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I FEEL PARALYZED

September 26, 2020

SOMETIMES, I feel paralyzed with anger. Strong words. Yes, sometimes there is no sense in crying or being mad, but we feel paralyzed. A good friend of mine told me that a couple of days ago. Words cannot describe it and words fail me, but I wouldn't be a writer, if I couldn't express the right words at the right moment. After the long talk with my friend, I must confess that, many times, I also felt speechless and paralyzed. In difficult times like right now,  follow ups seem to become the new national and international character. Indifferent people in our surroundings let us feel like that every day. Indifference seems to become one of the varagies in today's new society. We try to get an appointment, but the other side seems to be very busy - every day of the week! Of course, we don't want to encroach in other people's time. Let's try again tomorrow! How do you feel, if you observe certain employees, who should be in service of the people, instead of reading a magazine, doing private telephone calls, doing (important!) text messages and getting down-right cheeky, if we started uncounted follow ups. Then, suddenly, we have to learn that "the boss is out of town" or so... . Grabe. Yes, I might fall out of favor with some readers with today's column, but guys, what's the difference between being busy, making a good deal of money out of something and just being indifferent or "not in the mood" to entertain people. I can tell you frankly: Many people feel paralyzed and experience a terrible loss of power of movement or sensation while dealing with uselessness, if indifference, arrogance and ignorance determine the different situations in our daily life. If the promise has been given to help or support someone, it shouldn't be broken by endless excuses and terrible stalling tactics. A "YES" is a "YES" and a "NO" should be a "NO" and not "MAYBE", if a promise can't be held understandable and comprehensive. I don't like to let somebody wait for an answer or during an appointment. I try to look after it or take care of it. If I have been informed that somebody tried to contact me, but missed me, I really do everything to find him or her. What's bad about it? Sorry, I really don't like being late or "remain silent"... . How many good ideas and highly appreciated business deals had gone with the wind because of uncomprehending, unsympathetic and unappreciated everyday deals between fellow creatures? Can you get the hang of it? Especially in times of "new normality" we should try our very best to stay in contact with our environment people. Yes, sometimes I also feel uncomfortable while observing lost chances. The present is bad enough! Remember: we don't get anything for nothing in the whole word - sure! But first, we should learn how to keep promises, to help each other, to be honest and to be one of the leaders of national stabilization and consolidation. +++ Email: doringklaus@gmail.com or follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or visit www.germanexpatinthephilippines.blogspot.com or www.klausdoringsclassicalmusic.blogspot.com.

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US$35 billion price tag to end the acute phase of pandemic

September 26, 2020

PARTNERS lay out investment needed to speed up access to COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines and treatments. The ACT-Accelerator is the only global initiative offering a solution to speed up the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Launched on 24 April 2020, it combines public and private sector expertise and institutions from around the world to accelerate the development, regulatory approval, scale-up, delivery and equitable allocation of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines. The ACT-Accelerator needs US$35 billion to meet the goal of developing new tools and producing and delivering 2 billion vaccine doses, 245 million treatments and 500 million diagnostic tests over the next year. With the largest portfolio of COVID-19 tools in the world, investing in the ACT-Accelerator increases the probability of being able to access the “winning candidate” and hedges the risk that countries that have already entered individual bilateral agreements end up with products that are not viable. The economic rationale for investment is clear: * The global economy is expected to contract by US$7 trillion in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. ACT-Accelerator’s financing gap is US$35 billion. Fully financing the ACT-Accelerator to help shorten the duration of the crisis would pay back this investment in less than 36 hours once global mobility and * ACT-Accelerator total funding needs represent less than 1% of what G20 governments have already committed to domestic economic stimulus packages. While many countries have made significant investments in domestic R&D and on domestic economic stimulus packages, these investments will not on their own address severe COVID-19 disease, the root cause of the crisis, and the key to restarting all aspects of their economies. * A lack of innovation for and sufficient access to effective tests, treatments and vaccines would hold up the recovery for all countries. In just 5 months, the ACT-Accelerator has made significant progress, as evidenced by the status report, published today: * The Diagnostics pillar is evaluating more * The Therapeutics pillar is analysing 1,700+ clinical trials for promising treatments and has secured Dexamethasone for up to 4.5 million patients in lower-income countries * COVAX vaccine facility – the largest and most varied portfolio of COVID-19 vaccines globally – currently contains 9 vaccine candidates and a total of 156 economies, representing nearly two-thirds of the global population, are now committed to or eligible to receive vaccines through the Facility        Leaders will next meet on 30th September at a high-level side event during the United Nations General Assembly to discuss the work of the ACT-Accelerator, and the financial commitments needed. (PR)

