Friday, October 11, 2013

OCTOBER IS CONSUMER’S MONTH - What consumers should know:


1. The Right to Basic Needs – This guarantees survival, adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, and sanitation.

You may look forward to:
The availability of basic and prime commodities to consumers at affordable prices and of good quality.

What to do:
* Prioritize your needs;
* Look for quality, not quantity;
* Be quality conscious, not brand conscious;
* Do not engage in panic-buying; and
* In time of crisis / calamity, be vigilant in ensuring that basic commodities are available in the market.

If you are not satisfied:
* Keep in mind that the highest priced or most expensive product in the market may not be necessarily be the best in quality;
* Be vigilant in ensuring your continuous access to a wide assortment of competitively-priced goods and services; and
* Ensure also that in time of crisis, the price and commodities do not increase exorbitantly.

2. The Right to Safety – This is the right to be protected against the marketing of goods or the provision of services that are hazardous to health and life.

You may look forward to:
* Manufacturers of consumer products to undertake extensive safety and performance testing before selling their products in the market.
* Labels which contain the proper product information, its use and operation, and necessary precautions or warning signs.

What to do:
* If you have sensitivity to a certain ingredient, it would be very beneficial if you read all labels and product circulars before using a certain product.
* If you are in a store and have doubts about the product's effectiveness, ask for a person who knows how the product works or how to operate it.
* Keep certain products out of children's reach. Watch out for warning signs in the label of the product like "Not suited for Children Below Four (4) Years" or "POISON: For external use only", etc.
* Before buying products especially in cases when only large containers are available, it would be best if you ask for a sample or tester.
* Be on guard regarding products which are found to be hazardous, you can scan newspapers regularly for news bits on this topic.

If you are not satisfied:
* If no one in the store can explain to you satisfactorily things about the product, try to contact the manufacturer and give the pertinent details needed in determining the product easily such as code numbers and date of purchase for easy product identification.
* If you have doubts about the safety or proper performance of a product, go back to the store with your official receipt. To save time, jot down your questions.

3. The Right to Information – This is the right to information, which is the right to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising or labeling, and the right to be given the facts and information needed to make an informed choice.

You may look forward to:
A complete information about the product to be bought including its use, ingredients / chemical contents, precautions, if any, limitations and expiry date.

What to do:
* Before buying a product, it is very important for you to read the label carefully so that you would be able to know its use, content (chemical ingredients), number of pieces, and proper care.
* Before signing any document like warranties or guarantees, credit items or service contracts, it is important to read and understand all provisions in the documents especially the fine prints.
* It is very important to read newspapers, buying guides, and magazines before buying a product. Also, consult with friends who you know have bought a similar product.
* If you need to clarify something regarding the use of the product, don't hesitate to write the company to obtain detailed information.
* It is imperative to look for the name and address of the manufacturer in case the need arises.

If you are not satisfied:
It would be advisable to contact the manufacturer directly which will be in the best position to give you detailed information.

4. The Right to Choose – This is the right to choose products with competitive prices with an assurance of satisfactory quality.

You may look forward to:
* A wide array of goods and services which are offered in the market with diverse brands, sizes, shapes and colors, and with differences in the price, quality, and use.

What to do:
* Specify what you really want. The biggest size may be cheaper but it may not be what you need.
* Canvass price before buying a product or signing a contract.
* Read the manuals or instructions carefully to be able to compare one product with another so you will not miss the fine prints which might contain the information you need to determine which product would serve you better.
* If product testers are available, be sure to try one.
* Be wary of special offers like free items or buy 2 take 1 free. Compare them with the regular priced items to be sure that you are not paying for the said "free" items.

If you are not satisfied:
* Get in touch with the store owner / manufacturer in case you have a query regarding the product.
* As regards services rendered, you may write the company manager and suggest ways in which to improve their service

5. The right to Representation – This is the right to express consumer interests in the making and execution of government policies.

You may look forward to:
Legislators who would propose laws that would ensure consumers have the chance to live a better life by getting the best value for their hard-earned peso.

What to do:
*Read newspapers, bulletin boards in private and government offices, especially in your locality for announcements of public hearings.
*Take time to attend public hearings or even meetings conducted in your area wherein consumer issues are being discusses.
*Be aware of how the consumer laws and regulations are being implemented in your locality.

