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FSTP Farmer Finds Success in Squash Biz; Helps Others Find Feat

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Image Source: cebu.gov.ph

Success is not measured by the things you see, but on how one shares her blessings with others.

For Camila Geralla, having a squash noodle business at the age of 66 is not an easy task. But with the help of her fellow members from the Boljoon Farmer-Scientists Association and her husband, everything has been running smoothly.

Camila started her business in June 2013. Her factory in Barangay Arbor, Boljoon can produce up to 500 packs of squash noodles, priced at P88 each.

“Ang kalambuan usa na ka kalampusan sa taw gumikan sa iyang pagpaningkamot,” Camila said, while preparing the squash mixture for kneading.

Labor of love

As cliché as it seems, every strand of noodle is made with love. She personally mixes, kneads and packs the readied pancit canton.

“The squash gives the natural yellow color of the noodles, unlike the regular ones wherein an artificial food coloring is added,” Camila said.

Squash is rich in vitamins A, B6, and C, and phosphorus and potassium. It is also rich in manganese, which is known to help boost the body’s ability to process fats and carbohydrates.

According to Loreza Mae Lapinid of the Provincial Nutrition Council, squash is perfect for children who are picky-eaters since it can easily be mixed with dishes.

“It has the same amount of calories with the regular pancit canton but the good thing is you can get more vitamin A from it. With this, it is highly recommended to include squash in your children’s diet,” Lapinid added.

Her squash noodles may be a little bit pricey from the regular ones, but its nutritional benefits outweigh the price difference.

Squash queen

Dubbed as the “squash queen” of Boljoon, Camila is thankful to the Farmer-Scientist’s Training Program (FSTP) of the Provincial Government for equipping the farmers with the right knowledge and equipment, both helpful in increasing their yield. Camila is a farmer-scientist herself.

“I really encourage my fellow farmers to plant squash,” Camila said smiling. The farmers themselves supply the squash needed for production.

For her, sharing her success to her fellow farmers makes her business venture sweeter. To date, Camila shares her knowledge to those who are interested in this type of business.

“Kung unsa man jud imong tumong sa kinabuhi, paningkamutan jud nga makab-ut. Dili mag huna-huna nga farmer lang ka. (We must stay focused on our goals in life and persevere. We should not think that we are merely farmers),” Camila said.

Also, Camila is now learning how to culture button mushrooms. She is hopeful that this will be her next business venture.

“Naa bitaw mga kahigayonan nga makat-on ta, dili jud nato ipalabay. Mag susi-susi jud ta ngano ug unsaon nato ni. (We should never let our learning opportunities pass. We should be observant so we’ll know the process),” Camila added.

cebu.gov.ph

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Facebook Dominates As The Main Market Place For Illegal Live Reptile Trade in the Philippines

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A new TRAFFIC study reveals a flourishing trade in reptiles on Facebook in the Philippines with rapidly growing membership in groups offering everything from Critically Endangered crocodiles to rare tortoises.

In just three months, researchers recorded 2,245 unique live reptile advertisements representing 115 taxa and a minimum of 5,082 individual animals posted in 90 Facebook groups.

The cumulative membership in the groups at the beginning of the survey in June 2016 stood at 359,328, but quickly increased by 11% by the end of August that year.

“In only selected groups and in under a hundred days, we found thousands of individual reptiles in trade. This magnitude of commerce in live wild animals online is just mind boggling,” said Serene Chng, Programme Officer for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia.

“This small snapshot reinforces how social media has taken over as the new epicentre of wildlife trade.”

Over half the species documented in the study are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and all species are protected under the Philippine Wildlife Act.

Based on current Philippine wildlife law and regulations, researchers found that at least 80% of documented online traders in this study could be deemed involved, knowingly or otherwise, in illegal trading activities.

Native species, including the endemic and Critically Endangered Philippine Crocodile Crocodylus mindorensis and Philippine Forest Turtle Siebenrockiella leytensis, were offered for sale. Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) reported that it has never issued permits to collect reptiles for commercial use, making the trade in these animals illegal.

The study found several CITES Appendix I-listed non-native species offered for sale including Radiated Tortoise Astrochelys radiata, Bengal Monitor Lizard Varanus bengalensis, Black Spotted Turtle Geochlemys hamiltonii and Dumeril’s Boa Acrantophis dumerili. According to both the CITES trade database and BMB records, there were no records of legal imports for these species.

A further eight CITES Appendix II species seen for sale online had no importation records since 1981, meaning they were very likely acquired and being traded illegally. The availability of internationally protected endangered species on Facebook groups in the Philippines illustrates the challenges of enforcing international agreements and national law.