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DepEd, partners launch RADaR app to ensure learning continuity after disasters

September 26, 2020

THE Department of Education (DepEd), in partnership with Save the Children Philippines and Prudence Foundation, launched the Rapid Assessment of Damages Report (RADaR) mobile and web applications nationwide last September 22 and 24 to ensure immediate response interventions and learning continuity in the event of disasters and other emergencies. Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, DepEd had been working on enhancing the safety for all learners and DepEd personnel through the development of the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Information System (DRRMIS). “The RADaR mobile and web applications will support our regional, division, and school-based Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Coordinators in reporting and rapidly assessing the impacts of disasters,” said Undersecretary for Administration Alain del B. Pascua. Usec. Pascua also noted that the reports from the RADaR app will provide estimates of the damages caused by disasters and will serve as the basis for response interventions to these schools. Save the Children Philippines Chief Executive Officer Atty. Alberto Muyot emphasized that the mobile and web application will be vital in ensuring the safety of learners and personnel once the safe resumption of face-to-face classes will be allowed. “Children will bear the greatest impact if a disaster takes place in a school environment, and we must guarantee their safety during emergencies while they are away from their parents and guardians,” said Atty. Muyot. According to the Department’s partner organizations, the accurate and timely data provided by the RADaR app will be vital in ensuring a strategic flow of information for response and life-saving decisions and actions by schools, communities, local governments, and concerned national organizations. “Working hand in hand with the Philippine government, we are improving national systems for risk assessment, guidance, planning and reporting to support schools to build safe facilities, put appropriate emergency procedures in place, and to recover quickly when disasters take place,” said Marc Fancy, Executive Director of Prudence Foundation, the community investment arm of PruLife UK’s parent company Prudential. Due to its vulnerability to typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and droughts, the Philippines ranks ninth among the most disaster-prone countries worldwide according to the 2019 World Risk Index. The RADaR app is one part of the DRRMIS, being established within the DepEd through the Education Safe from Disasters Project, which aims to improve the knowledge and capacity of education personnel and learners on safety from disasters.  It will include other applications and tools, such as the Comprehensive School Safety (CSS) Monitoring Application and the School Watching App (SWApp), that will be pilot tested in selected schools across 20 divisions of Region III the upcoming school year. The expansion of the project may transform disaster risk reduction systems in the Philippines and beyond, helping many more children stay safe in emergencies. (PR)

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Filipino-owned company wins No. 1 Brand award in Thailand

September 26, 2020

THROUGH a nationwide survey conducted among thousands of real Thai consumers, Universal Robina Corporation (URC) Thailand’s Jack n Jill Fun-O came out as the most popular brand in the category of biscuits and crackers. The survey was conducted by Marketeer Magazine in partnership with Kadence International (Thailand) Co., Ltd. — Japan’s leading Market Research Agency. Thus, Marketeer Business magazine awarded Fun-O as No.1 Brand Thailand for 2019-2020, Biscuits & Crackers categories. URC Thailand’s Marketing Director, Jane Bernardo said, “This award inspires us even more to continue delighting our Thai consumers with innovative and world-class products.” One of the largest food and beverage manufacturing companies in the Philippines, URC has expanded its presence in the ASEAN and Oceania regions. It also exports to markets like the US, Europe and New Zealand. URC is known for well-loved brands like Chippy, Great Taste, Magic Crackers, Piattos, Cloud 9, C2 and Nips. For 20 years now, its Thailand arm has been producing and distributing a broad range of snack and confectionary products such as Fun-O, Tivoli, Roller Coaster, Dewberry, Cream-O, Lush, Dynamite and Wiggles. Learn more about URC and URC Thailand by visiting its websites, www.urc.com.ph and www.urcthailand.com, as well as its Facebook pages, @URCPhilippines and @URCThailandOfficial. (PR)