If you are not satisfied:
*Write a letter to your barangay chairman, especially if the issue concerns your locality. The barangay chairman is in the best position to recommend your proposal to the council.
*Be a member of a consumer group because there is strength in number and your collective voices will be heard loud and clear.

6. The right to Redress – This is the right to be compensated for misrepresentation, shoddy goods, or unsatisfactory services.

3 Rs: Repair; Replace; Refund

You may look forward to:
Manufacturers/storeowners to replace defective goods pursuant to the provision on “No Return, No Exchange” provided in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 7394, otherwise known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines.

What to do:
* In case you bought a defective product, try going back to the store where you bought the item and look for the Consumer Welfare Desk (CWD).
* You may request a replacement, refund, or repair.
* If the manager or store representative does not act on your complaint, proceed to the agency which has jurisdiction over your case.
* Bring the necessary documents like complaint letter and a copy of your receipt and other documents vital for the mediation.
* Be sure to attend the mediation conference.

If you are not satisfied:
* If mediation fails, arbitration follows. The process used is similar to the process being implemented by the regular courts. You will be duly informed of the developments of your case.

Note: On the first day of the hearing, the Consumer Arbitration Officer (CAO) shall talk to the parties for a last attempt to mediate/conciliate the complaint. If no settlement is reached, a formal hearing will be conducted. The CAO shall resolve the complaint after formal hearing. The CAO’s decision becomes final and executory unless appealed to the Department Secretary concerned, within 15 days from receipt of such order (Reference: Joint DTI, DOH, DA Administrative Order # 1, Series of 1993).

7. The right to Consumer Education – This is the right to acquire the knowledge and kills necessary to be an informed customer.

You may look forward to:
* The three sectors of society, business, government and consumer to embark on tri-media information campaign on consumer-related issues.
* A series of seminar, conferences, for a, trainings, and public hearings for the welfares of consumers.
* Consumer education being integrated in the school curriculum from elementary, secondary, and tertiary level as mandated by the Consumer Act.

What to do:
* Scan newspapers, magazines, and other reading materials for articles or news bits which educate consumers on hot to get the best value for their money.
* Involve yourself in public hearings or even meetings conducted in your area wherein consumer related issues such as access to basic goods and services, product quality and safety, sustainable consumption and the like are being discussed.
* Participate in seminar, conferences, and for a conducted by government agencies, consumer groups, and business/industry sector regarding new laws and regulations for consumer welfare.

If you are not satisfied:
* Write a letter to consumer columnists to share your opinions regarding a consumer issue.
* Companies have consumer departments and department stores have Consumer Welfare Desk (CWD) wherein you can inquire on additional information regarding a product or share your views on goods and services that they are offering.
* Inquire about the consumer education activities being undertaken by the schools.
* Inform government officials in writing on issues or legislation that you think will greatly affect you as consumer.

8. The right to a Healthy Environment – This is the right to live and work in an environment which is neither threatening nor dangerous and which permits a life of dignity and well-being.

You may look forward to:
* The government exerting an iron hand regarding the alarming increase in the degredation of the environment especially our forests, dying wildlife, depleted landfill space, and environmental contamination to prevent further damage.
* Constant monitoring of our seas, coral reefs, forests, and waste disposal being committed by factories to check if there is a violation of the laws on environmental protection.

What to do:
* Be aware of the kind and extent of pollution occurring in your locality like air pollution, noise/odor, etc. so that you would be able to address the problem.
* Do your share in caring for our environment by practicing the 3Rs of environmental protection:

REDUCE the source of solid wasted by buying earth-friendly products. These are products that could be disposed properly without harming our environment.

REUSE products and containers as much as possible.

RECYCLE because using recycled products and recycling per se will prolong the life of our landfills.

If you are not satisfied:
* Write to the local officials and to consumer organizations if you are aware of dynamite fishing or illegal logging being committed in your area.
* Organize an earth-friendly group in your area, the main task of which is to ensure that your surroundings have clean air and water. Also, encourage the people in your neighborhood to practice proper waste disposal, use of recycled and recyclable materials and the use of environmentally safe materials.


SolCom strengthens collaborative ties, Chief meets Sorsogon Governor

SORSOGON CITY, Oct. 10 (PIA) – Lieutenant General Caesar Ronnie F Ordoyo, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) Commander met up Sorsogon Governor Raul R. Lee at the Governor’s Office, Capitol Bldg., Sorsogon City, Tuesday, Oct. 8, to pay a courtesy call and update the Chief Executive on Solcom’s recent peace and development efforts in the Bicol Region.