Facebook is the platform of choice for illegal traders in the Philippines because of its popularity and insufficient internal monitoring enforcement. The study highlighted how buyers and sellers used internet-based services to ensure privacy and connectivity. Most deals were closed via Facebook messenger, away from any prying eyes, making it difficult for effective monitoring of illicit online activity. At least one case a trader was documented using a ride-sharing service to deliver wildlife to a buyer.

The study recommends enhanced monitoring, enforcement, collaboration, and advocacy to mitigate the burgeoning illegal reptile trade in the country. It also recommends that Facebook continue working with TRAFFIC to develop training materials around endangered species content.

In 2017, based in part on findings from this study, the BMB in collaboration with national authorities including the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) conducted numerous arrests of suspected illegal traders in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pangasinan, and Cebu. In addition, packages with illegal wildlife destined for China, Sweden, and the US were intercepted by Philippine Customs.

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Hong Kong Airlines to Recruit New Cadet Pilots

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Hong Kong Airlines has kicked off recruitment for a new batch of cadet pilots, following the successful launch of its inaugural Cadet Pilot Programme last year. The much-coveted 2017 Cadet Pilot Programme received over 4,000 applications last year and Hong Kong Airlines is excited to welcome new applicants again. The recruitment phase will take place from now until 15 February 2018. Interested applicants can apply online or email cadet.pilot@hkairlines.com for more information.

Hong Kong Airlines’ commitment to developing home-grown talent will once again see it target young people with Hong Kong Permanent Resident status for its second cadet pilot recruitment. All new cadets will undergo 70 weeks of flight training, which includes ground school training and multi-crew cooperation training using medium jet simulator. Following completion of the programme, successful cadets will receive their official appointment as Second Officers of Hong Kong Airlines.

Having served a record seven million passengers in 2017, which represented an impressive 10% climb year-on-year, Hong Kong Airlines is witnessing passenger growth that exceeds the industry average of 7.5% (source: IATA). In turn, the airline has invested substantially in new products, service and infrastructure to help cater to this growing demand.

Currently in the works is the development of a new training centre, which will provide state-of-the-art training facilities to help nurture a new generation of aviation elites. In addition, Hong Kong Airlines is also looking to expand its fleet to 50 aircraft strong by 2019, and is poised to take delivery of all 21 Airbus A350s by 2020. These improvements will prove pivotal to the airline as it continues to transition into a global carrier with long-haul aspirations that will include non-stop services to San Francisco, New York and London in 2018.

“Hong Kong Airlines is currently undergoing a period of unprecedented growth and we continue to seek new talent every day. Our recruitment for new pilots has seen a double digit jump over the past two years and we are committed in our pursuit to help spur growth within the industry. By solidify Hong Kong’s position as a world-class international aviation hub, we can provide our customers with more travel options and flexibility,” said Mr Tang King Shing, Vice Chairman of Hong Kong Airlines.

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Make Way for the OPPO F5 Red!

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OPPO Philippines sure knows how to kick off the year with surprises and exciting opportunities for selfie-lovers everywhere. Just when everyone thought that selfies could not get any better, comes the OPPO F5 that’s not only best for capturing real moments, but also stylish and trendy. Just last week, OPPO’s very own influencers were seen flaunting a bright red smartphone on their social media accounts, teasing the public about its upcoming smartphone in fierce red color. And the long wait is over because the much-awaited OPPO F5 Red is now available in the Philippines in all OPPO concept stores nationwide.

Ready to paint the town RED

Living up to its Selfie Expert handle, the OPPO F5 Red is the latest addition to the F5 line-up which boasts of the A.I. Beauty Recognition Technology, designed to capture the real you that can help selfies look more attractive and natural. Now available in fierce red color, the OPPO F5

Red is the ideal smartphone for users who aspire to create a statement through the smartphones they carry. It highlights OPPO’s advanced beauty technology in a more fashionable and lifestyle approach through its distinct color.

The OPPO F5 Red shares similar features with the OPPO F5 – from camera specs and beauty technology, speedy facial unlock, and performance. It features a 20MP front camera and a 16MP rear camera with a higher resolution (2160×1080) and better photo quality. In addition, it has 4GB of RAM best for multi-tasking and a 32GB storage for apps, videos, and selfies.

“The OPPO F5 is making waves in the smartphone market with its proven A.I. Beauty Recognition Technology and we are happy to announce that we are now offering it in a much-desired red color. This answers the need of our customers who are looking for a stylish, functional, and selfie-centric smartphone, ideal for today’s social media-driven lifestyle,” said Eason De Guzman, OPPO Philippines’ PR Manager.

The OPPO F5 Red is priced at Php 15,990. And for users who are looking for an OPPO F5 with stronger and more seamless performance, the OPPO F5 6GB in red is also available for Php 21,990 in all OPPO concept stores nationwide.

For more information about the whole OPPO F5 series, customers may visit the OPPO website. They can also follow OPPO on Facebook  for the store list and latest updates.

