Stalling of teen pregnancy bills to have dire effect: POPCOM

September 24, 2020

The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) said that the fate and the future of more than 60,000 young girls have been left in a precarious state, as the leadership of the Senate decided to delay the discussions on Senate Bill (SB) No. 1334, or the proposed “Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy Act,” which seeks to fully and appropriately address the alarming prevalence of teenage pregnancies nationwide.   “We need to address minor parents’ lack of access to family planning services,” Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III, MD, MPH asserted. “POPCOM believes it is high time for our lawmakers to acknowledge the glaring fact that the numbers of minors who are becoming vulnerable to social and economic pressures, on top of their health needs, are escalating yearly.” Perez said that if passed into law, SB 1334 will greatly benefit minor girls who are already mothers and those who are currently conceiving, as it will enable their unimpeded access to reproductive health programs, as well as age- and development-appropriate education and information on sexual health and family planning. POPCOM’s executive director said that the government agency has been relentlessly campaigning with policymakers, including Senator Ana Theresia “Risa” N. Hontiveros —principal sponsor of SB 1334—to address the needs of an increasing number of minors who have been giving birth since 2013. This, despite the hampered implementation of the Supreme Court (SC)’s ruling in April 2014 of the implementation of Republic Act No. 10354, or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law, which was declared as “not unconstitutional.”  The SC ruling, however, struck down a part of the RPRH Law which would provide access to family planning services to minors below 18 or young girls who are already mothers or are currently pregnant, as it declared that it is the role of their parents to give consent to the adolescents’ use of artificial or natural methods of contraception. The number of adolescents who gave birth have increased, “with only a marginal decline,” according to Perez, “because of various efforts in-place, which still require broader policy support—including budget and resources.” In 2018, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that the country had 62,341 minors who delivered babies—counting those with repeated pregnancies. That same year, former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia sounded the alarm on the glaring incidences of teenage pregnancy, which he said had already reached a level of being a “national social emergency.” The National Economic and Development Authority even cited the occurrence as “a drag on the Philippines’ economic growth,” as it has identified existing evidence on social and economic impact. Perez explained that with this national social emergency, POPCOM is extending support to comprehensive sexuality education, or CSE. This ensures that public and private schools, as avenues for development, will provide young people a supportive environment where they have access to age- and development-appropriate information on responsible parenthood and reproductive health, as stated in Rule 11 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the RPRH Law.  “The public, as well as our solons, should now be cognizant of the fact that families started by minors year-in and year-out, especially the young mothers who have experienced repeat pregnancies, are the real beneficiaries of the RPRH Law,” the POPCOM chief explained. “It will be further complemented and supported by SB No. 1334 if eventually enacted, as both will provide necessary protection to our young mothers who now have become among those most vulnerable in Philippine society.”

CLF brings spiritual hope via global online convention

June 20, 2020

CHRISTIAN Leaders Fellowship – a worldwide denomination founded by South Korean-based evangelist Ock Soo Park – will hold the CLF Online World Conference from June 25 to 27 via Zoom which will be streamed to attendees to the faithful around the world. “We believe God is igniting the greatest comeback of our time. Join us for our first ever virtual conference and spark a comeback for your church and for the evangelism of the true gospel,” CLF Philippines president Abraham Nam. Here in the Philippines, the schedule for the CLF Online World Conference 2020 will be from 6:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. from June 25 to 27 via a Zoom session which can be accessed once participants will register here: There will be an inspirational message from Christian Life Fellowship founder Rev. Ock Soo Park and discussions in Mind Education, Life of Faith, Spiritual Empowering and testimonies by the faithful with a special performance by the Gracias Choir. It was learned that the CLF Online World Conference this year will be offered for free with the administration announcing in a statement that “we understand that many are facing hardships of all sorts in these trying times and to enable as many people to grow in the spirit and receive the peace of Christ through the hearing of the word of God, registration for the conference will be gratuitous.” Since 2017, the CLF World Conference has generated 361,257 participants in nine continents worldwide. It is a global leadership initiative that strives to unite Christian leaders through Bible-based theology, implement practical ministry solutions and encourage fellowship rooted in the Gospel. “The Philippines was founded by God and formed through the Gospel, having endured both difficult and dangerous times throughout its storied history. It is our belief that in these very dark and divided times, God is preparing a Greater Awakening,” Nam said.