Together with the Solcom Chief were Brigadier General Yerson Depayso, Commander of 9th Infantry (SPEAR) Division (9ID); Colonel Joselito Kakilala, Commander of 903rd Infantry Brigade; and Lieutenant Colonel Beerjenson Aquino, Commanding Officer, 31st Infantry Battalion.

General Ordoyo said that the meeting with Governor Lee is part of the continuing efforts of Solcom in particular, and the AFP in general, to strengthen the collaborative ties with the Local Government Units (LGU) in order to gain their full cooperation and support in all the military’s peace and development efforts as embodied in the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) “Bayanihan”. 

“We acknowledge the very significant role that the LGU plays in the attainment of our mission that is why we are in constant engagement  with them to discuss things on how we can further strengthen our partnership for the benefit of the Filipino people”, said General Ordoyo.   

During the meeting, Governor Lee assured General Ordoyo of his full and continuous support to all the peace and development efforts of the military in the Province of Sorsogon.  He further added that Government of Sorsogon will always be the military’s constant ally when it comes to promoting lasting peace and sustainable development for the Sorsoganons.

Prior to the courtesy call, the Solcom Chief visited Barangay Bagumbayan in Daraga, Albay to attend to the Inauguration and Turn-over Ceremony of Madrasah School Building Project to the Department of Education (DepEd) and LGU-Daraga. The school building project was funded by the ABS-CBN Foundation Incorporated and constructed by the 765th Engineer Construction Battalion, 51st Engineering Brigade of the Philippine Army. (BARecebido, PIA -5/Sorsogon/BQCadungan, PA)                             

Ksanggayahan Festival 2013 Activities and Briefer


“When the fields are green and the grains are golden; when the machines work well and all business prosper; when the birds in the sky chirp freely and men on earth are peacefully happy ; in Bikol, it is KASANGGAYAHAN, meaning, a life of prosperity”. - Rev. Fr. Jose Ofracio

DENR kinilala ang mga Protected Area sa Bansa

LUNGSOD NG LEGAZPI, Oktubre 11, (PIA) – Nanguna ang Mount Kitanglad Range ng Bukidnon  sa pitong kinilala ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources sa Protected Area Awards and Recognition na ginanap kasabay ng ika-apat na pulong ng Association of South East Asia Nation (ASEAN) Heritage Parks sa unang pagkakataon sa Lunsod ng Tagaytay noong Oktubre Uno ng taong kasalukuyan.

Ginawaran ng pagkilala ang mga Park Managers at ang kanilang pangkat sa kapitapitagang pagsisikap at malikhaing Gawain na mapangasiwaan ang mga naturang Parke.

Ayon kay Kalihim Ramon Paje ng DENR, nais ng ahensya na maipakita ang tagumpay sa Protected area management at makapag hikayat pa ng mas mataas na antas ng kahusayan sa pagpapahalaga ng protected areas at manguna sa pagtamo ng suporta mula sa iba’t ibang sektor.“

Ang naturang pulong ay binuo ng 300 delegado  mula sa kasaping bansa ng ASEAN sa layunin nitong mabigyang ng halaga ang mga protected areas sa rehiyong Asya.

Nagwagi ang Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park sa Bukidnon halos karamihan sa pagkilala kabilang dito ang “Engagement with Indigenous Peoples/Local Communities," "Institutional Organization/Active PAMB (Protected Area Management Board)," at "Actual Bio-Physical Improvements."

Samantala ang The Taal Volcano Protected Landscape na sumasakop sa may 13 bayan at tatlong lunsod sa mga lalawigan ng Batangas at Cavite sa Timog Luzon, nanalo at kinilala sa “Law Enforcement” category. Ang kategoryang ito ay kumikilala sa matagumpay na aksyon laban sa mga lumalabag sa mga batas pang Kapaligiran, lalo pa’t sa Protected Areas ang may pinakamapanganib na gawain.

Ang “Sustainable/Innovative Financing” Award ay ginawad sa Apo Island Protected Landscape/Seascape ng Dumaguete City sa Negros Oriental. Ang kategoryang ito ay nagpapahiwatig ng kahusayan sa pagpapanatili ng operasyon sa kabila ng limitadong pondo gugulin mula sa pamahalaan, pondong mula sa ibang organisasyon o pondong halaw sa sariling mga pinagkakakitaan ng Parke.

