Rice Summit held in Clark, Pampanga, Rasco said green initiatives aim to reduce external input, particularly energy, while smart initiatives are knowledge-intensive and hard labor-reducing technologies.

Currently, PhilRice has the Energy in Rice Farming Program as key green initiative in helping the agriculture sector reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.

Rasco noted the need to lessen dependence on fossil fuel on various stages of rice production, from land preparation to marketing the produce and explained that they are embarking on the “Energy in Rice Farming Program” that features ways to reduce energy in rice farming.

To labor shortage, Rasco said that they have already developed farm machines designed to address location-specific concerns such as rice combine, transplanter and drumseeder among others to help reduce significant yield losses attributed to manual farming.

PhilRice researchers have also optimize biotechnology tools on developing heat- and submergence-tolerant varieties to help farmers adapt to climate change. The Institute’s genebank houses more than 12,000 accessions that serve as materials for breeding work.

With the ‘e-everything’ phenomenon in the Philippines , PhilRice also harnesses benefits from information technologies.

“Space technology and meteorology can be used to determine status of rice farms, forecast disasters, and organize disaster response”, said Rasco and stressed the use of IT applications for precision farming and supply chain management.

Rasco added that PhilRice is working on a Philippine Rice Academy, an advanced research and training academy focused on promoting 21st century farm techniques. These modern techniques are anchored on precision agriculture principles and practices and entail the use of machines, information technologies, and biotechnology.

In a previous press conference in PhilRice, Rasco noted that farming is not attractive anymore to the children of farmers because of the dwindling income farming families have been getting from their farm lands.
 “In fact, the average age of farmers are now pegged at 57 years old,” Rasco said and added that they are now collaborating with the Departments of Agrarian Reform, Agriculture and Environment and Natural Resources to come out with a program that will encourage the youth to get back into farming with a bigger income and at the same time help achieve the rice self-sufficiency program of the Aquino administration.

The collaboration effort, Rasco explained has led to the Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Services (ARCCESS) program that will benefit agrarian reform beneficiaries in the country with its pilot project to begin in Central Luzon .

It was found out that despite the efforts of government agencies and other stakeholders to help improve the yields and incomes of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), gaps still remain.

ARBs farm activities are noted to be mostly fragmented and there are limited consolidations of produce that exacerbate rural poverty and endanger the gains of land reform including the beneficiaries’ desire to maintain ownership and production of awarded lands.

Through ARCCESS, the program aims to improve farm and off-farm net incomes of ARBs through enhanced agri-productivity.

ARCCESS intends to achieve economies of scale in agricultural production not by reconsolidating lands but by organizing the important facets of land preparation, planting, harvesting, logistics and marketing in order to reduce the cost of inputs, improve production efficiencies and increase productivity and incomes of ARBs.

In organizing the supply chain, ARCCESS, focuses mainly on the production, post-production and post-harvest requirements of the ARB organizations that will be a model public-private partnership (PPP), wherein the government steps and taps professional service providers to build the capacity of ARB organizations and connect them with the commodity buyers or the private sector.

Professional service providers will incubate the agri-enterprises of ARB organizations until the organization can already manage their activities by themselves.

A Memorandum of Understanding for the program was recently signed by Rasco for PhilRice, Agrarian Reform Sec. Virgilio de los Reyes and the Department of Agriculture represented by Asec. Dante de Lima.

De los Reyes said the collaboration of DA-DAR and DENR hopes to improve the ARB organizations so that agricultural assistances to the farmers can easily be facilitated.

This way, farmer beneficiaries will be prevented from selling their landholdings and encourages them to be more productive in their agricultural practices.
On the other hand, de Lima said the collaboration effort between the agriculture, agrarian reform and environment departments is a milestone for the farmers to finally make their farm lands more productive.

He noted that the country is seven to 10 years behind development services in the agriculture sector and the project is seen to eventually improve the lives of the farmers and help attain the rice self-sufficiency program of the government by next year.

De Lima also explained that the country’s rice importation in the last three years has drastically decreased and could be rice self sufficient by next year.