USTP Innovation Summit hosts Power & Energy Forum

March 29, 2019

The University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) will host a forum on power and energy today, March 29, 2019 at Cinema 2, SM Downtown Premier as part of USTP Innovation Summit.    “To all who have joined us in the power sector advocacies in the past two decades: “ How to improve the Power Industry in Mindanao--to attain a Clean, Affordable and Renewable Energy”, you are cordially invited to attend the forum at SM Downtown Premier Cinema tomorrow Friday at 9:00AM CDO City,” said Clint Django Pacana, USTP Presidential Assistant for Mindanao Affairs (PAMA). “Speakers from MORESCO1, MCPC, IPSEc, CEED, USTP Power Institute, SeoulTech-South Korea, and others will be there..”     Among the topics to be presented during the forum dubbed “Parallel Session 1: Energy, Industry and Emerging Technology Sector” are “Technology Innovation in Sustaining the Campaign for Energy Sufficiency” by Atty Avril de Torres, Center for Energy, Environment and Development; “Power Sector Innovation in Techno-Park Development” with Prof. Yong Ko, Adjunct Professor, Seoul Tech; and “Solar Pump” with Engr. David A. Tauli, President, Mindanao Coalition of Power Consumers.     The presentations will be followed by a round table discussion with Engr. Juvel Ubay-Ubay, General Manager of  MORESCO 1;  Engr. Casimero Borbon, ULRIC Solar Power Enterprises Corp.; and Atty Dionel O. Albina, as moderator.     The previous day’s session was highlighted by a Fireside Chat on “Creating an Innovation Mindset and Ecosystem” with Engr. Diosdado P. Banatao, Jr., venture capitalist from Silicon Valley and President, Philippine Development Foundation.     Banatao  is a Filipino-American entrepreneur and engineer working in the high-tech industry,credited with having developed the first 10-Mbit Ethernet CMOS with silicon coupler data-link control and trans receiver chip, the first system logic chip set for the PC-XT and the PC-AT,  and the local bus concept and the first Windows Graphics accelerator chip for personal computers.  A three-time start-up veteran, he co-founded Mostron, Chips and Technologies,  and S3 Graphics.     The USTP Innovation Summit with the theme “#USTPinnovation: The Game Changer for Sustainable Northern Mindanao”, aims to gain insights from key players in the innovation ecosystem and enable participants to widen their perspectives of the regional development plan, opportunities for innovation ecosystem, roadmap of technology business incubation in the Philippines, establishment of regional inclusive innovation center, technology of solar thermal in agri-food application, investment priorities in Northern Mindanao, and creating an innovative mindset and ecosystem,     The Summit will gather researching academics and students from various institutions, entrepreneurs, investors, industry senior executives, business development and other technical service providers all over Northern Mindanao in which some of them will speak on real insights into exploring current opportunities and challenges of leading technologies.    The Summit also allows faculty, students, and startup talents particularly from the USTP-CDO Digital Incubation Hub to showcase their research and extension service outputs as well as products and services.    Three parallel sessions will be held to accommodate three sectors: Power and Energy, Information and Communication Technology, and Food Innovation.     During the pitching completion, some local startup talents will pitch their technological and innovative ideas through research innovations, software development, multimedia creations and computer graphics during the parallel sessions.     Another highlight of the event is the signing of Memorandum of Agreement between USTP and potential industry partners. (with a report from Ismael N. Talili, USTP)