Sa Hilagang Luzon ang Mt. Pulag National Park isang tanyag na puntahan ng mga  mahilig umakyat sa bundok ay nakakuha ng pagkilala bilang may pinaka mataas na “impact sa Local Communities” bunsod ng pagkakatatag nito ng mga mekanismo na nagsaayos sa mga pamayanan sa pamamagitan ng mga likas-kaya at nakakatulong sa biodiversity.

Para naman sa “Partnership” category, ang mg Bundok Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape sa lalawigan ng Laguna at Quezon provinces ang kinilala sa pakikipagtulungan nito sa lokal na pamahalaan o local government units (LGUs); Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape sa Palawan para sa pakikipagtulungan sa mga samahan sa iba’t ibang sektor ng lipunan  habang ang Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park sa Palawan naman ay kinilala sa pakikipagtulungan sa mga lokal na pamahalaan.

Tinanggap ng mga opisyal ng DENR, Protected Area Superintendent, at kinatawan mula sa PAMB, at mga LGU ang mga plake ng pagkilala.
Ayon kay Kalihim Paje nakakamit na ang Pilipinas ng mahahalagang hakbang sa pag matalinong paggamit ng samu’t saring buhay at pagpapalaganap ng likas kayang pag-unlad simula noong maisabatas ang Republic Act No. 7586, o ang National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992.

Sa kabuuang 240 marine at terrestrial protected areas na naitatag mahigit  5.4 milyon ektarya mula sa panahon na maisabatas ang NIPAS, 89 ay natustusan ang sarili nilang gastusin sa pamamagitan ng nakolektang buwis, 36 ay may sariling management plans, lima ay may buong boundaries na naitala, habang 86 ay may kani kanilang boundaries na naitala.

Natuklasan ang mga bagong uri ng hayop, naitala at nakilala sa pandaigdigang pamayanan, pahiwatig na may mahusay na pangasiwaan kung saan ang mga organismong ito ay nabubuhay. (DENR-V/PIA, Sorsogon)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gawad Kalinga holds first-ever Social Business summit

Gawad Kalinga (GK) Founder Tony Meloto

MANDALUYONG CITY – Social business is the business of caring. This was the opening statement of Tony Meloto as he welcomed the participants of the Social Business Summit, the first of its kind held not at a fancy hotel or a posh convention center but on a sustainable community farm in Angat, Bulacan. The choice of venue is crucial in communicating the message that social businesses place a higher premium on human relationships and empowerment of the poor rather than mere profit.

A total of 520 participants signed-up for the event, which includes fifty foreign delegates coming from the United States, Australia, France, Singapore and the United Kingdom among others. 40 brilliant minds are set to share their thoughts and expertise about the summit's theme, which deals with the role of social business in harboring inclusive growth in emerging Asian markets.

"Charity cannot sustain development, nor can it end poverty. Social businesses can," Meloto, founder of Gawad Kalinga (GK), stated. He sought the support of the participants comprised of entrepreneurs, teachers, government officials and advocates of social development. Meloto insisted that the Philippines must learn to achieve progress without leaving the poor behind. "Because if we keep leaving the poor behind, growth will never be sustainable," he said.

These thoughts were echoed by Stephen Groff, Vice President of Asian Development Bank. In his speech, Groff pitched the idea that social business will herald in a brighter future for the country. "The Philippines is ideal for social enterprises due to strong civil society and people's organizations that can provide support, funding, and training, especially when social businesses start their expansions," said Groff. He added that the government needs to promote and fund social businesses, while banks should provide special loans and other financial services to encourage social enterprises.

These ideas were concretized by the experiences of 2012 Enrst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Jim Ayala as he shared how his company's solar-powered lantern improved the lives of rural Filipinos who do not have access to electricity.

Meanwhile, Former Taguig Congressman Sigfrido Tinga proudly narrated how he decided to leave the world of politics for a greater dream. Tinga claimed that the greatest lesson he learned from Gawad Kalinga is that the poor should never be displaced in favor of development. Currently working on introducing electric vehicles as alternatives to pollution causing jeepneys, he plans on employing and training drivers coming from GK communities for such project. Tinga trusts that the strong formation program of the organization will produce the most courteous Filipino drivers.

Other speakers include Joey Concepcion of GoNegosyo, Fr. Javi Alpasa, S.J. and Mark Ruiz of Hapinoy; and Anna Wilk of Gandang Kalikasan. All four speakers emphasized on the primacy of dealing justly with workers as innovative and marketable products can only be made possible through the talents of people.