CCC trains Lanao del Norte LGUs on risk science-informed Local Climate Change Action Plan

March 10, 2020

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, 10 March 2020 – More local government units (LGUs) pledged to enhance their local development plans during the week-long Enhanced Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP) Training Workshop.  Representatives from the LGUs of the Province of Lanao del Norte, academic institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector participated in the event, which included lectures on climate change 101, climate and disaster risk assessment process, basic greenhouse gas inventory, climate change expenditure tagging, and a workshop on project proposal development for the People’s Survival Fund (PSF).  “This five-day Communities for Resilience Training Workshop is an essential step to find and adopt solutions that are viable to implement in our localities for we feel the urgency to do this,” said the Province of Lanao del Norte Governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo.  Said training is in line with the mandate of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) to further mainstream climate change and capacitate the LGUs in enhancing their LCCAPs.  In his opening message, Climate Change Commission (CCC) Secretary Emmanuel M. De Guzman shared that LCCAPs, a deliverable of LGUs under the Climate Change Act 2009, have increased ten folds in number from 137 in 2015 to 1,267 in 2019.  “The support of policy and decision makers at the highest level of the national government is critical in our pursuit of climate resilience and sustainable development for our communities. Likewise, key to a climate-resilient Filipino nation is strengthening the cooperation between and among our national government agencies, LGUs, and the science and academic community on mainstreaming climate change adaptation and mitigation in local development and investment planning across the country,” said De Guzman, highlighting the attendance of House Committee on Climate Change Secretary Erwin Lara to represent the Chairperson, Bohol Representative Edgar Chatto.  Aside from CORE, the CCC has also initiated programs which will help LGUs on enhancing LCCAPs and developing PSF project proposals.  Last year, CCC facilitated the formation of nationwide network of multi-stakeholder consortiums to promote and sustain climate science education, research and knowledge-sharing, policy advocacy, and providing advisory and mentoring services to LGUs. To date, CCC has already initiated the establishment of two consortiums – the Leyte and Northern Panay Climate Change Consortiums.  The CCC also issued a resolution adopting a National Climate Risk Management Framework which urges LGUs and national governments to undertake national and local risk assessments and formulate risk management strategies and interventions.  De Guzman said that enhanced LCCAPs are expected to further strengthen participatory local risk governance, enhance the resilience of rural livelihood, preserve the integrity of ecosystems, ensure the rich and resilient indigenous peoples’ culture, and strengthen early recovery planning.  “We need to work even smarter, and in unison with each other—to survive and thrive in this extremely challenging era of climate change. Now is the time to unite for climate action. Now is the time to unite for climate resilience,” De Guzman concluded.  “Climate emergency is real. The decisiveness of our action at the local levels must take place here and now, lest the extinction of the human race becomes irreversible,” said Rep. Chatto in his keynote message delivered by Lara.  This Communities for Resilience - Enhanced Local Climate Change Action Plan Training for the Local Government Units and Higher Education Institutions incorporates the country’s National Framework Strategy on Climate Change 2010-2022, National Climate Change Action Plan 2011-2028, and the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Plan 2011-2018.  The program also trails the post-2015 global frameworks for development: the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, Sustainable Development Goals 2030, and the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