Workers point to contractualization for SWS-DOLE discrepancy on unemployment

November 14, 2018

In its recent survey for the 3rd quarter of 2018, the SWS said that 22% or 9.8 million Filipinos are unemployed. The labor department countered this by citing the official data of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), which peg the unemployment rate at 5.4%, covering some 2.3 million, in its July 2018 Labor Force Survey.   Informal Economy   “The stark difference between public perception and the official unemployment statistics shows that the unemployed and underemployed millions and our government statisticians have different definitions of ‘unemployment’, said BMP Chair Leody de Guzman.   “To the PSA and the DOLE, the ranks of the employed include those who are working in the precarious informal sector. Those who are out-of-work but are not looking for work are also not counted as unemployed," he added.      “The SWS survey reflects the problem of underemployment. To the workers and the poor, and rightly so, those who are making ends meet through odd and irregular side-jobs – including informal street vendors and street food peddlers - are not truly employed. But are regarded as employed by the PSA and DOLE, partly because these agencies want to turn a blind eye to government’s incapacity to provide full employment to the Filipino people,” de Guzman noted.   “The official definition of employment, which excludes those who are not looking for work by removing them in the category of ‘labor force’, is flawed. A sizeable chunk of the unemployed are not looking for work, not because they are lazy and useless. They would not bother themselves with the costly expenses of finding work only to land in lowly-paid contractual work, if ever they are absorbed by the formal economy,” he explained.    Contractualization, Flexible Work Schemes   De Guzman said the crux of the matter is the changing definition of the term ‘employed’, not only in the Philippines but also in global governing bodies such as the International Labor Organization (ILO). This redefinition transpired in the late 1990s as governments subscribed to the policy of flexibilization of labor by transnational monopoly corporations.   “Gone are the days when employment meant having regular jobs with regular pay, as employers shifted to schemes for cheap and docile labor,” de Guzman, the lone senatorial candidate of the labor sector, running under Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) stressed    Rather than deny the problem of underemployment, which is truly unemployed in perception of the public, the BMP leader asserted that the Duterte administration deliver on its promise to end contractualization. “The workers have not forgotten the campaign promise of ‘contractualization must stop’ by then candidate Rodrigo Duterte during the 2016 elections."   BMP claims that Duterte could have easily prohibited all forms of labor contracting, a power that is accorded to the DOLE Secretary by Article 106 of the Labor Code – an alter-ego of the chief executive for labor affairs.   “Duterte could simply issue an executive order for the prohibition of this patently anti-labor work scheme. But he would not deliver on his promises, because there is no honesty to the words of this pro-capitalist compulsive liar,” the veteran labor leader concluded. (30)

Never Stop Learning: How Mr. John Stays Ahead of the Curve, Even at 92.