The Social Business Summit runs from October 2-5 at the GK Enchanted Farm in Bulacan. It is an excellent opportunity for social entrepreneurs to exchange enterprising ideas as well as explore opportunities for synergy so as to create businesses that will empower the Filipino worker.

"We cannot be just a nation of consumers or job seekers. We have no excuse to remain poor. It's time for us Filipinos to define ourselves," says Meloto whose vision is to make the Philippines the Social Business Capital of the world. ###
 Asian Development Bank Vice President Stephen Groff discusses how doing good makes good business sense in emerging Asian markets.
GoNegosyo Founder Joey Concepcion explains how social entrepreneurship can solve many global challenges faced today.
Anna Meloto-Wilk of Human Nature shares how at the heart of business, especially social entrepreneurship, is people. 

Gawad Kalinga’s 10th Year Anniversary

Hybrid Solutions Founder and Ernst & Young 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year Jim Ayala

On 10th year, GK showcases Bayanihan blueprint to end poverty

MANDALUYONG CITY – Ever since the beginning, Antonio “Tony” Meloto and his army of change-makers believed that if Filipinos were to ever succeed in carrying the heavy load of social transformation, every Filipino, rich and poor alike, must go beyond oneself, link arms with others and ensure that nobody getsleft behind.

In a span of ten years, Gawad Kalinga has transformed 2,000 impoverished localities and squatter colonies into organized and dignified communities. Now pursuing the second phase of its vision, GK believes bayanihan can still be applied in the realm of business and industry. GK is currently working with young social entrepreneurs who can create sustainable employment opportunities by investing in the talents and skills of GK beneficiaries.

The GK Anniversary was held October 2-5, 2013 at the Enchanted Farm in Barangay Encanto, Angat, Bulacan. Dubbed as the “Silicon Valley for Social Entrepreneurship,” the Enchanted Farm is a unique, sustainable community where social entrepreneurs can experiment with innovative social business ventures using the capital and business knowledge of GK funding partners.

These are then sustained by the Kapitbahayan members of the GK community, formerly menial laborers who have now learned to become skilled and productive citizens.

A Social Business Summit on Oct. 2-5, highlighted Gawad Kalinga’s celebration which gathered 400 social entrepreneurs from around the world. Said entrepreneurs were taught and exchanged enterprising ideas as well as explored opportunities for synergy so as to create businesses that will center not on profit but on giving viable opportunities to empower the Filipino worker.

“Entrepreneurship shouldn’t just be about getting rich and living a comfortable life. It should also be about creating jobs and, ideally, contributing something to benefit society,” says Fabien Courtielle, a French student who came to the Philippines two years ago after learning of GK’s Enchanted Farm. Courtielle is just one of fifty foreigners who attended the Social Business Summit.

Meloto came up with the idea of holding the summit after attending the Davos World Economic Forum. Meloto longed to have a similar gathering for those who would benefit from it most. “If we couldn’t bring the poor to Davos, then we could bring Davos to the poor instead.”

Among those who shared their expertise were prominent leaders from the world of social development including Stephen Groff, Vice President of Asian Development Bank, Marco Collovati, CEO of Orangelife Industria, Jean-Marc Debricon, CEO of Green Shoots Foundation, Jean-Francois de Lavison, President of Ahimsa Fund.

Senator Bam Aquino, Jaime Ayala of Hybrid Solutions, Mark Ruiz of Hapinoy and Reese Fernandez of Rags2Riches talked about their experience of social entrepreneurship in the Philippines.

GK believes in the potential of social business to bring inclusive growth to emerging economies like that of the Philippines.

Guest-of-honor during the opening of the annual GK Expo which was held on Oct 5 was Vice President Jejomar C. Binay. The GK expo was the culminating program of the
4-day anniversary event. GK Expo is a celebratory way of looking back of what GK had accomplished for the past years and re-affirming commitment to its vision of ending poverty for five million families by 2024. # # #
Hybrid Solutions Founder and Ernst & Young 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year Jim Ayala meets Gawad Kalinga (GK) Founder Tony Meloto and other GK partners.  

Fr. Javi Alpasa and Mark Ruiz of Hapinoy and Anna Meloto-Wilk of Human Nature answer questions from the Social Business Summit delegates especially concerning their decisions of pursuing social businesses.