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In The Business of Helping Communities and the Environment

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Citronella farmers in Imbayao, Malaybalay, Bukidnon harvest grass for the essential oils in Human Nature’s products.

Vulnerable people who get integrated into Inclusive Business models are finding opportunities for well-paying jobs, raised incomes, and increased roles in responding to challenges related to the environment. This is how Filipino companies like EcoIngenuity Inc. and Gandang Kalikasan, Inc. (GKI) are making an impact in the lives of communities they work with.

As companies with inclusive business models, EcoIngenuity Inc. and GKI belong to the category of businesses that tap suppliers, distributors, or partners poor communities. Inclusive Business models can also tap the poor as consumers by making relevant products or services accessible to them.

GKI operates the beauty brand Human Nature, which strictly adheres to the environmental and safety principles of the Natural Products Association (NPA), a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit organization that serves as a natural products industry watchdog to protect consumers from unsafe products.

EcoIngenuity is the company behind the brand Jacinto & Lirio, which creates multi-functional and sustainably made leather goods out of water hyacinth. Known as the most damaging aquatic plant, water hyacinth has infested communities by the Pasig River and Laguna De Bay. Water hyacinth contributes to higher flood levels because it clogs waterways. In communities where there is water hyacinth infestation, fish kills are rampant, and the rate of water-borne diseases are high.

For people and planet

The communities that work with both GKI and EcoIngenuity found opportunities to gain useful skills, increase their income levels, and connect with relevant markets.

Human Nature’s suppliers of raw materials such as citronella, coco nectar, and lemongrass hail from more than 23 communities and social enterprises across the Philippines. In the communities located in Bukidnon and Camarines Norte, women make up at least 40 percent of the workers. Most of these farmers have limited education and rely on subsistence farming to make a living. They have no land of their own and because they are found in remote areas, they have limited exposure to their potential markets.

To help these farmers raise their income, Human Nature builds on their capacity of their farmers, provides testing support and seeds, and buys their raw materials at fair, above-market prices. For example, Human Nature purchases citronella oil at 40 to 60 percent above market value.

Women from the Water Hyacinth Livelihood Initiative process dried hyacinth to produce the plant-based leather used in the creation of Jacinto & Lirio’s products.

Part of Human Nature’s capacity building efforts for marginalized communities are skills training, values formation program, and the allocation of profits for scholarships. The recipients of these scholarship programs receive training and education for agri-social entrepreneurship.

Aside from supporting farming communities, 58 percent of Human Nature’s workforce hail from low-skilled, marginalized sectors in Manila and Laguna. These employees receive 68 percent more than the legal minimum wage so that if they belong to a family of four, they can enjoy better standards of living.

Like Human Nature, EcoIngenuity’s Jacinto & Lirio also provides women with opportunities. All of Jacinto & Lirio’s beneficiaries are women from seven different communities in Pasig City, Rizal, Laguna and Pampanga. Most of them are stay-at-home mothers from Rizal who live in water hyacinth-infested rural areas. They cannot work in a normal office setup because they take care of the households while their husbands are away working. By working with Jacinto & Lirio, these women learned to utilize water hyacinth as material for multifunctional and stylish leather goods such as planners, journals and bags.

Jacinto & Lirio helped bring back life to the water hyacinth infested areas and create opportunities for the communities’ mothers who also learned to offer services like embroidery, laser etching, and creating full colored prints. This helped the women increased their households’ income, so they can better provide for their family’s needs. Aside from creating leather goods, they get linked to relevant markets to help ensure sustainability of their income.

Shared prosperity through Inclusive Business

Inclusive Business took center stage in ASEAN 2017, which the Philippines chaired. The Inclusive Business Summit was a highlight of the Philippines’ ASEAN chairmanship. Inclusive business models across the ASEAN also took center stage during the ASEAN Inclusive Business Awards 2017, an integral part of the ASEAN Business Awards initiated by the Department of Trade and Industry-Board of Investments (DTI-BOI) in partnership with the Asian Development Bank, Asian Business Advisory Council, Credit Suisse, and the International Finance Corporation. Both EcoIngenuity and GKI were nominees to the ASEAN Inclusive Business Awards.

Aside from advocating for Inclusive Business in ASEAN, the Philippine government is promoting Inclusive Business in the country. Under the Philippines’ Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) 2017-2019, medium and large firms in the agribusiness and tourism sectors may receive five-year tax holidays if they implement inclusive business models.

To qualify for these incentives, the larger companies should integrate small and medium enterprises in their value chain. The companies should also be implementing their inclusive business models during a three-year year period.

“The impact of Inclusive Business goes beyond social impact to make a difference in issues like environmental concerns,” said Trade Undersecretary and Board of Investments Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said. “As ASEAN governments try to create a more enabling environment for Inclusive Business, we look forward to seeing more companies become inclusive businesses that help promote economic and environmental sustainability.”

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