October 30, 2018

Fourteen years after the University of San Carlos bestowed an honorary doctorate in Business and Enterprise Development on John L. Gokongwei Jr., the Cebu-based institution has  again honored JG Summit Holdings’ founder and chairman emeritus.    University officials led by USC President Fr. Dionisio Miranda, SVD, and USC Alumni Association Chairman Ronald Po presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. John at the first Grand Reunion for Alumni Champions of the University of San Carlos held on October 18, 2018, at the Summit Galleria Cebu hotel, .   What a life it's been for Mr. John, now 92 years old!    His arc has been described as a twist on the classic rags to riches tale, as Mr. John began his life born to privilege.    However, a variety of circumstances pushed his family to lose everything, forcing the then-13-year old John Gokongwei, Jr. to rely on his wits, intelligence, hard work, and perseverance to pull himself and his family out of despair, molding him into the man that he is today.   After the university presented Mr. John with the Lifetime Achievement Award, given “For a lifetime, fully lived, of invaluable contributions that addressed the needs of local, national, regional, and global communities, and for having deeply touched, empowered, and transformed the lives of others through a legacy of entrepreneurship and education,” a commissioned portrait of Mr. John was unveiled. Then, it was time for the man of the hour to speak.        Addressing school officials, fellow alumni, close friends and family members, Mr. John began his brief yet inspiring acceptance speech by showing his deep appreciation for his hometown and his alma mater.  “I flew this morning on the airline I named after the city I love, Cebu Pacific. I went to school here at the University of San Carlos for my primary and high school. I was valedictorian in grade school and I was number one in high school and because of that, I received free tuition in school. I thank the school for that,” he said with gratitude.   Displaying his still sharp memory, Mr. John then shared a recollection from his younger academic years, back when the school was still known as Colegio de San Carlos, drawing chuckles from the crowd.    I especially remember Fr. Smith, who was the disciplinarian, because one day he caught me running in front of his office, and I had to stand in the corner for one hour,” said Mr John, providing a rare glimpse of his mischievous side.   Mirroring his own life, the speech then grew serious.    “When I was 13 years old, my father died, leaving me to take care of my mother, my brother and my sister. At the time, my youngest brother James was only nine months old. I took care of them all because the family has always been my priority,” he said.    As life’s twists forced him to drop out of school, Mr John honed his entrepreneurial skills, first by selling peanuts from his backyard, then by becoming a peddler at the market. Along the way, he also developed his legendary toughness and resilience.    “It was here in Cebu that I earned my first few pesos. I always used to wake up before dawn to ride my bicycle to the public market many kilometers away. I set up a little table in the market to sell spools of thread, bars of soap, and candles,” he said. “I earned about 20 pesos a day by working longer and harder than everyone else, but it didn’t matter because I really loved my work. I loved being an entrepreneur.”   Using himself as an example, he proved that it’s never too late to learn and that you are never too old to be working—as long as you have the passion for it.    “Today, I am 92 years old. I still wake up early and I still love what I am doing. I still know everything that is going on in my company,” said Mr John. “I still love to learn and I’m always reading books, and now, online stories in this digital age. I always tell my children, my grandchildren, and my colleagues: Love your work, Work hard at it. Love your family. Love your country, never stop learning, and always look back and be grateful to where you came from.”   From a precocious, intelligent child to one of Asia’s most admired businessmen, it’s a lifetime achievement definitely worth celebrating.   SPEECH OF JOHN GOKONGWEI, JR. AT UNIVERSITY OF SAN CARLOS, CEBU. OCTOBER 17, 2018 FR. DIONISIO MIRANAD, DR. JESUS ALCORDO   "It’s always special to be back here in Cebu, my hometown. And it is extra special to be here at my Alma Mater, University of San Carlos. I flew here this morning on the airline I named after this city I love, Cebu Pacific. I went to school here at the University of San Carlos for my primary school and my high school. I was valedictorian in grade school, and I was number one in my class in high school. Because of that, I received free tuition at school. I remember Fr. GRIES who taught us English Literature, and Mr. Quibilan, the principal. I especially remember Fr. Smith, who was the disciplinarian, because one day he caught me running in front of his office, and I had to stand in the corner for one hour. When I was 13 years old, my father died, leaving me to take care of my mother, my four brothers, and my sister. At the time, my youngest brother, James, was only nine months old. I took care of them all. Because the family has always been my priority. It was here in Cebu that I first earned my first few pesos. I used to wake up way before dawn to ride my bicycle to the public market many kilometers away. I set up a little table at the market to sell spools of thread, bars of soap, and candles. I earned about twenty pesos a day by working longer and harder than everybody else. But it didn’t matter since I really loved my work. I loved being an ENTREPRENEUR. And so all through the years, I stayed as an entrepreneur, loving what I did and working hard. And always learning from the school of life. Years later, when I was married to my lovely wife Bia, and had six children of my own, I finally had the means to go back to school. I went to De La Salle University to get my MBA. It took me four years since I was a working student. When I got my diploma it was one of the proudest moments of my life. Then I went to Harvard in 1972 for 14 weeks to take the advance management program. Today, I am 92 years old. I still wake up early and I still love to do what I’m doing. I still know everything what is going on in my company. I still love to learn and am always reading books, and now, online stories in this new digital age. I always tell my children, my grandchildren, and my colleagues: Love your work. Work hard for it. Love your family. Love your country. Never stop learning. And always look back and be grateful to where you came from. Thank you, University of San Carlos, for being a large part of who I am today. Thank you for this lifetime achievement award."