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29th Mindanao Business Conference | Stepping Up for a Better Normal

September 25, 2020

Despite the constraints of the island-wide community quarantine imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, Mindanao’s biggest business event closed with an optimistic outlook for a “Better Normal” than what existed before the global recession. Over 500 virtual delegates attended the 29th Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon) hosted by the Davao Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCII) which brings together the 42 affiliate chambers of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in Mindanao. Although there was an expected drop in the number of participants compared to the almost 800 in-person delegates who joined the 28th MinBizCon hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Iligan Foundation, Inc. (CCIFII)  last year, organizers still considered this year’s turnout better than expected given the inherent constraints on participation imposed by the community quarantine, especially on travel and mobility, as well as the inherent limitations of the island’s internet cyber highway. “As we trek on the road of safe recovery, many have taken an interest in Mindanao’s economy. True enough, Mindanao is blessed with the resources and mild weather variations good for food production, and unhampered business and manufacturing operations,” noted DCCCII President John Carlo Borja Tria in his column Eyes on Mindanao. “Much of Mindanao is under MGCQ allowing eased restrictions, and higher levels of economic activity. Malls are running with new normal protocols and a good number of customers,” he added. According to the final report of the 29th MinBizCon Secretariat, some 488 registered delegates attended the whole day session on September 10 for an 81% attendance rate, and another 551 on September 11 for a 59% attendance rate. However, the MinBizCon also received a big boost with the presence of 28 foreign and diplomatic delegates from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, PP PT, and New Zealand from the Asia-Pacific Area; the European Union (EU), Hungary, Italy and Greece from Europe; and the United States. “We are happy our MinBizCon has sparked renewed interest in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area,” said Ma. Teresa R. Alegrio, PCCI Area Vice President for Mindanao. “Our pre-conference sessions on the BIMP-EAGA attracted as many as 600 participants from all over the ASEAN Region that our conference secretariat had to make spot adjustments to accommodate the unexpected response from so many from the area.” “Mindanao’s other advantage is its proximity to ASEAN markets,” Tria noted. “Moreover, its growing manufacturing sector draws its raw materials from its resources, such as fish in General Santos and Zamboanga, coconuts for oil and activated carbon in the Davao region, limestone for cement in Northern Mindanao. Add to that the minerals and service sector and you have a very diverse economy. These are advantages that can help boost recovery.” The two day event was also covered by 18 representatives from various mainstream and online media from Mindanao and Metro Manila. Among the key questions raised in relation to the various presentations of the conference were price controls for high value crops which has been a perennial problem in Bukidnon;  possible government initiatives to offset the adverse effects of the rice Tariffication law and rice imports on local rice farmers; badly needed reforms in the present structure of agriculture in Mindanao which constrains the growth of the sector and continues to keep poverty levels high, especially among Lumad farmers; availability of funds for the recovery and rehabilitation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from the global pandemic and opportunities available for out of school and illiterate youths from the Mindanao Road Map and Agriculture Investments. “Another major point which surfaced during the conference was how demand for agricultural products was so great in Metro Manila and Luzon, yet we are still unable to close the demand-supply gap with the bumper harvests of Mindanao farmers after all these years,” Alegrio noted. “In spite of this however, we are encouraged by the repurposing of some factories in Mindanao such as the plan of a wine factory to shift some of its capacity to the production of medical grade alcohol which is much in demand this time of the global pandemic. We are especially encouraged by this development because there is no medical alcohol factory in Mindanao at present and we have to import all our needs from Luzon and the Visayas.” “Ultimately, PCCI Mindanao would like to see more value-added production for Mindanao’s agriculture produce to replace the perennial conundrum of throwing away surplus agricultural products for want of better prices and buyers,” she stressed. “Our farmers and traders should be able to harmonize their harvests and supply chains with their buyers from Metro Manila, Cebu and other major urban centers to make it a win-win situation that benefits everyone moving forward.” The 29th MinBizCon was assisted by Event Partners the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), Evident Integrated Marketing and PR, PLDT Enterprise, Holcim, Davao Light and Coca Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc. The two day event’s sponsors included Sarangani Bay (Prime Bangus), Land Bank of the Philippines, P&A Grant Thorton, SGV, Alsons Power Group, Development Bank of the Philippines, Aboitiz, Aboitiz Power, Italpinas Development Corporation, Apo Agua Infra, Dusit Thani Davao, dusit2 Davao, Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resorts, Environmental Counselors Inc, FirstGen, Alsons Development & Investment Corporation, Pilipino Banana Growers & Exporters Association, DMI-Philippines (Original MX3) and Globe My Business. BusinessWeek Mindanao, the only business newspaper in Mindanao, was the sole media partner for the 29th MinBizCon 2020.