DOST rolls out 20 R&D outputs, services for 2020

February 25, 2020

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has unveiled 20 research and development (R&D) outputs and scientific services that would provide innovative solutions to address some of the country’s existing challenges and limitations in different sectors.  In a media conference held 20 February 2020 at the Hotel Jen in Pasay City, DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña introduced 20 programs, services, technologies, and innovations developed by DOST agencies and regional offices, together with various industry partners.    "The DOST would like to kick-off the year 2020 by featuring 20 of our programs and technologies that we believe can make a big impact in the lives of our countrymen and push our country to attain socioeconomic growth and development," said DOST Sec. de la Pena.   Called "Big 20 in 2020", the DOST is set to spearhead a series of technology launches and events for the entire year. These technology launches will highlight the practical benefits of various R&D outputs and scientific services, particularly in the areas of agriculture, enterprise technology, space science, genomics, mass transportation, development of smart cities, health and nutrition, disaster preparedness, nuclear technology, among others.   The Secretary emphasized that while technology remains the driving force of any developed economy, it is a must for the Philippines to develop more technologies that can help improve people's lives.    Among the 20 R&D outputs unveiled by the DOST is the possible launch this year of two locally-built nanosatellites, an anti-dengue drug and biomedical devices, a 12-horsepower single cylinder diesel engine, and an automated guideway transit for Bataan.   Also presented was a program called Understanding Lightning and Thunderstorms for Extreme Weather and Monitoring and Information Sharing or ULAT, a comprehensive program on nutrition, and a partnership between the DOST and the Department of National Defense.  There will also be a nationwide tissue-cultured coconut planting day, the maiden voyage of a hybrid trimaran, launching of a “Science for the People” book series, a concert using bamboo musical instruments, the launch of several DOST-enabled smart cities, and an exposition on innovations in disaster risk reduction and response.   Several DOST facilities are lined up to start offering services this year including the country’s first fully automated gamma irradiation facility, a Regional Yarn Production and Innovation Center in Miagao, Iloilo, a tissue-cultured laboratory for ornamental plants in Bulacan, opening of various science discovery centers, the Philippine Genome Center in Visayas, and several laboratories including metrology laboratories in chemistry and biology, simulation packaging testing and green packaging laboratories, and a modular multi-industry innovation facility.    For more information on the DOST’s 20 programs and technologies, visit and view or download the "Big 20 in 2020" technology catalogue.           

Green, Sustainability Bond Markets poised for growth

February 12, 2020

The Green and Sustainability debt markets in the Philippines and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are poised for growth, with the “necessary foundations” for their development already in place. In a keynote speech at the ASEAN+3 Bond Market Forum Meeting at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Headquarters in Manila on February 5, SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis B. Amatong cited the “notable” issuances of bonds worth more than US$3.8 billion under the ASEAN Green and Sustainability Bond Standards in 2019 as positive indication of the market’s development. Last year’s issuances was six times larger than the $639 million issued in 2018, when the value increased by over 50% from 2017. Sustainability bonds accounted for $1.4 billion or 36% of last year’s total, up 14 times from just $100 million in 2018. “While ASEAN may still be a relatively small player in the global Green/ Sustainability debt market – with $330 billion raised in 2019 – the rate of growth in ASEAN appears to show the necessary foundations for the development of such a Green/ Sustainability debt market have indeed been laid, including the issuance of a clear set of guidelines for issuers to follow and which investors, both international and domestic, recognize as holistic and reliable,” Mr. Amatong said. Where ASEAN stands For now, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand dominate the ASEAN Green and Sustainability bond market. The Philippines has seen 15 issuances worth $3.04 billion by a range of private sector issuers, including renewable energy firms and banks taking advantage of both on- and offshore markets. Philippine banks particularly have had notable success in this market. Among them is Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), which has issued two Sustainability bonds and one Green bond totaling $742 million, of which $442 million is peso-denominated. Bank of the Philippine Islands also issued Green bonds under the ASEAN Standards to raise $300 million and CHF100 million, with the latter transaction achieving a negative yield.  Most recently, state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines entered the domestic Sustainability market, raising $352 million from the issuance of peso-denominated Green bonds in late 2019. In 2016, there were only three Green bonds outstanding in ASEAN, for a total of $252 million. Now there are at least 57 issues under the ASEAN Standards for Green, Social and Sustainability bonds for a total of $4 billion. In the Philippines, the private sector-led foray into the Green and Sustainability capital markets first relied on strategic support from development partners, particularly in the case of renewable energy producers. Overall, seven of the Philippines’ 15 Sustainability transactions have received some form of support or engagement by multilateral development finance institutions, namely the ADB and International Finance Corporation. ‘Necessary foundations’ in place Mr. Amatong cited the issuance of a clear set of guidelines for issuers among the “necessary foundations” for the development of the ASEAN Green and Sustainability debt market. “First, we at the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF) recognized early on the potential of green and sustainable finance to attract international investors, who, generally speaking, have had more funds to invest than investible options,” Mr. Amatong said. “We at ACMF see this as an opportunity for ASEAN countries, many of whom have significant infrastructure development programs, to access as yet untapped sources of much needed financing. Resilient and adaptable infrastructure is particularly important to those of us in ASEAN since we are particularly at risk to the impact of climate change.” In this light, ACMF developed the ASEAN Green Bond Standards in 2017, in line with the Green Bond Principles formulated by the International Capital Market Association. Fundamentally, the Standards provide a framework to ensure transparency and allow investors to make informed judgments regarding an offering’s “green-ness” and sustainability. The Philippines adopted the Standards in August 2018, as the SEC issued the guidelines on the issuance of bonds for the financing or refinancing of new and/or existing projects that must provide clear environmental benefits, such as those relating to renewable energy, energy efficiency, pollution prevention and control, environmentally sustainable management of living natural resources and land use, clean transportation, climate change adaptation, and green buildings. The Philippines likewise adopted the ASEAN Social Bonds Standards and ASEAN Sustainability Bonds Standards. In April 2019, the SEC issued the guidelines on the issuance of bonds for social projects aimed at providing or promoting affordable basic infrastructure, access to healthcare and education, and food security, among others, as well as those for social projects with environmental co-benefits. “ASEAN’s commitment to a sustainable future and sustainable capital markets goes beyond the issuance of standards and the debt capital markets,” Mr. Amatong said, as six of the 10 ASEAN members require publicly listed companies to issue sustainability reports. The Philippines, for one, requires publicly listed companies to disclose certain information in relation to their non-financial performance across the economic, environmental and social aspects of their organizations. The SEC issued the guidelines on sustainability reporting in February 2019. Mr. Amatong also cited the participation of five ASEAN members in international initiatives that seek to enhance sustainability risk management and the adoption by seven members of policies to mainstream sustainable finance. In March, the ACMF is expected to adopt a broader sustainable finance roadmap, which it intends to present during the ASEAN Finance Ministers’ meeting for endorsement. “All this is to say, that we think that ASEAN is off to a good start in its sustainability journey,” Mr. Amatong said. “But there is still so much we can do, and so much we need to do, to realize our shared goal of sustainable economic growth in the real economy supported by sustainable capital markets.” (SEC)