CDO PH’s 2nd Most Competitive City after Makati

August 7, 2014

  Launched Thursday, 07 August 2014  at the Regional Competitiveness Summit, the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) measures competitiveness at the local government level using 28 indicators grouped into three equally-weighted pillars: Economic Dynamism, Government Efficiency, and Infrastructure. Scores on each pillar were combined to form the overall score used to rank cities and municipalities.   Cagayan de Oro also ranked second in infrastructure, fifth in government efficiency, and ninth in economic dynamism.   Makati topped the overall rankings with an overall score of 53.242174, followed by Cagayan de Oro (49.363393), Naga City (49.075166), Davao (47.16761) and Marikina City (45.465443).   Rounding out the top 10 in overall competitiveness were the cities of Iloilo, Cebu, Manila, Valenzuela and Paranaque.   The CMCI 2014 featured a record number of 136 cities and 399 municipalities, up from 122 cities and 163 municipalities in the pilot run in 2013 which was topped by Cagayan de Oro.   For municipalities, Daet (Camarines Norte) was ranked the most competitive overall, followed by General Trias (Cavite) and Kalibo (Aklan).   Awards were also given to the top three cities and municipalities per category. While the National Capital Region swept the Economic Dynamism category with the cities of Parañaque, Makati, and Manila taking the top spots, the Government Efficiency category was dominated by cities outside Metro Manila.   The top cities for Government Efficiency were Naga (Camarines Sur), Iloilo (Iloilo), and Angeles (Pampanga).   For the Infrastructure category, the top cities were Davao (Davao del Sur), Cagayan de Oro (Misamis Oriental), and Marikina.   Among the municipalities, the most competitive for Economic Dynamism were Tanza (Cavite), General Trias (Cavite), and San Pedro (Laguna), all from Region IV-A, CALABARZON.   The most competitive municipalities for Government Efficiency were Kalibo (Aklan), Tupi (South Cotabato), and San Mateo (Isabela). Finally, for Infrastructure, the most competitive municipalities were Daet (Camarines Norte), Rodriguez (Rizal), and Paniqui (Tarlac).   The results highlight the importance of being competitive in several factors, especially those which are closely examined by potential investors. It should be noted that the top three cities and municipalities for overall competitiveness also received at least one award in a category.   In addition to pursuing across-the-board competitiveness, NCC Private Sector Co-Chairman Guillermo M. Luz advised stakeholders at the Regional Competitiveness Summit to work together in building cities and municipalities which are affordable, accessible, socially-acceptable, environmentally-friendly, economically-viable, and climate-resilient. The CMCI was designed to encourage local governments to regularly track data and eventually benchmark performance against other cities in the ASEAN to better manage their regions.   The CMCI was developed by the NCC through the Regional Competitiveness Committees (RCCs) with the assistance of the INVEST Project of USAID. City and municipality data used in the CMCI were voluntarily submitted by the RCCs.   Economic Dynamism scores were based on data on the size and growth of the local economy as measured by business registrations, capital, revenues, and occupancy permits; capacity to generate employment; cost of living; cost of doing business; financial deepening; productivity; and presence of business and professional organizations. Government Efficiency scores were based on data on transparency scores, economic governance scores, local taxes and revenues, local competition-related awards, business registration efficiency, investment promotion, compliance to national directives, security, health, and education. Infrastructure scores were based on data on existing road network, distance from city/municipality center to major ports, Department of Tourism-accredited accommodations, health infrastructure, education infrastructure, basic utilities, infrastructure investments, ICT connection, ATMs, and public transportation.