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That dirty brown water from your faucet

September 25, 2020

Are you still getting dirty brown water from your faucet? Many residents still experience this especially when water pressure in their neighborhood has been low or following a service interruption. The Cagayan de Oro Water District has repeatedly answered consumers’ complaints regarding this with the explanation that this only happens when the silt that would normally be dissolved when water pressure is normal gathers at the bottom of the pipes with no water to force them forward. In fact, about once a month, all major pipelines are “flushed” by their engineering personnel to clear such sediments and silts and the cost charged towards their “non-revenue water” (NRW) account. This is the account includes all water that has been produced and procured by the water district but did not earn revenue from, such as the fire hydrant water that some big time establishments have been observed to have been using to water the plants around their respective areas, as well as water lost to leakages from old or broken pipes and illegal connections. Thus, when water pressure is restored it pushes all that dirt forward and that’s when you get the muddy brown water from your tap. Sure, it clears up after a few minutes of “flushing” but too bad you’ve just thrown away what should have been clean, safe drinking water that would be added to your water bill. Now why after all these years has the water district not fixed this nuisance? That’s because it still sources a substantial volume of its daily water supply from deep wells, thus even if you don’t see it and your water appears clear, a look under a microscope shows there’s still those sediments floating around, they’re not just as visible to the naked eye. Since water from the water districts’ 29 operating deep wells are not filtered for sediments or silt and only dosed with chlorine, expect to live with that dirty brown water from your faucets for some time to come yet. For how long? Only God knows. It also doesn’t help that many of the water district’s pipes are old and deteriorating, which is expected given it is the country‘s oldest water district at 47 years old and even predates the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).  And some of its pipes especially within the city’s urban barangays are even older, dating back to as far as 1921 when the Waterworks Tank which used to supply the city’s water started (that’s 98 years ago!). So is there any solution to this health hazard in our drinking water? COWD is now slowly rehabilitating its old pipes mainly aimed at reducing its NRW that at last count still stood over 59%. Filtering the water of sediments and silts has so far been left to the hapless consumer who has turned to improvised to quite expensive water purifiers to clean up the mess. In fact, most everyone now gets their drinking water from the city’s many water refilling stations whose sole purpose is to clean up COWD’s “potable water” and resell it to consumers at a premium. However, many consumers are probably not aware that the bulk water the COWD now gets from the Cagayan de Oro Bulk Water Inc. is filtered of all silt and sediments besides being treated with chlorine to kill all bacteria in the surface water it sources from the Bubunawan River. Unfortunately, at this water supply provides but a fraction of the water pumped to your households by COWD and gets mixed up with the unfiltered water from COWD’s deep wells. The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) has already advised all industries and water districts abstracting water from deep wells that no new diggings will be allowed after 2030. This is good news especially for Cagayan de Oro’s aquifers from which groundwater has been extracted beyond the capacity of nature to recharge them, resulting in the steep drop of the water table in many areas, saltwater intrusion in coastal barangays, and irreparable damage to this precious resource. Already, Metro Manila and Cebu have disallowed not only the digging but also the operation of deep wells within their respective areas except in times of emergency, and shifted their water supply exclusively to surface water. Should Cagayan de Oro follow suit? When you consider how studies have already proven that our aquifers were being mined for water beyond their recharge rate as far back as 17 years ago, this should have been a legislation long enacted but seems to have been forgotten. Perhaps we shouldn’t wait any further until we are already in a water crisis like Cebu or Metro Manila to ban further water extraction from deep wells. And we sure want to get rid of that dirty water coming out of our faucets sooner rather than later. The time to act is now.   Video Grab of Resident from Zone 1 Kauswagan, Cagayan de Oro

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