Indie-Siyensya extends deadline to Feb 25 

February 12, 2020

Indie-Siyensya extends deadline to Feb 25    Indie-Siyensya judges (L-R) Dr. Ruby Cristobal, Prof. Seymour Sanchez, and Dr. Aimee Lynn Dupo with DOST-SEI Director Josette Biyo and PSHS Western Visayas Campus DirectorDr. Shena Faith Ganela led the program launch of the 4th Indie-Siyensya Filmmaking Competition at the Regional Science and Technology Week Celebration last October 19, 2020 in Iloilo City.  MANILA, Philippines – Science filmmaking competition, Indie-Siyensya, is extending the deadline for submission of film entries to 25 February 2020.  The contest, organized by the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI), is open to all Filipinos who may join as individuals or in groups.  There are two categories: the “Youth Category” for high school, tertiary school and out-of-school youth aged 13-20, and the “Open category” for college students, teachers, and S&T professionals.  Entries must be short documentaries which should have a running time of under ten (10) minutes. The films must be relevant to the theme “Communities Beyond the Naked Eye” and should focus on the life and impact of insects, microorganisms, and other tiny living and non-living things.  Indie-Siyensya continues to promote science culture to the youth and the general public using film as a medium. According to DOST-SEI Director Dr. Josette Biyo, it is the agency’s response to the growing demand for excellent science communicators in the country.  “This competition aims to use filmmaking in communicating to the public scientific concepts as well as in highlighting the critical role of S&T in national development to the public and to entice the youth to become part of the growing S&T workforce of the country,” Dr. Biyo said.  Entries will be judged based on the following criteria: Scientific Content, Execution of Idea and Film Techniques. Winners for each category will receive trophies and cash prizes worth 100,000 pesos for the Best Film, 50,000 pesos for the second prize, and 30,000 pesos for the third prize.  One entry will also win the Viewers’ Choice award, which will be given to the entry with the highest number of votes during the film screening period at various DOST events, amounting to 20,000 pesos.   For contest mechanics and other information, interested participants may or (30)    DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña graced theprogram launch of the 4th Indie-Siyensya Filmmaking Competition.         Participants of the program launch of the 4th Indie-Siyensya Filmmaking Competition.


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