Two Energy Giants Break Ground in Misamis Oriental

July 22, 2014

“The Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company (CEPALCO) has contracted MERALCO Industrial Engineering Services Corporation (MIESCOR) to undertake the Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning (EPCC) of its 138 kV/69 kV Substation in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental with two (2) 150 MVA power transformers,” said Ms. Marilyn A. Chavez, senior manager, CEPALCO Customer & Community Relations Department.    “The Scope of Work for this component of the EPCC contract includes the detailed design, manufacturing, supply, delivery, erection, installation, system integration and testing and commissioning of the 138/69kV Substation, plus associated telecommunication and protection facilities,” she added.   MIESCOR is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Philippines’ largest electric utility, the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) while CEPALCO is the country’s fourth, and second largest in Mindanao.   Since its incorporation in December 1973, MIESCOR has chalked up an exemplary record of engineering performance backed up by a pool of highly competent technical manpower. The company has amassed a wealth of experience in power generation, transmission and distribution, petrochemical/chemical and industrial plants, water resources, transportation and telecommunication system and building services.      The project is expected to take 427 Calendar days. By June 30, 2014 the substation is expected to be capable of transmitting back-feed power supply and completed by July 31, 2015.   Ms. Chavez said the project was spurred by  CEPALCO’s load growth in the 69 kV and below systems which have substantially increased over the past three years due to recent developments in large industrial and commercial loads.   “Critical to these developments is the assurance that these locators will be provided with adequate and reliable power supply,” she noted.   Currently, majority of the CEPALCO’s residential, commercial and industrial customers in the entire franchise area are being indirectly served by the 69 kV backbone sub -transmission system before they are stepped-down to the medium-voltage (34.5 kV and 13.8 kV) and low-voltage (230 volts) distribution systems.   “The ground breaking for the construction of CEPALCO’s first ever 138 kV substation is another milestone and confirmation of our commitment to meet the growing needs of our valued customers, especially with the remarkable business boom within CEPALCO’s service area,” said Consuelo G. Tion, CEPALCO President and Chief Operating Officer during the ground breaking rites held 22 July 2014 at the project site in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.   “It is with joy and pride that I welcome all of you to this momentous event because I have been a witness to how much CEPALCO has grown over the years, and our accomplishments in terms of continuously improving the quality of our services to customers show how strong and committed we are as a service company,” she added.   “We are proud to be CEPALCO’s partner in its first 138kV substation,” said Engr. Angelito D. Bermudo, MIESCOR President and CEO, “However, we are convinced Mindanao has a vast potential beyond this initial engagement and we look forward to undertake more projects in this region soon.”   Aside from the new substation, MIESCOR is also building the Tagoloan-Balingasag 138kV sub-transmission line for Minergy Coal Corporation, another wholly-owned affiliate of CEPALCO.   The sub-transmission line will interconnect the 110MW coal fired power plant of Minergy Coal in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental to the distribution system of CEPALCO. Rated at 138 kV and configured as a double-circuit in steel pole structures, the 37-km line will be constructed using 785 MCM ACSR conductors with 3/8 inch diameter Optical Fiber Ground Wire (OFGW) as its neutral. Its route will be along the National highway.     Besides the two ancillary projects for Minergy’s coal fired power plant, MIESCOR is also concurrently constructing a new substation for the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in Opol, Misamis Oriental on a four-hectare site along the national highway in Barangay Awang, Opol some 15.5 kilometers west of its Carmen substation.   NGCP said in an earlier statement the planned Opol substation would reinforce the 60-kilometer Lugait-Carmen 69-kilovolt (kV) line constructed in 1966 which has already been experiencing a 90 percent peak load of its rated capacity. The grid operator estimates peak load could reach 103 percent this year hence the urgent need to replace it with the Opol 138-kv line.   “Rapid progress in Misamis Oriental necessitates the construction of a new, strategically-located substation to accommodate customers’ loads and eliminate possible line overloading and voltage problem,” the NGCP said. “With the projected economic progress and load growth, both the line and substation would no longer meet the increasing demand requirements in the next few years.”   The three projects together represent a PhP 2.2-billion investment in the Misamis Oriental towns of Tagoloan, Villanueva, Jasaan and Balingasag in the province’s east coast and Opol in the West.   Mr. Bermudo said the three projects proximity to each other in terms of area and timeline will enable MIESCOR to leverage its strategic advantages for the benefit of its clients, especially its newly acquired state-of-the-art software.   -INDNJC-


July 15, 2014

According to figures gathered by the DA-10’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD), the average price of regular milled rice rose 20.5 percent for the first six months of 2014 to PhP 37.81 per kilo compared to only PhP 31.38 for the same period last year. The average price for premium rice increased 19.83% over the same period from PhP 40.03/kg. to P47.97/kg.  Well-milled rice also rose 17.47% from PhP 36.64/kg. to P43.04/kg. over the same period.  However, for January to June 2014, the increase recorded was only 2.17% from P37.19 (January) to P38 (June) per kg. for regular milled rice."    “We do monitoring of rice prices twice a week throughout the region,” Ms. Hojas said. “So we don’t really have a big increase in prices for 2014 because we have enough supply. If indeed there is increase in price even with enough supply, somehow, somewhere, some people may be manipulating.”   Speaking in the same forum, Information Officer Celeste Gaabucayan of the National Food Authority Region X said the rise in prices could also be attributed to the milling and other costs traders incurred and inputted into their retail prices.   “When they buy palay at P22 per kilo, traders incur expenses such as milling and labor to convert it into edible rice,” she explained. “In order to break even, they have to price their milled rice at PhP 44/kg. and add two pesos profit margin and that’s how you have PhP 46/kg. retail price for premium rice.”   “Similarly, when NFA buys palay at P17/kg. it has to price at P34/kg. to break even. So when NFA sells it at P32/kg. it is subsidized,” she added. “However, since June 30 NFA outlets were directed to start retailing regular milled rice to marginalized poor at P27/kg. which is also available to better off buyers who want to buy it.”   Gaabucayan said NFA-10 has increased the allocation for NFA outlets in the city up to 100 bags a day to address the situation. The agency has two outlets each in Agora and Puerto, and one each in Cogon and Carmen markets. In addition, it has rolling stores roving the barangays selling NFA rice at PhP 27/kg. for targeted beneficiaries in partnership with DSWD.        The rise in retail prices followed the rise in the average farm gate price of palay which rose to P18.27/kg. for the first quarter of 2014, up from PhP 15.06 over the same period last year.   Figures from the PSA-BAS X presented by NEDA during the forum show palay production for the first quarter increasing 22.79% from 143,179 metric tons (M.T.) to 175,809MT.   As a result, net rice production available for consumption against the clean rice requirement also increased the region’s rice sufficiency level for the 1st quarter to 76.89% compared to only 64.93% over the same period last year, using the same per capita consumption figure of 115.7 kgs. versus the region’s 2014 estimated population of 4,508,166.   The region’s total rice stocks of 2,256,383 bags as of 01 March 2014 as monitored by NFA-X was 91.3 percent higher than the total monitored over the same period last year, and was estimated to last 84 days based on the region’s daily rice consumption of around 26,820 bags.   Prices were apparently also stabilized by the increase in the inflow of rice from outside the region compared to outflows for the 1st quarter of the year.   Rice inflows/outflows monitored by the AMAD showed rice inflows increasing to 5,107.5MT compared to only 3,487.95MT over the same period last year, for a 1,619.55MT increase or 46.4%. Some 96% of rice imports to the region came from Manila and Cebu in 2013, while 92.3% were accounted for by Iloilo in 2014.   On the other hand, rice outflows dropped from 4,326.40MT in 2013 to only 1,279.MT in 2014, a steep 70.4% decrease. Some 2,800MT of the rice outflows (64.7%) in 2013 were shipped to Tacloban for victims of Typhoon Yolanda, while the bulk (94.75%) in the first quarter of 2014 was shipped to Cebu.


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